What is a Lightbox Ad?

September 20, 2018

Lightbox ads are an innovative form of advertising that was introduced by Google Ads in 2013. They are an interactive ad option, considered to be in the category of “rich media ads”. Lightbox ads are the perfect solution for when you’re implementing a branding campaign, or when you’re actively pursuing customer engagement.

This ad format fills up the majority of the screen upon clicking and can display videos or a set of images. You can direct the traffic to visit your website or to simply engage with the content and take action offline.

A nice feature of lightbox ads is that they are automatically responsive to fit ad space dimensions across the GDN (Google Display Network).

What are some benefits of Lightbox ads?

Lightbox ads help you connect with the right customers as the right time. You can target your ads with various targeting options (remarketing, audiences, topics, etc.) and you pay when someone engages with the ad. Engagement is when someone clicks on the ad and keeps it open for more than 3 seconds.

Another benefit is the compelling content that you can create with your ad format. You can create experiences that delight the customers, and they remember your ad for a long time to come. By using online video, catalogue promotion, and exploration focused ads, you can create beautiful experiences for customers.

Lightbox ad optimization

Lightbox ads are presented in a standard interactive ad size and are comprised of cards. These cards contain images, videos or canvases that can be expanded into a larger size. When attempting to optimize lightbox ads, focus on how the customers interact with these ads. If the interaction level is low than other image ads, try to change the targeting up or the creative.


There are two main bidding options for Lightbox ads – CPM (Viewable based ads) & CPE (Cost per engagement) based models. This is done so that marketers with a specific target can gain each model’s advantages.

How do lightbox ads perform?

Lightbox ads don’t get nearly as much traction as the other Google ad formats. Don’t expect too much volume from you lightbox ads, but consider serving these types of adds to your most desired audiences. Lightbox ads are recommended only for branding campaigns. Check out a sample Lightbox Ad.