In the context of web and mobile experiences, “interstitials” refer to elements that appear between two main pieces of content, often in the form of pop-ups, overlays, or full-page ads. 

These interstitial elements serve to disrupt the user’s flow by appearing before the desired content is displayed or while navigating between pages.

popup interstitial loading before entering the page

There are different types of interstitials serving various purposes. 

Here’s a rundown of the most common ones, classified by their content:

  • Interstitial Ads – full-screen ads that appear before the expected content, often displayed between page transitions or when navigating within a mobile app.
  • Interstitial Overlays – pop-up overlays that cover part or the entire screen, providing additional information, messages, or calls to action. 
    They may also appear as modal windows or dialogs.
  • Interstitial Pages – standalone pages that appear between the main content pages, often displaying promotions, advertisements, or important information.

While interstitials can be used for advertising or conveying important messages, they can also interrupt the user experience if not implemented thoughtfully. 

Excessive use of interstitials or poorly timed appearances can lead to user frustration and negatively impact a website’s or mobile app’s overall usability.

Types of Interstitials

Besides the types discussed above, interstitials could be classified by their setting or main purpose. 

Let’s take a closer look at the different types that punctuate our online interactions.

Full-page Interstitials: Strategic Entrances and Exits

Full-page interstitials make a deliberate entrance or exit before or after anticipated content. 

Positioned as temporary interruptions, they aim to capture attention before the primary content loads. 

Consequently, they can be used to say goodbye once the engagement ends, catching users’ attention even while they’re on their way out. 

Full-page interstitials are used as attention-grabbing tools, providing an opportunity for impactful displays.

Pop-up Interstitials: Information Overlays

Pop-up interstitials appear as overlays above webpage content, presenting additional information or offers. 

Positioned strategically, they seek to engage users without disrupting the overall flow

These overlays play a crucial role in showcasing messages or promotions, contributing to a multifaceted browsing experience.

Time-based Interstitials: Scheduled Interventions

Time-based interstitials come into play after a predefined user engagement duration on a page. 

Designed to introduce an element of time sensitivity, these interstitials provide an additional layer to the user experience. 

The effectiveness of these interventions depends on the context and user preferences.

Exit-intent Interstitials: Last-minute Engagement

Exit-intent interstitials activate as users leave a site, attempting to encourage further exploration or retention. 

Timed strategically, these interstitials function as a last-minute effort to engage users before they navigate away. 

Their role is to create a positive concluding interaction with the site.

The Purpose of Interstitials

As hinted in the section above, interstitials are strategic tools aligned with various objectives to enrich user engagement.

Let’s look at more specific outcomes for interstitials:

Advertising Products or Services

Interstitials become dynamic spaces for advertising products or services. 

They strategically punctuate the user journey, offering a momentary pause to showcase visually compelling content. 

Through a combination of great design and compelling copy, interstitials aim to captivate attention and seamlessly integrate promotional efforts into the user experience. 

Their purpose extends beyond mere advertisement, fostering an immersive and visually stimulating showcase for your products or services.

Collecting Email Sign-ups and Generating Leads

Beyond their visual appeal, interstitials can collect valuable user information, such as their email addresses. 

You should seamlessly integrate interstitials into your website flow and leverage their lead-generation capabilities. 

This purpose aligns with broader marketing strategies, enabling you to build meaningful connections and nurture ongoing relationships with your audience.

MyProtein uses intersitials for lead collection.

Sharing Important Information

Timeliness is key when conveying announcements or sharing critical information – to that end, interstitials are valuable instruments.

Whether sharing updates, promotions, or urgent messages, these interstitials ensure that important information reaches users noticeably and timely. 

Their short yet impactful presence cuts through the digital noise, serving as effective communication channels prioritizing relevance and immediacy.

Encouraging and Guiding User Actions

For mobile experiences, interstitials can take the role of guides, steering users toward specific actions (such as app installations or event signup). 

Their deeper purpose is creating awareness and prompting immediate responses. 

With persuasive visuals, concise messaging, and strategic placement, interstitials become integral in driving desired user conversions. 

