Ad Content Quality: Creating Better Ad Experiences for Users

While the jury is still out with regard to what led to the rapid rise of low-quality ads, nearly everyone agrees that these ads have impacted user experience and publishers’ revenue.

Ad content quality is an ongoing, industry-wide issue and misaligned ads are bad for business.

Ad content and page content always go together — and they need to go together seamlessly.

As a publisher, you’ve built your business on your content but there’s more to content than editorial and design.

It’s up to publishers to focus on increasing the quality of adverts across the board.

Guilty by Association

Users don’t separate page content from ad content.

Neither should the publisher. Page content and ad content together show your audience what you care about, what you stand for, and the role your site and brand play in their lives.

Your users notice ads with off-base, misleading, polarizing, adult, or offensive content. The wrong messages in ad content wreck user experience, and lead users to end sessions and avoid your site.

Start Asking The Right Questions

Is the ad content on your site consistent with your message, your ad policies, and the overall experience you’ve created for your audience?

Ultimately, the reason why publishers need to care about the quality of advertising is because they hold the key to its future.

Its time to start asking your team; Are our content categories too broad? Is that inadvertently causing ad quality issues?  When we categorize content, are we representing our brand and our vision accurately?

Does the ad’s creative accurately represent the content it leads to?

Yes, we’re all familiar with “fake news.”

But the problem of “fake ads” has also hit publishers sites.

These ads may be inconsistent with the publisher’s ad policies, and they may have misleading creative. Sometimes, the creative tells all you need to know, and the ad is simply the wrong ad for the environment in question.

But often, the only way you can tell it’s a fake ad is to click through and see where you land.

And for the unsuspecting user, landing on a clearly inappropriate page can wreck user experience.

What EXACTLY is on the landing page?

Does the content of that landing page send a message that feels inappropriate or unwelcome, compared to the publisher page they just came from?

Political ads are an obvious case. But when you block, say, all political ads, you end up blocking harmless ads–perhaps ads about local politics, which could ultimately be more of a service to the user than a source of controversy.

The nuclear option should not be a publisher’s go-to.

The trend is to get ahead of potential brand safety and UX issues and to block entire ad categories wholesale.

When publishers hold their ads to a higher standard, they intern deliver better, more relevant, adverts to the end user, publishers can both sustain, and potentially improve, an important revenue stream that will to sustain their business.

Control is Within Reach

Providing the best overall digital experience demands quality assurance and a strong defense. Ad content quality deserves the same level of attention as ad security and adherence to ad specs.

There are a few ways publishers can take initiative to create better ad experiences for users and help drive advertising standards forward.

Important strategies to create better ad experiences for users

  1. Set policies for ads across specific content categories
  2. Monitor keywords and phrases in ad content and on the ads’ landing pages
  3. Enable your users to report inappropriate ads, so you can adjust your ad policies and understand how to best align page and ad content
  1. Present a unified front and consistent experience across all your digital properties.
  2. Don’t let off-message ads kill the user’s session, patience, and relationship with your brand.



In a world that sees content as the king, your ad content is a key factor in how your audience perceives your brand. As AdTech security progress both in users’ expectations and attackers sophistication – ad security and ad quality are becoming intertwined.

Sending the right message to your audience relies on your overall look and feel as a publisher, ad content is a part of it.

Alisha is a Technology Writer and Marketing Manager at GeoEdge. Her writing focuses on current events in the AdTech ecosystem and cyberattacks served through the digital advertising supply chain. You can find Alisha on LinkedIn to discuss brand building and happenings in AdTech.

Malvertising, the practice of sprinkling malicious code into legitimate-looking ads is growing more sophisticated. GeoEdge’s holistic ad quality solution has you covered.


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