A 728×90 ad is usually placed at the top of a webpage so that it will be seen immediately when the page loads.
Leaderboard ads are considered to be the second-best ad size (after MPUs) as they generally perform well and are incredibly common.
Click on the links below to jump to the associated section
Examples of Leaderboards
Leaderboard Actual Size
Leaderboard Ads In Situ
Here are some examples of Leaderboards running on real websites.
Leaderboards are almost always used at the top of webpages. However, we have also included examples of some of the other most commonly used placements for this ad size.
Above the header of a site:
Below the header of a site:
Breaking up content on a site:
Above the footer of a site:
As an anchor ad (pinned to the footer of the desktop version of a site):
The Best Position for 728x90s
When leaderboard ads appear at the top of webpages it creates the maximum likelihood that it will be seen (and therefore clicked on). Being onscreen when a page first loads are referred to as being “above the fold”. Above the fold ads are the most sought after by advertisers (as they perform best).
This is what makes leaderboard ads so popular and profitable.
As shown above, some sites place 728x90s within content or at the bottom of webpages. These placements are both far less likely to be seen by users and so will earn less than top of screen leaderboards.
When ads are used in below the fold placements it is extra important that lazy loading is implemented. This means that the ads only load when the ad is on screen, or almost on-screen.
Otherwise, these low-value ad slots will slow down a webpage and drive users away, reducing their value further.
728×90 ads are also sometimes used as sticky anchor ads (meaning they stay on screen as you scroll). In the opinion of The Online Advertising Guide, these are more annoying than they are worth.
Large sticky ads may earn a reasonable RPM, but they will also drive away some users who become annoyed by them. Having more people visit your website will always earn you more money than showing an individual visitor more ads.
728×90 Advice for Site Owners
728×90s earn amongst the highest RPM out of any ad size. They fit into the top of webpages so easily and are so prevalent across the internet that they should be used on every page.
A leaderboard at the top of a webpage is unobtrusive and will still earn you good money.
Leaderboards are often used as part of sponsorships and homepage takeovers. It is therefore important that they appear in the exact same place on every page.
It is also best if they are aligned with a 300×250, so these ad units can work together.
Use One Leaderboard Per Page
As they are so successful, it can be tempting to place one of these ad units at the top and bottom of every page. However, only the above the fold ad unit will earn much money. This is because it is sure to be seen by everyone who visits your webpage.
Meanwhile, ads at the bottom of pages are rarely viewed (or clicked on).
We recommend including a leaderboard only at the top of webpages. However, if you do use multiple leaderboards on one page, ensure that you are able to differentiate between them when selling advertising space. This is to ensure that you can better monetize the top slot.
728×90 Advice for Ad Buyers
A leaderboard is amongst the best-performing ad slots, so should always be part of an ad buy. It is likely to be amongst the most expensive ad units, but it is generally worth it due to its solid performance.
This ad unit is generally placed at the top of the page and so is the first thing a user will see. This gives these ad units a natural boost to their potential performance.
However, sites sometimes also put a second 728×90 at the bottom of a page. You should therefore always check that you are able to buy the above the fold version (to the exclusion of the bottom of the page leaderboard).
728×90s are often used as expandable ads. To ensure these run smoothly, only book on sites that do not use iframes.
If a site does use iframes there are ways to make it expand anyway. However, this is generally more hassle than it’s worth, especially if you are booking across multiple sites.
Designing Leaderboard ads
When designing leaderboard ads, keep in mind that they are long and thin. This makes them good for lines of text, but less useful for images. Consider focussing on a small image and your logo along with your ad copy.
You should also consider that the placement at the top of pages for a 728×90 means your ads will be closer to the logo of the site it is on than other ads. This makes it especially important to consider where your ads run.
By having your ad close to another companies logo, you run the risk of another companies brand values getting mixed up with yours. Of course, this can also be of great benefit if you choose your ad placements and design your ads carefully.
Many advertisers embed video advertising in 728×90s, however, this ad size is not large enough to show a video properly.
If you would like to add a video into a 728×90, then create an expanding ad and place the video in that for best results.
Leaderboards take up 65,520 pixels of space. This makes it the smallest of the five top display ad sizes.
In general, the larger the display ad unit, the better it performs. However, both the Leaderboard and MPU buck this trend and generally outperform their larger counterparts.
Note: Leaderboard ads replaced the old smaller 468×60 banner ad on almost every website. This replacement process took years, but 468×60 ads are now only rarely seen.
Similarly, billboard ads are often now replacing 728x90s on websites as they can earn more money. Like 468×60 ads before them, leaderboards have not disappeared all at once though and are still used frequently.
Unlike 468×60 ads, leaderboard ads still perform very well and have use cases that 970×250 ads cannot fill – so they are likely to stick around for quite a while.
A leaderboard ad is especially good for expandable ads. Their usual top-middle positioning on a website means that they can expand in a practical (and eye-pleasing) manner.
Not all websites run expandable ads so ad specs can vary greatly for them. 728x90s typically expand straight down (once clicked), however, and expand between 300 – 800 pixels.
Leaderboards are also often used when other bits of advertising code (such as tracking or overlays/floaters) need to piggyback onto a page, as they generally load first.
Because of both of these reasons, Leaderboards should never be placed within an iframe. They should also have a z-index of 999,999,998 (with only overlays/floaters appearing on top of it).
Multi-Sized Ad Slots
728×90s are one of the horizontal ad units.
Note: It is important that you do not try to combine all of these into one ad space as they will look strange. A tiny ad floating in a massive space will not perform well.
If you want to use a 728×90 in a multi-sized ad slot, try to follow these rules:
- For a 728×90 and 468×60 combo: This works best in a placement where the 728×90 is crammed in (such as when breaking up content). It is the only combo where you could also consider adding a 320×50 or 320×100 into the mix too.
- For a 728×90 and 970×90 combo: This works best when the leaderboard is floating in space with nothing on either side of it. As 970x90s are rarely used, by using this combo you are increasing competition for this ad space. This increases its value.
- For a 728×90 and 970×250 combo: This works best when floating in a large designated space (this combo can include 970x90s too). As a 970×250 is so much larger than a 728×90 it can look really odd if not designed well.
It is common practice to replace a 728×90 with a 320×50 or 320×100 on mobile screens for consistency of design.