How rich media works

What is rich media?

Rich media is a digital advertising term for an ad that includes advanced features like video, audio, or other elements that encourage viewers to interact and engage with the content.

While text ads sell with words, and display ads sell with pictures, rich media ads offer more ways to involve an audience with an ad. The ad can expand, float, etc. You can access aggregated metrics on your audience's behavior, including number of expansions, multiple exits, and video completions to get granular data on the success of your campaign.

Rich media lets agencies create complex ads that can elicit strong user response. Using HTML5 technology, the ads can include multiple levels of content in one placement: videos, games, tweets from an ad, etc. If you have a simple objective to generate clicks or a more ambitious goal to create brand awareness, rich media is the format to go with.

Standard display creative vs. rich media creative

The key advantages of rich media creatives include:

  • An engaging user experience leading to higher interaction rate
  • Increased conversions, click-throughs, and view rates
  • Better metrics than traditional ads

The differences between standard and rich media creatives are detailed below:

Standard creative Rich media creative
  • A single .html, .gif, .png, or .jpg file format of 200K or less 
  • Contains no video or expansion
  • Usually only tracks a single click-through link
  • Usually exceeds 200K
  • May use multiple files
  • May contain video
  • May expand to a larger size
  • May include detailed tracking metrics on user interactivity
  • May track multiple click-through links
  • May contain other special features (polling, send-to-a-friend, gallery, etc.)
  • Some publishers may require a polite load

Rich media creative types

Studio supports different creative types to display rich media ads in different ways on a target website. Creative types (also called formats) are assigned when a designer makes a new creative in Studio.

Visit the Rich Media Gallery to see real creatives of each type.


A creative with a fixed size and position on a web page or in a mobile app. A banner is the most basic rich media ad format. Rich media banner creatives can include videos and polite download technology, which waits for the web page to completely load before loading the creative.

Animated image of a rich media banner with video placed in fake page content

View sample banner creatives

Dynamic creatives

Banner, expanding, interstitial, or VPAID creative types can also be dynamic. Dynamic creatives use a linked management profile that can change creative content on the fly, either manually or based on content rules.

A creative that expands beyond its initial dimensions over the top of other page or app content. Expansion can take place after a user interacts (for example, by click, tap, or mouse-over) or automatically when the page loads (auto-expand). Creatives can expand in any direction, shape, or with fading effects and can collapse on user interaction, automatically on mouse-out, or based on a timer.

Expanding creatives expand over page or in-app content by default, but you can also enable them to push content down on a page (see push-down, below).

Animated example of an expanding creative on a fake publisher page.  

View sample expanding creatives


A creative that either floats on top of a page's content or appears as a fullscreen ad during natural transition points in mobile apps, such as during launch, loading, and video pre-roll. Interstitial creatives served on web pages can move with content or maintain a locked position as a user scrolls. The "Locked" option is enabled at the trafficking stage.

Illustration of an interstitial ad on a fake website

View sample interstitial creatives

Multi-directional expanding (MDE)

A creative that expands in multiple directions, depending on where the ad appears in the page. For example, when the ad is on the left side of the page, it will automatically detect its location and expand to the right. If the same ad is served on the right side of the page, it will expand to the left.


2 expanding ad images, one on left with inpage ad that expands right, and one on right with inpage ad that expands left

blue letter a Expand right    small green letter b Expand left

View a sample multi-directional expanding creative


An expanding creative that pushes down the content of a webpage when the creative expands, moving the web page out of the way to display the ad. If the push-down is frequency capped (a user can only see it auto-expand a certain number of times during a given period), then you must build both a user-initiated expanding version and an auto-expanding version. You must also select a setting for this option in the trafficking stage.

Stylized image of a push-down ad: green rectangle entire page of content

View sample push-down creatives


Videos can be included in all other formats. See VPAID below to learn about ads that are displayed within or alongside publisher video content instead.


VPAID stands for Video Player-Ad Interface Definition. A VPAID creative is displayed in an a publisher's in-stream video player (like the YouTube player), and typically includes video content. Studio supports VPAID linear creatives, which appear before, between or after the publisher's video, and fill the entire video player.

View sample VPAID creatives

Availability of creative types may vary, depending on your level of support.

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