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Leaderboard Ads: Overview, Features, and Best Practices

Leaderboard ads are one of the best-performing banner ads. 

In order to maximize their ad revenue, publishers are always on the lookout for ad layouts/sizes that will give them high returns and leaderboard ads may as well be that high-revenue yielding solution that you need. 

In this blog post, we are going to talk about everything related to this ad format, including, why it performs well, what can you do to implement these ads, and what best practices need to be adhered to for using this ad format.  

What are Leaderboard Ads?

Leaderboards are 728 pixels wide and 90 pixels tall and are among top-performing ads in Google Ad Manager. These banner ads are also part of IAB standard ads, which means that publishers will face less problems during the buying and selling process. Additionally, IAB standard ads are more profitable for publishers, which means that optimizing leaderboard ads will lead to higher revenue

Here’s an example of a leaderboard ad: 

According to Google, these ads perform best on forum sites, i.e. sites where users spend time consuming the content and are able to post according to their interest.

Other than being IAB standard ads, leaderboard banner ads have high ad viewability, as they are usually placed on the top of the page. The gist is that these banner ads cannot be missed by the user due to the manner in which they are placed on the page, thereby, leading to increased impressions and eventually higher revenue. 

Also Read: A Primer on IAB and MRC Viewability Standards

Features of Leaderboards

It has been said multiple times now that these banner ads perform well, but why is it so? Below are some features that will aid in understanding why leaderboard ads perform the way they do:

Versatile placement options

While it has been said that these ads perform the best when they are placed right at the top of the page, these ads can also be placed at the bottom and between the content as well. 

A lot of people are of the viewpoint that placing leaderboard ads at the bottom or between the content can also help deal with banner blindness. In addition to this, a leaderboard banner ad placed on the top of the page will go out of the view as the user is likely to scroll down the page. 

A good solution can be to use these ad units both at the bottom or in-between and top of the page. This can help publishers increase ad viewability for their ad placements and earn higher revenue. 

The New York Times website is a good example in this sense: 

One leaderboard ad is placed right on the top of the page. 

However, they have also placed a leaderboard ad between the page. But they have done so strategically, because the ad basically acts as a break between different content categories on the page. Publishers can use such techniques to make sure that leaderboard ads, or any ad for that matter, are placed to enhance page experience. 

Also Read: What are Core Web Vitals and why they are important for providing good page experience


Leaderboard ads may usually be seen on desktops, but they also work well with tablet-optimized pages. Also, when we consider different channels, these ad sizes are seen to perform well on LinkedIn. Leaderboards also support both text and image content, and the creative can be static or dynamic. 

In addition to this, publishers can also leverage the potential of expandable ads with leaderboard ad sizes. With an expanded leaderboard ad (728×270) more details can be shown to the user in terms of content which, in turn, will result in increased user engagement. Expandable ads are further hailed for increasing the click-through rate, and therefore can be a valuable addition to publishers’ inventory. 

Once again, the New York Times website is a great example for depicting the usage of expanded leaderboard banner ads: 

Super Leaderboards

Also known as ‘large leaderboards’, super leaderboards are slightly larger than the regular leaderboard banner ads. These ads are of dimensions 970×90 and provide more room for content. Google introduced this ad size back in 2013 to provide an alternative to the existing standard leaderboard banner ad. 

The use of super leaderboard ads can again help publishers deal with banner blindness, since their relatively less usage will catch the attention of the user.

Mobile Leaderboards

When we talk about mobile advertising, it is highly important to keep in mind that ads are not intrusive and provide good user experience. This is exactly what mobile leaderboards, or smartphone leaderboards do for mobile web monetization

Also Read: Mobile First Design: Overview, Significance, and Best Practices

Mobile leaderboard ads (320×50) are also IAB standard ads, which makes them worthy enough. These ads sizes are further among the top-performing ads on Google AdSense and are listed under ‘anchor ads’. This means that the ad will stick to the bottom of the page and will remain in view as the user scrolls down the page.

Note: Make sure to provide a close button when you are serving mobile leaderboards so users have the option of closing them.  

Here’s an example of mobile leaderboards:

Best Practices

Even though leaderboards ads are highly popular and quite simple to implement, there are some factors that publishers should consider while utilizing these ad sizes:

  1. As it is with all ad sizes, experimenting with placement of leaderboard ads is important. For some publishers, the conventional top page placement may work, but for others, may lead to banner blindness. So, seeing and changing the placement of these ads frequently can be of help. 

  2. Publishers should also try native advertising when they are using leaderboard ads. These ad sizes can serve as breaking points between the content on the page and can also increase the aesthetic value of the page. 

  3. One thing that should be considered consistently with all banner ads is high quality images. This factor becomes all the more important for leaderboard ads because of their size. The content on these ads need to be placed in a strategic and creative manner for maximizing their visual quality. If you notice that the advertiser is not able to do so, they may not be best to work with. 

  4. Lastly, experimenting with video ads can be a standout idea while leveraging leaderboard ad units. But again, before moving ahead with video leaderboards, publishers have to make sure that the ad is creative and impactful.   

Final Thoughts

Leaderboard ads are a great way to monetize websites and that is evident from their popularity in the ad tech industry. But publishers should ensure to not stray away from experimenting with these ads, as conventional practices may become banal and therefore, won’t be as yielding. 

Even though leaderboard banner ads mostly perform well, publishers can always move a step ahead to increase their effectiveness. Adhering to the best practices mentioned above can help publishers in getting better returns. 


1. What does a leaderboard ad look like?

Leaderboard ads are among the most popular and most effective ad units available to publishers. The rectangular ad unit measures 728 pixels wide by 90 pixels high. It is also one of the standard IAB units, replacing the older and much smaller 468×60 banner.

2. What is the point of leaderboard?

A leaderboard is a list of a game’s top scorers. Everyone who played the game could see all the players’ names or initials and scores. Despite its simplicity, it can be a powerful motivator to keep playing.

3. Is a leaderboard an example of a search ad?

Leaderboard advertising is one of the most popular types of display ads in digital marketing. A leaderboard ad usually consists of a horizontal banner in either image or text format that covers the content area.

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