Considering ad refresh? 8 important actions publishers should take first
For publishers looking to generate more revenue through increased ad impressions, ad refresh seems like the perfect solution. Also known as auto-refresh ads, ad refresh boosts the number of impressions per session by refreshing ads on a page for active users, based on specific, pre-set triggers.
Before you dive into ad refresh, though, it's important to remember that this tool may not be right for every business. There are a few important things every publisher should consider to determine if it's truly the best choice for them.
Below, eight members of Ad Age Collective share their insights on what to remember before or while using ad refresh.
1. Consider your audience intentions.
Ad refresh works when you have an audience that's looking for content that provides in-depth information. Such an audience is willing to read for a long time and cares about quality. If your business website focuses mainly on providing scannable information, then ad refresh makes no sense. Your users will leave your website too quickly for new ads to appear. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
2. Check your bounce rate.
Ad refresh is a great tool for targeting thoughtful, engaged users -- those who evaluate, read and vociferously consume content on your site. But before investing in this technique, you must consider the user's behavior on your site, primarily using the metric of bounce rate. If your site has a high bounce rate, your users aren't engaged enough with your content to warrant spending on ad refresh. - Patrick Ward, Rootstrap
3. Look at your viewability criteria.
Both publishers and advertisers must look to viewability criteria before making the ad refresh investment. Obviously advertisers bid on placement anticipating their ads will be seen. However, the nature of this feature means ads are constantly rotating -- even those out of user view. Without viewability criteria, advertisers run the risk of paying for ads that never see the light of day, and publishers risk losing their revenue in return. Look to smart ad tech vendors to benefit both halves of the exchange and get the most out of ad refresh. - Kelly Ehlers, Ideas That Evoke
4. Determine whether the page has high enough traffic.
Advertisers that have large-volume websites that have ads on their website should consider using ad refresh to keep people engaged. If you’re not refreshing the ads, the page and site can get a little stale and, therefore, hurt the results and impact of the ads. Grabbing those impressions from people staying on websites long enough will help multiple advertisers, so I’d want to keep the ads fresh. If the website isn’t gaining page views and traffic is lackluster, the ad refresh wouldn’t make much impact and would not be recommended. - Rob Palowitz, PALO Creative
5. Measure, test and try again.
When doing an ad refresh, make sure that you keep measuring it against your "control," or the best previous performing ad or creative so it can be measured effectively. Don’t feel too precious about the ad refresh if it doesn’t perform effectively. Go back to the control ad and keep testing and making changes until you get a new effective ad. - Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising
6. Remember it’s all about the user experience.
The pros and cons of ad refresh remain ripe for debate within digital publishing. While it offers the opportunity for amped up impressions and revenue, it is also semi-new, not universal and can negatively affect other measurements. When considering using this sought-after technique, publishers should first and foremost consider the actual user experience. Test and learn in order to understand the behaviors and triggers that keep users engaged or not. And, of course, be transparent with advertising partners of your plans in order to gather their input. Losing someone -- on either side of the equation -- is likely not worth the potential gain. - Maggie O’Neill, Peppercomm
7. Make sure only viewable ads qualify.
The one thing publishers must consider before implementing ad refresh is how it will impact their ad viewability score. A lot of ad refresh solutions do not take ad viewability into account and force a "blind refresh" -- meaning, the ads are refreshed even if they are outside the user's viewport. This has two consequences: First, the overall viewability score of the inventory will take a nosedive, and second, CPMs will reduce and advertisers might even completely pull back from buying the publisher's inventory due to quality and performance reasons. Whether you're engineering your own ad refresh system or considering a vendor, make sure that only viewable ads qualify for being refreshed. This way, you can enjoy the revenue growth that comes with ad refresh without unintentionally harming your viewability score and inventory reputation. - Vishveshwar Jatain, AdPushup Inc.
8. Focus on better creative for better mileage.
We encourage advertisers to focus investment on fewer, better creative, using pre-testing where possible. That allows us to use the full extent of our media delivery to deliver the best fit message. For algorithms that are hungry for the latest, refreshing the ad to have a new unique identifier in the system is a way to get extra mileage out of creative we know resonates. - Kerry Curran, Catalyst