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Friendly, Appealing or Both? Characterising User Experience in Sponsored Search Landing Pages

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Many of today’s websites have recognised the importance of mobile friendly pages to keep users engaged and to provide a satisfying user experience. However, next to the experience provided by the sites themselves, advertisements, when clicked, present users with landing pages that are not necessarily mobile friendly. We explore what type of features are able to characterise the mobile friendliness of sponsored search ad landing pages. To have a complete understanding of the mobile ad experience in terms of layout and visual appearance, we also explore the notion of the ad page aesthetic appeal. We design and collect annotations for both dimensions on a large set of ads, and find that mobile friendliness and aesthetics represent different notions.

We perform a comprehensive study of the effectiveness of over 120 features on the tasks of friendliness and aesthetics prediction. We find that next to general page size, HTML, and resource usage based features, several features based on the visual composition of landing pages are important to determine mobile friendliness and aesthetics. We demonstrate the additional benefit of these various types of features by comparing against the mobile friendliness guidelines provided by W3C. Finally, we use our models to determine the state of landing page mobile friendliness and aesthetics on a large sample of advertisements of a major internet company.

These are the slides of work presented at WWW 2017 in Perth:
M. Bron, M. Redi, F. Silvestri, H. Evans, M. Chute and M. Lalmas. Friendly, Appealing or Both? Characterising User Experience in Sponsored Search Landing Pages, 26th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW 2017), Industrial Track, Perth, Australia, 3-7 April, 2017.

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Friendly, Appealing or Both? Characterising User Experience in Sponsored Search Landing Pages

  1. 1. Friendly, Appealing or Both? Characterising User Experience in Sponsored Search Landing Pages Marc Bron, Miriam Redi, Fabrizio Silvestri, Hue Evans, Mahlon Chute and Mounia Lalmas
  2. 2. Motivation and goals •  Bad post-click experience with ads results in loss of daily active users and as a consequence revenue •  Two dimensions: mobile friendliness and aesthetic appeal •  Help advertisers improving quality of their ads ●  create ground truth ●  develop features and learn classifliers ●  understand the post-click experience Search ads
  3. 3. What is “mobile friendliness”? A web page is mobile friendly if it has a good user experience on a mobile device. Good experience is a combination of great performance and mobile specific experience.
  4. 4. What is “ad mobile friendliness”? A web page that is mobile friendly as previously defined and it makes it easy for the user to understand what the ad is about (e.g. the product advertised) and allows the user to convert (e.g. purchase the product advertised).
  5. 5. What we did Features Learning a classifier editorial guidelines Ground truth Aesthetics appeal HTLM Visual Random forest 700,000 ad search landing pages: Bad: 6% Fair: 50% Good: 35% Excellent: 9% What does this tell us?
  6. 6. Ground truth
  7. 7. Mobile Friendliness – 4 levels EXCELLENT GOOD FAIR BAD Mobile-optimized Conversion easiness Good product/ business experience Mobile optimized Simplified navigation Good readability High usability Missing good mobile friendliness criteria Fair: missing ONE criteria Bad: missing 2 OR MORE criteria (e.g. a desktop page!)
  8. 8. Aesthetically pleasing checkbox ●  Good color and shape harmony ●  Photographically beautiful images (if any) ●  Colors and fonts tend to harmonize with the theme of the site, without being centers of attention ●  The layout of each page tends to direct eye movement to the key part of the page
  9. 9. Annotation results 4,025 landing pages 63% agreements on mobile friendliness Of the 37% disagreements: 3% by one rating level 5% by two or more rating levels 2% Not Judged rating (page not longer present) 5% aesthetically pleasing Spearman's rho = 0.2 between mobile friendliness and aesthetically pleasing (p < 0.001)
  10. 10. Features
  11. 11. Family of HTML features (63) •  Mobile optimized: whether a page is specifically designed for mobile or whether it is a desktop page. •  Window size: aspects of the size of the rendered html image and used to detect whether the size of a page is suitable for mobile devices. •  Readability: identify the formality of the language used in the landing page text. Intuition is that dense and formal texts may be less pleasant to read on a mobile device. •  Input: number and type of input elements in a page. Intuition is pages that require users to provide information through many forms may be considered less mobile friendly. •  Navigation: proportion of internal links, external links, and text contained in a page. E.g., mobile friendly pages may provide access to different sections of a page through internal links.
  12. 12. Family of visual features (66) Color Distribution Features: Hue, Saturation, Brightness Rule of Thirds: Image Composition and Layout Emotional Response Features: Pleasure, Arousal, Dominance Depth of Field: Sharpness contrast between foreground and background Objective Quality Features: Sharpness, Noise, JPEG quality, Contrast Balance, Exposure Balance
  13. 13. Learning classifiers
  14. 14. Classification tasks ad landing pages 1,2,3,4 0/1 Random forest split the data based on advertisers 10-fold cross 90% and 10%
  15. 15. Results
  16. 16. Feature family and level of mobile friendliness Feature family AUCw AUCbad AUCfair AUCgood AUCexcellent readability navigation input window size mobile optimised layout texture & contrast color image quality .589 .642 .674 .731 .752 .707 .706 .727 .727 .518 .695 .682 .850 .797 .825 .741 .795 .855 .662 .677 .697 .741 .769 .722 .734 .766 .719 .553 .566 .618 .707 .739 .668 .662 .676 .696 .786 .626 .661 .629 .687 .620 .632 .623 .627 all .788 .890 .800 .762 .693 Easier to predict bad then fair, less easy to predict excellent.
  17. 17. Aesthetics HTML feature category AUCw Visual feature category AUCw input navigation mobile optimised readability .541 .551 .566 .570 layout quality texture color .633 .680 .688 .695 Using all features: AUCw = 0.661, which is compared to state-of-the-art on image beauty classification in computational aesthetics research
  18. 18. Feature analysis
  19. 19. Mobile friendliness •  Most discriminative features related to window size + mobile optimized •  Cleaner and less pixelated pages are more mobile friendly •  Low quality pages more often have very bright colour combinations •  Presence of a small number of bright colors with an otherwise moderate use of brightness associate well with mobile friendliness
  20. 20. Aesthetics •  Presence of objects in certain focus areas better for aesthetic appeal •  Aesthetic appeal mostly explained with visual features, in particular image brightness •  Too bright pages are not good, while pages with mild brightness more aesthetically pleasing
  21. 21. Accounting for mobile friendliness & aesthetic can provide easier navigation & inspiring and convincing ad experience Mobile friendliness vs. aesthetic appeal HTML features •  mobile optimized and structure important for mobile friendliness •  width image negatively correlated to mobile friendliness, but positively correlated to aesthetics Visual features •  smooth and rougher pages are aesthetically pleasing •  symmetry very important for mobile friendliness •  importance of brightness for aesthetics less prominent compared to mobile friendliness •  uniqueness more important for mobile friendliness than aesthetics
  22. 22. Study dimensions of post-click experience for search ads, mobile friendliness and aesthetic appeal à to “consume” the ad Good and excellent ad landing pages positively associated with long clicks but not necessarily with conversions. Few visually attractive landing pages but these were positively associated with conversions. A/B testing with bad landing pages filtered out decrease of -6.04% in short clicks increase of +1.15% in ad click-through rate Final results 700,000 ad search landing pages: Bad: 6% Fair: 50% Good: 35% Excellent: 9%
  23. 23. Examples of excellent mobile friendly and aesthetically appealing landing pages keep it simple, with one nice background, and a simple call to action

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