What are Rich Media ads? And how to boost Site Profitability with them

Written by
May 14, 2024

Whilst banner ads are a great way for web publishers to introduce a source of revenue to their site, the low CPM (cost-per-thousand) of banners paid by advertisers, mean publisher revenues can be unsatisfactory, despite high volumes of traffic. 

The oversaturation of banner advertising across online media landscapes has led to increasing ad-fatigue and banner blindness amongst users, who either consciously or subconsciously ignore information presented in banners. As users became more averse to banner advertising, viewability, engagement and click-through rates have plummeted, which led to lower CPMs willing to be paid by advertisers. 

With web usage remaining consistently high, advertisers require new options and formats to truly connect with audiences in engaging ways. New rich media ad-formats offer that solution, with customizable, engaging and interactive formats driving higher engagement and click-through rates. As a result, these formats now demand higher CPMs and can help boost profitability for web publishers.

What is Rich Media?

Rich media is a digital advertising format featuring engaging elements such as dynamic visuals, audio, video or other interactive features. For example, rich media ad-formats can scale to fit a user’s screen size, change position on a web page, move when scrolling, expand when clicked/touched and much more. This is powered by HTML5, Javascript and other technologies, which gives advertisers access to complete customizability for their campaigns.

Compared to traditional banners which are fixed in size and can only contain images (or sometimes GIFs), rich media ad formats are much more attention grabbing, engaging and interactive. 

Benefits of Rich Media?

Better User Experience

Rich media ads offer a far better user experience for web audiences, with eye-catching and interactive design, yet never interrupting the browsing experience or impeding site content.

Increased Performance

Due to their engaging and interactive design, rich media ad-formats typically see much higher CTRs, engagement and viewability rates, driving significantly better brand awareness for advertisers. For example, whilst banners typically achieve CTRs between 0.06-0.1%, rich media takeovers can boost this closer to 2%. 

Better Measurability

In addition to increased performance, the complete customizability of rich media ads mean advertisers can benefit from greater insights regarding user behavior and intent, such as measuring interactions and expansions. Increased measurability can help advertisers when A/B testing their campaign creatives, leading to better overall performance.

Higher CPMs

With total customizability, increased performance and better measurability, rich media ad formats naturally demand higher CPMs than banners. For example, whilst banners typically sell at a CPM of £2, rich media takeovers can be well over 10x this, depending on which geographical market they are being sold in. This means far greater profitability for web publishers, when compared to using banner ad formats alone. 

Direct Sales

As rich media formats are built from the ground up and customized according to an advertiser's demand, they are often sold directly to the advertiser, rather than through programmatic marketplaces like banners, which have added associated costs. This helps keep profitability as high as possible for publishers, by cutting out programmatic middle-men. Despite this, new technologies are opening up rich media formats to the programmatic world, meaning publishers can take advantage of open market demand when direct campaigns are not available. 

Types of Rich Media Ads


Takeovers are a high-impact rich media ad format, which surrounds the primary content of a supported web-page, and expands to fill an entire browser window. The takeover format can be embedded with dynamic images, video, audio and other interactive elements, according to an advertiser’s request. Venatus in-house creative team design bespoke takeover creatives for our client’s campaigns, before submitting to our publishers for hosting. 

Takeovers assume a larger portion of a webpage and therefore benefit from greater viewability and engagement from users, but will never impede site content, unless a user has consented to expanding the window (for specific formats). 

Venatus currently offers four main types of takeover, varying by customizability and functionality:

Standard Takeovers:

Standard Rich Media Takeover with Hyundai campaign creative.

Sometimes referred to as skins, standard takeovers consist of static images and text, overlaid around the main content of a supported site.

Premium Takeover:

Premium Rich Media Takeover with the Ghostwire campaign creative.

Premium takeovers are similar to standard takeovers, but allow for video assets to be embedded within the placement.

Premium Expandable Takeover:

Premium Expandable Rich Media Takeover with Meta Quest 2 campaign creative.

