What Are Interactive Ads? (Definition, Types & Examples)
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What is Interactive Advertising (Types & Benefits)

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As a Creative Strategist at Defiant Digital, a creative agency Sydney, I am responsible for writing and directing social media advertising campaigns for my clients. In order for these campaigns to be successful, they must engage scrollers, encourage users to click through, and subsequently… purchase!

Pretty simple formula right? Well, not exactly. For most, products and services require a little bit more warming up to before they are ‘added to cart’. Modern day social media marketers have recognised and accepted that we now have less than 3 seconds to capture attention on social media, making that first mili-second of an ad creative, the most crucial.

You might be thinking, “how will I engage and convey my message within 3 seconds?” and I’m happy to tell you that you can still create 15 seconds to a minute long ads on social media, you just have to ensure that the first 3 seconds are stimulating enough to click through.

The key is to continue pushing the creative boundaries and trying new things that you haven’t seen anyone else try before. That is why I have been spending a lot of time investigating “Interactive Ads”, A revolutionary way to capture and engage scrollers in 2021.

 What is an Interactive Ad?

Interactive ads are advertisements that invite users to actively participate, collaborate or experience your brand instantly. Some formats of Interactive ads include:

 ●      Polls

●      AR Filters

●      Playables

●      Instant Experiences

Unlike regular ads which automatically play as users scroll, using visual cues and copy to grab their attention, Interactive ads need the user’s action in order to play. Encouraging users to act on your ads rather than passively view can help you meet your creative KPI’s such as “click through rate” with ease.

Let’s take a deeper look into each interactive ad format and how other brands have used them and how you can use them for your brand too. 

  • Polls

It is likely that you have already used Instagram/Facebook story polls in your organic content strategy however, using them in your ads can be super effective for keeping your band top-of-mind if done properly.

Some huge brands which have embraced polls in their paid media strategy include Asics and Milo. These examples are very different types of businesses however, they are both using polls for the same purpose of engaging and encouraging their audience to interact directly with their ads to increase brand awareness.

As part of Milo’s “Hot or Cold” campaign, Milo utilised poll ads to uncover whether their audience preferred their Milo hot or cold. The ads allowed their audience to feel as though they were contributing to the conversation while creating a little bit of friendly rivalry between their audience.

Poll ads should not be underestimated as simple engagement tools, they can actually help to uncover your audience’s true wants and needs so that you can inform your strategy with messaging and products that are in line with their responses.

Another great thing about poll ads is that they are versatile and can open up lots of creative opportunities to make super engaging ads which showcase both of your poll options. Making your poll ads visually engaging only makes the decision for a user to participate easier which in turn will give you more data on your users, a higher CTR and stronger brand recall.

An additional bonus to using poll ads is that Facebook’s algorithm will prioritise content that receives instant engagement therefore your CPM’s (Cost Per 1000 Impressions) will be substantially lower than conversion campaigns, making paid brand awareness campaigns even cheaper. 

  • AR Filters

Snapchat was the first to pioneer the use of Augmented Reality filters or AR filters on social media in 2011 and since then they can be found on many different online channels, but did you know that you can create AR powered ads on Facebook and Instagram?

What can be more engaging than seeing yourself in an ad?

Well that’s exactly how AR Filter ads work and they are extremely effective for giving your audience an instant experience and allowing them to truly interact with your brand. Global brands which are utilising this trend include furniture brand MADE who created an instant experience for their customers by targeting them with ads which allowed them to instantly use their camera from the ad and seemingly ‘stage’ their products in their own space using AR technology.

To get started with AR Filters, download “Spark AR Studio” and create filters which can be uploaded straight to Facebook and Instagram!

  • Playables

Playable ads are often used for apps and games however they can be altered to suit just about any business with the right creative flare. Playable ads offer a sneak peak into the interface or service of a business and give users the opportunity to physically tap and play within the interface of the ad. Put simply, they’re not just your “tap to play” style ads but more so “tap to try before you buy” and are often referred to as micro games.

The framework for playable ads is often in the sequence of:

Lead In: Create a short intro clearly indicating that the ad is playable.

Demo: Once the user opts in, they will be able to “play” a fullscreen demo directly on the ad.

Call To Action: The demo ends with an enticing call to action or offer to entice people to learn more or play more.

Aside from game apps which utilize this form of advertising often, other brands outside of the gaming sphere have adopted this type of marketing.

Babbel, the learning language app created playable ads to drive subscription sales, the ad began with a lead in to “tap and try before you buy” which then opened up users to interact with a full screen demo of their Spanish Language Course.

Through this ad, users expectations of the app were set and could now familiarise with the interface, thus leading users to download the app and opt in to their subscription service.

  • Instant Experience

An Instant Experience styled ad on Facebook or Instagram is any ad where a user’s action to watch or click on the ad offers an instant experience. Examples of this include, Instant Lead Forms, instant Storefront, Instant Collections, Carousels and Instant Swipe Ups.

