Publisher Future Plc and programmatic rich media platform JustPremium have teamed up for testing on Google’s upcoming launch of Core Web Vitals in May 2021. The partnership aims to produce guidance that ensures publishers offer fully ‘CLS-compliant’ services to advertisers and agency partners.
While the adtech industry has been dominated by changes that will come into force with the death of third-party cookies in 2022, more pressing changes coming with Google’s Web Vitals initiative in May have been mostly overlooked by industry players.
Web Vitals is a Google initiative to provide unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web. It changes how Core Web Vitals, implemented by Google in its search ranking algorithm, are measured and reported on. The metrics are focused on three key principles, defining the boundaries for: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – the time it takes for a page’s main content to load; First Input Delay (FID) – the time it takes for a page to become interactive; and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – the amount of unexpected layout shift of visual page content.
Publishers need to ensure that in at least 75% of cases, metrics are within these new thresholds set by Google, with a publisher’s CLS score also taken into account while determining the search ranking. This means that publishers may need to change aspects of their site to maintain their Google search result positioning. It will also require them to find solutions with advertising partners not to jeopardize the user experience under Google’s new restrictions with non-conforming ads.
Nick Flood, Global Commercial Operations Director at Future Plc, said: “Our goal is to create a better experience for our readers and advertising partners. As we operate on a proprietary technology stack we are able to apply our internal resources to proactively address Web Vitals. By updating our platform in earnest, we’re optimising our rich web ecosystem for advertisers and agencies to continue reaching high-intent users in key demographics.”
Initial testing from Future and JustPremium has shown that publishers will need to:
- Ensure that space is reserved on page for rich media ads to overlay in order to avoid a content shift.
- Ensure that rich media either competes with the ad in this reserve space to avoid ad clash or create competitive exclusions to avoid ad clash.
- Work with third party vendors to test this and ensure no shifts are recorded and no content is unintentionally overlayed.
At first glance it seems like a publisher issue, however, Core Web Vitals will directly affect all industry players including advertisers and agencies. Non-compliant formats could result in publishers blocking ads, which means lack of scale, under delivery and no room to optimise campaigns – leading to poor performance and loss of return on investment for advertisers and their agencies.
Jörg Schneider, Global Head of Sales & Supply at JustPremium, commented: “As with any other Google initiative, such as the Coalition for Better Ads, this requires a lot of work but, if dealt with correctly, will result in a better user experience (linked to higher number of website visits and longer dwell time spent on the site) which, in turn, will generate more ad revenue. These changes are going to require work from all parties so it’s vital that vendors dedicate time to talk with their publishers and other partners to ensure that they have fully compliant CLS services in light of these new changes coming in May 2021.”
Findings from further testing will be regularly published on JustPremium’s website and shared in a series of online events in the coming months.