Similar to Premium takeovers, PETs support static images, text and video graphics, but also allow users to expand video content to fill their entire screen (over existing site content) by hovering over the ad for a specified amount of time.

Microstitial Takeover

Microstitial Rich Media Takeover with The Batman campaign creative.

Microstitial takeovers are our most customizable takeover format, allowing for rich-media assets, such as minigames and quizzes, as well as text and video to be embedded within the creative, which users can opt in to expanding over site content.

Sticky Ads

Sticky ads utilize the same size formats as traditional banners, however can change or maintain their position on screen whilst a user navigates around a webpage. Sticky ads offer much higher viewability for advertisers, by nature of remaining in-view at all times on a user’s display.

Vertical Sticky

Vertical Sticky ads placed beside web content, staying in place after scrolling.

Vertical sticky ads sit on the sides of a webpage and maintain their position as a user scrolls up or down, thereby remaining in-view at all times. These can be placed on both or just one side of the web page.

Footer Sticky

Footer Sticky ad placed at the bottom of page content, remaining in place after scrolling.

Footer stickies assume the 728x90 banner size and are placed at the bottom of a user’s display, remaining in that position as a user scrolls up or down to remain in-view at all times. 

Instream Video

Instream video content example, embedded within page content.

Instream video ads are embedded within web page content and shown before, during or after a viewer watches a subsequent video. The greatest benefit is that these ads have higher visibility and user engagement, as they are often waiting to watch content they have chosen. After a user finishes watching the ad, they can view or skip the following video. 

With Google cracking down on the alternative ‘outstream’ video placements, which do not require subsequent video content in order to run, instream video is currently the best way to add video revenue to a web page. 

Optimizing for Rich Media

Optimizing Site Layouts for Rich Media

Layout guide for rich media takeovers.

To take advantage of rich media formats, many web publishers will need to make changes to their site layouts, in order to fit these larger ad placements. For example takeovers, which surround web content, utilize three panels above and on the sides of the web page. Publishers must ensure all content is placed in the center of a web page, allowing adequate room for rich media placements to surround this content. 

Combining Rich Media and Traditional Banners

By combining both rich media and traditional banner ad placements, publishers can maximize their revenue by diversifying their sources of income on each web page. As rich media demand can often be lower than the demand for banners, using an adaptable mix of both ensures profitability remains as high as possible in all situations. 

Venatus’ proprietary header bidding solution combines demand from the world’s largest SSPs, including Google’s AdSense platform, and intelligently selects the best ad-formats from the highest bidding advertisers, in order to maximize revenues for publishers. 

Publisher FAQs!

Q: How do click-through rates (CTR) for rich media ads compare to standard banner ads in gaming contexts?

A: Rich media ads generally achieve higher click-through rates than standard banner ads, particularly in gaming contexts. The interactive and dynamic nature of rich media ads tends to capture gamers' attention more effectively, leading to increased engagement and higher CTRs.

Q: How does Venatus ensure that rich media ads do not negatively affect the loading times of gaming websites?

A: Venatus employs advanced optimization techniques to ensure that rich media ads do not compromise the loading times of gaming websites. We use asynchronous loading (or lazy loading) and compression technologies to maintain site performance while delivering high-quality ad content.

Q: Can Venatus provide a breakdown of the types of interactions that are most effective with rich media ads in gaming?

A: Venatus has found that interactive elements such as video plays, hover animations, and direct game-like interactions are particularly effective in rich media ads for gaming. These interactions not only engage users but also enhance their experience, making the advertisements a part of the entertainment.

To learn more, speak to our team today, or head to our Knowledge Base and discover our library of publisher resources.

Getting Started with Rich Media

With the numerous benefits rich media advertising offers to advertisers, web publishers and internet users, there has never been a better time to take advantage of these lucrative ad-placements. 

If you’d like to increase profitability through higher CPMs, direct sales and Venatus’ proprietary header bidding solution across multiple unique rich media ad formats, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today, at: