The pivot to slow page loads: Latency is a major headache for video-crazy publishers
With publishers frantically chasing video ad dollars, the simple act of getting videos to load promptly is emerging as a thorny issue.
Pages with a lot of clutter, heavy ad creative and multiple tracking tags have trouble loading their videos. Another issue is that publishers still rely on outdated technology when selling their video inventory. Frank Sinton, CEO of video platform Beachfront Media, said latency alone can reduce a publisher’s video ad revenue by up to 30 percent.
Here are the main reasons why many publishers have slow-loading videos and what they can do to fix it.
Because publishers want to load more ads to gain revenue and advertisers want to add analytics pixels to ensure their KPIs are being met, many publishers have sites that load painstakingly slow. And if the site is loading slowly overall, that affects how quickly the video player can load content since all the code on page is getting processed simultaneously, said Brian Rifkin, co-founder of video vendor JW Player.
Since video CPMs are much greater than display CPMs, the revenue gains of adding extra display units are canceled out if they delay the serving of video ads, Rifkin said. Removing ad clutter has helped publishers like LittleThings and Dotdash generate more revenue per visit.
Advertisers want high-resolution imagery that makes their ads pop, but getting these ads to load can be a pain for publishers. Video vendors can advise publishers on what file sizes they should accept, but it is ultimately up to publishers to impose size limits themselves, said Matt Smith, media evangelist of video player Brightcove.
The adoption of video player ad-serving interface definition tags also makes video ads heavy. VPAID tags provide data to advertisers on how their video ads are performing in areas like viewability and engagement. But all that tracking code slows load times. Since a single ad can have multiple VPAID tags, publishers can expect some latency if advertisers demand lots of reporting via VPAID.
Display ads make their ad calls as a page loads. But aside from autoplay ads, most video ads do not make ad calls until a user clicks the play button, said Justin Festa, chief digital officer at LittleThings. This creates latency because after clicking the play button, the user (who already sat through the loading of the webpage) then has to wait for all the ad calls to process before viewing the video.
Because video ads sold programmatically still primarily rely on the waterfall method — where publishers move their inventory from one market to the next — the user has to wait while the ad calls get passed from exchange to another, which can take several seconds, said Cristina Calderin, director of programmatic at Thought Catalog.
Tim Wolfe, vp of revenue operations at the USA Today Network, said video header bidding could reduce this latency since it makes ad calls simultaneously rather than in succession. But for now, it’s more hype than reality for most publishers.
Since video ad serving slows down page loads, the only way to quickly load monetizable videos is to forgo serving an ad and embed sponsorships directly into the video, said Salah Zalatimo, head of product and tech at Forbes. This can be done through branded content, product placement or slapping an advertiser’s logo onto the video.
But sponsorships are limited to direct deals with advertisers that give their permission to this branding. Meanwhile, serving ads in front of a video can be done at scale since programmatic selling opens the door to a plethora of advertisers that seek scarce quality video inventory.
“The problem is there is no one at the moment who can take an end-to-end approach that gives advertisers the tracking they want, publishers the targeting and campaign management they want and users the speed they want,” Zalatimo said.
Quibi’s shutdown underscores economic challenge for big-budget, bite-sized shows
Quibi’s demise may not spur a recession of the premium short-form video market, but rather a correction.
Member ExclusiveTV networks face loss of affiliate revenue in shift to streaming
Pay-TV affiliate fees helped pad networks’ profits, subsidizing their streaming plays. Without them, networks will need to recalibrate.
‘Double what we would normally pay’: Unstable fourth quarter TV ad market is pushing up prices
As the TV ad market tightens up in fourth quarter, ad buyers expect to see the pressure on inventory avails hike prices and potentially push more advertiser money to streaming.
SponsoredBrands are rethinking content strategies to make personalization pay off
When it comes to providing a differentiated customer experience, content is king; customers will not hesitate to switch to a competitor if they aren’t engaged by the information that matters most to them. Top performing brands know that they need to provide the personalized, relevant information their customers need at every point along their journey […]
‘You have to be more nimble’: How advertisers are adapting to a mixed-up fourth-quarter TV market
An unstable TV programming and viewership landscape is pushing advertisers to buy inventory in TV’s scatter market to hedge their traditional buys.
TV sports advertisers grapple with NFL, college football rescheduling games
The return of TV’s two biggest inventory sources — the NFL and college football — has not been able to settle an unstable TV advertising market.