Hackernoon logoStop Compromising Your UX for Display Ad Revenue: It's Not Worth It by@tekong

Stop Compromising Your UX for Display Ad Revenue: It's Not Worth It

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@tekongIkhwan Nazri

CEO & Head of Creative Amanz Media, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Income for a media organization typically comes from advertising. The types of advertising come in various formats, including but not limited to: paid articles and videos, sponsored social media posts (Facebook and Twitter), paid segmented series, as well as ads and brand placements.

That being said, one aspect of advertising that has yet to see improvements are banner ads on websites. Compared to other advertising formats, banner ads can make website visitors uncomfortable when perusing websites.

There are several types of banner ads, including Roadblock Ads that require readers to wait before reading the article, notification ads that will not allow you to continue browsing unless you subscribe to their newsletters, and ads that appear or pop up when you are halfway through reading.

It gets worse when you’re browsing on mobile, as there is a tendency to accidentally click on these ads when you’re trying to close them. This ruins the browsing experience of the visitor and increases the likelihood of them not visiting your website anymore.

Such is the state of websites that rely on these types of ads, and the worst part is that the sacrifice in consumer experience isn’t even contributing to the income of the website.

Our Approach To Balancing User Experience & Advertising

Banner ads are displayed on our website on a per-order basis, where it’s only shown when a client pays for it. Even then, the ads on display are shown in a way that does not disrupt our visitors’ browsing experience and is placed either on the top of the homepage and to the side when they’re reading our articles.

This is a win-win situation for both our advertisers as well as our readers. As our readers get an uninterrupted read of our articles, we can also easily track readership numbers for our clients who wish to know how much of their ads are being seen on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis.

There have been offers to place ads in the middle of our articles, however, we have refused to even consider these types of banner ads to prioritize our readers’ browsing experience. We want our readers to have unencumbered access to the information contained within our articles and reviews and have their continued support.

We also do not place our ads at the bottom of our articles to make it easier for them to gain access to the comments section so they can interact between themselves. This is our way of making it easier for our readers to head to the comments section and start conversing with other readers about what they think of the news they’ve read.

This is particularly important because while our articles are written from a neutral standpoint, it is beneficial for our readers to form their own opinion about matters, enabling them to make informed decisions based on the news that they’ve read.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with trying to maximize income by the use of ads, publications run the risk of alienating their visitors, as they come to a news portal to read the news, and not wade through a sea of ads to get to the information that they need.

There is also the fact that readers’ attention span keeps going lower every year, so readers are generally bound to look for news sources that do not hinder their reading experience as much. Again, it’s all about optimizing both ad delivery, and ensuring your readers are able to read your content unencumbered.

In January 2021, we did a deep dive into optimizing both our advertising model and readership quality, and we’ve noticed that every month throughout 2020, the traffic to Amanz and its affiliates have grown bigger.

As Malaysia moves towards being an online/digital-centric nation, the Bahasa Malaysia speaking market has been an underserved one over the last few years, and for the most part, has found Amanz as a home for tech news in the language throughout the years we have been in operation.

Using Crowdtangle in Facebook, our analysis has shown that engagement in our comments section, using Share of Voice (SOV) as a metric is currently at an all-time high, and will only continue to grow bigger and bigger as we move forward.

With this in mind, we have begun to take a radical approach beginning this month with Amanz where we discard the “traditional” way of serving ad banners, only showing them as and when a client buys ad space from us. This is a burden that we are willing to make to shoulder sure that we not only retain the viewership that we have but also grow it even more.

On our part, the idea is to also create new revenue streams that allow us to continue to serve our readers while maintaining and improve our publication as much as we can.

Our wish is that more media outlets join us in this endeavor to serve our markets while making the business sustainable, otherwise the over-reliance on ads will force us to cram more ads into our pages and articles, making it look like a digital abstract of ads that no one really wants to see.

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