What is a Billboard?
The 970×250 is an ad unit which was listed as a Rising Star by the IAB. It has the dimensions of 970 pixels wide by 250 pixels tall. 970×250 ads are also known as a Billboards. It is usually used as a type of Pushdown ad.
Despite being designated a Rising Star in 2011, the 970×250 ad is pretty rare across the internet. Larger sites often use them to great effect as part of sponsorship deals.
This is what it looks like:
Billboards are sometimes used as regular ad units.
They are intended however to go across the top of a site when it first loads, pushing down the content. Ad units which do this are referred to as “Pushdown Ads” and come in many sizes, but Billboards are the most common. Pushdown ad units are essentially a type of overlay.
Pushdown Billboard ads should be entirely closeable via a “Close X” button, leaving only a “Show Ad” button remaining that will expand again when clicked. This is up to the individual publisher however. Alternately these ads often auto-close after 30 seconds instead.
Publishers often request that 970×250 ads have a 1 pixel black border around them to emphasise the fact that they are an advert. This is not common practice with other ad sizes. As Billboards appear where users would typically expect to see the logo of a site, this demarcation actually decreases bounce rates and reassures users.
This is how Pushdown Billboard ad looks:
This Billboard ad has pushed down the “Campaign” logo and menu below it down (they would usually be at the top of the screen. In this particular example:
- The ad is part of a homepage takeover.
- There is no close button.
- It does have a 1 pixel black border.
970×250 Advice for Site Owners
If you have a good sales and technical team (whether in-house or at your ad network), Billboard ads can be a great money generator. This of course means that they are generally only very useful for larger sites.
A good technical team is needed as Billboards push down the top of a site. This high level of complexity creates a high likelihood of problems arising. Due to this, it’s extra important to get ad tags or assets a few days earlier for testing.
Billboards are generally used as part of sponsorships or homepage takeovers, as they are a high impact unit. Due to this, they should generally only be used on one page of a site at a time (ie the homepage), or at least have a 1/24 frequency cap in place. This is in order to not annoy users.
If you are considering adding more complicated (and expensive) ad units to your site, this is quite a good option. Although not incredibly common, it is one of the more prevalent non-standard ad sizes and so more advertisers will be comfortable buying them.
Note: As it is a very large ad size, they are only available on desktop screens. This means they are not a good option for websites which get most of their traffic from mobile devices.
970×250 Advice for Ad Buyers
A Billboard ad units are estimated to only be on about 2% of sites, so this is not usually an ad unit which makes sense for large scale purchases. It is however often used by large and high quality sites, so can be worth the investment if you are able to create a great ad.
They are also often very expensive – with CPMs hitting between £15-£30. However the stats for it are pretty great compared to IAB Standard Ads:
- Approximately 30% longer viewing time
- Approximately 2.5 times higher engagement rate
- As they are at the top of the page, they also have an exceptionally high viewability rate
Therefore if you have an excellent creative team or agency and deep pockets it can be a good investment. They work especially well as part of sponsorship or homepage takeover deals.
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Author: Justin Driskill
Justin is the founder of The Online Advertising Guide and a freelance Digital Projects Manager.