Today, more searches take place on mobile than desktop. That means as a publisher, your number one priority needs to be how your site is viewed on mobile, not desktop. And more specifically, you need to know how your ads are viewed on mobile.  

So how has the rise of mobile affected online ads? The main issue has been with the way websites change to fit onto a mobile screen. Publishers usually start their site with a template. That template has content, a sidebar, and a header. Most templates, especially the popular ones, are a couple years old. That means they were designed before mobile searches were a big deal. These older templates are responsive. Responsive templates are coded so that they respond to the device a person is viewing it on. The template can show the page whether it’s on desktop, tablet, or mobile phone.

The problem with a responsive template is it doesn’t adapt well to showing ads on mobile. When the template goes mobile, it cuts off the sidebar and moves it to the bottom of your content. Usually, publishers place most of their ads in that sidebar. So if you have a long block of content and your ads are all in the sidebar, your reader never sees the ads. They’ll reach the end of your content and never scroll down to the ads at the bottom of the screen.

Having the wrong responsive template can hurt your viewability score across your entire site. You may have traffic from both desktop and mobile, and the viewability scores on these will average out. For example, let’s say you have 100% viewability on desktop. But on mobile, your sidebar is pushed to the bottom so your ads are never seen. You now have a 0% viewability score on mobile. These will be averaged out across your site. In this scenario, your site viewability is only 50%. Advertisers will see this and pay you less money for your ad space because they know only half of their ads will actually be seen. This is why viewability is generally bad with a responsive template.

Ideally, you want your ads to show up clearly on both mobile and desktop. We need to go beyond just a responsive template, we want a template that works with ads differently on mobile. There are custom programs designed to work ads into mobile. Going beyond a mobile responsive template is helpful because these programs enhance your reader’s experience, increase ad viewability, and ultimately increase your mobile income.

The rise in mobile searches has only occurred in the last few years. And we can only assume that mobile searches will continue to rise! This is an important trend to stay on top of because it has everything to do with a reader’s experience and a publisher’s ad income. Understanding how responsive templates work and how they impact ads will help you get more out of mobile.

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