Best Mobile Ad Types and Formats to Monetize Ads

Mobiles are like our sidekicks, always tagging along. It has become a big part of our lives, more than any other media. On average, people spend 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones each day. Mobile ads and their types come in many forms, but how do you know which is best for your website or app?

Investing in mobile video and display mobile ads is trustworthy because people watch them. About 80% of video ads on mobiles stay in view when shown. That’s a good deal!

Following is a brief overview of the best mobile ad types and formats for maximum visibility.

Mobile app advertising

In-app mobile advertising involves the display of paid advertisements on smartphones and tablets within mobile applications. 

This form of advertising seamlessly integrates ads into the user experience, appearing in various formats such as banners, interstitials, videos, native ads, or interactive elements like playable ads. 

In-app advertising is a vital revenue stream for app developers through pay-per-click or pay-per-impression models. 

This advertising format allows app owners to monetize their platforms by selling ad space to advertisers, who generate profits based on the number of conversions and revenue their ads receive. 

Advertisers often purchase inventory from publishers through ad exchanges, leveraging demand and supply mechanisms to improve visibility and target specific audience segments.

Moreover, according to the source, smartphone users view 4.2x more products per session with mobile apps than mobile sites. This results in a 3x higher conversion rate for apps than mobile sites and 1.5x more than desktop sites.

It is undisputed that in-app advertising is popular because it offers lucrative monetization opportunities to all parties involved (think stakeholders).

What are the different types of in-app advertising?

In-app advertising offers various formats to engage users effectively within mobile applications. Here are the different types of in-app advertising:

  • banner ads
  • interstitial ads
  • video ads
  • playable ads
  • rewarded ads
  • native ads
  • rich media ads

More about these types below:

Standard mobile ad formats

Mobile banner ads

Mobile banner ads are standard in-app advertising that display full-screen or rectangular images with text at the top or bottom of the screen. They are typically smaller than desktop banner ads to accommodate mobile devices’ smaller screens. Banner ads can be static or animated and often promote products, services, or apps. They are cost-effective and easy to implement, making them popular for advertisers looking to reach mobile audiences.

There are different sizes for mobile banner ads. Several of the top advertising platforms use the medium rectangle (300×250). It’s good when you want to share more details about your product, like its top features and benefits. 

The smaller rectangle (300×50), or the mobile banner, is budget-friendly and not too intrusive. It’s great for short and clear messages. Even big brands use it to spread the word about their products, while smaller brands can use this size to tell people about what they offer. 

We’ll discuss the ad format in detail in later sections. 

Investing in mobile banner ads can be a smart choice if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to make your brand known to potential customers.

Native Ads

Native ads, also recognized as partner content, sponsored content, or branded journalism, are a form of paid advertising that mirrors the appearance, style, and functionality of the media format where they appear.

While users know they are ads, native ads aim to provide value similar to organic content. They aim to seamlessly integrate into a site or app user’s path and ensure they appear naturally alongside the content. They typically include elements like a headline, thumbnail image, content URL, description text, and more, tailored to match the platform’s style. 

Native ad formats have evolved beyond standard ads to include carousel ads, out-stream video ads, click-to-watch video ads, mobile app install ads, and more, offering advertisers a range of options to engage their target audience effectively. The most common mobile ad sizes for native ads include 300×50, 320×50, and 300×250. 

Even the click-through rate for native ads on mobile is 0.38%, significantly improving compared to the 0.11% CTR for traditional banner ads. Native ads benefit advertisers, publishers, and users alike.

Whether they are Fortune 500 brands or new startups, advertisers leverage native ads to connect with audiences during key moments when they are actively engaging with content and open to discoveries.

Publishers view native ads as essential for monetizing content across various platforms and devices. Opt-in native units enable valuable user actions without compromising the overall user experience. 

And for users, native ads steer clear of disruptive pop-ups or pre-roll ads. These ads establish a more respectful interaction, which allows users to discover and engage with branded content on their terms. 

Mobile Video Ads

Mobile video advertising means showing videos on your phone or other mobile gadgets like tablets. These ads can pop up while you’re using the internet on your phone or within downloaded apps.

Mobile ads appear before, during, or after a video, smoothly fitting into the viewing experience. The sizes for phones are usually 320×480 or 480×320, and for tablets, they’re 768×1024 or 1024×768. Another size, 320×250, works well for out-stream videos.

Putting mobile video ads in the right spot can make more people interested. Placing them at a natural pause when people are using an app is a good idea. Advertisers should be creative and make the starting image of the video interesting so that people want to watch it. Video usually starts without sound, which users can turn on. This ensures the video won’t be annoying to users. This way, it’s more enjoyable for everyone!

Check our ad gallery for examples of how an ad would look on mobile.

Mobile-rich media ads

The key to mobile-rich media ads’ success is their higher engagement levels. They’re simply better to interact with. Let’s have a look at some of them. 

Mobile swipe ads

Mobile swipe ads, or swipe-to-engage or swiped ads, are an interactive ad format explicitly designed for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. 

The primary feature of mobile swipe ads is the ability for users to swipe across the screen, either horizontally or vertically, to navigate through different ad elements. Each element is a single ad unit with a link to its landing page. 

These ads typically display multiple image creatives (usually 3 to 5) that can be swiped through manually or automatically, providing users with a hands-on and interactive way to explore content.

Advertisers can use mobile swipe ads effectively for various advertising goals, including

  • Showcasing product features, benefits, and demonstrations through visually rich and interactive content.
  • Driving app installs by providing a preview of the app’s functionality and experience, with a clear call-to-action to download.
  • Capturing user information through integrated lead generation forms within the expanded ad unit.
  • Enabling users to browse and purchase products directly from the ad, streamlining the shopping experience.

