What are Sticky Banner Ads?

Trish Manrique Ad Ops

There are tons of ad units that can appear on a publisher’s site. However, not all ad layouts are created equally or as effective as others. One of the newest layouts on the scene is sticky banner ads, aka sticky ads. Sticky ads were designed to enhance the user experience by standing out and encouraging user engagement. 

In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you should know about sticky banner ads, including how to set them up in Google Ad Manager (GAM) and then some. So, keep reading to learn more about the ad layout that will grab your audience’s attention.

Everything you need to know about sticky banner ads

Sticky ad banners are also commonly referred to as anchor ads. This is because they’re essentially anchored to a specific part of the user’s screen, which is precisely what makes them stand out to your audience. No matter where your audience scrolls, whether it be up, down, or sideways, the sticky ad will be fixed in the same place — they’re basically inescapable.

What’s more, is that sticky ads can be used on both your desktop website and your mobile website, making them a versatile option.  

What are the pros and cons of sticky banner ads?

Because sticky ads are fixed, your audience’s response to them can go either way. It’s no secret that users become easily frustrated with ads of any kind, which is why if you’re going to implement sticky ads, their placement is critical. 

But there are some important pros and cons to consider before using sticky ads. Keeping in mind that sticky ad results vary depending upon the publisher and how they test their ads, here’s what you need to consider:

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The pros:

  • Viewability – Since the ad moves with the user as they scroll, the user sees the ad for a longer period of time and may have a higher chance of engaging with the ad. 
  • Better user experience – When implemented properly, sticky ads can provide a better user experience than non-sticky ads, since sticky ads simply stay in the same place in the viewport.
  • Higher revenue – As a result of viewability, publishers can expect higher ad revenue. 

The cons:

  • Ad network limitations – Some ad networks don’t allow sticky ads, which can greatly limit your implementation options.
  • Improper ad size – Some ads can take up too much space on your website, resulting in a poor user experience.
  • Poor ad layout – Improper sticky ad placement can ruin the layout of your page.

How to set up sticky banner ads in Google Ad Manager

Before you get started creating sticky banner ads,  confirm with your ad network partner that you can implement them. This is because — as per the first point in the cons section above — some ad networks don’t allow them to be displayed. Therefore, these types of ads require a declaration within the ad network you’re working with. 

If your ad network permits them, sticky ads are available with Google Ad Manager. Here’s how you get  started:

  1. Start by signing into your Google Ad Manager account. Once you’ve signed in, click on the Inventory drop-down menu, and then navigate to AdExchange Rules > Publisher Declarations.
  1. Define the inventory type by clicking Display. Now click on the New Display Publisher Declaration.
  1. You’ll need to enter a name for your declaration, so go ahead and do that.
  1. Choose which inventory you want to include or exclude for audience targeting purposes. Then click on Sticky Ads and choose between horizontal and vertical ad positioning.
  1. From here you can choose to save your work by clicking Save, but in case you need to refresh the inventory, follow these steps:
    1. First, click on the boxes placed under Refresh Triggers. This ensures that the selected inventory refreshes (which is the whole point of doing this).
    2. Specify the minimum time interval you want between each refresh cycle.
    3. That’s it — click Save to finish up.
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Easy peasy, right?

Guidelines and restrictions for sticky banners in GAM

There are a handful of guidelines and restrictions for using sticky banners in Google Ad Manager. Within the Google Display Network, your sticky ads can be implemented using your standard websites (on both desktop, mobile, and tablet), making them one of the most versatile ad formats out there. 

The on-page placements of your ads can also vary from horizontal to vertical, top to bottom, and so on. However, horizontal top and bottom placement perform better on mobile websites while vertical left and right placement ads perform better for desktops and wide screens.

Additionally, it’s important to use your sticky ad banners sparingly. If you implement too many ads or ads that are too large, they’ll block the content and in turn, impact user ad experience. When this happens, your ads can get blocked on certain browers like Chrome, due to its ad filter feature. 

Here are some general guidelines to follow when implementing your sticky ads:

  • Use a width greater than 300 pixels
  • Do not allow sticky ad(s) to cover more than 30% of the screen at any time
  • Only use one vertical ad per viewport
  • Only use one horizontal ad per viewport
  • Make sure your sticky ad remains immobile, especially under cursor movement
  • Allow for plenty of whitespace between the ad(s) and the content

Check out the full set of guidelines and restrictions on Google Ad Manager’s help page.

Start using ads that stick on your website

While sticky ads may seem a bit tricky, taking into account the guidelines, restrictions, pros, and cons, they’re still one of the best kinds of ads you can invest in for your website. When you work with Sortable, it’s simple — you just let us know you want sticky ads.
Whenever you’re ready to start monetizing your website via sticky banner ads, contact our team today by booking a demo. Our goal is to simplify your publishing operations while generating more revenue, and we can’t wait to team up with you. 

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