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Can fewer ads lead to more revenue? You bet!

  • 2 min to read

At first, digital advertising was sold just like print ads—advertisers paid a flat fee for real estate on a publisher’s website. Then, over twenty years ago, DoubleClick by Google enabled the rotation of ads and the CPM model of ad buying was born.

In the early days, a publisher’s standard formula was "more ad spots equals more revenue." That worked for print advertising, and at first seemed to work for digital advertising as well. But for site visitors, more and more ads made it confusing to navigate sites and find content. For advertisers, ad clutter on websites—including ad placements on error pages, confirmation pages, and other non-content pages—steadily drove down viewability, branding impact, and click through rates.

While the flat Share of Voice rate and CPM models are still the most common ways to sell ad inventory, the revenue equation has flipped. Recent changes to industry standards mean too many ad spots can now equal less revenue.

  • Advertisers demand viewable ad inventory. No matter how many ad placements there are, if the ads aren’t viewable by users, they aren’t generating revenue.
  • Ad placements on non-content pages are prohibited by most programmatic ad buyers’ terms of service and violation may lead to a publisher being banned.
  • Google will block all ads on sites violating the Better Ad Standards and receiving a failing grade on Google’s Ad Experience Report. Google will also block AdX and AdSense ads from displaying in all other browsers.

The new formula for publishers should be "thoughtful and viewable ad placement equals more revenue." Here are some tips to consider:

  • Viewability is key. TownNews publishers with 70% or higher viewability score are on average making up to double the eCPM on TownNews iQ programmatic ads compared with publishers that have less than 30% viewability.  
  • Avoid ad stacking. Ad placements should never be placed on top of one another but spread throughout the content. Tip: turn on in-story automatic ads.
  • Make your content the main attraction. Ad placements should make up less than 30% of above-the-fold real estate.
  • Remove ad placements on all non-content pages. This includes any error and confirmation page.
  • Turn on lazy ad loading for DFP ads. Ad spots load only when the ad is ready to be seen in the viewport. Turning on Ad Interval Refresh with this feature maximizes the number of viewable impressions available.
  • Switch to DFP Premium. If you are not managing ad inventory—both programmatic and local—with TownNews' DFP Premium service, consider making the switch. DFP Premium provides complete viewability reporting on all ad spots on a site, including local ads. It also enables additional features to enhance viewability, such as lazy loading, and is backed by TownNews' experienced Ad Operations team.

For more assistance or to learn more about how to make more revenue with less ads, contact us today.

Patty Bristol is the Ad Ops program manager at TownNews.

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