Premium Ads Integration for Social UX

How we approach monetization without sacrificing readability

The infinite scroll layout has become popular among publishers in recent years. RebelMouse coined it Social UX for Media since platforms like Facebook made the seemingly endless content stream a core part of the user experience. After adopting Social UX, our clients have experienced more pages consumed, more time spent, and more site visitors.

When it comes to implementing premium ads within our Social UX layout, there are some key best practices to keep in mind.


Traffic Sponsored Content as Smartly Designed Creative

Whether you have content partnerships lined up or it's an area of growth for your company, Social UX is a great opportunity to optimize sponsored content campaigns and leverage prime real estate to command more premium ad dollars.

When planning your site layout, style your sponsored content placements to match the design of your overall site so that it's a seamless part of the user experience and users are more likely to engage. Once you have an ideal sponsored content style, you can save it as a template (e.g., "Brand Post" or "Sponsored Content Post") so editorial teams can easily select it in our Entry Editor.

Also, plan to keep sponsored content anchored in a premium spot, for example before or after the lead editorial article. Sponsored content will benefit from views that are naturally generated before users read the article or as they begin to scroll. Plus, you can set additional ad placements to load after X number of editorial posts to generate more revenue as users become sticky and consume more content.

RebelMouse-built Axios is a great example of this approach, where various sponsored content creative is already styled to match their site.

Traffic a Pixel Tracker

Most advertising partners require third-party tracking and data to verify impressions generated on ads, including sponsored content. You can add posts and simply traffic a pixel with the post, based on tags passed into an ad server (e.g., Google Ad Manager). This allows you to track unique views, along with other information.

Traffic Display and Video Ads as Alternatives

If you don't have a sponsored content campaign running, you can opt to run a display ad or a video (either an outstream ad or an instream pre-roll ad within a video player) to drive ad revenue instead.

RebelMouse-powered Task & Purpose strategically places both display and video ads in their infinite scroll.

While display and video ads are more susceptible to ad blockers, ads will still benefit from the premium placements and visibility as long as they're not disruptive to the user experience. Protip: Resist the urge to cram ads everywhere to avoid hurting page performance, annoying site visitors, and losing revenue in the long run.

A/B Test Different Layouts, Formats, and Messaging

With a platform like RebelMouse, you're empowered to be nimble and embrace a test-and-learn mindset. Our Layout & Design tool enables you to whip up B tests and easily experiment with ad placement order or new creative. And remember, revenue is not just limited to advertising: Use B tests to find the ideal layouts that combine ads and important CTAs for newsletters or paywalls. You can also organize B tests into Google Data Studio reports by their unique parameters to easily identify the impact of innovative layouts.

Prioritize Overall Revenue Growth

Social UX is designed to keep users seamlessly engaged and minimize the number of clicks to access full articles, which is important for reducing bounce rates. While infinite scroll drives growth across various audience metrics, it also limits the opportunity to cram ads on a given page view. So, as overall page views and time spent grows on Social UX, focus less on the ads per page view and more on the premium dollars or total revenue growth that you're generating. At RebelMouse, we can work with you to think about the right metrics and customize your analytics dashboard based on the right goals.

Rebels, Come Talk to Us

RebelMouse is not only a modern CMS platform but also a creative agency — we aim to provide guidance on best practices that maximize performance, audience growth, and revenue. If you're a RebelMouse client and want to discuss how you should approach Social UX and monetization, email support@rebelmouse.com or talk to your account manager to learn more. If you're interested in replatforming your current site or launching a new property with us, request a proposal today.

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Game Changer: Google's Core Web Vitals Announcement

Google cemented its seriousness about page experience with the announcement of its Core Web Vitals measurements in Google Search Console. Core Web Vitals are three specific metrics that Google uses to determine a site's overall usability. While these data points will evolve over time, the 2020 version of vitals consists of three specific metrics:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): A website's LCP is the time it takes to load the main content on a page. Google wants LCP to happen within 2.5 seconds of when a page first starts loading.

First Input Delay (FID): This metric quantifies a user's experience when trying to interact with unresponsive pages. This usually occurs between First Meaningful Paint (FMP) and Time to Interactive (TTI) (more on what these two mean below). You want your FID score to be low to prove the usability of your site. According to Google, pages should haven an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.

Cumulative Layout Shift Score (CLS): CLS determines how often your users experience unexpected layout shifts or changes on a page. To ensure visual stability, you want your CLS score to be low. Google wants pages to maintain a CLS score of less than 0.1.

From Google.

Google says Core Web Vitals scores will be considered across every page, and will be a ranking factor in its Top Stories feature. While relevant quality content will always be the most important, the page experience ranking is now a make-or-break metric for your site's survival.

"A good page experience doesn't override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search." —From Google's page experience announcement, May 2020

Core Web Vitals will determine every site's performance score. You can see your site's Core Web Vitals specifically via Google Search Console, but your website's overall page performance is measured using Google's PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse tools.

At RebelMouse, we guarantee a performance score of 90 or higher via PageSpeed Insights. To do this, we've built out a platform infrastructure that exceeds industry standards on Google's key metrics, particularly its Core Web Vitals, outperforming most industry leaders.

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And here's what the scores look like for some of the biggest sites on the open web:

As you can see, there's a lot of data Google takes into account even outside of Core Web Vitals. Here's a quick summary of the other important metrics that Google trusts to measure page performance:

First Contentful Paint (FCP): This metric measures the time from click to the time when a user's browser renders the first bit of content from the Document Object Model (DOM), which is your site's HTML structure. According to Google, this is an important milestone for your readers because it provides signals that your page is loading.

First Meaningful Paint (FMP): This is the amount of time it takes the most important content, what Google calls "hero elements," to load on site. Hero elements are different for every site, but should be intuitive based on your content. This metric helps determine your site's usability.

Time to Interactive (TTI): This is the most important metric to keep an eye on. This is when the site is fully rendered and ready for user action. This is a critical point when slow load time can occur, usually because JavaScript or other complex content hasn't fully rendered. So, in short, think of TTI as how long it takes for your site to load in its entirety.

Total Blocking Time (TBT): TBT measures a page's load responsiveness to quantify how long a page is non-interactive prior to becoming interactive. You want your site to have a low TBT to maintain its usability.

Speed Index (SI): SI is the measurement of how quickly the contents of a page are populated. You want your speed index score to be as low as possible.

Creating quality content is only half the battle in 2020, and publishers are already burdened with the around-the-clock task of creating content that resonates. This is why quality content must be supported by modern technology that can keep up with the speed of the web. RebelMouse provides publishers with a CMS that supports the new content lifecycle with an editorial suite designed for reach on site, search, and social.

Click here to read more about our modern approach to web performance. If you want to make performance a priority, request a proposal today. We can easily transform your site into one of the fastest on the web, giving you increased user retention and better conversion rates than ever before.

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