User First beta program

About the User First beta program

Welcome to AdSense’s User First beta program. You are invited to this beta program because you offer your visitors an excellent mobile experience, e.g., your pages are fast-loading or your users are happy with the ad layout on your site. With this beta, you'll get early access to new features designed to help boost your revenue. User First can provide your visitors with better ad experiences, as long as you continue prioritizing giving users a great experience and enable AdSense to optimize for that experience.


You can unlock the following rewards with the User First program:

  • Timely, relevant ads for your users: Your mobile visitors who are signed into Google will see ads that they’ll want to engage with more.
  • More valuable ads for you: User First's targeted ads are better for your business and could increase your revenue.
  • Fewer, better ads: User First will start optimizing your ad load to create an even better experience for your visitors.

In the future, we’ll provide publishers in the User First beta program with access to new features and intelligent new formats. We'll keep you updated.

Some features of User First may work better for some publishers than others. If we detect that they are not performing well for you, we may pause your participation in the beta.

How we measure the user experience on your site

The User First beta program is designed to reward publishers who offer an excellent user experience. To measure the user experience on your site we calculate three ratings. Your ratings determine whether you can unlock all the rewards of the User First beta program. The better your ratings, the more rewards you will unlock. If your ratings ever drop below the User First standard, we'll help you bring them back up again so you can keep receiving the program's rewards. Note, we may have different standards for different types of ad inventory.

The User First metrics are:

Content speed (previously called Site speed)

How long does it take for your pages to be rendered usable for visitors?

A faster site means better user engagement, less abandonment, and higher overall user satisfaction. Consider the following statistics:

  • Over half of all mobile site visits are abandoned if the page doesn't load within 3 seconds 1
  • 1 in 5 dissatisfied users will never return to a website where problems have occurred 2
  • Mobile pages that load 1s faster see a 27% increase in conversion rate, which advertisers love 3


1 The Need for Mobile Speed, DoubleClick, September 2016
2 Akamai Technologies - 2014 Consumer Web Performance Expectations Survey
3 SOASTA Case study (September 1st, 2015)

Having a fast site is one of the best things you can do to provide a good experience for your users.

High-quality clicks (previously called Ad layout)

How often do your users intentionally click on the ad units on your site?

Low-quality clicks often occur when a user clicks an ad by mistake and then immediately clicks the back button. For example, let's say you’re about to click "Next" to move pages but you click the ad that's placed right above the button instead. Or, you’re about to click a link in an article when the page suddenly moves and you click an ad instead. When content "reflows" like this, i.e., it moves within the viewport after it's loaded, accidental clicks are common. In both cases, users tend to immediately hit the back button to get back to the content they were reading.

These kind of clicks aren’t good for users, advertisers or publishers. They annoy users by taking them away from your content, and they provide no return on investment for advertisers.

Whether or not your ad clicks represent the true intent of the user is an excellent measure of the quality of the overall ad experience. The lower the rate of low-quality clicks your site sees, the more confident we can be that users are having a great experience on your site and the advertiser is getting what they paid for.

Ad satisfaction

How often do visitors close ads on your site due to poor ad positioning?

The "Mute this ad" Mute this ad icon feature gives users the ability to control the ads they see. It also lets them signal which ads they find uninteresting or annoying. This feature has benefits for everyone:

  • Users: Have control over ads
  • Advertisers: No longer pay to show ads to people who aren't interested
  • Publishers: Get ads that perform better, and spend less time filtering out ads of no interest to their audience.
Example of the mute this ad button

When users choose to close or "mute" ads, we know they aren’t satisfied with the ad experience. There are usually two main reasons why users mute an ad:

  • They don't want to see a particular ad
  • The format or placement of the ad interrupts their browsing experience.

To handle the first case, Google will stop showing a muted ad to that user and also stop certain other ads very similar to it that have been purchased by the same advertiser. For the second case, this is where good ad placement becomes critical. To calculate your Ad satisfaction rating, we filter out the first case to focus solely on the effect of placement on your users’ behavior.

In addition, in order to adequately optimize the ad load on your site, we’re only able to provide the benefits on sites that serve only AdSense ads. This is so AdSense can effectively measure and adjust the number of ads for your visitors automatically. To do this, simply review your site to ensure that AdSense ads are the only ones being shown to your users.

Your User First rating card

Once you’re eligible, you can check your ratings in the User First card on your AdSense homepage.

