By Alyssa Alheid Cooke

Expandable ad units allow you to show users more information and a greater level of interactivity through their ability to open up into a larger size than their original collapsed state. Read on to find out how they are used most and where they are available.

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Expandable ads

What are Expandable Ads?

Expandables are rich media creatives that expand beyond the original size of the ad unit when a user clicks or hovers over it. This creates more real estate for the ad, allowing for more interaction from interested users. Expandable ads might stream a movie trailer, show video game clips, or display various views of an item for sale.

Where do they appear?

Expandable ads most often appear near the top of a webpage across desktop, mobile and tablet. When interacted with, the ad will expand over the top of other web content. The background may be greyed out to draw attention to the ad, and it can operate much like a mini website without making the user leave their current page.

What are their main uses?

  • Better for high impact awareness than direct response
  • In the mobile environment, expandables can be seen as a combination of banners and interstitials. With their potential for rich media elements, they are an expressive, immersive way to strengthen brand-to audience relationships

Where are they available?

  • They are run through normal display inventory slots, through DBM (and trafficked in DCM), but they only serve on inventory that supports expandable ads
  • Currently available through AdX for Google’s solution - approx. 1.6B daily impressions in the UK
  • Roughly 10% of UK inventory supports expandable formats, so there is good scale
  • It’s important to be aware that inventory availability differs by expansion direction
Expandable ad stats

Best Practices

Expandable ads have two sizes: an inital “invitation state” size followed by an “expanded state” size once the user has expanded the ad

  • The format should be split out from other formats in DBM, due to the unique optimisation goals
  • Expect a lower CTR, as there is an extra barrier to exiting the page (expansion)
  • Expandable formats should be judged on expansion rate, interaction rate and average expansion time
  • The direction of expansion must be set in DBM
  • All creatives should be close-able via mouse off or click off

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