Drop in click rate after moving to Responsive Design

Published by: Jaclyn Giandalia , Hanley Wood, LLC
Published on: May 22, 2014

Hi all-
We have recently transitioned 2 of of our sites to responsive design. Since then, we have noticed a significant drop in the ad click through rate. Just wondering if any other publishers have experienced this?


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Here's something to check for: I have worked on responsive transitions on a couple of sites and I've noticed that developers often make the same mistake: they hide the ad unit with CSS when they don't want it to appear. However, the code loads anyway, rendering an ad which can never be seen.

One correct way to handle this is:

At page load, check viewport size. Determine which ad units you will be loading given this viewport size, and only load the code for the ads which can be displayed. If the user resizes their browser window smaller, it is probably OK to then hide the ads (since there was the initial opportunity to be seen). If the user resizes their browser window larger, you could choose to either then invoke the additional ad units, or simply choose to not deal with this case; you'll get them on the next page view anyhow.

An additional caveat: If you are using DFP, you must be extremely careful about using SRA mode because it counts ads when you define the ad unit in the header, not when the display code is actually loaded. The result is, even if you are careful to call the code to display the ad only when it is visible, impressions will be counted anyway when it is not.

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