What is a Leaderboard ad? How does it bring more revenue?

AdTech Industry Definitions
Last updated: January 18, 2023 | by aleesha

This post was most recently updated on January 18th, 2023

A leaderboard ad is one of the most popular and best-performing ad units available to publishers. It’s a rectangular ad unit measuring 728 pixels wide by 90 pixels tall. This ad unit is also one of the standard IAB units that replaced the older and much smaller 468×60 banner.

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It’s what is known as a high-impact ad unit and is often placed at the top of the page to be seen immediately by the user when visiting the web page.


The ad unit is popular among publishers and advertisers alike. The 728×90 leaderboard ad is one of the strongest performing ad units in terms of CPM, especially for tier 1 countries (USA, UK, CA, AUS, etc.). The ad has high viewability rates, especially when used at the top area of a web page. These ad units are often sold for sponsorship/private deals.

Expandable ads perform best with leaderboards as well, as their positioning alone allows the expansion to unfold in a more eye-pleasing manner compared to other placements.

While leaderboards are often placed above the fold, you can also utilize them to monetize areas below the fold. They won’t perform as strongly as the first leaderboard you put at the top, but they are useful for generating incremental revenue.

Keep in mind that when making deals directly with advertisers, below the fold placements are usually exempt, and only above the fold leaderboards are included in the setup. Advertisers want ad locations that provide the best engagement rates among viewers.

Overall, the leaderboard ad unit is an essential ad unit when monetizing your site with display ads. The demand is strong, performance is high, and it can be considered to be a staple when strategizing your site’s ad layout.

Why Use Leaderboard Advertising?

When it comes to on-page advertising, there’s the leaderboard, and then there’s everything else. Leaderboards command high placement in the ad space, forcing users to scroll past them in order to get to the content they want. Their size commands attention, and their position in a sea of ads screams “click me!” And because of their immediacy, they grab and hold attention with ease.

Here are some of the benefits of Leaderboards:

1- Offers high visibility due to its size and on-page positioning.

Leaderboards also offer high visibility due to their size and on-page positioning. They are so large, in fact, that they can be seen more easily than most other forms of online advertising. In addition, the leaderboard’s on-page positioning ensures that the banner will be viewed by all visitors to the page—it is positioned above all other elements of the page and will always remain visible as users scroll down.

2-  Instant attention grabber.

Leaderboard ads are best at grabbing attention since they are bigger than any other element on a page. The instant eye-catching nature of leaderboard banner ads makes them ideal for advertisers that want immediate attention for their brand or product.

3- Higher click-through rates.

Since leaderboard banner ads pop up above all other content on a page, they seem bigger and more immediate than other types of advertising. This makes them especially effective in getting site visitors to convert. A good CTR is vital for a publisher’s success as it directly affects his revenue per visitor.

4- Easy to Use

Leaderboard ads are easy to work with and can be easily implemented by advertisers compared to other ad formats.

Leaderboards can easily fit into any space on a webpage and can be customized in seconds. You don’t need to be technically savvy to implement them.

5- Smooth User Experience

Leaderboard banner ads are usually less intrusive and appealing when compared to other ad formats like interstitial ads when done right.

6- Ad Server Acceptance

Since this ad format is universally accepted, publishers barely face any issues setting up leaderboard ads. Also, you don’t need any kind of special code scripts to implement them.

Key Features of Leaderboard Ads


1- Mobile Leaderboards

Mobile leaderboard ads (320×50) are also known as smartphone leaderboards and perform best on Google AdSense. They are optimized to give a seamless user experience.

Mobile leaderboards have a high click-through rate and deliver great results when you use them with other types of mobile ads. This is what makes mobile leaderboard ads unique—as long as you have a responsive website design, this ad unit can be used to display your brand message across many devices and platforms.


2- Super Leaderboards

At 970×90 pixels, they provide even more room for creatives than regular ones.

They are also known as large leaderboards because of their size as they do stand out and draw the attention of the users more than a regular leaderboard. They’re best when it comes to combatting banner blindness and advertisers are willing to pay more for them as well.


3- Top or Bottom: Doesn’t Matter

Aside from being used at the top of web pages (where they have great performance), they can also be placed at the bottom or in the middle of the page.

It may be beneficial for advertisers to place leaderboard advertisements at the bottom of the page or within the content to deal with “banner blindness,” which is when a user has become accustomed to seeing banner ads and ignores them.

Advertisers usually prefer to use leaderboards at the top or in-between the page while publishers use this feature to boost ad viewability.


4- Expandable Ads

Publishers can also try out expandable ads i.e 728X270 with way more space to show promotions. Expandable ads are a great way for sites to make their content more prominent – and drive their visitors to it. While more and more site owners are seeing the value of this highly converting ad format, many of them still don’t have this type of advertising on their sites.

If you’re a publisher with a website or blog that regularly earns a decent amount of traffic, it might be time to consider getting in on expandable ads.


Can Leaderboard Ads generate more leads?


It’s safe to say that the leaderboard ad is great for generating leads, and isn’t all that bad when you factor in the other metrics like CTRs and CPC (cost per clicks).

There are three main reasons why they are effective when it comes to generating more leads:

  1. It has a higher click-through rate than other banner types
  2. It appears in a higher position on the page and therefore, has more time to convey your message
  3. It has the potential to drive better performance in Google Analytics thanks to its dynamic nature.

Leaderboard Ads: Best Practices


1- Converting Headline

If you want to use a single, compelling headline and subject line, you need to make sure your messaging stays consistent from the headline down to the last interaction with the ad.

The best kinds of headlines are short, to the point, and evoke curiosity in the reader. This way, readers will be more engaged, and more likely to click through your ad to learn more.


2- Play with different Ad Placements

The key to success with leaderboard ads is to experiment with different placements and then try to understand which one delivers the best performance. It may very well be that your user base doesn’t respond well to a certain layout, so take this into consideration as well. If you’re seeing a lot of clicks on your ads in general, don’t be afraid to try something new (like an alternate placement).


3- The message needs to be short & sweet

Designing a successful, high-click-through leaderboard ad is all about keeping it short and sweet, focusing on your message, and getting the user to take action.


4- Use High-Quality Images

People tend to be very visual, so it’s important to use high-quality images in your ads. To make the most of your leaderboard banners, you need to choose visuals that people can easily understand and are likely to click on.

Also, keep in mind that the images you use may say something about your brand. If they’re professional looking and clean, it will lead people to think that their experience with your company will be the same. On the other hand, if they’re cluttered with bright colors and have a large text overlay, it will make viewers feel uncomfortable before they even learn more about what you have to offer.


5- Don’t forget the CTA button

While the CTA button can be tempting to place towards the top of the leaderboard, this will result in your audience accidentally missing the button altogether. Remember to encourage viewers to act on your ad by directing them to a strong CTA. You don’t want them to click on it and then realize what they’ve done.



To find out how to optimize your ad layout and implement leaderboard ads in such a way that you maximize ad revenue across your website, sign up for a Starter account at MonetizeMore today!



What is a leaderboard in digital advertising?

A leaderboard ad is on the best performing ad units for advertisers and publishers. It’s often the first ad seen by users as they land on a web page. We provide more detail about it in our blog post.

Where are leaderboard ads usually displayed on web pages?

It is usually placed at the top of the web page or in the header section.

What size is a leaderboard ad?

728x90 pixels

What is a skyscraper ad?

A skyscraper ad is an ad that is placed in the sidebar of a website. It often appears partially on the screen as the user lands on the website and remains somewhat in view as they scroll down the page. Common ad sizes include 120x600, 160x600, 300x600 pixels.

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