man using a mobile device with city view in background
When employed correctly, interstitial marketing can improve mobile app adoption, sales growth and conversion rates. PHOTO: Rikki Chan

Mobile interstitial advertisements are popular with marketers but can be controversial with customers.

These full-page pop-ups, which appear as a pit stop on the way to a target webpage, have been embraced by many organizations as an effective marketing strategy — helping to increase conversion and reduce ad-blindness.

In most cases, the Cost Per Thousand (CPM) for interstitial ads is very high, with average rates of four to fifteen dollars for every thousand impressions.

Alternatives to Banner Ads

Mobile advertising can be challenging, particularly given the limited “screen real estate” it allows. Interstitials offer an attractive alternative to banner advertising and other techniques, which may not be sufficiently large or conspicuous to capture a user’s attention on most mobile devices.

For advertisers looking to drive app installs, interstitials have proved extremely popular, with 92 percent using them.

Interstitials can be more efficient for users, too. Instead of multiple steps, these pop-up advertisements route customers to a sales page or mobile app store with one click. All the same, some companies actively discourage their use, claiming that these ads have a negative impact on user experience and engagement.

However, when employed correctly, interstitial marketing can yield powerful results in mobile app adoption, sales growth and conversion rates.

But the effectiveness of this approach depends on a variety of factors, including the frequency of advertisements, how difficult ads are to dismiss and how substantially their appearance keeps a customer from fulfilling his or her intent (i.e. visiting a particular website).

3 Common Interstitial Marketing Mistakes

Of course, no two companies will have identical interstitial marketing strategies. The following are three common mistakes to avoid when developing yours, taking the example of using an interstitial ad to drive users to downloading a mobile app.

Not Aligning Your Interstitial Approach with Value Proposition

The enforcement of an interstitial advertisement should vary depending on the degree to which user behavior is affected. In other words, is it easy or difficult for a customer to navigate away from the advertisement and how often does it appear?

Too light an approach will likely be ineffective in driving mobile app downloads, whereas anything too aggressive can be intrusive and turn users off to your brand.

When devising your interstitial strategy, it’s also important to consider the value proposition of the product being advertised.  

Many mobile app marketers believe that the more value an app provides to an organization, the harder they should push the interstitial, but this is the wrong approach. Companies can only afford to push the interstitial harder if it provides more value to the customer, who every interstitial – and app – should be designed for.  

  • For example: what benefit will a particular customer gain from downloading your mobile app?
  • Does it offer better functionality than the browser and to what degree will it improve user experience?
  • What activity, if any, does the mobile app restrict?

Certain users may be enticed to download an app based on the incentives that you provide, so discounts and promotions should be factored into your interstitial strategy as well.

If you’re using interstitials to aggressively market a mobile app or product that doesn’t offer much benefit to customers, you might push them away.

Neglecting to Personalize Interstitial Advertisements

When it comes to interstitial marketing, knowing your optimal level of enforcement is not enough. In today’s era of people-based marketing, it’s critical that marketing initiatives are tailored to meet the preferences and behaviors of individual customers.

While a younger customer who spends a lot of time on YouTube may respond positively to a video advertisement, an older individual may consider them a nuisance.  Similarly, established customers may be more receptive to frequent interstitial advertisements.

Make sure that you’re not using a one-size-fits-all model for interstitial.

Opting Against A/B Testing

You may think you know your customer profile, but it’s never smart to assume. A/B testing is key to driving greater success among your target audience, because it allows marketers to evaluate the effectiveness of advertisements with slight variations in content and presentation.

For example: what word choice is most effective with existing and potential customers? Even the smallest of details can have a major impact on the success of an interstitial marketing campaign, from formatting decisions down to color choice.

When leveraged correctly, interstitial advertisements can be a very effective tool in marketing. Currently, there is an opportunity to improve this, as only 59 percent of mobile app developers claim they are driving installs. To ensure success, marketers must tailor their approach to both their organization’s value proposition and to the specific needs of their customers.

A well-planned interstitial campaign can yield long-term benefits for your business, including sustainable growth, data-driven customer insights and greater loyalty and engagement.