Boosting Revenue with Ad Quality & Security: A Guide for Publishers

Updated on: January 2, 2024
Ad quality matters more than you think! Dive into our guide to see how better ads can lead to better revenue. Ready to transform your ad strategy?

Digital publishing is a world where content, ads, and user experience intersect. As a publisher, your role isn’t just about filling ad slots—it’s about ensuring that every ad served contributes to a positive user experience. This isn’t a simple task, but it’s one that publishers around the globe are tackling head-on.

You’re not alone in this journey. Publishers across the globe face similar challenges, and many have successfully found ways to turn these obstacles into opportunities. This guide aims to share those insights and strategies, turning the challenge of ad quality and security into a stepping stone toward success.

In this guide, we’ll unpack the concept of header bidding, delve into the challenges of maintaining ad quality, and discuss the critical role of ad security in digital publishing. We’ll also provide practical, actionable advice on improving ad quality and security, leveraging technology, and evaluating potential ad security and quality solutions.

The Evolution and Impact of Header Bidding

Header bidding is a technology that allows multiple demand partners, ad networks, and ad exchanges to bid on the same ad inventory simultaneously, aiming to increase competition and, consequently, ad revenues for publishers. It’s a key cog in the machinery of digital publishing.

Since its introduction in 2015, header bidding has significantly reshaped the programmatic landscape. It has not only given publishers a clearer understanding of the true value of their ad inventory but also complicated the relationships between publishers and their demand partners.

Header bidding has opened up multiple paths to inventory, including the waterfall, header, header wrappers, server-side and client-side connections, and even in-app. This complexity often leads publishers to plug one demand partner into multiple places to maximize their bids.

However, this complexity also presents challenges. Malvertisers and scammers exploit these numerous points of entry, causing ad quality headaches for publishers. The header, despite its revenue-boosting potential, is not immune to these bad actors.

Nearly half of publishers consider low-quality or malicious ads to be one of their greatest difficulties in header bidding, alongside page latency and auction time-outs.

The good news is that these ad quality concerns can be managed and mitigated. Publishers can leverage automated monitoring and blocking of bad ads and develop customized strategies with their demand partners and ad quality vendors. This can help keep harmful, misleading, inappropriate, and low-quality ads off the page without denting header revenue.

The Role of Ad Security

Ad security is a critical component in the quest for ad quality. It serves as the first line of defense against malicious ads that can harm users and tarnish a publisher’s reputation.

Malvertisements, ads that contain malware or direct users to malicious sites, pose a significant risk to user safety and privacy. They can also lead to legal issues for publishers if not addressed promptly.

But ad security isn’t just about warding off malicious ads. It’s also about ensuring that all ads meet certain quality standards and comply with industry regulations. This includes verifying that ads don’t contain misleading claims, adhere to privacy laws, and are suitable for the audience.

Robust ad security measures can protect users, maintain a positive user experience, and safeguard a publisher’s reputation. They can also contribute to higher ad revenues by ensuring that ads are high-quality and relevant to the audience.

Ad Quality Challenges for Publishers

Ad quality is a critical factor that significantly impacts both user experience and revenue. Publishers face a variety of challenges when it comes to maintaining ad quality:

  • Variety of Low-Quality Ads: Low-quality ads come in many forms, from merely annoying or irrelevant ads to misleading or inappropriate ones. The most harmful are malicious ads, also known as malvertising, which spread malware.
  • Impact on User Experience: Ads that are intrusive, annoying, or slow to load can frustrate users, leading them to install ad blockers or even abandon the site. This not only impacts ad revenues but can also damage the publisher’s reputation and relationship with their audience.
  • Complexity of the Programmatic Ecosystem: The complexity of the programmatic ecosystem, especially with technologies like header bidding, can make it easier for low-quality or malicious ads to slip through the cracks.
  • Economic Factors: Economic downturns can lead to an increase in low-quality ads as advertisers look for cheaper ways to reach their audience. This can exacerbate the ad quality challenges faced by publishers.

