I designed and launched an improved Long-Form Content reading experience, by creating an extended layout for desktops and larger screens.
Previously all article pages used a two-column layout, where the body of the article was in a 630px wide column and next to it was a corresponding sidebar in a 300px wide column. This was the optimal layout for advertising as the 300px column contained both a 300×250 and a 300×600 ad unit on desktop pages.
However this layout was not ideal for articles that were image or text heavy, as it provided a poor reading experience. I tested a new 970px extended layout on articles that had a longer than average character count or had numerous photos and found that compared to our normal article pages which were around 630px wide, these new extended articles increased the user retention rate by 3x.
This new extended layout allowed photos, galleries and videos to be displayed at a full-bleed (edge-to-edge), and had a more premium look to them. However because I got rid of the 300px column sidebar, I had to find a new way to incorporate advertising within these posts. This was done by injecting ads in-between paragraphs after a certain character length.
With this ad injection solution in place, the extended article template was now a viable option for our editorial teams as it was being monetized, gave desktop users a premium reading experience, and increased the time users spent on the page.