With ever-increasing competition for user attention in digital media, audiences are reluctant to stay on websites where they have to search for the X button to shut intrusive ads that follow them across the web. Is it possible to make money from ads and improve the user experience at the same time?

The optimal ad experience is paramount for publishers that don’t want users to get annoyed or skip the ad. In fact, it’s what distinguishes the most popular media projects that have a long-term strategic focus: they provide great content and ad experience in tandem with each other. Let’s discuss the basic principles of advertising that do not deteriorate or even increase consumer’s delight.

Key principles

Ads on your website should not interrupt your readers’ user experience; don’t use any kind of intrusive advertising that lays itself over the content users have come after or prevents them from interacting with the website. Thus, you should completely avoid the following types of abusive ads:

  • pop-unders or any type of pop-ups with no possibility to easily close them
  • auto-playing video ads with sound
  • flashing animated ads
  • large sticky ads

Publishers should also make sure that partnered ad providers operate in a compliant and transparent way and that website visitors retain control of where their personal data can go. Good ad experience respects user privacy and does not repetitively show the same ads over and over again.

It’s a delicate balance that yet has to be found: readers want ads to be relevant to their needs, but they don’t want them to be super-tailored to their past online behavior or follow them across the web. For these reasons, we added a capping algorithm to the MGID platform — after a few tries, it stops showing ad creatives ignored by a user.

The best way to provide relevant, helpful, and entertaining ads is to strike the very moment a consumer’s interest may occur. With today’s contextual targeting solutions, native advertising can look at the environment a user is surfing and fit into their current content experience more naturally.

Last but certainly not least, a perfect ad experience entertains users, so creatives themselves play a crucial role here. With native ads, advertisers can tell stories or deliver interactive content, educate consumers and place these first touchpoints with the branded content in a contextually relevant environment. When monetizing through native, publishers also have more control over creatives in rotation; for example, certain content categories can be cut out by tags.

Native ad experience

Ultimately, you would want to find the perfect combination of ad formats that drives more user attention and clicks without hurting the reading experience.

To get the highest result from MGID ads, you can put 2-3 widgets on a page. From our experience, we can recommend the following widget combinations:

  • under article + in-article
  • smart widget + in-article
  • smart widget + in-article: impact
  • under article + in-article + sidebar
  • under article + in-article: impact
  • under article + sidebar + header

All in-article advertising placements should be separated by a minimum of 200 words or 1000 characters. All advertising within a page must not exceed 30% of the page content except for the special formats (this is aligned with Better Ads Standards).

Bottom line

One of the biggest mistakes is choosing some popular monetization solutions and leaving it as it is, without tracking user engagement and further experimenting with different providers, ad formats, or layouts. By making improvements in this area, publishers can reduce ad blocking usage, increase ad revenues, and improve user experience.