Despite these challenges, there are ways to manage and even turn them into opportunities. In the next sections, we’ll explore how improving ad quality can lead to increased revenue.

How Quality and Revenue Are Linked

The link between ad quality and revenue is more direct than you might think. High-quality ads lead to a better user experience, which in turn leads to higher user engagement. And as any publisher knows, higher user engagement often translates into higher ad revenues.

Here’s how it works:

  • User Experience: High-quality ads are less likely to annoy or frustrate users. This means users are more likely to stay on your site, engage with your content, and view more ads.
  • Ad Engagement: When ads are relevant and non-intrusive, users are more likely to engage with them. This can lead to higher click-through rates, which directly impact ad revenues.
  • Brand Reputation: Maintaining a high standard of ad quality can enhance your brand’s reputation. Users are more likely to trust and return to sites that provide a positive ad viewing experience.
  • Ad Blocker Use: High-quality ads can reduce the need for users to install ad blockers. This means more of your ads get seen, which can lead to higher revenues.

In the next sections, we’ll provide practical advice on how to improve ad quality and security and discuss how publishers can leverage technology to tackle these challenges.

Strategies for Improving Ad Quality and Security

Improving ad quality and security may seem like a daunting task, but with the right strategies and leveraging technology, it’s entirely achievable. Here are some practical steps you can take:

  • Automated Monitoring and Blocking: Use tools like GeoEdge or The Media Trust to monitor and block low-quality or malicious ads in real-time. This can help protect your users and your brand reputation.
  • Demand Partner Evaluation: Regularly evaluate your demand partners to ensure they meet your ad quality standards. Partners known for delivering high-quality ads, such as Google AdX or Index Exchange, can be valuable allies in maintaining ad quality.
  • User Feedback: Listen to your users. If they’re complaining about certain types of ads, take action. This can help improve user experience and increase user engagement. Tools like UserVoice can help you gather and manage user feedback effectively.
  • Ad Testing: Regularly test your ads to ensure they’re working correctly and not causing issues like slow page load times. This can help improve user experience and ad performance. Tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights can help you understand how your ads affect your site’s performance.
  • Ad Verification Services: These services, like Integral Ad Science or DoubleVerify, verify that ads meet certain standards and comply with industry regulations. They can help detect issues like ad fraud, viewability problems, and non-compliance with privacy laws.

Evaluating Ad Security and Quality Solutions

Choosing the right ad security and quality solution is a critical step in improving ad quality. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating potential solutions:

  • Effectiveness: The solution should be effective at detecting and blocking low-quality or malicious ads. Look for solutions that use advanced technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify and block bad ads.
  • Ease of Use: The solution should be easy to use and integrate with your existing systems. A solution that requires a lot of technical expertise to set up and manage may not be the best choice, especially for smaller publishers.
  • Reporting and Analytics: The solution should provide detailed reporting and analytics. This can help you understand the types of ads being blocked and why, which can provide valuable insights for improving ad quality.
  • Customer Support: The solution provider should offer strong customer support. If you run into issues or have questions, you want to be sure that you can get the help you need quickly.
  • Reputation: Finally, consider the reputation of the solution provider. Look for providers that are well-established and have a track record of success in the industry.

Remember, the goal is to find a solution that fits your specific needs and helps you achieve your ad quality and security goals.

The Path Forward for Publishers

Navigating the challenges of ad quality and security is a journey, not a destination. It requires continuous effort, adaptation, and vigilance. But the rewards are worth it. By prioritizing ad quality and security, publishers can enhance user trust, protect their brand, and unlock new revenue opportunities. The future of digital publishing belongs to those who embrace these challenges and turn them into opportunities for growth and improvement.


1. What defines ad quality?

Ad quality refers to the ad’s relevance, safety, and contribution to a positive user experience.

2. What are the three main factors that determine ad quality?

Ad quality hinges on relevance to the audience, safety from harmful content, and user experience impact.

3. How is ad quality determined?

Ad quality is gauged through automated checks, manual reviews, and user feedback.


News and Tips for Publishers

Get the inside scoop on publishing and programmatic with our 5-minute newsletter.