Rating Description
Your site meets the User First standard. Keep up the excellent work.
Your site is about to drop below the User First standard. Now's a great time to make some changes to improve your rating.
Your site doesn't meet the User First standard. We recommend that you review our recommendations and take action to fix this.
Important: A red rating means that you don't currently have access to the rewards (e.g., improved ad performance) of the User First beta program.
We don't have enough data to give you a rating right now.
Note that when we don’t have enough data to calculate your rating, you're unable to unlock all the rewards of the User First beta program.

Recommendations to improve your user experience

Here are our recommendations if you need help to improve the user experience on your site:

Content speed recommendations

Keeping your site fast is all about making your pages lightweight and focusing on giving the user a good first impression.

Check your Content speed

Get insights on your Content speed by using Lighthouse, an open-source tool for improving site performance. When you know where to apply your efforts, you can choose a few optimizations to get started.

Fix common speed problems

Below, we’ll take you through some of the most common issues that slow down sites and how to fix them.

  • Lower your page weight

    Large or uncompressed JavaScript can slow down your pages. Custom fonts and uncompressed images can also adversely affect site speed. Learn how to optimize your images and enable compression on your site.

  • Leverage browser caching

    Fetching resources over the network is both slow and expensive. If you leverage browser caching it can speed up page loading times for your users.

  • Avoid redirects

    Minimizing redirects can improve the performance of your site. Learn how to avoid landing page redirects to make sure your users see your content as quickly as possible.

  • Switch to asynchronous ad code

    Use asynchronous ad code to let users get to your content quickly when the page begins to load. Also, learn how to remove Render-blocking JavaScript which can improve page loading times.

High-quality clicks recommendations

Ad placement is a big factor in determining the quality of your ad clicks. You should review the AdSense program policies in detail to make sure your site is compliant. However, there are a few cases in particular to watch out for that often drive high numbers of accidental clicks. Make sure your site avoids these to ensure a better experience for your users.

Move ads away from navigation

Placing an ad near a navigational element, such as a “Next” button or an arrow, is a frequent cause of accidental or low-quality user clicks.

Make sure you remove any ad that’s too close to a navigation button or within a gallery of images. These placements tend to confuse users and lead them to click ads instead of engaging with your content.

Example of an ad near a navigational element

Don’t encourage "accidental" or low-quality clicks

You're not permitted to encourage users to click on Google ads in any way. This includes placing ads in a way that they might be mistaken for other site content, such as a menu, navigation, or download links.

Be careful when you place links, play buttons, download buttons, navigation buttons (e.g., “Previous" or “Next"), game windows, video players, drop-down menus, or applications near ads because they might lead to accidental clicks. Even if your layout unintentionally leads to accidental clicks, you may still receive lower ratings or may even violate AdSense program policies.

Example of an ad placement that encourages accidental clicks

There are a variety of other potential placements that reduce the likelihood of high-quality clicks. Review the ad placement policies and these best practices for ad placement to ensure you’re giving your users the best experience.

Ad satisfaction recommendations

In addition to ensuring that your ad placements meet the AdSense program policies, be extra careful to avoid two particular types of placement that often cause users to mute their ads.

Remove ads that interfere with your content

Ads that cover your content keep users from engaging with your site (and are also against AdSense policy). Be sure also to avoid overloading your content with ads or placing them too close to content. This is a common cause of users muting ads. Make sure that you don’t have any ads that interfere with the core reading experience, and test this on multiple devices as the experiences can vary considerably.
Example of an ad that interferes with content

Don’t create custom ad containers

AdSense ads are designed to load fast, work well within your page, and meet tough quality standards when it comes to their behavior. Don’t modify formats causing them to behave differently than intended.

This is especially true of anchor ads that stick to the top or bottom of your screen. If you want to use the anchor ad format, we'd suggest that you use the official AdSense anchor ad, rather than build one yourself. Custom ad implementations can often obscure the content unnecessarily for your users and lead to more mutes.

Example of an ad in a custom container

When your users are no longer muting ads, it’s a good sign that they can comfortably engage with your content and are satisfied with your ad placements.

As always, failing to comply with the AdSense program policies can not only get you removed from the User First beta program, but can lead to revenue deductions or your termination from AdSense.

Send feedback

We'd love to hear your thoughts about the User First beta program. You can send us feedback by following these instructions:

  1. Sign in to your AdSense account.
  2. In your "User First" card, either:
    • Click Send feedback.


    • Click More More, then click Send feedback.
  3. Enter your feedback in the text box.
  4. Check the box if you want to include a screenshot.
  5. Click Send.

If you’d prefer to opt out of the User First beta program, please contact support to be removed.

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