How to Create a Great UX for Users and Advertisers



According to Digiday+, 58% of their members say that media is experiencing a user experience (UX) crisis. It’s no surprise when web pages are crammed with ads, are slow to load, or when a user is seeking content and ads interrupt the experience. From a publisher’s perspective, finding the right balance of ad layout, user context, and technology is essential to keep users and advertisers happy and revenue on the rise.

In a recent Digiday webinar, Scott Mulqueen, director of programmatic and data businesses at Trusted Media Brands and I discussed how publishers, advertisers, and users all share a common goal: great UX -- and how they can address the challenges of striking the balance between UX and monetization.

So, why does the struggle exist?

As technology has advanced and multiple device sizes are now common for consumers, web pages simply have limited real estate to show content and ads equally. While it’s easy for advertisers to work up layouts on large desktop monitors, the consumer experience on mobile, for example, is very different.

We’ve also seen viewability standards shift from counting “all loads” to only “real views”. These standards influence the format and placement of ads. Most ads tend to be top of page, inline with natural stopping places for viewers, or have delayed rendering. But the limited space means that publishers and advertisers must be very mindful about how ads impact UX.

A user’s intent should drive UX design

From a user’s perspective, why they visit a web page often determines their tolerance for slower rendering and ad intensity. If they are coming from organic search, they are seeking specific information -- they are looking for content and they want it fast. They have a low tolerance for slower loading pages (after all, there’s 3,588,600 other pages to click on that might be faster) and a lower tolerance for high ad volume. Someone coming from social media, however, may have more leisure time to browse a page and have a higher tolerance for slower loading and higher ad volumes.

Up until recently, it would have been like the difference between someone searching the Yellow Pages for a number (want it fast and don’t have time for ads) versus someone browsing a magazine where time isn’t as important and they’re willing to glance through ads as they consume content.

Knowing where and why users are coming to a page is one of the most important ways to start honing a better UX.

So what can publishers do?

Take a look at the weight of technology

You need to understand how the page is rendering, which code is firing first, and what third-party tags might be weighing it down. The technology side is important as you cannot improve load speed or design UX without knowing how it’s currently working, what’s needed and what can go. Making pages as light as possible without sacrificing UX is the trick. Especially for mobile, where you cannot control the slow speeds of third party carriers.

Design UX according to use cases

Once you do know where and why users are coming to the page and how the technology is working, you can thoughtfully design UX for the various use cases. That user coming from organic search? Design her experience so that content loads as fast as possible - she gets what she came there for - and then render ads as she spends time consuming content. Users coming from social media -- load everything quickly so they get a full experience and can linger as they browse content and ads.

Overall, the faster you can load content and ads, the better UX you will provide. Consumers expect near-instant page loads -- having to wait to view content until ads load fully is extremely frustrating and puts you at risk for them clicking on someone else’s link to get the same content.

Put new technology to work for you

Instart has found that when customers switch from a traditional waterfall load to an accelerated site load (via Instart Ad Acceleration), publishers can expect a 5-10 percent lift in viewability which helps drive revenue and improves UX. We also help brands and publishers recover ad content lost to ad blockers while maintaining a positive UX. There’s much to be done and technology is continually being developed to automate these processes.

Want to learn more?

View the on-demand webinarfor additional tips and expert insight.


Or Or schedule a meeting with our teamto get a personalized assessment of how Instart can improve your ad viewability and recover your blocked impressions.