The term layer (also known as layer ad) refers to an animated online advertising form which is placed directly over the page content.
Other than pop up windows, layers are not displayed in another browser window, but directly (frameless, with transparent background) above the actual page content. In addition, layers can be displayed directly within the content of a website – thus they can be equated to onsite adservers. Layers can deliberately hide page content or be used in free areas. This provides maximum creative freedom for an efficient user approach.
The most common contents when using layers are products (product recommendations), promotions, discounts, vouchers, raffles, and newsletter registrations. So-called group motivation layers (“xy people are looking at this product”) and so-called exit intent layers are also common. The exit intent layers are used to prevent users from leaving the website and yet still convert them, for example with the help of a coupon.
Layers offer considerable advantages, especially as advertising media. They cannot be prevented by the pop-up blockers of users and they represent the more user-friendly type of advertising message compared to the usually load-intensive pop-ups. Therefore many users perceive them more like an offer of the website and not so much as advertising.