The other day, I was speaking with an Ezoic publisher who was having difficulty with their site’s advertisements. For some reason, they kept seeing a specific video ad they didn’t like loaded on their pages. They were worried this was negatively affecting user experience, and had restricted and limited some of the ads Ezoic would show on their site.
But a closer inspection of their site’s Big Data Analytics reports showed some interesting facts. In the week they had seen this particular ad:
- Their bounce rate was lower than usual
- Visitors’ time on page had increased
- They actually had an increase in overall traffic
Fascinatingly, it was only when they had turned on ad restrictions and limitations did their success start to wane!
This isn’t an uncommon situation for publishers. Many site owners have loaded up their site to see ads that, in their opinion, don’t look that good. These publishers then begin worrying other site visitors feel the same. Panicked, it becomes tempting to place heavy restrictions on their ads.
As you’ll see, this is exactly how to create a poorer user experience on your site.
Why? Ezoic’s AI delivers a singular, unique user experience for every person visiting your site, displaying the most relevant and interesting ads the AI believes each user would respond the best to.
But the AI needs as much data as possible to deliver top-tier experiences. If you limit the AI’s data — by restricting advertisements and limiting the possible ad scenarios a user might see — the AI has less data to work with. It would now have to work longer, with less data, to show users a suboptimal ad scenario. All this can lead to slumps and lulls in ad revenue, with a less-than-ideal user experience.
If you want your site to earn the most ad revenue possible while providing the best possible user experience for each visitor, here’s how to work with Ezoic’s AI to make your ads better and more valuable.
How Ezoic’s AI Balances Revenue and User Experience
Humans have many skills, but making thousands of optimal decisions based on tremendous amounts of dynamic data isn’t one of them.
That’s where AI, and Ezoic’s AI in particular, shines the most. It can analyze, calculate, and make decisions upon an endless grouping of data from your users to balance revenue and a smooth UX.
It wasn’t always this way; in the past, publishers had to conduct their own tests and make these decisions on their own, to subpar results. Publishers knew metrics such as ad demand (like how many ad networks were running) played a role in ad revenue; but back in the day publishers couldn’t just use an ad server (like Ad Manager) that ran the real-time bidding auction. Each individual publisher would have to manually put different ad networks and ad tags on their site.
This led to a different kind of bidding war, but one with far more meager results: countless ad networks would individually message publishers, offering to pay each publisher to promote their ads on their site. Publishers would accept, and it’d be on them to determine every single critical piece of ad data: what size ad placeholders worked the best, what ad content, ad placement, etc. This would require endless amounts of A/B testing to find the optimal results.
Worse still: these results were unreliable. These ad networks might show a high CPM, but secretly limit all their ads to U.S. residents alone, or a certain type of user, with publishers having no way of knowing; a deeper look at EPMV would quickly reveal how fruitless these ads would be.
Fortunately, Ezoic’s AI instantly assesses all this data and makes critical decisions for you, using a massive amount of historical data to make informed choices for each user’s experience. The AI works best with as much data as possible, meaning the more information it has to work with, the better UX it can give your site users and the more ad revenue it can deliver straight to you.
Actually, many Ezoic publishers have seen the Ezoic AI bring in more ad revenue while displaying less ads on their site through these Ai-driven decisions, which is a greatly appealing prospect for countless publishers. Here’s how it works.
Why Ezoic Sites Often Show Fewer Ads That Earn More Revenue Over Time
A lot of publishers mistakenly think more ads = more money. The deceptive part of that belief is that it can appear true…at first. But there is always a point where users begin responding less and less to ads, requiring publishers to stuff in more and more ads, eventually leading to extremely low-quality user experiences that earn virtually no ad revenue, despite displaying dozens of ads at every second for every user.
See, every “thing” on your site pages tend to take attention away from every other thing. Let’s say you have a single white blank page, with nothing on it; this has 100% of your users’ attention. Put one ad on the page, now users’ attention is split 50/50.
Every new “thing” you place on your page attracts attention away from every other thing:
- Newsletter signups
- Blog posts
- Color schemes
The list goes on. Eventually, the site begins to cannibalize itself, leading to poor user experience and plummeting ad revenue despite an enormous quantity of ads on the page. This means the chances of optimizing just one of these dozens of options becomes less likely than simply having just one thing on the page.
The same applies to ads. Let’s say you stuff 1,000 ads above the fold on your page. The odds of a user scrolling past all of them to finally get to your content are extremely low; advertisers will see this and begin bidding virtually nothing on those ads, since they have virtually no effect on your user. In fact, you could even risk your site being completely blocked and removed from ad networks with such low metrics!
But what if your site displayed just one high-quality ad to the right user? It was popular, clicked-on, and relevant; advertisers would see this and begin bidding even more for that one slot. Thus, the 1,000 ads would earn less than one single well-placed ad to the right user.
If your site proves that fewer ads creates a better user experience, the Ezoic AI will remember that and use that historical data to make similar decisions in the future. The reason these decisions are so hard for humans to make manually — and really, virtually every ad-based decision on your site — is because these virtually infinite amount of data is impossible for a human to analyze.
