When most people think of a digital publishing website, they usually think of a layout filled with DoubleClick and AdSense advertisements that has the sole purpose of trick users for a click. Of course, the digital publishing business is all about providing timely value and integrating the ads in the content for improving the bottom line.
However, things are not that simple as they seem, because due to some of the publishers that put a bad name on the industry with their overly intrusive advertising strategy and slow loading sites. What they don’t realize is that the key aspect itself is, and always has been UX. It’s all about the users’ interaction with the site, scrolling in the article and his/her estimation whether an ad is unwelcomed in the layout or not.
In other words, there’s more to it than just hosting as many ads as possible hoping for better revenue. To some of the more successful publishers out there, the monetization itself also implies streamlining an enjoyable article experience that can also be scaled for millions of monthly visitors. For this reason, without further ado, let’s talk about the four unobtrusive monetization tips that you can use to enhance the UX of your WordPress publishing website and increase the business success of it in the process.
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1. Don’t Suffocate the User Experience
Publishers are investing enormous time and budgets for content creating, but most frequently, they also choose to feature lots of ads on their pages that the users feel overwhelmed with. Because of that, the users can’t navigate on the part of the website that they’re genuinely interested in.
Multiply this with the threat of malicious ad malware that attacks the readers by injecting spyware and viruses, and it’s easy to see why too many obtrusive and content-blocking advertisements have a bad reputation with the consumers.
When users can’t reach your content because of ad placement, you’re in big trouble! Lots of the readers won’t even bother to load your page again and simply find something else to do, such as read an article from your competitors.
According to research conducted by Google, 69% of the visitors abandoned a page after struggling with bad ad placement. Even if the ads are perfectly-formatted and you’re getting great rates, it’s really difficult to see the benefits when you lose almost three-quarters of your readers.
Furthermore, interstitial app-install ads are no longer considered as mobile-friendly, which only points out that those types of monetizations will hurt your SEO, audience engagement, and revenue at the same time.
At a time when user experience is vital for success, today’s users can hardly open a news article without scrolling past and escaping multiple advertisements, as a digital publisher with a WordPress CMS, you can’t ignore the annoyance of the users whenever they encounter a layout that puts the ads upfront and the content second.
You need to remember that content still remains king, and while as a publisher you depend on advertisements, the demand for quality and easily-accessible content is paramount in the industry. If you want to endure and scale as a digital publisher, you need to know how to adjust your site to the modern consumer that is intelligent, demanding, and is not afraid to use an ad blocker to fight off greedy media companies.
2. Measure the Engagement and Optimize Accordingly
The advertisement’s revenue is not the only factor in determining its utility to the site. If one ad has 10% CPM increase over another ad unit that results in a 20% traffic decrease, it actually damages your monetization more than it’s being beneficial to your publishing business.
For that reason, it’s vital to measure and test the effectiveness of each ad unit and how it affects the engagement of your entire site. This, in turn, helps you gauge how much the readers enjoy spending time and reading the content on your site. Measuring and analyzing the following metrics should help you develop a more engaging ad-viewing experience on your pages:
Ad Viewability and Engagement
In digital advertising, viewability is crucial. For instance, even 100% of video ads viewability can’t ensure that you’ve reached the right audience. The placement of video ads itself is vital for unobtrusiveness, but, you need to make sure that you’ll measure completion rates and engagement levels as well.
How long did an ad stay in view while it’s being played? How many of the viewers watched the entire video? What did the users did after they’ve watched the video ad?
This is another significant metric that can point out to your viewer engagement and campaign effectiveness in terms of advertisements on your publishing site. There are lots of factors that can suddenly grow your bounce rate. Learning what makes a visitor land on your article and immediately leave is an important insight that can help you optimize the pages for better engagement in the future.
A misplaced ad unit with an unrelated context can definitely cause bounce rates to go up. This is why as a publisher, you need to stay focused on structuring your site for specific content-related advertisements. You should also invest heavily in your CMS and technology, and place the ad units according to the content. Additionally, make sure that the performance and speed of your site are on point.
Speaking of speed, as a digital publisher, you must be aware that you need to provide a positive user experience at all times. Your page and advertisements loading time is the key factor that influences the UX and the performance of your digital magazine.
Page loading time determines whether a user stays on your site or waits around a couple of seconds and leaves. Provided the short attention span that of consumers in the digital media era, even a couple of extra seconds of loading time can make the difference between an engagement or bouncing off a site.
3. Optimize the Experience for Mobile Users
With the growing number of visitors that open publishers more via their smartphones than on laptops or desktop computers, it’s evident that you need to develop a monetization strategy that addresses the different needs of mobile users.
If lots of your mobile users come from social media sites and other forms of referral, because they don’t look for your content directly, it’s likely that their attention span will be much shorter than desktop users that frequently enter your name in the search bar. As a result, it’s a nice idea to add a “Read more” or “Learn More” buttons early on your article and maximize the value of referral visits on your media publishing site.
You can also utilize mid-article native placements which provide the users with an opportunity to click on a sponsored content at the point when they’re about to leave your page and do something else. An additional thing that you need to pay attention to when it comes to mobile media publishing UX is the speed of the reading experience.
There are lots of mobile internet connections that work significantly slower compared to those on desktop, which means that if you want the mobile users to stay on your article and notice the ad units, you need to take action and decrease the loading speed of the mobile reading experience.
Besides removing unnecessary images and graphics from your pages, you need to work with your web development agency partners to ensure that there is no third-party script that can slow down your site and that everything works correctly on your CMS.
Also, pay close attention to interstitial ads that pop up when mobile users first land on your page. If they’ve come from Facebook and they have to wait more than 10 seconds to see the content, they’ll probably go back on their feed and look for something else. Overall, keep things moving fast on mobile, and you’ll ensure an experience that readers will actually enjoy.
4. Personalize Your Monetization Approaches
A one-sized and unified strategy is not enough for content success in digital publishing, and the same goes for monetization as well. An excellent way to personalize the entire monetization experience is to provide various experiences to users based on the way they’ve arrived on your pages.
When a reader enters your homepage directly, this can indicate that the person is an avid and loyal reader of your content and does that whenever he/she has the chance. This is why it’s vital to serve them pages that are not overly-cluttered with ads that would ruin their reading experience. While you may not earn a ton of money from advertisement with these users, in the beginning, uncluttering their experience will pay off in the long run because they’ll return on your site over and over again.
The users that land on your digital magazine via social media are more likely to skim your content because initially, they don’t have the same interest in it as your most loyal readers do. To have a benefit of their short visits to your site, you need to know how to use notable ad units and content recommendations.
A personalized advertising strategy will also enable you as a digital publisher to place ads in front of users based on their interests and demographics (e.g., “kitchen enthusiasts”), as well as monetizing your digital magazine more efficiently, increasing the value for advertisers, and provide a better experience for your readers.
Bottom line, the user experience will encompass each aspect of your media publishing business, including the pages, articles, and the monetization strategies that you’re trying to deploy on your site. Remember to take into consideration each of the tips above and ensure an enjoyable digital publishing experience while improving your bottom line at the same time.
Let us know if you need additional help with your digital publishing business! At DevriX, last year alone we scaled more than 10 WordPress publishers from thousands to hundreds of millions of monthly page views, maximizing their revenue and cut down on recurring costs in the process.
Our WordPress Core expertise is combined with our Managed Hosting Pagely partnership, our Inbound Marketing partnership with HubSpot and AdOps services for bigger traffic generation, improved UX, and immense return on your investment.