All of these ad mediums allow users to take direct action on the ads either through scrolling a store directly from an ad, filling out their details directly from an app and swiping through a collection, carousel or swiping up.

You may already be utilizing some of these ad types but are you using them correctly?

These ads are designed for a more informative experience so using these mediums not only to sell but to storytell and educate more than what standard ads allow will help improve your users brand recall when interacting with an Instant Experience style ad.

Why Should Brands Be Using Interactive Advertising?

Interactive ads have many advantages that will benefit a brand long term. Not only are users more likely to engage with and pay attention to brands that utilise interactive ads due to the technical advancement these brands appear to have and the interactivity they provide, they are more likely to take action.

Below are more reasons why interactive ads should be considered within businesses marketing strategy.

Users Are Used To Stimulation And Value Interactivity

Media entertainment has been around for decades and the world has become accustomed to media stimulation. In fact, some would in fact argue that as the entertainment industry progressed from newspapers to radio to television, users became desensitised to artificial stimulation.

As technology has shifted towards smartphones and social media, short burst entertainment has become a commodity and everyday Creative Strategists just like me are creating multiple adverts for that tiny bit of attention and interaction daily.

This is why interactive ads are so valuable, they call out users directly, put control back into their hands, give them the power to alter their individual experience of the ad and stimulate their curiosity. The more interactive an ad is, the more likely a user will take note of what the brand is trying to promote.

Interactive ads are so effective at gaining the attention of potential customers that around 88% of marketers believe they are the best way to stand out from competitors. 

Interactive Ads Lead To Better Recall Of The Brand And It’s Message 

I’m sure we can all agree that the key purpose of an ad is for consumers to remember the brand and the message that it was trying to convey (as well as opt in and purchase).

It is crucial for brands to be memorable and stand out from competitors. Regular forms of marketing such as statistics, videos, emails etc is something consumers have been doing for so long that studies show many users experience what marketers call “banner blindness”.

This is a psychological mechanism that blocks out the ad, resulting in the consumer not paying attention at all due to desensitisation. This is where interactive ads shine- compared to static or non-interactive ads as they require the user to do something such as click, like, answer a question, play a micro game or wear an AR filter which causes them to notice the ad, engage and remember it later.

Worldwide studies back this up. A study by MAGNA found that interactive video ads can increase the amount of time a user spends on the ad by 47% compared to the time spent on a static ad of video. This allows much more time for the brand message to sink in.

Interactive ads are 32% more likely to be memorable and have a 9 times higher impact on a user’s intent to purchase. 

Interactive Ads Lead To More User Data

With the trackability of social media marketing, advertisers are more reliant on data than ever. Data helps to inform businesses of their customer base’s preferences so that they can tailor their advertisements and services to meet their needs, in the hopes of expanding their brand. Interactive ads have the ability to collect more data than regular ads as they can be engaged with in a variety of ways. Interactive ads can give brands data on how long consumers are viewing their ads for, what parts of the ad they were interested in enough to click, if consumers replayed anything within the ad as well as detailed data about topics crafted through the ad such as answers and votes to polls and questions.

This gives brands insightful data they can use to refine their marketing process, in an effort to shape future ads and better target users. 

Leading Platforms Want To Display Interactive Ads

While brands pay advertising platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Google to place ads on their channels, advertisers within certain platforms are beginning to favor some ads over others.

Leading platforms such as Google are pushing the use of interactive ads as they believe it improves their customer’s experience and keeps them on their channel longer.

Therefore, these ads are more likely to be prominent on these channels, gaining brands more attention and recognition.

Interactive Ads Have Better Performance Rates

When comparing regular ads to interactive ads, 91% of users found interactive ads to be more engaging, while 70% respectively found them more engaging and stimulating.

Interactive ads are found to have a 300% higher click through rate, meaning users engaging with these ads are actively trying to find out more about a business or purchase their products faster.

This takes us to the next metric where interactive ads are performing dramatically better, conversion rate. The conversion rate on interactive ads sits at around 3 times higher than that of a static ad and is up to 7 times higher for playable ads.


Interactive ads symbolise the future of advertising. With brands working harder to gain the attention of consumers in this increasingly over-stimulating environment, the key is to increase engagement and click through rates first and foremost.

Creating ads that ask potential customers to do something, whether it be playing a trial version of a game, answering a quiz or wearing an AR filter is proven to increase these metrics.

With so many different types of interactive ads to choose from, it’s time to start brainstorming ways you can create ones that suit your business and improve the quality of your brand’s advertising!

Don’t waste time thinking about this epic advertising trend, start introducing interactive ads to your marketing strategy by consulting experts like Defiant Digital Marketing Agency Sydney.

Defiant Digital is the leading source of strategy and insight serving DTC ecommerce businesses. From agency services to educational resources for ecommerce leaders and marketers, Defiant is committed to helping you do your job better.

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