The Different Types of App Install Ad Formats | AppsFlyer
ad formats

Chapter 6

The Different Types of App Install Ad Formats

Mobile advertising began with simple banner ads, but now offers numerous ad types. In this chapter we’ll look at the various types of ad formats and provide useful tips to help you best utilize them.


Banner ads

Banners are probably the oldest form of mobile ads and remain the most widely used format. They’re usually embedded into a web page or application and feature a combination of both images and text.

Banners are easy to implement and can be less intrusive than other formats. They can be set as sticky ad units that remain at the top or bottom of the screen and can be expanded to full screen.

Be sure to make your banners visually exciting and include a prominent call to action.


Interstitial ads

Interstitial ads are full-screen images or videos that appear at natural app transition points. They pop up and cover the entire screen when a user goes to close or leave a web page.

Interstitials outperform banner ads because they are bigger and therefore make a larger impression. They’re easy to implement and reputed to increase click-through rates as compared to banners.

It’s important to remember that interstitials should only be displayed when a user has completed a task. Never interrupt users when they’re engaged in the main app activity or gameplay.

ad formats


Rich media ads

Rich media ads help overcome banner blindness because they grab attention by including videos, GIFs, audio, and interactive forms of media.

A study by the IAB and ComScore indicates rich media ads result in 79% higher user engagement and a 23% increase in message recall.


Video ads

Video ads are rapidly growing in popularity. Video ads grab the user’s attention, tell a story and drastically improve brand recall.

Another type of video ad is the “rewarded video.” That is, users get rewarded for watching your ad. This type of video ad is known for being a great way to monetize an app and to introduce freemium game content.

Like all video ads, rewarded videos should be creative and engaging. The videos are non-skippable, so they have a greater chances to grab users’ attention.

The ad should be non-intrusive and appear at the right time – say, the moment when a user can’t pass a game level and needs some assistance.


Carousel ads

Carousel ads are ideal for advertising multiple products via Facebook. A carousel or slider ad presents users with a series of images (or videos) revealed when they swipe.

If you sell different types of products and want to put more than one in front of your audience, you can use the carousel format to tell a unique visual story with a sequence of images or videos in a single ad.

ad formats


Playable ads

The playable ad is an interactive format that has experienced significant growth in recent years. The ads enable users to try out the core functionality of an app or game, like a free demo, before committing to a download.

Playables have proven effective for increasing conversions and retention, and ultimately, player LTV and revenue.


Native ads

Native ads blend in well with the content of the site or app that presents them in terms of form and function. A more subtle form of advertising, native ads are non-intrusive.

Users often engage without realizing they’ve clicked on an ad. They’ve proven to earn higher views and shares than the other ad content formats.


Social media ads

As we discussed in chapter 4 of this guide, social media advertising provides a cost-effective alternative to TV, radio or newspaper ads.

Social media ads have the versatility to be wherever the consumer is. When a consumer is directly targeted based on their interests or through a social media influencer they trust, they are more likely to convert.


Mobile ad sizes and formats

Let’s take a look at the most common mobile ad sizes offered.

ad formats

300×250 (Medium rectangle)

  • A high performing ad unit and the most popular ad size
  • Placement above the fold increases viewability and potential for user engagement.
  • The large mobile display ad size tends to generate better revenues


336×280 (Large rectangle)

  • Another top performing ad size as suggested by Google
  • Performs especially well when used inline, within text content, or at the end of articles



  • The standard for full-screen interstitials
  • Proven to yield higher engagement rates



  • The standard for mobile banners
  • Best implemented as a docked/anchor unit


How to measure the performance of your ad creative

You can—and should—measure the performance of your ads and optimize campaigns. While you can do so by scrutinizing a number of parameters such as media type, network, targeting, bids, time of week, time of day, and more, collecting performance metrics as it relates to the ad’s messaging and design may prove to be the most impactful. This is your ad creative.

A/B testing is paramount to your success. You’ll conduct A/B tests by concurrently running two versions of each ad, where a single variable such as your icon, headline, description, color palette, layout or visual differs.

Following are other things you can test for your ad creatives:

  • Image ad vs. video ad
  • Square video ad vs. portrait version
  • Video ad vs. a carousel ad with two videos
  • Install now call to action vs. a download call to action



Review the various types of mobile app ad formats and experiment with them. Conduct A/B testing to identify the creative executions that perform best.