Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Web Strategy to cease the use of auto-refresh

Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Web Strategy

In simple terms, auto-refresh is where an individual web page automatically reloads itself on some sort of regular basis; say, every minute or so.

There are a range of reasons for doing so with the most common being that it allows any new and updated content to be loaded and reflected on the page; say a page showing train timetables, delays and cancellations, where the website wants to know that users will always have a reasonably updated version of the website, irrespective of when they might have first accessed the website.

Putting aside the practical applications for auto-refresh, depending on how you look at it, there is either a distinct upside to auto-refresh, or a distinct downside. And how you look at it depends on whether you’re buying ads on websites, or selling them.

After all, the more pages your website can serve, the more ads you can serve and the greater reach you can offer to advertise.

Advertisers however want legitimate eyeballs and not just pages of course.

And there is the auto-refresh boggle.

Some estimates around auto-refresh claim that over 50% of pages served on some commercial websites – i.e. websites selling advertising space – are due to auto-refresh. Think about it; you open the Herald in the morning, head off to a meeting and in-between, your browser has reloaded the page 15 times!

There has been a growing and concerted push by advertisers to stop publishers from utilising (or at least quoting) auto-refresh. And the tide is turning…

News Limited’s has announced that it will drop auto-refresh effective immediately.

There will no doubt be short-term pain, as their available ad-spots tumble in number. They will however be standing on the right side of the ditch when there comes a point in the not so distant future, that websites that persevere with auto-refresh will look decidedly unattractive.