Their purpose extends beyond mere promotion, actively facilitating user engagement and interaction with mobile apps or upcoming events.

interstitial guiding users toward curated content

User Experience (UX) and Interstitials

While the potential exists, interstitials will only become truly effective when they complete (instead of interrupting) the UX. 

Let’s delve into the complex relationship between interstitials and the seamless user experience flow.

The Impact of Interstitials on User Experience and Site Usability

Interstitials undoubtedly influence how users navigate and perceive your website.

Their impact on user experience and site usability is a delicate balance, as interstitials can either enhance or hurt the overall journey. 

Well-executed interstitials, strategically placed and relevant to user intent, can contribute positively by providing valuable information or opportunities

Consequently, poorly timed or intrusive interstitials may disrupt the user’s flow, leading to frustration and potentially impacting site usability. 

Understanding this impact is essential for designers and marketers seeking to create harmonious digital environments.

Balancing Marketing Goals with User Satisfaction

At the heart of the interstitial conundrum lies the challenge of balancing marketing objectives with the customer-centric need for user satisfaction

Interstitials often serve as spaces for advertising, lead generation, or other promotional strategies, but the key lies in their integration. 

Successful implementations warrant a balance where marketing goals are achieved without compromising the user’s satisfaction. 

Designers and marketers must collaborate to ensure that interstitials complement the user journey rather than disrupt it. 

It’s all about creating a synergy where promotional content improves, rather than detracts from, the overall user experience.

Understanding User Tolerance and Annoyance Factors

Factors such as content relevance, timing, and frequency all play pivotal roles in shaping user perceptions. 

A well-timed interstitial that provides value aligns with user expectations and contributes positively to the experience. 

Conversely, an excessive or poorly executed use of interstitials can lead to irritation and may prompt users to abandon the site or app. 

Understanding the nuances of user tolerance is pivotal for optimizing the use of interstitials, ensuring that they serve their purpose without compromising user satisfaction.

Best Practices for Using Interstitials

Now that you’re more aware of interstitials’ impact on the user experience, let’s uncover the key strategies for mastering interstitials.

Timing and Frequency of Interstitial Display

The timing and frequency at which interstitials appear significantly influence user perception. 

Timing is everything – interrupting a user’s flow at the wrong moment can lead to frustration. 

You can strike a balance by displaying interstitials at natural pauses or transition points in the user journey. This way, the experience remains harmonious, even with interstitials. 

Additionally, moderation is key; excessively frequent interstitials will annoy your users. 

The secret lies in testing different approaches to find a rhythm that enhances rather than disrupts the user experience.

Ensuring Easy Dismissal of Interstitials

Respecting user autonomy is a fundamental principle for interstitials. 

This means you must provide an effortless way for users to dismiss or close your interstitials.

A clear and easily accessible dismissal option empowers users, fostering a sense of control over their digital experience. 

Whether through conspicuous close buttons or intuitive gestures, the easier it is for users to navigate away from interstitials, the better the overall satisfaction will be.

dismissing this interstitial with the X button is clear and easy

Keeping Content Relevant and Providing Value to the User

The content presented within interstitials should align seamlessly with user expectations and intentions. 

Relevance is key – interstitials should offer valuable information, promotions, or opportunities that resonate with the user’s context. 

For example, if users browse over protein shakes, your interstitials should promote new flavors, bundle deals, or protein recipes – and nothing else.

Creating content that improves rather than interrupts the user journey is an art. 

You have to deliver meaningful and timely messages. This way, interstitials turn from website interruptions to valuable contributors to the overall user experience.

A/B Testing Interstitial Designs and Timing

Everything works in theory, but until you test your ideas on your users, you won’t know for sure what works and what hurts your website.

The effectiveness of your interstitials can be improved through rigorous A/B testing of designs and timing. 

Experimentation allows designers and marketers to identify the ideal combination that resonates with their audience. 

Testing different designs, visual elements, and timing intervals provides valuable insights into user preferences.

This iterative approach ensures continuous refinement, allowing interstitials to evolve and adapt based on user feedback and performance metrics.

Speaking of performance metrics…

Measuring the Effectiveness of Interstitials

Let’s look at the key performance indicators (KPIs) and tools helping you asses interstitials’ effectiveness.

