But the back-end work has also included enabling editors and
writers to embed GQ-produced videos within articles and
highlighting the publication's professional photography within the
new slideshow formats.
GQ.com's new slideshow format shouldn't appear all that
different from the slideshows found on other publishers' sites,
aside from maybe the ads. When viewed on desktop computers and
tablets, the slideshows feature a banner ad below the slideshow as
well as one beside it. These ads remain in place as people swipe
through a slideshow. GQ is also weaving ads into the actual
slideshows, so that between swiping from one slide to the next, a
display ad will appear that people need to click on in order to
move to the next slide.
"The slideshows offer us about as close as you can get to 100%
viewability as possible," said Mr. Mittman.
Viewability has become a big trend among online publishers who
are being pressured to prove to advertisers that their money isn't
going to waste on ads no one can see.
In a recent interview, CBS Interactive's chief revenue officer
and the Interactive Advertising Bureau's chairman David Morris said
that viewability is the biggest issue currently facing publishers.
In December 2014, Google claimed that
56% of the web's banner ads never had a chance to be seen, and
in May the tech giant said that
46% of the web's video ads never had a chance to be viewed.
While these interstitial slideshow ads may be a good sell to
viewability-minded advertisers looking to make sure their ads have
a chance to be seen, they may not go over so well with GQ's
audience. According to a survey of 1,750 people conducted in April
2015 by market research firm C4, 78% of respondents said they find
these types of interstitial slideshow ads somewhat annoying or
completely frustrating, and 54% said these ads diminish the
respondents' perception of the brand.
However Mr. Mittman said early numbers suggest GQ's slideshow
ads don't inspire such ire among its visitors. "What we've found in
terms of viewability and user engagement as well as click-through
rates -- albeit that's a declining metric of importance -- is
bigger is better," he said.
GQ is also looking to boost performance for its video
advertisers. In addition to now being able to include GQ-produced
videos on article pages, those article pages can also feature
standalone video ads that will appear within an article's body and
that people will need to click to play. Mr. Mittman said
video-ad-completion rates have increased by 15% so far with the
introduction of these in-stream video ads, though he didn't provide
hard numbers on what the completion rates were or are now.