Scratch banner ads

Scratch banner ads are an interactive ad format where users scratch or swipe away a concealing layer to reveal the ad content beneath.

This ad format aims to engage users by tapping into their curiosity and desire to reveal the hidden content. 

The scratch mechanic introduces an element of gamification that makes the ad experience more enjoyable for users. This memorable experience can enhance brand recall. 

Interstitial ads

Interstitial ads are full-screen advertisements that cover the entire interface of the host app or site. They usually appear during natural transitions within an app, like moving between activities or pausing between game levels. These ads aim to capture user attention with visually engaging and screen-filling content. 

Advertisers can incorporate interactive elements like mini-games, quizzes, or immersive AR/VR environments. Interstitial ads can also deliver video-centric ads, storytelling campaigns, and personalized, contextual content. Additionally, these ads can include social sharing features, lead generation forms, and opportunities for users to engage with products or services directly. 

According to Statista, interstitial ads have the highest in-app conversion rates, at over 20% on Android and almost 15% on iOS. 

While interstitial ads can be an effective monetization strategy, balancing their usage with user experience is crucial. Advertisers can benefit from this method since users are required to view or interact with the ad before continuing. However, showing the ads to users often can result in frustration. 

Interstitial ads are considered more intrusive than banner and video ads because they interrupt users’ experience and demand attention.

You don’t need to worry because Google caps the frequency of interstitial ads at one per hour for each user by default. This helps keep users happy by not bombarding them with too many ads. A good rule to follow is to display one interstitial ad every 5-7 minutes of use. This allows you to profit from ads without disrupting the user’s experience.

Mobile cube ads

Mobile cube ads, or 3D cube ads, are a variation of standard mobile banner ads that employ multiple ad creatives in a three-dimensional cube structure. 

It allows advertisers to showcase their content on four sides of a virtual cube, which can rotate automatically or by swiping. You can place a video on one of the sides. This offers a captivating way to display ad messages on mobile devices and desktops.

Which ad formats are not available on mobile devices?

The ad formats unavailable on mobile devices include non-skippable video ads, bumper ads, skippable video ads, and overlay ads. These formats do not support mobile devices and typically limit usage to other platforms or devices.

Most popular mobile banner ad sizes

Learn some background about the most used infeed ad sizes in display media. You can learn more about creative placement sizes by reading this article.  

300 x 250 – Inline rectangle

The inline rectangle, also known as the medium rectangle, is a popular banner ad format recognized for its versatility and compatibility with various platforms. 

The balanced aspect ratio 1.2:1 makes it suitable for mobile and desktop devices. It also allows optimal visibility and engagement across different screens. 

Despite its size, it is one of the best performers among ad units and commands high CPM rates for publisher earnings. It also yields great returns for advertisers. Often placed above the fold, it captures high user engagement rates. This leverages many website visitors’ tendency to avoid extensive scrolling.

Its compact size allows creative placement in various positions on a webpage, including the sidebar, header, and footer.

Additionally, it can be combined with other ad units within a multi-sized slot adhering to Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) standards.

320 x 50 – Mobile leaderboard

An IAB Mobile standard 320×50 ad unit measures 320 pixels wide by 50 pixels high.

Typically positioned at the top or bottom of mobile websites or apps, this ad runs horizontally across the entire width of the screen. Google AdSense recognizes it as a top-performing ad unit and is a promising choice for new websites.

Despite its modest size potentially yielding lower revenue, it remains a popular choice due to its effectiveness in engaging mobile users and high ad viewability rate.

Advertisers can showcase static images, animated GIFs, rich media ads featuring interactive elements, or lightweight HTML5 ads. 

320 x 100 – Large mobile banner

The 320×100 ad unit stands out as a high-performing AdSense ad size despite its absence from the IAB Mobile standard ad units. 

This ad size is a viable option for websites experiencing significant mobile traffic. While it may not be a robust revenue driver due to its smaller size – larger ads generally outperform smaller ones – it remains a potential avenue for monetizing mobile ad impressions.

336 x 336 – Square mobile ad format

This ad size is strategically used within content or sidebars to grab attention when highlighting related information. 

Its dimensions are well-suited for image-based and video content, allowing advertisers to craft immersive and interactive ad experiences.

Mobile rising stars ad units

While mobile ad units like banners and interstitials remain popular, a new breed of ad formats, often called “Mobile Rising Stars,” is gaining traction. These formats can blend seamlessly with mobile content, and they might be named differently across providers but their functionality remains the same.


The train layout works like a picture slideshow. You can swipe through the images or click on arrows to change them. The ad can even change slides automatically. Remember, you need at least two pictures for the slides to work.

Nexd makes it easy to whip up infeed, interstitial, interscroller, and expandable ads in just a few minutes. With cool features like a countdown widget, video capability, and special effects, you can showcase various offers in one place.

Adhesion banner 

Adhesion banner refers to a specific ad format: a “sticky” or fixed-position ad that stays visible on the screen as the user scrolls through a webpage or app. In this case, the ad type has dimensions of 300×50 pixels.

If you want to see all Nexd’s layouts, click here


The slider layout works like a fun interactive slideshow. You can scroll through the slides by dragging or tilting your device. For the slides to work, you need at least 2 images.

Build interactive digital ads with Nexd 

Choosing the right mobile ad types and formats is crucial for maximizing revenue and delivering an optimal user experience. As the industry evolves, new formats will continue to emerge. 

But what matters most is teaming up with the right partner who can help make your ads work for the people you want to reach. That way, you’ll get better responses from your users. If you’re ready to try out ad formats for your mobile ad campaign, check out Nexd.

Nexd is a creative management platform that empowers marketers to build engaging digital ad campaigns efficiently and effectively.

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