Revenue Optimization
Author: Alise Zaiceva 6 minute read
#Website Monetization
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What is Ad Refresh and Is It Necessary for Your Website?

Ad refresh is one of the techniques that allows publishers to maximize their ad revenue. However, it’s important to follow best practices for it to deliver the best results. 

This article explains why refreshing ads is a valuable monetization strategy, how ad refresh can benefit publishers, and what is unique about Setupad’s ad refresh–Viewable Bid Optimization. 

What is Ad Refresh?

Ad refresh, also known as auto-refresh ads, is the practice of refreshing ads that are already displayed on a page without refreshing the page itself.

Ad refresh allows displaying more ads for the same user in a single session, thus increasing the publisher’s ad revenue.

What are Different Types of Ad Refresh?

There are 3 main things that trigger ad refresh:

  1. User action: when a user performs a specific action, for example, reaches the end of the article.
  1. Event: when a particular event predefined by a publisher is performed. For example, a publisher uploaded new content to the page.

  2. Time: ad refresh is triggered after a certain number of seconds, usually 30, 60, or 90.

Does AdSense allow ad refresh?

No. Ad refresh isn’t permitted in Google AdSense. This rule also applies to ads in placements that auto-refresh or auto-redirect.   

This is done to prevent refreshing ads without genuine user intent.

Do I Need Ad Refresh?

Generally, most websites will benefit from ad refresh. However, if your website has a high average session duration and average time on page, it will deliver the best results. 

These include:

  • service-based websites; 
  • gaming sites;
  • blogs; 
  • online media sites; 
  • pages with infinite (endless) scroll.

It’s important to use ad refresh correctly and on the right ad placements. Otherwise, there is a big risk of unseen ads, which will negatively impact publishers’ CPM, CTR, and ad viewability rates. 

Ad Refresh Best Practices

1. Comply with ad refresh policies 

You need to make sure that demand partners (ad exchanges/SSPs) you work with support this feature. 

For example, you must first declare which portion of your ad inventory you want to refresh in Google Ad Manager to let buyers know they’re buying a refreshing inventory. 

You must also read the demand partner’s policy on ad refresh, such as the minimum time intervals between ad refreshes.

If you are a Setupad client, you don’t need to worry about this step, as we make sure our clients’ ad refresh automatically complies with demand partners’ policies. 

2. Use longer time intervals between ad refreshes 

Longer time intervals between ad refreshes guarantee better ad viewability. Short time intervals, on the other hand, may decrease overall ad inventory value and lower CPMs.

Google recommends that ads stay in view for a minimum of 30 seconds with 60 seconds being a good average time. 

3. Choose Setupad’s Viewable Bid Optimization 

Setupad’s Viewable Bid Optimization considers user behavior on the website to make sure that ads displayed are noticeable. 

Our solution monitors ad viewability, while a tailored algorithm prevents decreasing the average eCPM value when the ad is refreshed. 

Ads are changing only when the next ad impression benefits the publisher. Higher eCPM is achieved thanks to improved ad viewability and CTR ratios. Therefore, advertisers are willing to spend more.

This solution delivers the best results for websites where the ad format is visible all the time, such as a billboard banner ad or sticky sidebar ads.

Related Article: Digital Ad Formats | Ultimate Guide for Beginners

What is Setupad’s Viewable Bid Optimization?

The key is the word viewable. Usually, the viewable ad impression counts after 1 second, but it’s way too short for a user to notice and interact with the ad. 

Our solution only refreshes the ad when the user has ‘seen’ it. That means at least 50% of the ad has been visible for a minimum of 30-40 seconds on the user’s screen. 


If a user’s attention wasn’t brought to an ad after 1 minute, it probably wouldn’t happen at all. 


In this 1 minute, a user learnt everything about the ad, so the Viewable Bid Optimization does no damage to the advertiser. This solution will serve another ad to a user that might interest him more.

It’s a win-win scenario for both–publishers and advertisers. Publishers get additional revenue from the newly discovered ad inventory. And advertisers are also not losing any potential interest from users since it has been a viewable impression.

How Does Viewable Bid Optimization Work?

We took one of our clients’ websites as an example to show you how results changed before and after implementing the Viewable Bid Optimization. 

This website has a fixed layout with only one ad placement that’s visible all the time. It is important to note that the users of the site are an engaged audience with a high screen time.

The infographic below shows our client’s weekly results before the Viewable Bid Optimization.

After implementing the ad refresh, the client’s average eCPM, total ad revenue, and impressions changed accordingly.

According to the data above, the total number of ad impressions served didn’t change significantly, but the overall ad revenue increased 3 times, and eCPM by €1.81.


If you still have doubts about whether or not you need ad refresh, you can run an A/B test to compare the ad units with ad refresh and without it. It will help you to decide if your site benefits from refreshing ads or not.

At Setupad we ensure that ads are implemented correctly on publishers’ sites and that they follow ad refresh best practices. Test it yourself by signing up!

About Alise Zaiceva
Alise is a content marketing manager at Setupad. She’s passionate about content and helping publishers scale their businesses through powerful digital marketing strategies. In her free time, she expands her knowledge of tech.

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