On Monday 29 April 2013, Flemish newspaper De Standaard launched a new layout for its site. The new site is responsive: it adapts to the device (and screen resolution) on which it is viewed. Adhese, a Belgian company specialized in ad serving solutions, took part in this transition and drastically changed the way ads are presented to visitors of De Standaard. The result: faster loading webpages and better ways to protect visitor privacy.
Together with the new site layout De Standaard Publisher, Corelio, also launched a new digital version of its flagship print publication. Not only the content, but also the ads in the analog version of De Standaard can be seen online. Adhese allows Corelio to incorporate the ‘off-line’ ads in their online inventory. Every print ad can be imported in Adhese, and become part of Corelios inventory, There it can be managed, measured and tracked, just like all other ads and campaigns. Even more, if the advertiser wants this, the ad can be upgraded to a dynamic digital ad.
Concerning ad serving on Standaard.be, some things fundamentally changed.
Simpler and faster
A first -and for users most noticeable- change to Standaard.be is that all ads are sent as one package (a .json file) when a web page is opened. This may not sound like a big deal, but it actually is. The normal procedure for inserting ads on a web page is this: when you open a web page, the page sends a request to the server for each ad that need to be loaded, thus generating quite a lot of traffic and slowing things down. In short: the more ads, the slower pages load. Now, Standaard.be has to send only one request for all ad spaces, resulting in a faster loading time of the page, an upgraded user experience and a lower bounce rate. This practice is also known as asynchronous loading.
Standaard.be is one of many sites owned by Mediahuis. All other sites (including Nieuwsblad, Jobat, L’avenir and others) still use the ‘old’ system of multiple requests per page. This is no problem for Adhese: as soon as a request is sent, Adhese determines in which way the information will be fed back and shown. Without any additional work for Mediahuis: all their campaigns are managed by Adhese, no matter what kind of site is being served.
Viewed, or not?
The new ad serving system on Standaard.be is a lot more transparent towards advertisers. It offers Mediahuis the opportunity to show ads when, and only when, a visitor actually sees them (meaning the ad is on their screen and not, for example, below the fold). Normally, every ad on a webpage is considered ‘viewed’ and thus counts as an impression.
In this new system, an ad is only counted when it appears on the visitors screen. Thus it is only counted as an impression once it is actually viewed. This way the information Mediahuis supplies to its advertisers is a lot more transparent and accurate: an impression really is an impression, not just a translation of ‘this ad was loaded on a webpage’.
Users, users, users (and privacy)
Another advantage of the new Adhese technology is a better protection of the personal information Mediahuis gets from its visitors. Normally sites work with cookies, small files stored on your computer that contain information about, for example, your previous behaviour on the site. These bits of information are saved on the hard disk of the user (client-based). This makes this data potentially accessible to third parties.