Digital ad unit spotlight: billboard 970x250

The number of IAB Billboard display ads (970x250) running on websites listed in Digital Media database increased 14% from June to July 2013.*

Despite this growth, the Billboard ad unit still only makes up a small slice of the online ad pie. Only 2% of sites listed in are running this unit currently. But the IAB has high hopes for this and other Rising Stars (Filmstrip, Portrait and Pushdown) – and for good reason.

Users are 2.5 times more likely to interact with a Rising Star ad unit than a standard ad unit, according to research conducted by the IAB and IPG Media Lab in 2012. Further, the study found that users spend twice as much time interacting with Rising Stars and take less time to react to the ad. Eye-tracking showed that users viewed Rising Star ads longer (31% more) than standard formats.

So what differentiates the Billboard ad unit?

It’s a large-scale, prominently located, rich media ad unit that runs the full width of a website. It’s designed to attract users’ attention and invites immediate interaction right on the page. The benefit is that a user doesn’t need to click to a landing page necessarily to engage with the ad. Plus, Billboards can be fully closeable. Users can choose to press the “Close Ad” button to collapse the entire billboard or the “Show Ad” button to redisplay the ad. When the ad redisplays it pushes down the site’s content, essentially replacing it with the ad.

Although Billboards and the other Rising Star units still haven’t been widely adopted across the industry, according to data there is still some reason for excitement on both the media buyer and seller side. For the latter, the buzz stems from the fact these ads are extremely large and that they can be used to be deliver interactive creative and ad content in a way that just simply couldn’t be done before. On the seller side, due to the higher rates of engagement and a perception of exclusivity, they demand a premium price.

Curious which sites have recently run a Billboard ad?  Examples include, which ran a Billboard video ad for Capital One, and Oreo ran both Billboard and Pushdown ad units on the site. To find out what other sites are running Billboard ads and other Rising Star ad units, sign in to or order access to the digital database now.

We’ll keep an eye out on any trends or changes we identify in ad sizes and make sure to post about them, so check back often!

Kantar Media SRDS is committed to making digital media planning more efficient and effective. The Digital Media database provides a wealth of data, research and intelligence on over 20,000 U.S. websites that accept advertising, and 200 online ad networks and exchanges. We monitor almost 90 ad sizes served on websites, including IAB-Standard, IAB Rising Stars, IAB Delisted and Non-IAB.

*Research Methodology:  Kantar Media SRDS uses third-party real-time technology to detect the ad units and formats running on websites that accept advertising at various times during a given time period. This analysis was conducted by applying this technology to 16,292 websites (and 66,877 online ads) during July 2013.

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