Lazy Loading and Ad Refresh – A Publisher’s Pros and Cons

Optimizing site performance is something that website publishers are constantly fine-tuning. Whether it be from a design standpoint, a UX one, or straight monetization, there are many aspects of optimization to consider. One you may have heard of is “lazy loading”, along with another important concept we’d like to include while on the topic, “Ad Refresh”. These approaches to site optimization can work for some publishers and not others based on several different factors. We’ll detail the concepts and give a few examples of why or why not a publisher might choose to implement this method on their own website.

Lazy Loading

In short, Lazy Loading is a concept implemented in programming where data isn’t initialized until it is needed. When applying to a webpage it can mean that part of the page, for instance, the portion below the fold, won’t load until the user scrolls down to that portion of the page or the content would otherwise be visible on the user’s screen.


an inforgraphic explaining how lazy loading works.
Lazy loading, when applying to a webpage, can mean that part of the page won’t load until the user scrolls down to that portion of the page.


The Benefit of Lazy Loading

In short, the biggest and more noticeable benefit of lazy loading is speed. Because placeholder content occupies the space of a webpage’s actual content until it is needed, a user’s browser doesn’t need to retrieve all of the data at once to view a given webpage. This reduces load time and makes things lighter on the user’s browser, as a result, improving the user experience. This is particularly important for publishers because ads are particularly heavy due to the fact that they are third-party hosted images, graphics, or video. The New York Times found substantial success when employing this optimization technique, which resulted in a 50% improvement in page performance.

Beyond page performance, viewability is influenced by Lazy Loading. This is due to the fact that lazy loading ensures that every ad is in fact met with an impression. Because ads on pages utilizing this technique don’t load unless they are visible on a user’s visible browser space, advertisers can be assured that their ads are being served to viewers. When compared to traditional metrics for how ad requests are viewed, lazy loading outperforms in every case.

The Drawback Of Lazy Loading

For publishers, lazy loading has a detrimental impact on search ranking. This is a result of the content placeholders when the site’s content has not been loaded. Because that content is not read by the browser until viewed, it doesn’t offer any benefit to the page’s overall ranking in search. This will affect the publisher’s worth in the eyes of advertisers and their networks as higher ranking pages serving ads get higher prices on their positioning.

Ad Refresh

Ad Refresh is a simple concept and it boils down to reloading ads that are already being displayed to users on a given page. These refresh rates can be enacted at different intervals or based on specific user actions as set by the publisher.

The Benefit Of Ad Refresh

Ad refresh is a practice that is employed by publishers to serve more ads within the same space to the same users visiting their websites.

The Drawback Of Ad Refresh

Advertisers don’t like it. Plain and simple. This is because ad refresh negatively affects user engagement and is detrimental to viewability. As a result, publisher CPMs take a hit and advertisers lose confidence in those publishers employing ad refresh.

Optimize With AdMetricsPro

While lazy loading and ad refresh practices have obvious perks and drawbacks, that’s not to say they don’t work for some publishers to a great extent and fails to benefit others. If you think your website monetization can be improved beyond its current success but aren’t sure if these concepts and others can be employed to make that happen, get in touch with AdMetricsPro to see how we can Amp your revenue. Set up your free site audit today and we’ll detail exactly how your website monetization can benefit from our expertise.

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