AXT Vs. Legacy Ad Refresh

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Now, we’ve talked about Active Exposure Time a couple of times in this blog. From the basics to how you can take it for a run yourself with just a chrome extension, we covered what you need to know. In this post, we’ll try to answer an important question — how better is AXT?

Because you can use ‘ad refresh’ from any of the ad servers. But is it the best option for you in the long run?  Let’s get the answers. Before we start, you should have an idea about the impact of existing ad refresh on your impressions and revenue. If not, it’s hard to have a direct comparison but still you can find the post useful.

Here’s a fact — measuring the impact of ad refresh isn’t as simple as it seems.

Short-term:

Say, you’re refreshing ads using the option available in your ad server and you’ve set the refresh rate at 30s (the minimum), you can surely see an increase in the volume of impressions and if your demand stack is strong enough, your fill rate might even remain the same.

eCPM on the other hand takes the opposite route. It decreases as the number of delivered impressions increases substantially. Now, if your site users are engaged and you manage to balance the number of impressions and eCPM (i.e., the decline in eCPM shouldn’t nullify the uplift in the number of impressions delivered), your overall revenue will increase.

Long-term: 

The problem starts when you are into it for months. As you are refreshing every 30s without considering viewability, activeness of the user (whether the user is active on the page), other browser events, etc. the value of ad impressions will gradually plummet.

Buyers will start to bid lower and lower as the viewability and CTR of refreshed impressions decreases over time. Now, you can still deliver additional impressions but you can’t command a higher bid price. This results in decreased ad revenue from ad refresh in the long run. On top of it, your ad viewability will nose dive if you continue to ignore the impact here.

How AXT solves this problem?

Simple. AXT isn’t a typical ad refresh solution. It enables you to trade attention, not impression. The way we designed AXT is not just from the perspective of publishers, but also from the buyers.  Media buyers spend billions on programmatic display every year and one of the important reasons is — programmatic gives them the ability to bid only on what works for them. As there’s no intermediary like an ad network, they set the rules, they can decide how to bid, when to bid, where to bid precisely.

So, when the viewability and performance of your inventory goes down because of ad refresh, they tend to either reduce their bid prices or stop bidding on your impressions altogether. If the tool is focused on maximizing the number of impressions alone, it will become a problem in the long run.

How AXT is Better than Legacy Ad Refresh Solutions?

AXT, on the other hand, isn’t focused on maximizing the number of impressions. It tracks ad viewability of the individual units, user activity, browser events, and more — to ensure an ad is viewed by an active reader for a certain period of time. Say, 30s. Read about how it works here.

So, what’s the impact of AXT?

eCPM:

eCPM directly reflects the price advertisers would be willing to pay for your impressions and if you are familiar with ad refresh, you know that the ‘refreshed impressions’ don’t command the same price as the first impressions.

With AXT, it isn’t necessarily the case.

Can Active Time Exposure (AXT) Increase the eCPM?

Yes, Let’s say you are a publisher with <50% viewability and with AXT, we can increase your viewability and CTR substantially, thus resulting in far higher bid prices. In other words, AXT impressions (refreshed impressions) can command higher eCPM than the first impressions. For the study, we pulled out the data from a cohort of publishers with initial viewability lesser than 50%. Because it’s easy to see how AXT helps the publishers in the long run by improving the metrics that matter.

Here’s the result when we implemented AXT:

eCPM_ First Impressions Vs. AXT Impressions

Sidenote: If your viewability isn’t <50%, you’re likely to see an uplift but it won’t be as substantial as we’ve shown in the graph. Want to know the exact uplift, take AXT for a spin.

Viewability:

“It [ad refresh] needs to be done in such a way that creates value. We will blacklist sites that use unacceptable auto-refresh.”

– Ian Trider, director, Centro.

Do Refreshing Ads with AXT will have a Negative Impact on Viewability?

Viewability is the most discussed concern regarding ad refresh. When you refresh every 30s blindly — the ad viewability ought to become a concern. With AXT, it’s the opposite. As AXT only delivers a new ad when active time-in-view of the ad hit 25s, viewability increases considerably.

Here’s a chart from the same cohort of publishers — comparing the ad viewability of first impressions Vs AXT impressions. 

Ad Viewability_ First Impressions Vs. AXT Impressions

CTR:

As you know, CTR reflects the success of the campaign for the advertisers and if your impressions have higher CTR, your inventory becomes more desirable for buyers. As AXT ensures that the user has paid attention to the ad for a certain amount of time, CTR tends to be higher than the regular/first impressions. 

CTR_ First Impressions Vs. AXT Impressions

Conclusion

The goal of the post isn’t to give you the estimated impact of AXT on your bottom line. Because it depends on a lot of factors and there’s no way for us to predict it without understanding the user behavior on the site. The idea is to answer the concerns regarding ‘ad refresh’ and show that AXT isn’t similar to any of the legacy refresh tools in the market. We’ve seen publishers thinking twice before getting onboard as their viewability isn’t impressive. But that’s exactly why you should implement AXT.

If you’ve been using any other ad refresh, how do we compare? Did we exceed the expectations? If you have any questions, feel free to let us know in the comments. Or you can chat with us directly.

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