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5 Usability Adjustments for Better Ad Conversion Rates

5 Usability Adjustments for Better Ad Conversion Rates

Businesses invest a lot to capture and convert users as new customers. As a matter of fact, for every $92 spent on attracting potential customers, $1 dollar is spent on conversion rates. Studies have also shown that the ad-blocking usage has been increased to 40% on laptops, and 15% on mobile devices.

There is a big chunk of users that don’t trust banner ads, and that’s one of the main reasons why some of the digital publishers baffle with profitability. If your revenue depends heavily on advertisements, you need to work on improving the UX and conversion rate of your site.

As the users increasingly decide to stop seeing ads on their devices, if you want to succeed in the digital publishing game, you need to make ads work for your and increase conversions at the same time, which is what the following usability adjustments will help you achieve.

1. Don’t Overwhelm the Users

If you’ve ever read “Paradox of Choice”, you know that the fewer choices people have, the better they are at making decisions. Excessive choice has been shown in countless studies that result in discomfort, because of people’ restricted capacity for processing information. This can also bring demotivation and lack of action from the consumers, a lack of motivation in task completions, reduced conversion, dissatisfaction, and post-choice regret.

This analogy can also for the ads of your pages – if you want more click-through rates and better conversions, you need to ensure that your ads have uniquely-defined.

Filling out the design of your pages with as many ads as possible will only have the inverse effect with the users and your advertising partners.

If you want to keep the users longer on your site, you must keep the ads to a minimum. For example, on your homepage, you definitely need to host as few ad units as possible in order to provide the readers with the possibility to find and choose what they want to read.

Huffington Post Homepage

Image Source: Huffington Post

When users finally feel comfortable with your pages and get the content that they enjoy to read, then they can click on advertisements.

A good approach to gauge the right number of ads to show to your readers is to analyze your best-performing articles/pages and see how the page views, visits, and bounce rate changes for each of the pages. According to the ad impression statistics for each of the articles, you’ll know how the users are affected by page basis and define the page and ad goals accordingly.

2. Use Banner Ads Effectively

According to Google AdSense, the most effective banner ad sizes that you can host on your publishing site are:

  • 728×90px — Leaderboard
  • 300×600px — Half Page
  • 300×250px — Medium Rectangle
  • 336×280px — Large Rectangle

The following are just examples of what those ad sizes look in practice:

rectangle advertisement example

Image Source: Forbes

skyscraper BuzzFeed website

Image Source: BuzzFeed

Ad on mobile view

Image Source: Obsev

The main reason why the ad sizes above are effective is because most of the advertisers design ads for those sizes. Simply put, you’ll get the most competition on your site, which will result in higher CPC.

Because the ad publishers themselves initially decide on the ad size, you should consider using the recommended sizes in your web layout. Choosing one of the most effective ad sizes for your layout can attract even up to 100K advertisers that actively bid for those sizes.

The ad placement is even more important than the size. You don’t want the ad to be hidden somewhere around the footer of your pages, and it’s crucial to create ad positions that require small effort from the users to see them.

Forbes website ad placement

Image Source: Forbes

Most of your readers come to your site for the content, and this is why you need to ensure that your ads are positioned closer to your content in order to improve the interaction with the ads and boost the page worth for the advertisers.

Obsev ads strategically placed closer to the content

Image Source: Obsev

Additionally, you need to focus on how you integrate the ads within the content, and you better include ad units that are unique and non-intrusive at the same time.

Obsev unique and nonobstrusive ad

Image Source: Obsev

3. Pay Attention to Responsiveness

We are currently in the mobile era! People expect to see only imagery and content blocks that reposition themselves on the page along with the screen that they’re viewed on.

Every angle of the mobile version of your site should be optimized to be be responsive on a smartphone! People don’t want to read an article and have their experience broken due to badly placed banned ad.

As you site adjusts to the mobile device, the layout and the form of the banner ad should adopt the screen adjustment.

Forbes mobile friendly ads

Image Source: Forbes

Ensure that you’ll place native ads and recommendations directly below the article as well, so you won’t destroy the browsing experience.

native ads and recommendations on mobile view

Image Source: Huffington Post

4. Ensure Flawless Navigation

Good web navigation enables visitors to go from page to page without dissatisfaction. Readers should always leave your site with the thought of getting back to read some more, and they might even sign up for your newsletter if you’ve done your job right!

People have so many choices of digital magazines online, so they have no shortage of websites to find their desired information. This is why you must provide a clear navigational menu, breadcrumbs, and various ways for users to explore your site, so their experience won’t be bothered at all!

When most people think of website navigation, they associate it with a menu that is placed in the headers of most websites.

BuzzFeed menu navigation

Image Source: BuzzFeed

At the same time, there are other web navigation types as well. Sidebars are a common way to navigate websites because they’re placed on both sides of the content.

You have footers as well that can have links to the site’s main pages as well as popular blog categories.

The Guardian footer menu

Image Source: The Guardian

Flawless website navigation keeps the visitor engaged in the site. Follow each of the following best practices to enhance the usability of your digital publishing site in terms of navigation:

Apparent Hyperlinks

Don’t let fancy design to destroy the usability of your digital publishing website. A hyperlink must differ from the copy. It must be apparent.

Make the hypertext obvious and different from every other element on the page. Format the hyperlinks in a different color, underline them or make them bold.

Standard Navigation

Being creative with navigation is awesome, but it’s not that awesome when you have to sacrifice the UX for it. Navigation should be in a place where users expect it to be!

This comprises the header navigation bar, sidebar, and footer. Utilize them so visitors can easily locate what they need.

Clear and Simple

Let’s face it, the navigation menu of your publishing should be as straightforward as possible. Use a clear design and text so that people know what are your intentions with the menu.

There’s a reason why you need to use the word “Celebs” for the Celebrity News category us or “Funny” for the comedy category. Those words are clear and recognizable. The same goes for phrases such as “Subscribe” and “Newsletter”.

5. Use a Proper Hosting Provider

Slow websites are frustrating, and they turn off readers. If you want to run a powerful publishing site, you’ll need a proper hosting infrastructure that can help you handle millions of daily and monthly reads.

Enter Pagely, a customizable WordPress managed hosting provider for digital publishers! Their tailor-made hosting solutions make sure that each of your requirements will correspond with their hosting technology.

Pagely works on top of AWS, arguably the biggest cloud provider today, which means that you don’t have to worry about limited resources for your site. This is the main reason why some of the largest brands such as Time Inc,, and Comcast chose Pagely for their hosting provider.

Wrapping Up

Every element of your website can have an impact on the conversion rate! If the ad units on your site are not as effective as they used to, you need to do something about it! By effectively optimizing the usability of your WordPress digital publishing site according to the advice above, the ad conversion success is pretty much in the bag!

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