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Billboard (970×250)

Is 970x250 ad size for mobile or desktop? What is an expandable billboard? Understand what is the IAB Billboard format and why you should or should not use it for your digital campaigns.

One of the most common ad formats used in Display is the IAB standard Billboard 970×250. This premium Display banner is visible at the top of a webpage, just above the fold. This is the equivalent of out-of-home billboards you may see on the side of the road or in big cities, like in NYC.

Billboard ads can be static, animated, served as videos, expandable or/and responsive. They are often sold on a CPM pricing model or at a fixed rate (CPD for example).

Because they are displayed at the top of webpages, billboards have exceptionally high viewability rates, which leads to a higher engagement rate. The viewing time is also longer.

Billboard ads are perfect for branding campaigns but also for performance ones, when bought in RTB with specific DSPs.

Note that billboards are only available on desktops but might appear on tablets (depending on the size of the tablet).

Billboard 970x250 ad example.

Billboard 970×250 specs

  • Desktop/tablet* dimensions: 970×250 which means 970 pixels wide by 250 pixels tall
  • Maximum weight: 150 to 250KB but may be bigger when delivering through ad servers
  • Common formats: JPG, PNG, GIF, HTML5, MP4, accepted 3rd party tag, MOV
  • Close button: may be mandatory on certain websites or ad may close automatically after a short period of time (after 30 seconds)
  • URLs: click URL or tracking URL is mandatory; impression tracking URL is often optional

*Not available for all tablets and not available if the website is not responsive.

970×250 ad format examples

Billboard 970x250 example on animenewsnetwork.com
970×250 ad example – animenewsnetwork.com
970×250 ad example – theguardian.com
970×250 ad example – yahoo.com


When to use billboard ads in Programmatic?

Billboard ads are perfect for branding campaigns because they will be seen by all the webpage visitors where they appear. Viewability and engagement rates are high for this banner ad format. The high viewability rate is due to different factors: ad placement above the fold and IAB viewability rules that are a bit different for this type of ad.

Indeed, billboard dimensions are 970×250 (=242,500 pixels) so an ad is considered viewed by IAB if at least 30% of pixels (72,750 for billboards) are seen during 1 second.

Billboard ads are also great for performance campaigns if the buying method is RTB and if the DSP where the ads are running is good for this type of campaign. For example, Zemanta is perfect for this ad format while The Trade Desk is not that great.

Are digital billboard campaigns expensive?

Depending on which webpage or publisher you wish to deliver your 970×250 ad, rates may vary. In general, billboards are sold on a CPM basis; if you wish to deliver exclusively on a certain webpage, a CPD will be decided as a pricing model.

The more visits a webpage receives, the more expensive billboard ad placements will be. Also, if you build the creative on your end, you will not have to pay creative creation fees.

Note that it’s sometimes possible to deliver a billboard 970×250 ad if you use another format in RTB. Indeed, if no one booked this premium ad placement and you are already delivering ads in 1800×1000, your 1800×1000 ad will be automatically resized to fit a 970×250 ad space.

What is billboard expandable format?

Some websites offer another type of billboard format on desktop: expandable format. This ad format allows website visitors to expand an ad in order to see a video or just a larger static image.

Billboard expandable format is usually only available if a website is responsive and through PMP or O&O inventories.

How to deliver good billboard ads?

To deliver good billboard 970×250 ads, make sure to follow the publisher guidelines, specs and technical requirements. For example, the safe zone is important when delivering a billboard: if your CTA or text is outside of the safe zone, users will don’t see your billboard ad properly.

Another important point: double-check that your tracking URLs are working as they should before launching your branding campaign. If you can’t track performance, you’ll not be able to optimise your campaign.

What KPIs to use to track billboard performance?

Some of the main KPIs to use when tracking your billboard 970×250 performance are viewability, CTR, engagement rate, bouncing rate, CPM, CPA, etc.

If you’re not sure what is key for your branding campaign to succeed, feel free to reach to Ted Jordan, our Programmatic and Data expert.

Want to learn how to set campaigns and track KPIs yourself? It’s possible thanks to our Programmatic Advertising Online Course. If you’re not satisfied with it, we’ll give you your money back.