Viewability

All About Sticky Ads (and How to Make the Most of ’em)

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In the times of bot traffic, fraud, and ad block, precious few ads make their way to real people who promptly scroll through the page – looking for something that catches their interest – without sparing a glance for the ad.

Advertisers want conversions, and their ads are useless if there’s no one around to see them. For this reason, most advertisers would gladly pay a premium for impressions with high viewability rate.

Optimizing for viewability—without jeopardizing user experience can be tricky, but sticky ads walk that fine line with ease. Here’s all you need to know about sticky ads, and how to make the most of them.

What are Sticky Ads

They are exactly what it says on the tin: Ads that stick to user’s screen even when users scroll the page in any direction.

Here’s what they look like in action:

What the Metrics Say About Sticky Ads’ Performance

Sticky ads perform significantly better than standard display ads, for several reasons.

Now that ads are practically white noise to the online population (read: Banner Blindness), getting views and intentional clicks on ads, clicks that drive sales/conversions for advertisers and raise your traffic’s value on their graph – is a monumental task.

In the face of users’ complete indifference, well-implemented sticky ads refuse to be scrolled past and forgotten; and they do all this without being overly intrusive.

In our A/B testing and optimization experience*, sticky ads get:

  • 40-60% Higher CTR: Compared to standard display (web) ads.
  • Double Viewability: Up to 200% more viewable than other formats on same placements.
  • 30-70% Higher CPM: Advertisers shell out more for sticky ads. And that’s not all. Sticky ads improve a site’s average viewability and increase CPM value of all ad formats over time.

* As seen in results from AdPushup’s Automated Layout Testing engine

For DFP/AdX Publishers: Do’s and Don’ts of Sticky Ad Implementation

Within Google Display Network, sticky ads can be implemented on your standard web pages (desktop and mobile), Accelerated Mobile Pages (not the ultra-fast AMPHTML ads, just the usual AMP units), and in-app, making them one of the more versatile, high-yield ad formats out there.

On-page placements can vary. Generally speaking, horizontal top/bottom sticky ads perform well on mobile. Vertical left/right sticky ads are better suited for desktops’ wider screens.

Word of caution: Sticky ads must be used sparingly. Too many/too large sticky ads will stand in the way of content, and doing so can get publishers – especially AdX/AdSense media-sellers – blocked from serving any ads to Chrome users (read about Chrome’s Ad Filter and how it blocks ads).

Here are some reasonable constraints on sticky ad implementation:

  • Width < 300 px
  • Must cover less than 30% of the screen at any time (Chrome policy)
  • One vertical sticky per viewport
  • One horizontal sticky per page
  • No cursor-associated movements (sticky ad must remain immobile)
  • Plenty of whitespace/ boundary between sticky ad and content, so it’s distinguishable from content.

There are a couple more rules for DFP/AdX publishers on sticky ad implementation, outlined on this DFP Help page.

Remember to declare the units as “sticky” from within your AdX account after you’re done placing them on-page. This is so advertisers know that the ad they are bidding on is sticky and adjust their bids accordingly.

Note that Google recommends not implementing sticky ads on gaming sites or pages with infinite scroll, for the sake of user experience.

We recommend testing sticky ads for affiliate promotions, and if you have any, for direct ad sales. Start by pitching the rates at 50% premium over your average open auction CPMs and adjust based on demand.

Sticky Ads for AdSense Publishers

Google restricts implementation of sticky ads on AdSense by an invite-only beta; typically reserved for a select few publishers. But that doesn’t mean the rest of AdSense publishers cannot introduce the format in their inventory.

To ensure a safe and positive user experience, we restrict the use of ad implementations on desktop which cause the ad to appear in a “sticky” or “floating” position on the page as the user scrolls or navigates through the page. While we allow Google anchor ads on mobile web, please note that publisher-created mobile implementations are not permitted as we cannot ensure they have the same quality protections we’ve built into our product.

As a publishing partner, we can implement sticky ads (and other high-yield ad formats) on behalf of AdSense publishers and provide demand for your inventory from AdX as well as other premium exchanges. Sign up here for a free demo.