Infinite Scroll vs. Load More: Which Is Better for Ad Revenue?

Updated on: December 23, 2023
Explore the difference between infinite scroll and load more and how it affects user experience.

Infinite scroll and the load more button are two popular methods among today’s publishers to load page content. Both impact user experience, page loading, and even ad revenue differently. 

You need to consider various factors, including your goals and the type of content on the site, to decide the one that suits you well. This post will address all your questions and help you decide on infinite scroll vs. load more. Let’s dive in!

What Is Infinite Scroll?

As the name suggests, infinite scroll gives the user unlimited content stream. How does it work? The page starts populating more content when the user reaches the end. There’s more content available to be scrolled. 

What kind of content is ideal for an infinite scroll? This navigation style is best suited for content like social media feeds, news feeds, etc. The users of social media sites and news sites are open to consuming a vast spectrum of content for an indefinite amount of time; that’s why it makes sense to deliver the content continuously.

Can you monetize your content using infinite scroll using Google’s services? Yes, Google allows you to monetize infinitely scrolling pages through dynamic ads. For a complete guide, refer to our post about monetizing your infinite scroll pages via the GPT tag.

What Are the Benefits of Infinite Scroll?

Longer Engagement: The user can be kept engaged for a long time because there’s no interruption in content consumption. Without an infinite scroll, the user has to stop and click on a link to go to the next page or to load the next batch of content. The requirement to click creates a friction point that motivates the user to bounce from your site.

More Impressions: You can keep serving more and more ads as the user scrolls. As a result, the volume of delivered impressions rises significantly.

Increased Revenue Per Session: The revenue per session increases automatically when the user remains engaged for a long time. As you can serve more ad impressions, the overall revenue increases substantially.

Content Discovery: Infinite scroll can bring your old content to the user. Highly engaging, evergreen content can be added to the content stream so the user can discover them. Your old articles can get consistent traffic with infinite scroll if the content is great.

Which sites should use infinite scroll?

Sites with user-generated content (say Twitter) generally have much of it. The content is produced in real-time, and the user wants to see it within minutes of production. Infinite scroll gives you the needed rapid delivery in such cases.

What Are the Downsides of Infinite Scroll?

Lower Viewability: Some ads will be below the fold because the stream loads in advance. Some of those ads will remain unviewed whenever the user closes the page. You must ensure that the ads load only when they are most likely viewed.

Lower CPMs: As viewability falls, so do the CPMs. The problem intensifies when your buyers are bidding based on viewability. 

Inefficient Navigation: Infinite scroll can bring many navigational problems to the page. For example, reaching the footer isn’t an option; finding what you have scrolled past a few minutes back becomes difficult. 

Running Footer: The pages with finite scrolling have a stable footer with important links like About Us, Contact Us, etc. You cannot reach the footer on pages with an infinite scroll. It can irritate visitors who like to use the footer for the links.

SEO Complications: Google will expand your content on a very long viewport and crawl only the content the viewport can accommodate. It means your content may not get crawled by the search engine after reaching a limit.

How to Improve the Infinite Scroll?

Consider these suggestions to maintain a good user experience on your site:

Lazy Loading: No matter your implementation, you want your pages to be fast and efficient. You want your CPMs and viewability intact. Lazy loading is perfect for these goals. But if you are unsure, read this post about whether you should lazy load. You should also read about how to get the best out of lazy loading on adexchanger.

Sidenote: Do not confuse infinite scroll and lazy Loading.

What’s the difference between Infinite Scroll and Lazy Loading?

Infinite Scroll loads the entire resources of the next page as soon as the user nears the page end, removing the need to click to reach the next page. Lazy loading requests just the necessary resources only when they are demanded.

Back Button: The user can go deep and get lost when your content is long. It can be a tedious task if the user decides to go back to the top of the page. Add a button to any of the right corners of your page to solve this problem.

Add the Load More button: Add the button to your infinite scroll to avoid the problem of the running footer. For example, let the user scroll for 5-10 articles and then ask whether to continue loading more content. It’ll save your page from becoming heavy too.

What Is the Load More Button?

The Load More button is a hybrid method of implementing infinite scroll. Instead of loading automatically, the next page is loaded on the user’s demand—the next page loads only when the user clicks the button. But, the Load More button can also be added to article pages with finite length to make them fast and organized with better possibilities of content discovery.

The Load More button is suited for e-commerce sites and pages with definite purposes, such as “how-to” articles. A user looking for a specific piece of information, say, how to monetize mobile traffic effectively, isn’t open to an unlimited feed of suggestions for every kind of monetization strategy on earth—so, asking whether he wants to move forward after a certain point is best.

