Creating UX for the Page View Ad Model

As members of the digital community, we can create Internet experiences that we enjoy using. In most cases there are best practices, but sometimes, we, along with our peers, evolve practice as we work.

Whatever the site, whatever the content, the primary goal is to create a user experience that achieves a specific objective: sign up, fill out a form, purchase a product, submit an email, etc.

For websites that feature paid advertising, a secondary factor weighs heavily into the overarching user experience: page views.

At Delphic Digital, we have 3 disparate perspectives on web ads:

  • As creators of the ads for our clients
  • As creators of sites that accept ads
  • As web users

Website advertising is here to stay — and it should! Banner ads are a valuable element to the user experience when they help visitors discover new and relevant content based on personal interests.

The challenge comes from the ad revenue model, which most sites base on page count. The more “eyeballs” on your ad, the more a site can charge for placement — that’s fair.

If you’ve read a long article, viewed a photography slideshow, or clicked on a headline with a list, you’ve likely at least once been asked to click through pages to enjoy the full content. By splitting content onto separate pages, websites are using these additional clicks to count toward the page view number that is shared with advertisers.

As creators of ads, creators of websites that accept ads and as web users, we can’t change this practice. But we can offer guidelines to enhance the slideshow experience for visitors.

3 Ways to Optimize Multi-Page Content to Make Users and Advertisers Happy

  1. Offer a “view as one page” option. This one’s easy. Put the power in your user’s finger, and let them decide if they’d like to view everything at once, or enjoy the suspense and big reveal of your content flow.
  2. Optimize for page speed. Website visitors and Google crawlers don’t like to wait. Large images and mobile viewing drag down page load speed. Plug your URL into the Google Page Speed tool to test page speed and identify suggested improvements prioritized by their impact on site speed. Maximize your user’s bandwidth by optimizing content for performance and minimize your overall HTML output (minify CSS, HTML, JavaScript; optimize images; defer parsing of JavaScript).
  3. Review page view data. Are your users actually clicking through every page? Are they visiting only the first and last pages? Review the data to understand how your users are choosing to view your content.

UX for sites with advertising is very much still in the evolution stage. As users continue to consume more and more content online, it’s exciting to watch and participate in the development of this practice. While the three tactics outlined above are by no means an exhaustive list, they are an important first step in using our powers for good to bring together the interests of our clients and their users.

Katie Sweeney is a Philadelphia-based copywriter who enjoys using language to create pleasurable web experiences. Follow her on Twitter at @k8iedid.

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