Login is restricted to DCN Publisher Members. If you are a DCN Member and don't have an account, register here.

Digital Content Next


InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

Quality ads play a crucial role in retaining audiences

September 7, 2023 | By Simon Klein, Global SVP Supply – Teads @Teads

From web articles to streaming and CTV, excelling in the digital media realm goes beyond mere content creation. It’s about crafting an unparalleled experience that speaks directly to the needs and preferences of your audience. Media executives need to focus on enhancing user experience by seamlessly integrating quality ads into content to increase engagement, conversions, revenue – and trust.

In today’s crowded media landscape, retaining the attention and loyalty of your digital audience has never been more important. And while content is key, advertising experiences play a critical role. 

Elevating user experience

In an age of seemingly endless choice, it can be tough for publishers and broadcasters to stand out amidst the vast sea of content. Yet, by prioritizing the quality of the experience over quantity and ensuring seamless ad integration—whether on-page or on CTV—media companies can foster deeper loyalty and trust. Simply put, when ads feel less like interruptions and more like an integrated part of the narrative, it strengthens audience retention and enhances monetization opportunities.

This is in contrast to certain websites where publishers prioritize immediate monetization over ad quality, leading to the risk of showcasing “junk ads,” click-bait, and intrusive pop-ups. By partnering with demand sides that serve less relevant ads, these sites alienate visitors, reduce traffic, and deter users from returning. 

Research from Adform underscores the significant influence of ad relevance, with one study 

finding that ads perceived as relevant and non-intrusive boosted dwell time by up to 30%. This accentuates the pivotal role of ad relevance in captivating and retaining audiences. Another study from IAB Europe revealed that users who encountered such ads were more inclined to engage, leading to higher click-through and conversion rates.

While many monetization tactics chase immediate returns, lasting success comes from nurturing reader trust. Ensuring you have premium ads hosted on your equally premium content not only attracts but also solidifies a dedicated reader base.

Engaging ads: The secret to captivating and retaining audiences

The digital landscape is a noisy place. In the midst of this cacophony, publishers are grappling with a challenge: retaining visitors. The key? Quality advertising.

Recent research by GeoEdge and Digiday sheds light on a stark reality: a significant 76% of publishers feel that their user experience is hampered due to subpar ad quality. This isn’t just a slight hiccup; 66% admitted that these ad issues directly hit their revenue stream. Yet, this data also presents a golden opportunity for publishers: prioritize ad quality, and the audience will follow.

Enter the era of premium content. It’s not just about what’s written or shown; it’s about the complete package. High-caliber content doesn’t just seize attention; it commands it. And when paired with outstanding ad experiences, publishers unlock a treasure trove of attention, amplifying their monetization potential. To put this into perspective, the elite domains – those in the top 25% – rake in attention for display ads at a staggering rate of 11 times more than their counterparts in the lower quartile.  

But let’s dig deeper. What really happens when superior ads meld with an impeccable user experience (UX)? The engagement figures speak for themselves. Quality content can rocket user attention to levels three times that of giants like Facebook. As for viewable display formats, they aren’t just another ad type; they’re powerhouses of attention–a sentiment echoed by Lumen’s December 2022 report.

Cultivating trust through tailored advertising

A thriving publisher-audience relationship is built on a foundation of trust. When readers come across ads that resonate with their interests, it solidifies their connection to the platform. MediaPost’s findings further validate this dynamic. Publishers who implemented contextual targeting experienced a 10% surge in dwell time and a 5% uptick in CTR.

The synthesis of these studies paints a vivid picture. High-quality, value-driven, and non-disruptive ads wield the power to improve various metrics – from dwell time and CTR to conversions. It’s evident that in the quest for heightened monetization, the user experience remains paramount.

And if numbers could tell tales, here’s a compelling one: A focused study conducted between Teads and Condé Nast revealed that top-tier ads don’t just flicker momentarily in the user’s vision. They linger, holding the viewer’s gaze for an impressive 11.3 seconds. The result? A whopping 49% spike in engagement. In the digital realm, attention is currency. Quality ads aren’t just a strategy; they’re a necessary art form, marrying content with commerce, and ensuring that audiences aren’t just visitors, but loyal patrons.

Guidelines for selecting a cookieless contextual targeting partner

With the decline of cookies, selecting an adept contextual targeting partner becomes imperative. Here’s what publishers should consider when seeking a partner who can assist in effectively targeting and engaging their audience in a digital landscape where cookies are no longer viable:

  • Precision: Context is king, and delivering relevant and accurate ads with precision becomes even more crucial in the absence of cookies. Look for a partner that emphasizes user-centric experiences and can ensure that your ads resonate with the right audience. 
  • Reputation: Collaborate with those whose reputation complements yours, such as a partner backed by a decade of expertise in successfully serving premium audiences and upholding integrity and excellence in every facet of contextual targeting. 
  • Real-time Insights:  The absence of cookies underscores the critical need for swift and accurate data to inform decision-making. To address this, partner with platforms that provide real-time insights, allowing you to swiftly adjust and refine your targeting strategies on the go.
  • Integrated Tools: Partner with platforms that offer a holistic approach, ensuring publisher success with comprehensive tools. By providing an array of integrated tools, from precise audience segmentation to seamless ad placements, publishers are empowered to navigate the evolving landscape of digital advertising with a well-rounded and effective contextual targeting strategy.
  • Adaptable and Scalable: Choose a partner that can evolve with the digital landscape’s ever-changing nature – after all, the industry is constantly shifting, and your chosen partner should be prepared to change alongside it.
  • Amplifying Platform Integrity: Dive into a partnership that celebrates and amplifies your platform’s integrity. By partnering with a platform that prioritizes user-centric content and respects the reader’s preferences, you not only retain your audience but also enhance your platform’s authenticity.

Retaining the interest and loyalty of your audience has never been more crucial in today’s competitive media environment. Undoubtedly, quality content is the most critical factor to stand out. However, there are other factors at play, particularly in the digital and connected TV (CTV) industry. It is critical that media organizations focus on providing exceptional experiences to audiences, and that must include high-quality, optimal advertising. 

Liked this article?

Subscribe to the InContext newsletter to get insights like this delivered to your inbox every week.