Did You Know Page Load Speed Can Reduce Ad Revenue?
by Andrew Reed, on Jun 17, 2021 9:00:00 AM
If you want to maximize your payout as an online publisher, maintaining a healthy and non-disruptive user experience is key.
The more eyes on your website, the more impressions you are serving and the more revenue you are generating.
There is a long list of factors that can lead to a poor user experience, but on the top of that list is page load speed.
You may not realize it, but the speed of your website may be affecting your overall ad yield. Luckily there are a number of easy ways to fix this.
First, let's check out how your load speeds can harm your ad revenue.
People Will Leave Your Site
No one likes waiting, especially in today’s world of next-day delivery and blistering internet speeds. In fact, studies have shown that 40% of users will abandon a webpage that takes more than three seconds to load.
This means that if your webpage is on the slow side, 40% of potential ad viewers are abandoning your site before the page even loads.
High session lengths and low bounce rates are key to maintaining a healthy ad revenue. The more eyes are on your site, the more ad impressions and the higher your payout will be.
If you are earning less than you predicted, and are seeing high bounce rates, page load speed may be an issue.
Your SEO Will Suffer
Site speed has become a major factor in search engine algorithms. Search engines like Google don’t want to be sending users to websites with poor user experiences, and if there is any indication of this they will penalize you in their rankings or simply not list you at all.
Here’s a helpful article from Google from back when they first started taking site speed into consideration.
If you are not driving enough traffic through organic search channels, you're losing views on ads that help drive your revenue.
Your Brand Reputation Will Suffer
The most reputable and popular brands online make sure to deliver the cleanest and quickest experience they can. This often comes at a relatively low expense.
Not providing your users with the best experience you can offer signals to them you aren’t taking their time, or your own, seriously.
On top of this, a poorly optimized site can feel like walking into an unkempt, poorly run store. Which often sends red flags to shoppers about the quality of the product or service you are providing.
If you want customers to trust you and take your business seriously, you need to provide them with the comfort and familiarity they have come to expect from all websites.
This can be primarily achieved by maintaining healthy site standards.
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How to Measure Page Load Speed
There are dozens of page speed tests you can use online, but the simplest and most informative free test is Google’s PageSpeed Insight test.
Simply drop your URL in the box and click analyze. The test will give your webpage a score out of 100 while also offering you helpful insights on how to improve your loading speed.
What Your Numbers Should Look Like
In short, you need to make your website as fast as possible without sacrificing too much of your user experience.
In this Google WebMaster video, they claim that “two seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half-second.”
Under a half-second is fast. A more realistic goal is to aim between one to two seconds. Anything under three seconds will help you maintain low bounce rates and bring in users you can serve ads to.
How To Improve Page Load Speed
If you are finding that your site speed is not where it should be, go through these tips to knock some time off your clock.
Optimize Videos and Images
Image and video files can carry a majority of the processing time when loading your webpage. Therefore you want to make sure that these files have been optimized and compressed as much as possible without sacrificing too much of their quality.
There are a number of tools, paid and free, you can use to do this for your website.
Spend Money on a Performance-Optimized Hosting Group
It might seem frugal to sign up for the cheapest website hosting solution you can find, but it will probably end up costing you in the long run.
If your host’s servers are not properly optimized for load speed, you’ll lose users due to a poor experience. As a publisher, this will have a major effect on your potential overall yield as you are actively driving away views on your webpage.
Watch Out for Heavy Ads
Not all ads are created equal. If you are experiencing slow load speeds, it's possible that one or more of the ads you are serving is not properly optimized.
This is just one of many kinds of bad advertising that can harm your user experience and drive them away from your sites.
Take the time to explore the front end of your site to see what kind of experience you are delivering to your users. If you find that a certain ad is taking too long to load, you can add their URL to your blocklist to better protect your site and revenue.
Cache Your Web Pages
Caching web pages is when you store copies of your site’s files across servers, reducing the amount of loading that needs to be done.
You can accomplish this by either adding a caching plugin to your site or by going directly to your server host.
Check to see if your host is caching your web pages or not. If they aren’t, check your options to see if they offer a way for you to turn the option on.
Use Google AMP for Mobile
Mobile web browsing continues to grow as one of the most popular ways to browse the web, but can often be overlooked by publishers and brands.
Google AMP is a great plugin to help optimize your site speed by caching your pages across Google’s servers.
Asynchronous vs Synchronous Loading
Webpages most commonly load through synchronous loading, meaning that all files load at one time. This also means that all other loading pauses until the heaviest file is completed.
Asynchronous loading on the other hand allows files to be loaded at different times, meaning that users can engage with the loaded parts of your site while the heavier bits continue to load in the background.
There are some great apps that can set this up for you, or you implement the code yourself.
Lazy Load Your Ads
This asynchronous loading also applies to your ad units. Heavier ads can slow down your site, so it helps if you can get users on your site while the ads load in the background. A great strategy for this is to keep the ads that are lower on the page from loading until your user has scrolled into a position to see it. This way you don’t waste resources on an ad that is not being viewed yet.
Here are some helpful tips on how to get started with lazy loading. Setting this up across your web pages can take time, especially if you're not a full-time developer, but the payoff can be huge if implemented correctly.
Minify CSS, Java, and HTML
Similar to how editing the files of your video and images, cutting back the file size of your scripts can also improve your site speed.
Minifying is the process of having a program compress all of your code into a single file for the browser to read, which is much faster than reading each line individually.
Clean code is a key part of top-quality web development, and erroneous elements will drag down your site speed and push users away from your site.
Check to see your platform minifies/compresses efficiently, and if not here are some tools you can use to clean up the back end of your site for you.
Use a CDN
A Content Delivery Network, or CDN, Works to cache your web pages across multiple servers in order to reduce the number of resources needed to load your site, increasing your site speed.
Imagine you're running your website out of San Francisco, and a user is trying to access it from Boston. Typically this would mean your files would need to travel across dozens of servers from west to east to load in Boston.
With a CDN, your site files will be saved across every server you travel through. This means that when someone accesses your site, the files will be sent from whichever server is closest to them.
If you’re looking for a CDN to partner with, check out this list of providers.
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Site traffic is crucial to maximizing your ad yield as a publisher, and the time you spend creating content to drive users to your site is not only grueling but expensive.
If you have spent the time and money to set yourself up for healthy site traffic, the last thing you want to do is drive them away once they are at your front door.
Page load speed, if not properly optimized, can cause your session lengths to plummet, as dissatisfied users move away from your site. This means fewer views on your ads and less overall revenue.
Take the time to see if your website speed is up to par, and experiment with different techniques to keep it competitive. The energy you spend caring for your user’s experience won't go unrewarded.