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Mobile AdsAd Units
June 22, 2016

27 Ad Units to Monetize Mobile

In this post, we take a look at 27 ad units that can help publishers monetize mobile. For publishers, the rapid rise in mobile traffic has been both a boon and a bust. It’s a boon because mobile...

Chris Cummings

In this post, we take a look at 27 ad units that can help publishers monetize mobile. For publishers, the rapid rise in mobile traffic has been both a boon and a bust. It’s a boon because mobile devices have dramatically increased the number of people on the Internet and the amount of time those people spend online, leading to tremendous traffic growth. It’s a bust because mobile traffic has proven much more difficult to monetize. As compared to desktop, the CPMs per ad unit are lower and the number of ad units on the page are fewer. The following gallery of ad units provides inspiration on how to improve mobile monetization.

On Mobile: Time Is Not (Yet) Money

For a couple years now, the time spent on mobile devices has surpassed the time spent on desktop. In 2013, mobile time overall surged past desktop, and in 2014, time in mobile apps alone exceeded desktop.

But ad spend dedicated to mobile dramatically underperforms as compared to other advertising mediums when you look at the time spent in each. According to one study, the gap between the mobile time spent and the mobile ad dollars represents a ~$25 billion dollar growth opportunity.

So how can publishers grow the mobile advertising pie and get a little bigger slice?

How Publishers Monetize Mobile

The goal of this post is to provide inspiration on how publishers can better monetize mobile. We searched far and wide for the ad units that are powering the mobile web, reviewing pages from all of the Quantcast Top 100 largest websites. We focused on the units that are applicable to a broad array of publishers, excluding native ad units that are used on social networks and search engines. We also de-duplicated ad units that appeared across more than one site. For each ad unit, we linked to the original URL where the ad unit was discovered. For convenience as you browse through the units, we broke down the ads into six categories:

  • Traditional
  • Adhesions
  • Interstitials
  • Videos
  • 1st Party Sponsored Articles
  • 3rd Party Sponsored Articles

Let’s get to it!


Traditional ad units are variations on standard banner units. We found a wide variety of units in this category.

300x250 - Urban Dictionary

320x50 - Bustle

320x100 - Instructables

Text Ads - Yahoo

Site Links - About

Image Ad - Dose

Image Ad - Topix


Adhesions are like standard banner units, but they scroll with the user.

Top Adhesion - BabyCenter

Fly-in Adhesion - Hubpages

Adhesion with Close Button - IMDB

Jumbo Adhesion 300x250 - Photobucket


Interstitials cover the content of the page temporarily and show an ad.

Popover - ESPN

Screen Takeover - Fandango


Watching videos are one of the most common activities for mobile users. It’s no wonder then that there are now video ad units.

Adhesions Slideup Video Ad - Whitepages

Video Ad - INC.

Autoplay Video Ad - Photobucket

Content Video with Pre-roll Advertising - Fox News

First Party Sponsored Articles

The First Party Sponsored Articles are promoted articles on the same domain and using the same content management system as a standard articles from the publisher.

Sponsored Article - Buzzfeed

In-article Ad - NYTimes

Sponsored Post - SBNation

Third Party Sponsored Articles

The Third Party Sponsored Articles are promoted articles that point to a different domain.

Sponsored Slider Article - 247Sports

Sponsored Article in a Slideshow - AOL

Sponsored Article within a Post - TechCrunch

Promoted Articles - US Weekly

Free App Promotion - TMZ

Article Ads - Weather

Article Ads - Healthline

What Works

It’s evident from the variety of the ad units seen across the mobile web that performance for an ad unit can vary from site to site. Without a doubt, the banner is still alive on mobile. But it has now been joined by a large variety of image, video, and article centric ad units. In a future post, we will dive deeper on how to monetize on mobile, taking a look at which ad units are most popular for monetizing articles, what vendors are most commonly used, and how the ad units are integrated into the user experience on the page. For now, hopefully you’ve found an ad unit that can provide some inspiration on how to improve mobile monetization on your site. If you have any experience with a particular unit--good or bad--or if you have any questions about any of the units, please feel free to leave a comment.

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