These include units that have photo or video galleries, store locators and are capable of running social feeds from sites like Facebook and Twitter. Among them is a format called the Pull, which was selected by the Interactive Advertising Bureau as one of its five Rising Star Mobile units that allows a user to pull a standard banner — starting from the top or bottom of the page to full-screen display.
The promise of such ads is that the broader canvas they provide for marketers on mobile screens translates into better performance. In that regard, AOL said the new Road Devil Interstitial has produced a 1.93% interaction rate and an average video completion rate of 23.2%, based on initial testing with a handful brands.
A research presentation last month by eMarketer highlighted PointRoll data showing that rich media ads in mobile in 2013 had about the same click-through rate as on the desktop, at 0.09%. But expandable and interstitial units performed better, with rates above 1% in some cases.
AOL declined to name any advertisers testing the new format, which auto-expands from the bottom of the screen and typically displays for five seconds, although the duration can be adjusted. Users also have the option to close the ads before they collapse back into a banner.
AOL is rolling out the interstitial unit to its owned-and-operated sites, such as The Huffington Post and TechCrunch as well as through its network of 450 third-party sites, including Reuters, Billboard, Martha Stewart and Fast Company. Marketers also have the option to buy the ads programmatically.
Michael Treon, vice president, platform strategy for AOL Platforms, said the company’s focus is on allowing marketers to offer a consistent ad experience regardless of the screen size. “Our goal is to enable cross-platform interaction by default,” he said, noting that over half of AOL’s advertisers are now running cross-screen campaigns.
eMarketer estimates that display -- including banners, rich media and sponsorships -- will account for $6.7 billion of the projected $17.7 billion in U.S. mobile ad spending this year.