As a publisher, advertising represents a significant and growing portion of your revenue. Ideally, digital advertising can help online publishers quickly monetize online publications or companion sites. But there is more to making an ongoing profit from advertising than selling space and keeping your readership numbers up. A recent study released by Google suggest that as many as 50% of digital advertisements are going unseen.
Advertisers will look for information about their return on investment, and one of the biggest factors is determining whether your ads are being seen. Here is a closer look at several factors which influence the visibility of digital ads, and what publishers need to know.
Ad position matters
When you consider the layout of a webpage, it's important to remember that specific areas are the most valuable for advertisements. Across the top of the page and "above the fold" is considered one of the most viewable spaces on a webpage. Other positions of value include ads that run along the sides of the page in the margins. Ads can also be embedded in the text itself or along the bottom.
The visibility of an ad is determined in large part by its placement. Does every visitor to a specific page see the ad, or would they need to scroll down in order for it to be visible? Think about typical visitor behaviors in terms of who visits your site and that will give you an idea of how viewable ads are. If important ads aren't being seen because of the way your readers behave on the site, it may be time to think about a redesign in order to maximize ad visibility and advertiser return on investment.
Ad size and type matters
What types of ads are you running? The size and type of your advertisement also plays a role in how much attention the public pays to it over time. Google's research revealed that vertical ad units tended to have the highest visibility because they stayed viewable for a longer period of time, even as users scrolled around the page.
As a publisher, it's helpful to think about the different sizes and shapes of the ads that you're selling and that you promote. Could manipulating the design requirements for your ad inventory help increase the visibility of ads over the long-term? Experimenting and systematically testing small changes is one of the best ways to help you improve performance.
Publishers and industries are key
Specific publishers and industries have better track records than others. In many cases, this is tied to how much forethought that publishers have given to the layout of their sites, the types of ads that they allow, and other steps that they take to direct readers' eyes toward ads.
Ultimately, you need to balance a great visitor experience with a high visibility of online ads. When readers see and take action on the ads you display, over time advertisers come to view your website as an important source of leads. This creates the conditions for you to generate reliable monthly income streams based on your online advertising efforts.
What will happen to digital ads with the explosion of native ads? Which will prevail? Which is a preferred user experience?
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