KPIs for Interstitials

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The CTR is a fundamental KPI to assess the effectiveness of interstitials in driving user engagement. 
It measures the percentage of users who click on the interstitial content, providing insights into the resonance and relevance of the displayed information.

Conversion Rate

The ultimate goal of many interstitials is to prompt user actions, whether it’s signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or installing an app.
Monitoring the conversion rate helps evaluate the success of these calls to action, indicating how well the interstitials are achieving their intended objectives.

Dismissal Rate

Understanding how often users dismiss interstitials without taking the desired action is crucial.
A high dismissal rate may indicate a need for timing, content, or design adjustments to better align with user expectations.

Time on Page

Examining users’ time on a page after encountering an interstitial provides insights into whether these interruptions contribute positively to overall engagement.
A well-received interstitial should capture attention and encourage users to explore further.

Tools for Tracking Interstitial Engagement and Conversion Rates


Omniconvert’s Explore offers features for tracking user behavior, including the performance of interstitials. 

In its essence, it’s a powerful suite of tools readily available for you: A/B testing, surveys, personalization, and overlays—all meticulously crafted to elevate your website’s performance and craft meaningful, personalized, and captivating user experiences.

Explore is designed to empower you with unparalleled experimentation capabilities—no hidden tricks, no fine print. It’s all about delivering pure, superior results.

In a time of soaring ad costs, it’s crucial to extract the utmost value from your website. Check out Omniconvert Explore here.

Heatmap Tools

Tools such as Crazy Egg or Hotjar provide visual representations of user interactions on a webpage. 

Heatmaps can reveal how users engage with interstitials, highlighting areas of interest or potential friction points.

Heatmap concept.

Analyzing the Impact of Interstitials on Bounce Rates and Pageviews

Bounce Rate

Monitoring the bounce rate after the display of interstitials is essential. 

A significant increase may indicate that users find the interruptions disruptive or irrelevant.

Conversely, a well-integrated interstitial should encourage continued exploration, leading to a lower bounce rate.

Pageviews per Session

Assessing the impact on pageviews per session provides insights into whether interstitials contribute to extended user engagement. 

If users navigate through multiple pages after encountering interstitials, it suggests a positive influence on overall site exploration.

As you can see, to effectively measure your interstitials’ impact, you’ll need to deploy a holistic assessment of user interactions, conversions, and site metrics. 

Leverage these KPIs and tools to refine your interstitial strategies and ensure a seamless blend of user satisfaction and strategic objectives.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Finally, let’s delve into the nuances of the GDPR, CCPA, and other privacy regulations and the importance of obtaining user consent and maintaining transparency in advertising.

Understanding the GDPR, CCPA, and Privacy Regulations

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) are key players in this landscape. 

GDPR, applicable to the European Union, mandates explicit user consent for collecting personal information, necessitating transparent data processing practices. 

Similarly, CCPA, focusing on California residents, empowers users with the right to know what personal information is collected and the option to opt-out.

Obtaining User Consent

Obtaining explicit consent is imperative when interstitials are employed to gather personal information. 

Consent mechanisms should be clear, unambiguous, and easy to understand.

Users should be fully informed about the nature of data collection, its purpose, and any third parties involved. 

By prioritizing user consent, businesses not only adhere to legal requirements but also foster a relationship built on trust and transparency.

Transparency and Honesty in Advertising

Interstitials often serve as vehicles for advertising, making transparency and honesty essential components of ethical practices. 

Ad content should be forthright and clearly represent the products, services, or information being promoted. 

Avoiding deceptive practices ensures that users are not misled by interstitials, contributing to a positive user experience and maintaining the brand’s integrity.

Wrap Up

From full-page ads and pop-up overlays to time-based interventions and exit-intent strategies, interstitials capture attention, convey information, and guide user actions.

Don’t view them as mere website disruptors; interstitials can become catalysts for meaningful user engagements and improved conversion rates.

By embracing responsible practices, you can leverage interstitials to their full potential, captivate audiences, drive conversions, and foster long-term relationships.

Good luck!