In this new era of innovative ad tech solutions, web publishers are still facing pretty much the same old challenges and problems. Any publisher’s ultimate goal is to optimize ad inventory in order to maximize revenues. While at the same time trying to keep their users (readers) happy so they wouldn’t get annoyed by the ads. It is all about finding a balance between Making more money and the keeping your audience happy. Having dissatisfied users will damage your revenues long-term, as the readers will not be coming back again. There are multiple techniques to optimize your ad inventory and deliver a better user experience, all while maximizing ad revenues. Lazy loading is one of them.
What is lazy loading?
Lazy loading, also known as smart loading or just-in-time loading, is a method commonly used in software development and web design. This technique delays the loading of an object until the point at which it is required. With proper application, it helps to achieve a higher level of efficiency in the program’s operation.
Lazy loading minimizes the load time of your site by loading elements only when they are in-view by the user. Or deferring the loading of non-critical elements to allow the main ones to load first. Then adding new elements as the user is scrolling the page down. This prioritizes page elements that are considered to be more important by the owner of the website. Including ads as one such element.
Lazy loading ads
Lazy loading has been well-known in the online advertising domain as a method to create a better user experience and bring more value to advertisers at the same time. When active, web pages create empty placeholder containers that are replaced with content when visible on the user’s screen.
Despite this technique not being new in any way, many web publishers tend to have a rather fragmented understanding of what lazy loading really is. There are different types of lazy loading, and times it makes sense to use it.
pubGENIUS understands how complex and messy the world of ad tech can be and how sometimes you can’t tell heads or tails when diving deep into advertising technologies, methods and platforms.
This is why today we decided to shed more light on lazy loading ads and answer some of these questions to help you gain a clearer understanding of what it is when applied to online ads and when you should use it.
Adding lazy loading to your web pages can bring a number of benefits when integrated correctly. This doesn’t mean that this method should be applied to any website with any kind of ad inventory, as it also has its fair share of disadvantages and risks.
Let’s start with describing the main benefits of lazy loading.
Better user experience.
Better user experience is one of the major benefits of lazy loading. As it only loads in-view elements of the page, the initial load time decreases, allowing users to experience faster page load while also consuming less CPU resources.
Reduced bandwidth usage.
This is important for the audience with limited bandwidth packages, is another positive effect of lazy loading.
Increased CTR and ad viewability.
As lazy loading reduces false ad impressions by only loading visible ads, it increases ad viewability and better CTR. As CTR is the ratio of the number of clicks to the number of ad impressions, a decrease in impressions coupled with greater viewability leads to growing CTR. This benefit has its rather obvious downside, but we will talk about it a bit later.
Higher website rank in mobile search.
As you may or may not know, the speed of a website load is one of the factors that affect its position in Google search, which was officially confirmed by Google back in 2010. The speed is especially crucial to the ranking of websites in Google’s mobile search since in 2016 Google launched its Accelerated Mobile Pages project, encouraging publishers to make mobile versions of their pages as fast as possible for better user experience by giving up non-essential web page components. So integrating lazy loading ads on your website may also improve its mobile search ranking.
Flaws and disadvantages
But lazy loading ads as a method does have a number of flaws that make this topic increasingly complicated and controversial. So let’s discuss some major disadvantages of integrating these ads in your website.
Potential negative effect on ad viewability.
Yes, earlier we said that lazy loading increases ad viewability, but it’s only true when implemented correctly by professionals. If not, it can have a directly opposite effect. For example, users may not see some ads if they are scrolling down quicker than those ads are loading.
Decrease in total ad impressions.
The downside of increased CTR is the decreasing total number of ad impressions as a direct result of lazy loading ads implementation. Which can be a problem depending on the type of platform you are selling your ad inventory to advertisers. For platforms prioritizing CPM, a decrease in total impressions could result in lower ad revenues despite increasing CTR.
Negative effect on SEO and search bots indexation.
One of the most serious concerns many publishers have about the integration of lazy loading ads is this technique’s potential negative effect on search engines. Even though Google’s search bots are perfectly capable of indexing the content on pages with lazy loading (as they know how to scroll down the page and wait till all the elements are loaded), if not implemented correctly, this technique can inadvertently hide content from Google. This results in search bots not indexing some pages, ultimately torpedoing your website’s search rankings and SEO efforts.
More difficult to develop and test.
Related terms clarification
As lazy loading is quite an extensive topic, we also want to clarify some common terms used in this field.
What is eager loading?
If you were wondering how the opposite of lazy loading is called, it’s eager loading or proactive loading. This is the default mode of website loading, all the page content is loading at once.
What is polite loading?
Polite loading is a part of lazy loading settings. Ad units wait for the hosting page to finish loading completely before allowing the ad to finish loading. As the main content of the page gets to load first, and this is what a user is looking for primarily when accessing the page, it is called “polite” loading.
What is subsequent loading?
Subsequent loading is similar to polite learning, except additional elements, such as ad units, start loading when triggered by an interaction. Interactive ad banners that expand or animated when a user clicks on them is an example of subsequent loading.
Implementing lazy loading techniques on your website can very much be a double-edged sword. It is potentially powerful but also capable of doing more harm than good. And if you want to reap the benefits without risking your ad revenues or decreasing audience, professional and thoughtful implementation of these technologies is a must.
Talking about professional implementation of ad technologies, this is exactly what we at pubGENIUS do. Our ad ops specialists are well-versed in the best practices and trends of the industry. We will help you develop, integrate and test lazy loading solutions, creating that perfect balance of user experience and monetization.
Get in touch with pubGENIUS Team to get free consultation 🙂