Publishers who rely on ad revenue for sustaining their business model are looking for ways to combat a real threat: Ad blocking.
Ad blockers have been around for a couple of years, but their effect on both advertisers and publishers was magnified when Apple announced the inclusion of ad blockers in Safari – their default mobile browser. Now, there are 144 million active users of major ad blockers. In the US alone, twenty-eight percent of internet users utilize ad blockers when surfing the web, according to a PageFair and Adobe survey.
This war on advertising has prompted publishers to fight ad blocking behavior by looking at viable alternatives apart from paying ad blocker companies. One key solution is improving the user experience.
Related Read: Adsense Tips: How to Make your Site More User-Friendly
Why User Experience is key to Ad Blocking behavior
If we look at the very heart of the problem, ad blocking stemmed from consumers’ disdain for interruption marketing. No one likes to be distracted from reading or watching videos on the web. Sites heavy on pop-ups, full-screen ads, or distracting animations simply turn-off users. These types of ads and their placements do not add value to the overall web experience.
How can publishers improve User Experience
There are proven ways to help the publisher create better user experiences. For instance, some technological changes (such as the shift from Flash ads to HTML5) have forced publishers to innovate and improve customer experience. Here’s a short list of tips for publishers to better engage site visitors with ads:
1) Less intrusive ad placements and implementations
Carefully select your ad slots. Consider how your ad implementation can complement your site’s architecture and content. When ads are strategically placed in areas that follow normal eye movement, they are not seen as distractions to the user. These factors should be part of your overall monetization plan.
2) Go mobile-first
Mobile ad spending has already surpassed desktop this year. It’s happened at a time when more people have shifted to mobile for their web activities. Therefore, it’s imperative that publishers adopt a mobile strategy. Go for ad types, sizes, and site layouts that are mobile-responsive. Review your ad placements and see how they behave on mobile: Do they disrupt the user? People have less tolerance with mobile ads because the nature of the platform spurs a faster, more on-the-go web behavior. Distractive ads simply slow them down.
Related Read: Page-Level Ads for Mobile Monetization
3) Making security a priority: Switch to https
Sites and ad servers running in https protect visitors from privacy threats. Giving your readers the guarantee of a safe website experience brings confidence and loyalty to your site.
Related Read: “HTTPS Everywhere” on Ads by Google
4) Be smart in partnering with ad networks
Recently we wrote about doing background checks on ad networks before partnering with them. Performing such due diligence can prevent malvertising (ads with malware) to seep into your site and worse, into your users’ computers. There are many ad network reviews online to help distinguish which networks are safe and recommended by publishers.
5) Content is first and center
People don’t return to sites to view ads, they become loyal to a site because of its content. Hence, publishers need to focus on creating better, more useful content for their audience. Google, for instance, serves better contextually-relevant ads on sites with quality content. Publishers can also optimize a content-distribution system to generate new and loyal readers. Ads may fund your website, but content drives your money-making machine.
Be part of the solution, not the problem
Many within the digital advertising world believe this war on advertising is a good fight. The underlying reason for ad blocking behavior is the quest for a safer, better, world wide web. Publishers need to embrace change and become part of the solution, not the problem.
Years of working with publishers of all sizes helped us develop a team of ad optimization experts who can personally handle your site’s monetization plan. Contact us today how you can get started with outsourced ad optimization.
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