Blogger’s Park: Making advertising count

November 26, 2021 6:53 AM

Designing ads that ensure relevance and revenue

It is essential to understand that creating a better ad experience is not independent of the actual content of the ads.It is essential to understand that creating a better ad experience is not independent of the actual content of the ads.

By Pankil Mehta

Ad experiences can truly make or break the website experience. For a publisher, ads are one of the biggest sources of revenue, but conversions from these ads are hugely dependent on the readers and user experience. What exactly is ad experience and what makes it so important for publishers?

Ad experience is the amalgamation of a website’s layout, its behaviour, overall content, and ads. Good or bad ad experiences can single-handedly determine whether a user will return to your website or not. For a publisher, it becomes essential to focus on designing an ad experience that not just fulfils the role of getting ad revenue, but also enhances and makes the user experience smooth and easy.

Declutter

The first step in trying to create a better ad experience is decluttering and getting rid of ads that users generally find annoying, such as ads that auto-play with sound, pop-up ads, ads that disrupt the reading experience, etc. For instance, The New York Times keeps it simple by adding advertisements only in banners throughout the website, while also utilising the power of native ads.

Online users engage more effectively with native ads than display ads, since the customisable size of native ad placements makes it easier to seamlessly integrate these ads as a part of the content, thereby engaging users more organically, instead of having otherwise annoying ads.

Enhancing an entire digital ecosystem by designing a better ad experience starts with an immersive user experience. The idea should be to make highly viewable and performance-driven ads that are placed across display, video and native, and can generate incremental revenue along with increasing time spent and page views. The Guardian, for instance, puts limited banner ads on the website’s homepage; however, it places several high-impact units throughout its content.

These high-impact units assure an enhanced user engagement thereby enhancing revenue. These ad units have over 60% viewability and 1.5 times revenue. The interactive and engaging nature of these ad placements creates a clean user experience that naturally balances the content to ad ratio.

Keep it light

Another aspect that hugely impacts an experience is the page load time — the time a website takes to load. A slow-loading website leads to the viewer moving to another website, resulting in a loss of ad revenue. Incidentally, The Washington Post, a few years ago, had a slow page load time. As efforts were put in to optimise the website, they were able to reduce the load time to 1.7 seconds, an 85% performance increase, by removing bulky elements from the page. The website, today, has an excellent page load time, with native banner ads placed neatly making for a better ad experience for the reader.

Similarly, if a user continues to stay on your website, a heat map can help visualise how users interact with the different elements on your website, and where they spend more time, in turn helping in site layout optimisation.

It is essential to understand that creating a better ad experience is not independent of the actual content of the ads. The number of ads on a page can be vital in the final ad experience — if a website is overloaded with ads and overshadows the actual purpose of the website, it will result in a frustrated user. Similarly, if the ads are not relevant to the user, the clicks to conversions will be almost nil.

Simply put, a publisher cannot move forward without ads on their website. With ads, comes the importance of designing a proper ad experience which can result in a good user experience, in turn enhancing the entire digital ecosystem. A better ad experience must be cohesive.

The author is CBO, AndBeyond.Media

Read Also: Amazon, Asian Paints and Tata Tea emerge as India’s most purposeful brands across technology, non-FMCG and FMCG categories respectively: Kantar Report

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