Ezoic is spectacular at these processes, and can significantly increase ad rates (while showing fewer ads!) by using this historical data.
Want Better Results? Give the AI More Data to Use.
The recent explosion of popularity of AI chatbots is largely based on these chatbots’ ability to sound “human.” Astonishingly, AI-driven programs have created art from scratch that have won awards, graphic novels, even restaurant-level cooking recipes from scratch. This is thanks to the 175 billion parameters AI programs like ChatGPT are able to utilize, and it can create truly marvelous results…but only if given enough data to analyze.
Ezoic’s AI is no different: the more data it has to work with, the better results it will produce. If you limit the data it has to work with, the AI will naturally take longer to make better decisions…meaning users might have suboptimal experiences on your site longer. Limiting and restricting ads means risking driving users away entirely due to poor site experience!
A common restriction publishers put on their ads is restricting certain ad categories (which can be found in your dashboard here):
Publishers can be forgiven for thinking that if they turn on something like “social casino games,” a majority of their users might begin seeing ads for gambling, casinos, and similar ads. Gambling can be a touchy, controversial subject for some people, and publishers can easily think they’re hurting user experience when their pages are filled with advertisements for online Blackjack!
But that’s not how Ezoic’s AI works, and restricting these ads severely limits not just your user experience, but your ad revenue as a whole.
First, you must remember that Ezoic’s AI will only display ads it believes users will, or could, respond positively to. If a user has never expressed any interest in gambling, or has a history of actively ignoring gambling ads, the Ezoic AI will have no reason to believe they should display that kind of ad to the user. Perhaps 0.01% of your users might see that gambling ad, but only because the AI sees they have (or could) expressed interest in that topic! This means even if a gambling ad is shown, it’s only shown to users that the AI believes would respond positively.
Furthermore, restricting these ad categories have another detrimental effect; limiting these advertiser categories lowers the base numbers of advertisers bidding on your site, meaning lowered competition for your ad real estate, meaning lowered revenue overall. Simply by allowing these ad categories the possibility to be displayed on your site means increased competition for the other bidders, driving up the price.
Making these calls yourself can further restrict your site’s prospective ad revenue; maybe you don’t want certain ads in specific locations, like above the fold ads. Ezoic’s AI might recognize that half of that page’s ad revenue comes from above the fold ads, and when you restrict that specific ad, you’re restricting an enormous amount of ad revenue over time. You can see this yourself in BDA > Yield > Ads Per Page here.
All this means that it’s an absolute win-win to remove ad restrictions on your site: the Ezoic AI will still provide top-level user experiences for your audience (still only displaying relevant ads) while also increasing the advertiser competition that yields higher ad revenue for your site.
Want better results? Give that AI as much data as it can get.
If You Don’t Like the User Experience of Your Site, Test More!
One critical fact that even the most veteran publishers can forget: you are not your audience. You and your users will probably have a dramatically different user experience.
Why? As a responsible and active site owner, you’re probably browsing your site all the time: you’re checking different pages, clicking on countless links, acting like an extremely active user. The Ezoic AI sees this behavior and will likely deem you as a power user of the site, and display more or specific ads that fit your profile. Odds are, no one is more active on your site than you.
This means that you can’t always trust your site experience looks anything like your users’ site experience. The Ezoic AI will always provide an experience based on the historical data it has, and since each user is different, we as publishers can unfortunately think up some fundamentally inaccurate conclusions about how your users experience your site.
This leaves us with one simple call to action: if you don’t like your site’s user experience, test more! Give the AI more data to work with.
This is why we always tell our publishers to use your Big Data Analytics (you can see your dashboard here) to track, measure, and analyze your site’s metrics to see this data for yourself. Because just like the publisher I mentioned at the beginning of the article, you may think your audience is seeing the same ad experience that you, a user the Ezoic AI deems as an extremely active user. In reality, your users are having as great of an experience as the Ezoic AI can possibly create.
You can help this experience by giving the AI more data, and testing even more to see what works best.
This is high-level publisher thinking, understanding not just the what (“I made more money than usual last month!”) but the why (“I unrestricted my ads on Monday and I saw an immediate jump in revenue by Tuesday”). If you make more or less money over a specific date range, you can ask yourself: is it just the ad network changes? You can then go to BDA > Yield > Demand Partner (you can see this in your dashboard here) and you can see all the data yourself. Perhaps the ad networks did change, or perhaps they were virtually the same month to month, informing you that your increase in revenue was caused by something else entirely.
A lot of publishers are inclined to take tiny baby steps with ad integration; they’re worried all their site visitors will see annoying, irrelevant, trashy advertisements that slow their site down and make the whole experience horrible. Thus, they limit what types of ads can be displayed on their site, how many ads are shown, etc.
But the truth is…this is exactly how to create a poorer user experience on your site.
The AI can instantly analyze a tremendous amount of data, giving each user the optimal experience while delivering as much ad revenue as possible to you. If you want to give your users a better experience and earn more ad revenue, then let the Ezoic AI use as much data as possible to make these critical choices.