How many ads should I have on an article page?

We’ve all clicked away from web pages which have way too many ads. Or which take too long to load, often because of the high volume of complex ad units which delay everything. 

But, of course, digital advertising is the lifeblood of the publishing industry. As noted by the industry body the Coalition For Better Ads, advertising plays a vital role in funding journalism, but if deployed incorrectly can be seen as irritating to users.

Making it pay

Paywalls and subscription models, which can enable an ad-free experience, are great in theory. But most web users still don’t want to pay for access to content, meaning the majority of publishers rely on ad revenue to fund their business and grow. 

And often grappling with the question  – how much is too much? What is the optimum number of ads to run on a given web page?

As with so many of the conundrums facing digital publishers, there isn’t a hard and fast rule, or simple answer. So yes, it depends!

Why is having the right number of ads important for my site?

The optimum number of ads to have on each page of your website depends on several factors, including the type of website you have, the audience you are targeting, and the overall user experience you want to provide.

Having too many ads on a single page can be overwhelming for your users and lead to a negative user experience. This, in turn, can cause problems with your website being discovered. 

Search engines view sites with good user experience more favourably, and therefore a better all-round ad experience can lead to an improved SEO ranking. On the other hand, having too few ads can limit your revenue potential.

What should I bear in mind? 

As a general rule, it’s recommended to limit the number of ads on a page to no more than 5-6, but this can vary depending on the layout of your website, length of the article, and the size and nature of the ads. Ideally that comprises of 4-5 display ads, plus 1 video unit, and/or 1 native placement.

Video units and native placements should be taken into consideration and viewed as commercial placements along with display ads, of course. 

Additionally, it’s important to ensure (if you can) that the ads are relevant and non-intrusive to the user experience, so that they don’t disrupt the flow of the page content.

In summary…

Ultimately, the best approach is to experiment with different ad placements and numbers on your website, track your results, and adjust your strategy accordingly to find the optimal balance between user experience and revenue generation. 

If you work with an ad management company, they should be able to advise you on optimum ad volume and placement, for the best possible user experience and revenue potential. 

The team at PROP have 10+ years of experience helping publishers with this, so get in touch!

Maya de Paz