Ad Yield Ops 103: Avoiding Ad Clutter

Learn the difference between ad density and ad clutter as well as the best practices for preventing a cluttered ad experience.



Lesson Overview + Resources:

In this lesson, we'll discuss how to optimize your ad layout and avoid ad clutter. In this video, we'll discuss:

  • What ad clutter is and how to avoid it
  • Mobile ad density vs. desktop ad density

Here are additional resources pertaining to this lesson:

Read the Transcript:

“I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.” 

This very well-known statement perfectly applies to the conversation of ad clutter and ad density. While it is very difficult to define, it is painfully obvious to see when you run across a website that is overly-cluttered with ads.

Before jumping into recommendations, let’s start with some definitions.

What is Ad Density? Ad density refers to the percentage of the visible area of the screen that ads take up at any given point.

And, What is Ad Clutter? Ad clutter is generally a term used to describe ad density that is too high, or too many visible ad units on a page at a given time.

Let’s start by looking at Mobile Ad Density.

The Coalition for Better Ads has a very clearly defined standard for ad density on mobile devices. They recommend:

“Ads take up no more than 30% of the vertical height of a page. Ad density is determined by summing the heights of all ads within the main content portion of a mobile page, then dividing by the total height of the main content portion of the page.”

Follow the 30% Rule for Mobile: Quite simply, on mobile devices, make sure you are following the 30% ad density or less rule provided by the Coalition for Better Ads.

Desktop experiences, on the other hand, have no such clearly defined guidelines. This is where you find yourself at the intersection of an art and a science.

Because there are so many different ad units out there, and so many different ways to incorporate them into the content of your website, it is very difficult to strictly define what makes an experience too “ad dense.”

Let’s go through some best practices that should keep you away from a cluttered experience.

Number 1, Use a Mix of High Impact and Standard Ads. 

An easy way to keep ad density in the right place is to use a blend of standard display ads and high impact ads. This keeps you from using too many display ads (which will start to lead to clutter), and strategically works in high-impact units that increase ad revenue much more with each impression.

Number 2, Pick the BEST Positioning for Display Ads. 

Reducing your total number of display ads shown (to keep clutter to a minimum) means that you need to pick the best possible positioning for those display units to drive the maximum CPMs from them. 

Some guidance includes: keeping ads away from navigational elements, ensuring there is plenty of padding between ads and content, and keep ads above the fold but lower on the visible portion of the screen (for instance, don’t place an ad right at the top of the page where the user will immediately scroll away from it).

In general, make sure to follow the advice provided in the ad layout best practices section of this module, and it should help keep you in a safe place.