Definition: Downweight

Downweight is a term used when optimising ads. It means reducing the appearance of an ad on badly performing ad placements so as to improve the overall performance of a campaign.

The opposite of downweighting is upweighting – moving more budget to better performing ad placements.


Downweight Example

An ad for a new and revolutionary type of cheese is running on 5 different websites. After a month the budget for the ad spend is being reviewed, and the following results are reported from the 5 sites:

  1. – conversion rate = 3.4%
  2. – conversion rate = 2.2%
  3. – conversion rate = 4.7%
  4. – conversion rate = 4.1%
  5. – conversion rate = 5.2%

Note: It should go without saying – these results are not real. Apologies to any of these websites if they are real.

To improve conversion rates, and are downweighted – meaning budget is moved away from them to better-performing sites. In this case, would probably be cut out altogether, while would at least be given a smaller budget.

By doing this, the conversion rate will (almost certainly) improve simply because less money will be spent on bad performing sites.


Top Tip

When possible, tell a website that it is performing badly before cutting its budget. Often a threat of losing money will encourage a site to pay more attention to your campaign and work out ways to improve performance. This works doubly well if you share your performance target with the site, so they have something to aim for.


7 Ways To Think About Downweighting

  1. Don’t keep spending money on bad ad placements.
  2. It’s not just for websites, you can downweight categories, hours of the day (or days of the week), devices – ANYTHING that isn’t performing well should get less budget.
  3. Before cutting your ad budget for a website, tell them they are underperforming. It’s amazing what the threat of losing money can (sometimes) do to your performance.
  4. It’s one of the simplest and most effective ways of optimising ad campaigns.
  5. Before cutting advertising budget to a site, try things like tightening targeting to ATF placements, or adding a frequency cap.
  6. Downweighting works best when you apply it as granularly as possible (eg – don’t stop advertising on a whole site, just on the pages or sections that aren’t working).
  7. More colloquially known as “trimming the fat” off of an ad campaign.


It’s the opposite of (antonyms)…





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