Why Would You Want the Load More Button?

Lighter Page: The pages become lighter as fewer resources load until the user hits the button. It improves the page load speed.

Choice and Control: The user has the choice to load the content and has more control over the page than an infinite scroll. So, the ‘Load More’ button can be your preferred choice when giving control to the user is your priority.

Brings Up BTF Ads:

Why do publishers use the Load More button?

Many publishers also use the Load More button to bring up the ads below the fold. Publishers add this button after a few lines of an article and obfuscate the remaining portion. By doing so, they bring up the ads that otherwise would be at the end of the article. As a result, even if the article fails to engage the user, the ads would still have better chances of getting viewed.

Better Viewability: The Load More button doesn’t render the resources of the page’s remaining portion until the user clicks on it. As a result, no pre-loaded ads are waiting to arrive in the viewport. The ads load only when the user clicks the button and is about to reach the newly loaded section. It results in improved viewability.

Why You May Avoid Load More Button

Fewer Impressions: The Load More button will always have fewer impressions than infinite scroll because ads with the remaining content are loaded only after the user takes action. But it shouldn’t be a problem if your improved viewability and CPMs compensate for the loss.

Friction Point: The Load More Button is a friction point compared to the infinite scroll. The added requirement to click before accessing the content can stop the user from moving forward.

SEO Complications: Google may not crawl the content behind the Load More Button. It means you can lose your search engine rankings, organic traffic, and the revenue that it can generate.

How to Improve the Load More button?

Back Button: The back to the top button works here too. The user can return quickly if he has hit the load more button too many times.

Change Ad Placements: The number of impressions falls because the ads aren’t loading below the fold (which is a good thing). But you can add placements at different positions to compensate for lost impressions. Read our guide to find the best placements on your site.

Use AXT: Active Exposure Time will give you more opportunities to deliver ads with limited ad units. It’ll deliver ads only when the user is active on the page, improving your viewability. Not sure how it works? Read our detailed article on AXT here.

Pull Up Your Ads: Make sure the ads at the bottom of the article appear right below the load more button. These ads compensate for the hidden ones until the user expands the article. It’ll mitigate the impact of the load more button on your number of impressions.

Unique URL: Search engines require a unique URL for crawling a page. It means it wouldn’t be crawled if the content loaded after the click event isn’t mapped to a unique URL. So ask your SEO experts to ensure the mapping. Kindly note that there’s no official declaration from Google’s end that mapping will solve the problem for the Load More Button; it’s an inference that professionals have drawn from Google’s SEO best practices for infinite scroll.

Pagination Vs. Infinite Scroll: What’s the Difference

Pagination and infinite scroll are two ways to show content on a website.

While pagination splits content into separate pages, with links to move from one page to the next, infinite scroll keeps loading new items as the user scrolls down the page. 

The big difference is how the content is shown: pagination makes it into bite-sized chunks, while the infinite scroll is smooth and endless. Choosing one over the other depends on the type of content and how you want people to interact with it.

Infinite Scroll vs. Load More Button: What’s Best?

None of the methods is perfect, as both have pros and cons. But, when we look at them individually, it becomes clear that we must consider our needs before implementing them. You have to ask questions to yourself before making the decision:

Are your users browsing or searching?

If your audience is likely browsing, i.e., keeping up with the latest happenings, or reading a set of stories related to a specific topic, then infinite scroll could work. Loading more could work if they are most likely to consume something specific and jump off to a new and different topic altogether.

How much are you dependent on organic traffic?

If organic is your preferred traffic source, carefully implement any methods. Work closely with your tech team to ensure the desired content gets crawled. You might want to drop the idea if it’s affecting your traffic.

What are your monetization goals?

Do you want to increase your impressions? Go with an infinite scroll. Do you want to improve your CPM and viewability? Do you want to monetize your BTF ads better? Go with the Load More button.

What kind of content do you have on your site?

Do you mainly have images or small content (like Twitter)? Do you have a lot of user-generated content? If yes, an infinite scroll can be useful for you. The Load More button can be more useful with long-form text content.

What kind of user experience do you want to provide?

Do you want your visitors to lay back and enjoy the content? Go for infinite scroll. Implement the Load More button. 

What’s Next?

Consider the pros and cons of both methods and compare them with your objectives to make an informed decision. Implement lazy loading and every other solution that mitigates the negative impacts of your chosen method. Go through Google’s doc about lazy loading to ensure Ad Manager works correctly with your setup.

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