Future Plc, the global platform for specialist media, and programmatic rich media platform JustPremium have partnered for extensive testing on Google’s upcoming launch of Core Web Vitals in May 2021 to provide guidance that ensures publishers offer fully CLS compliant services to advertisers and agency partners.
While the ad tech industry has been dominated by changes that will come into force with the death of third party cookies in 2022 and the impact of Google not replacing them with alternative identifiers in inventory it sells, more pressing changes coming with Google’s Web Vitals initiative in May is being mostly overlooked by industry players.
Future Plc, which is leading the charge amongst JustPremium’s publishing partners to stay ahead of the trend and remain compliant, has teamed up with the ad tech vendor to reveal key learnings to help advertisers, agencies and other publishers prepare for these changes.
What is Google’s Web Vitals initiative?
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.
What it means for publishers in practice
It means that publishers will need to change aspects of their site. The first step is to conform to Web Vitals to enhance the user experience on websites and maintain their Google search result positioning. It will also require them to find solutions with advertising partners not to jeopardise the user experience under Google’s new restrictions with non-conforming ads. Otherwise, they could see losses in ad revenue. While LCP and FID are largely in the hands of the publishers, for CLS they are relying in part on third party vendors.
“Our goal is to create a better experience for our readers and advertising partners,” said Nick Flood, global commercial operations director at Future Plc. “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 3rd party vendors to test this and ensure no shifts are recorded and no content is unintentionally overlayed.
What it means for advertisers and media agencies
At first glance it seems like a publisher issue but 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. Therefore, there is a pressing need for agencies to stay alert and work with vendors that have adapted and now provide fully compliant CLS services.
For more information and guidance for publishers on CLS and the new Web Vitals changes, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.