Definition: Non-Standard Ad Unit

In the Preparing Your Site section we told you to stick with IAB standard ads. This was because these ad sizes have been shown to maximise revenue, and are common enough to minimise setup effort.

However, sometimes an ad network will ask you to put another ad unit onto your site. This is usually because they are selling lots of it, which makes it a good idea to oblige (assuming they have already proved themselves good for your site).

Apart from the three standard ad units, there are a few other legitimate and widely used non-standard ad units. Below is a list of some of the most common (for further information, please see our Ad Size Guide):

  • 300×600: This is a highly successful ad unit in terms of both performance and the eCPM it commands. It has not quite made it into the standard ad list because there are not enough sites that are designed to take it currently. Also known as a Monster MPU, the 300×600 can be run in its own ad slot but is more commonly set up as a multi-sized ad slot (ask your ad network) along with a 300×250 or 160×600.
  • 125×125: This ad unit is used mainly on recruitment sites, but is also still present randomly around the web. If your ad network has a good track record with this ad size, then it is worth considering.
  • Pop-Unders: Most people haven’t really noticed, but Pop-Up ads are essentially dead – they have been replaced by their marginally less annoying cousin – the pop-under. These are the web pages that appear behind your current browser window, to be noticed only when you close it. These ads can command a reasonable eCPM, but are exceptionally annoying to users so should be limited in the number of appearances they make to a user each day. Most networks are capable of running pop-unders but we would strongly recommend against using them. Reputable companies no longer use these sorts of ads, so the risks you are taking with your site’s reputation and user count may not outweigh the money you will make. Also, due to pop-blockers being fairly common now, the amount of inventory available for these units is very low (and very hard to predict).
  • Interstitials/Floaters/Overlays: These are called different things in different places, but these are kind of a workaround for the pop-up issue that the advertising industry invented, in an attempt to be classier about the whole thing. They are the ads that appear on top of the page, in the same browser window, sort of floating. They can be interactive and/or affect the sites appearance, or sometimes are just an image or video playing. The rule of thumb is that they last for 15-30 seconds before automatically closing unless the user interacts with them somehow (they also must have a close button). These can make a lot of money, but again annoy users so need to be shown rarely (again – once per user per day). We recommend allowing these ads, not only for the money but also because standard ads can now be built to spawn these units anyway, so you may as well have some control over the process and earn extra bucks in the meantime.
  • InText/InLine Advertising: These are the little boxes that pop up when you hover over certain words on some sites. There are only a few companies who do this sort of thing and they are especially talented at convincing publishers that InText advertising will make you rich. It will not; but it is a reasonable income stream and so worth considering although, again, users do find it exceptionally annoying. The ads are also tricky to add and remove from your site, so if you decide use in-text advertising you will likely be stuck with it for a long time


7 Things To Know About Non-Standard Ad Units

  1. Standard Ads make your life easy. Non-standard ads make your site interesting.
  2. Odd ad units can be great earners, but carry a risk of being hard to sell.
  3. If you sell bespoke ad sizes, you should have an in-house design agency able to help advertisers make them. That, and really great ad specs.
  4. Most people don’t even notice ads anymore (it’s called ad blindness). Non-standard ad units can break this spell.
  5. I, for one, would love to see more triangular ads on the internet. Or any really.
  6. The most standard non-standard ad sizes are:- Overlays/Floaters
    – Reskins
    – PushdownsThere is no single standard size for any of these.
  7. Be wary of choosing bespoke ad units. They come with A LOT of problems.



Non-Standard Ad Unit

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