Top 5 Ad Units for Publishers in 2024

Top 5 Ad Units for Publishers Desktop and Mobile

As a publisher, choosing the right ad units is a critical aspect of your monetization strategy.

Stuffing your page with as many ad units as possible might seem like a good solution, but it will inevitably lead to very poor CPMs and will spell disaster for your revenue stream.

Ad units need to be chosen meticulously and their results need to be measured on an ongoing basis. The first step to implementing the best ad units is understanding what makes an ad unit valuable (spoiler: there’s more than meets the eye).

Let’s dive right in.

Ad Units – It’s Not So Simple

As we will see, not all ad units were created equal, and some perform better than others.

That being said, there isn’t a magical ad unit format that will automatically start exploding your ad revenue.

It would be irresponsible and misleading to give the impression that all you need to do is choose the top five best ad units and you will succeed.

Every website is unique, and in order for the ad units to yield the best results, they need to have the best placement and serving technology.

Viewability is King

The success of an ad unit lives and dies on its viewability.

After all, if a user can’t see the ad, what does it matter what type of ad unit it is?

Generally speaking, in-content ads have the highest viewability because they are shown within the content that the user is reading. This is opposed to other display ads like above-the-fold ads, sticky ads, and sidebar ads that are shown outside the content.

Achieving high viewability is why human touch is so important in ad management.

AI-driven solutions are effective to a certain degree, but the result is frequently many ads with low viewability. Adding a professional touch enables you to take full advantage of your website’s layout to maximize viewability.

Let’s Not Forget Technology

There is also another aspect that needs to be discussed before getting into the types of ad units, and that’s technology.

Viewability is critical, but adding the right technology to your ad units will also help boost your revenue.

There are two leading types of ad technology that help ad units thrive:

  • Lazy loaded ads – Ads that are only served when they come into a user’s viewport, which reduces page load times and optimizes UX.
  • Viewable refresh ads – Ads in a user’s viewport that automatically refresh without reloading the page, which increases the number of ad impressions.

Top 5 Ad Units – Desktop

Top 5 Desktop Ad Units for Publishers

728 X 90 (Leaderboard)

A leaderboard is one of the most popular ad types and it’s typically shown at the top of the webpage.

Leaderboards can also be used as in-content ads and as sticky ads.

300 X 250 (Medium banner)

Medium banners are also one of the most popular ad types.

Medium banners are the top choice for in-content ads, giving them high viewability.

970 X 250 (Billboard)

Billboard ads are the largest ad unit that you will see on a page, and it’s served at the very top.

It is also known as a pushdown ad because it pushes down all the content underneath it.

These ad units cannot be shown as in-content ads.

300 X 600 (Halfpage)

Halfpage ads are typically placed on the side of a page.

Because they are relatively wide, not all website layouts can display halfpage ads.


Responsive ads don’t have set dimensions. Rather, they adapt according to the website layout.

They are typically effective for publishers whose layout has trouble accommodating the traditional banner sizes.

Responsive ads are typically comprised of a picture, text, and call to action.

Top 5 Ad Units – Mobile

Top 5 Mobile Ad Units for Publishers

300 X 250 (Medium banner)

Medium banners are the most popular ad units for mobile.

Due to their size, they are a perfect fit on mobile screens.

336 X 280 (Large rectangle)

Large rectangle ads are a variation of medium banners, and they are also served in-content on mobile devices.

320 X 50 (Mobile leaderboard)

These ads are commonly used as sticky ads on mobile, but they can also be served in-content.

320 X 100 (Large leaderboard)

This variation of mobile leaderboards can similarly be used as sticky ads and in-content ads.


Responsive ads on mobile have the same advantages as on desktop. Their ability to adapt to the layout makes them valuable for publishers who need something more custom.

Interstitial Ads

You might have noticed that we didn’t include interstitial ads in our list of top five ad units.

That’s because interstitial ads are in a class of their own.

Due to their extremely high viewability, interstitial ads average a substantially higher eCPM than any other ad unit. They do have drawbacks, however.

You can learn more here about the pros and cons of interstitial ads.

Bottom Line

Implementing the best ad units isn’t as simple as some try to make it out to be.

There is a lot of thought and consideration that must go into choosing ad units, their placement, and the technology behind them.

If you’re still unsure which ad units would be most beneficial for your website, you can contact our monetization specialists for a free consultation.

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