Lazy Loading Ads: The Good, The Bad, The Recommended

Page loading speed got you down? 

Delivering high-performing ads while offering a quality user experience is a common dream and ambition amongst publishers. So it’s no surprise when a solution comes along that can offer that and more, publishers want in on the excitement. 

The idea of lazy loading is no new concept; publishers have been applying it to images and videos for faster loading for quite some time. We know ads can significantly slow down browsing speeds, so by using the same technique, one hopes to see the same increased load speed advantages. And while this does occur, it’s important to note not all ad-optimization methods are a one-size-fits-all solution. This article will discuss the good, the bad, and the best practices of lazy-loading. 

What is Lazy Loading For Ads

Behind the scenes of a user visiting a website, all content (images, ads, text, etc.) is rendered and downloaded in a single moment. Pretty efficient, right? Not always. 

Cue lazy loading. 

Lazy loading ads is the technique of rendering ads only as they come into a user’s viewpoint as they navigate the page. Placeholder content boxes or empty containers are loaded initially, then replaced with actual content when a user scrolls down to it. As a result of allowing heavier files (ads) to load separately, the big hope is that pages will load faster. 

The Pay-Off

This technique wouldn’t be a popular solution if it didn’t work to some degree. For publishers with ad-heavy websites, lazy loading is a proven way to reduce load time and provide some tangible benefits.  

Better user experience: Users want results, and they want them quickly, whether they’re looking for an in-the-moment solution or leisurely scrolling for entertainment. To give you an idea, consider this: as page load time goes from one second to three seconds, the probability of a bounce increases by 32%

Ads are heavy, and having multiple units on a page can significantly increase page loading speed. So, by deploying lazy loading, you can free up some of the page weight to increase the speed of your website and reduce load time and latency. 

Improves ad viewability: Knowing that you can effectively increase viewability is something no publisher wants to miss out on. High viewability rates can inform potential buyers that you have high-value inventory or ad units to offer and subsequently improve CPM–more money! If you’re unaware, ad viewability is the measurement of whether users see an ad. Statistically, 54% of all ads created are not viewed by users, so making yourself stand above the crowd will make you very attractive to advertisers.

When carried out correctly, lazy loading can increase the chance that an ad is registered as viewed. Additionally, it can help to significantly reduce the number of false impressions (valueless impressions) per session. 

The Risk

Lazy loading is a solution that comes with its risks as well. It’s essential to understand and weigh what this could mean for your website before deciding what’s next. 

SEO impact: For publishers who heavily focus on SEO, lazy loading comes with a worrisome downside. Googlebots can misconstrue lazy-loaded content as non-existent or unseen, negatively affecting your SEO ranking. However, on a positive note, Google blames incorrectly implemented lazy loading on why content is inadvertently hidden. So long as you ensure you’ve deployed it correctly, you can avoid loss on your SEO efforts.

Configuration: Coding the proper system is vital to success, but it’s also quite tricky–even for publishers who consider themselves ad veterans. If not correctly set up, ad performance and revenue will quickly cripple. 

As we mentioned above, ill-programmed lazy loading will negatively impact SEO units. It can also lead to a decrease in viewability. This occurs when a user scrolls quicker than it takes the ad to load, meaning your ads don’t get viewed. To avoid the pitfalls of lousy configuration, be sure to consult an AdOps expert for setup. Additionally, once implemented, you’ll want to test for issues and performance. 

Lazy-Loading Best Approaches

Maybe you’re convinced and ready to start implementing lazy loading today–wahoo! But before running off, there are a few things you should know.  

Firstly, in case we didn’t stress this enough in the section above, coding is everything. Without the proper coding script, everything else will inevitably hit rock bottom. If you’re working with AdSense or another ad network, you’ll be doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Be sure not to take the first loading script you come across. Instead, make sure the script comes from a reputable source and you’re implementing it correctly. 

In addition to a rockstar code, you’ll want to be sure you’re strategically deciding how to implement it throughout your site. Most importantly, you’ll want to mind the fold. Since the viewer immediately sees everything above the fold on a webpage, delaying those ads would be impractical. Even more so, it could lead to viewability issues. While some ads appear above the fold on desktops, they may appear below the fold on mobile devices. It’s essential to work with someone who can spot and test these elements. 

Testing your website following making any changes is always critical, and this should be no different. It’s the easy way to know your successfully pulling off the technique. 

Getting Started

If you’re unhappy with your page loading speed, don’t hesitate to test lazy loading on your site. While doing it yourself may lead to issues, working with a team of ad experts can help you see great results as well as spot any issues as soon as they appear! Balancing website load speed with ad monetization is a critical step in any publisher’s journey to high-performing ads.

At Newor Media, we have a team of ad experts who’ve put in the time to craft a solid lazy-load solution and understand these elements, so you don’t have to. Working with us, all you have to do is voice your concern, and we’ll send you an alternative lazy load script. Our up-to-date reporting dashboard allows you to always be in the know about your ad performance. Beyond testing, you’ll see first-hand whether lazy loading is the right for your website. 

Bridget George

Senior Account Manager, Publisher Development: Newor Media

Bridget is a dynamic business development and account manager. She has been in the ad tech industry for over 7 years and is known for her ability to drive innovative solutions and foster strategic growth. Passionate about her work, she excels in managing key accounts and ensuring client satisfaction.