Fani Sánchez

Written by Fani Sánchez

What is an Interstitial?

According to the definition in our book Marketing Online 2.0, an interstitial in the field of digital marketing and online advertising is:

A banner that occupies the entire browser window. It is called interstitial because it usually appears between a user’s click on a link and the content to which the link pointed, or before the download of the first page. Sometimes, it is displayed on the home page of the website itself in a way that forces the user to click to skip the advertisement and access the content. By covering most of the visible area of the screen, interstitials are very effective in attracting the user’s attention. However, for most of them it is very intrusive. An abuse in the frequency of interstitials usually results in an increased rebound rate.

And it is true that interstitials -whether pop-up or full-window type- are very annoying when we access a website, because they prevent us from accessing the desired content without first clicking on the closing tab to hide it and be able to continue browsing.

There are interstitials that can have a specific duration and this can be defined by the website owner. Once the set seconds have elapsed, the interstitial will automatically close and allow the user to access the website normally.

Interstitials and usability

Obviously, being a very intrusive type of ad, interstitials and usability are two concepts that do not go well together, so it is recommended to avoid their use on websites, regardless of their nature. In this way, we will be able to provide users with the best browsing experience on our site, and we will not actively contribute to increasing your bounce rate. While an interstitial may have some utility by offering a higher CTR than other types of display advertising – such as banners – this is often because the user has mistakenly clicked on the ad in an attempt to close it.

On the other hand, given that mobile traffic already exceeds traffic coming from desktop devices, Google has made it official that as of January 10, 2017 its bot will consider negative and may penalize the use of these advertising elements when displayed on mobile devices. This decision is due to the fact that interstitials not only slow down the loading of pages, but also make it difficult to close them from these devices, as they are elements that too often do not have a responsive design. Obviously, this measure will not affect all interstitial ads equally, but it is important to take it into account.

Types of content that an interstitial ad may contain

The content of the interstitial can be very varied. Generally, and unlike banners, they can contain larger graphics, as well as interactive Java applets, with videos and animations, among others.


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Fani Sánchez
Fani Sánchez
Former senior SEO consultant at Human Level. Graduated in Advertising and Public Relations.