Ad refresh is quite common now. In fact, Digiday says “ad refreshing is on the rise” as publishers are trying to see how they can improve ad revenue amid the COVID-19 crisis.
But the times are changing. Publishers aren’t willing to experiment with ad refresh just for the revenue. It is apparent that many tend to refresh ads to make the most out of a user session. But that doesn’t mean, the end goal has always been the revenue.
When we talked to publishers, we realized that they see ad refresh as a product that helps to deliver what both users and advertisers want from them. On one hand, they can deliver a better experience by keeping the number of ad units to the minimum. And on the other, they get the chance to recreate valuable impressions for the advertisers.
And, that’s where we come in. Publishers want to try our product [AXT] as they believe the legacy ad refreshing tools aren’t enough. Indeed, legacy tools can refresh and increase the volume of impressions, thus the overall revenue. But that’s not the only goal publishers are looking to achieve. Not anymore.
Related: Learn everything about ad refresh and triggers here.
Publishers are trying to deliver viewable, valuable impressions to the buyers. In other words, they are willing to trade attention, not impression.
“Publishers have always wanted to maximize revenue per session and refreshing ads helps them to do so without hampering user experience. But as an industry, we haven’t finalized on an ad refresh standard yet. The best is to go for the combination of triggers. Refresh ads only when you can guarantee that the user has seen and have had enough chances to click on the ad.”
– Madhavan Rathinam, VP of Ad Operations and Customer Success, Automatad.
So, now the question is how AXT enables publishers to deliver 100% viewable ad impressions? That’s exactly what we’re about to see with the help of Automatad Blaze. Before we dive in, let’s give you a bit of context.
What is Automatad Blaze?
Automatad Blaze is a free Chrome extension that anyone can install to get a live demo of how Active Exposure Time (AXT) works to recreate viewable ad impressions by considering several browser-level and user-level events.
If you haven’t already, go to Chrome store and install the plugin. You’ll be able to see the impact of AXT on your bottom line yourself.
If you like to watch a video instead, here you go:
If you like to read, then carry on.
First step, go ahead and load a web page of your site. It can be your site or any publisher that has ads running on its pages. For this example, we’re going to visit a page from The Guardian (theguardian.com). And let it completely load with the ads. Once done, just click on the Automatad’s extension on the Chrome extension bar.
The next thing you’ll see is a dashboard.
To understand AXT, you need to understand the metrics on the dashboard.
User Active: It’s an indicator that turns on and off based on whether the user is active on the page.
Session Time: As you are familiar, session time calculates the total time a user spent on the site so far.
Active Time: Active Time (which can be equal, but mostly lower than session time) refers to the time spent by the user while being active on the page.
Last Event: Last event refers to the last user-level event. For example, scroll up/down.
Total Event: Total event refers to the total number of events made by the user.
Ads under view: As the name implies, it represents how many ads are under view for the user. In the above image, we can see that 2 out of 4 ads are under view.
Total reloads: Total reloads refers to the number of times the ads get reloaded. If it is 2, you’ve delivered 2 new impressions because of AXT reload. If it is zero, no new impressions are delivered.
One of the questions that may remain is, how do we measure the active/inactive state of the user?
AXT technology tracks mouse movements, keyboard actions, focus events and touch events to know whether the user is active or not. If a user isn’t viewing the current tab, then it’s inactive and the active timer stops. If a user isn’t performing any movements/actions, then we consider the user — inactive. Again, the active timer pauses.
Active time only counts when the user is active.
Please note that active exposure time is measured for every ad unit on the page separately. How can you see it? Simple. Just click on the dashboard, it will expand to show exposure time for all the ad units on the page.
What you can see:
- Number of ad units on the page and their sizes.
- How many times a particular ad unit has been reloaded. If none, it will be 0.
- What’s the exposure time for each ad unit in seconds.
- What’s the current viewability of the ad units. This is real-time. If an ad is in-view, you’ll see the viewability in %. If not, it will be 0%.
To summarize, we track user activity and ad viewability of the units to measure how long an ad has been exposed to an active user. Thus the name ‘Active Exposure Time’.
If the active exposure time hits 25s, we reload an ad. That is, a new request will be sent to the bidders and bids will compete in a unified auction to determine the winner and deliver the creative.
The best part? As we consider time-in-view, ad viewability increases substantially.
“At Automatad, we ensure an active user on the page has seen an ad for a certain amount of time before recreating ads. Added benefit is increasing viewability. We’ve seen viewability going up by 30% in the first month of taking AXT (Active Exposure Time) live on the sites.
How Can You Estimate the Incremental Revenue via Automatad Blaze Extension?
Go to your site and load a page. Now spent the same amount of time an average user spends on your site. You can use the time-on-page/session time via Google Analytics.
Most of the time, the publisher is also a reader. So, you just have to read the content as usual and see how many reloads happen. Every reload is a chance to deliver a new 100% viewable ad impression and earn additional revenue. If you can keep your readers engaged for a couple of minutes, you’ll be able to deliver a good number of impressions, this, in turn, leads to increased revenue.
Let’s say you delivered 2 additional impressions per pageview. You can multiply the number with your monthly PVs to get an estimated number of ad impressions (from AXT). With the average eCPM, you’ll be able to derive the incremental revenue. Here are some of the case studies for your reference.
And, this revenue is purely incremental. You don’t have to add any new units or be concerned about the long-term impact of ad refresh on your eCPM. As you could see, AXT doesn’t deliver a new impression unless the previous one stayed in-view for a period of 25 to 30s.
“If buyers are paying for attention, it means publishers have to guarantee it. And, when we recreate ad impressions via AXT, we guarantee that.”
In lazy loading, ads aren’t rendered until they are scrolled into the browser viewport. So, you don’t do it until you know you will deliver what buyers are looking for — i.e., ad will be seen by an active user.
When you refresh, you should ensure that you have actually delivered it — i.e., ad is seen by an active user for a specified period of time. With AXT, publishers can deliver what buyers are looking for in the first place. Have questions? We’re just a click away.