Publishers, stop prioritizing monetization over user experience – AdExchanger


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Today’s column is written by Alexander Azarov, CEO and founder of Clickio.

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Premium publishers are among the least compliant with Google’s requirements Essential elements of the web (CWV).

While they have improved site performance quickly since CWV metrics became a ranking factor for Google search in June 2021, many still fall short.

In fact, the Chrome scan user experience report and Similar Web’s global traffic data shows that high-end publishers have consistently performed below average over the past 18 months. This is because their complex monetization setups, while good for generating income, often go downhill. user experience.

The result is bad advertising results, such as accidental clicks and low engagement.

Publishers struggling to balance user experience with profit can’t count on quick fixes. They’ll need long-term solutions that simplify and strengthen their ad stack at its core.

Not enough progress to date

Compliance averages for user experience metrics changed rapidly after the CWV activationfrom 19% last year to 30% in October 2021. The top 1,000 sites have gone from 4% to 26%, but that’s not enough.

There is only one metric where all publishers currently excel: first entry delay (FID). FID measures how quickly pages respond to user interactions, with the target being 100 milliseconds or less. It has a consistent compliance rate of over 80% since May 2020.

But that still leaves two measures for improvement.

  • Largest Content Paint (LCP): This measures whether sites can load their largest item in 2.5 seconds. Less than half (44%) of global publishers and 37% of top 1,000 sites can do this. Still, that marks a six percentage point improvement from 2020.
  • Cumulative Layout Offset (CLS): By quantifying the visual stability of a web page, this metric helps minimize erroneous text and images. Leading sites have made better progress here than with LCP. Compliance increased from 25% to 67% after the adoption of the CWV.

Complex monetization frameworks hurt the experience

Top-tier publishers have multiple advantages, including large user bases that attract higher ad spend. With this stream of income, they can invest in advanced setups that go beyond the limits of platforms like AdSense. As a result, premium publishers can take advantage of automatic updates, multi-size implementations, and dynamic ad insertion.

These improvements, however, make publishers more prone to user experience issues. DynamThe amic insertion, for example, ensures that the number and position of ad spaces matches the length of the content. But this can cause other page elements to move if not done correctly, affecting CLS. Additionally, while automatic updates allow publishers to constantly switch between ads, if resizing isn’t handled properly, ads can appear in unexpected places.

Disrupted ad delivery is bad news for LCP and sustained ad revenue. The instinct of publishers is to act quickly and minimize negative impacts on CWV reviews and user experience, while maintaining ad serving. But hasty action is not always effective.

A new stack of ads

To optimize both speed and layout stability, publishers need to reconfigure their ad stack, reducing complexity. This involves several steps.

Better integration of ads

The mechanisms for serving advertisements should be closely tied to the site’s architecture, so that advertising space is reserved with – or immediately after – the content of the page. Ideally, this uses inline JavaScript instead of JavaScript which is loaded as a separate file.

Differentiated window logic

Prevent ad sizing deviations by allowing ad space to be resized only below the waterline. This way, editors can reduce layout changes while improving visibility.

Integrate backup plans

Not all ads can instantly be adapted to fit predefined spaces. Compromises, such as allowing classifieds to display and float in larger spaces, sometimes need to be made. Having a backup plan ensures that ads are still running without affecting key metrics.

Stay open to evolution

Using FID, LCP, and CLS, publishers can use A / B testing to assess vendor impact on monetization and user experience. Achieving high CWV compliance also frees publishers from the restrictions of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

Non-AMP Compliant Pages will now enjoy the same benefits as AMP Pages, giving publishers more flexibility and better performance.

While combining monetization and user needs isn’t easy for premium publishers, taking a holistic approach means there’s no need to compromise. Publishers can adjust their site architecture in a number of ways without starting from scratch or interrupting content access and ad serving.

There is no reason to hesitate when respecting the CWVs. As the desktop rollout looms, publishers need to take these steps seriously to avoid keeping advertisers waiting and losing ground to their competition.

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