Is Faster Better?

  • For some things in life, being too fast is not a fulfilling experience. For programmatic, however, faster IS better.

Publishers frequently lay a poor foundation for programmatic, then expect demand partners, manipulation of pricing floors, and pass-backs to do all the work. In today’s world, if you don’t start with a good foundation you’ll always be handicapped. It is extremely difficult to diagnose a problem when you don’t understand the root causes.

The foundation I’m referring to relates to the speed at which content pages and ads load. How often have you been in a situation where someone (editorial, executive management, etc.) says “our pages and ads are taking too long to load.” Without some quantitative data to back it up, it’s just another urban legend. But you CAN quantify that with various tools, charting the ads “journey” starting with page load and ad request, measuring that load in seconds (or milliseconds). Furthermore, comparing that to competitors in your space can be revealing. For example, if it takes your site (or app) 2 seconds to complete an ad call and your competition 200 MILISECONDS that instantly tells that you are operating at a disadvantage.

So why does that even matter?

In case you missed the memo, advertisers think of ad viewability as a requirement. If it doesn’t meet their standards, it’s not worth the pixel its painted on. And what plays a large role in the viewability of ads? Answer: The speed at which they are displayed. In a bidding situation, if a buyer’s DSP thinks the ad is taking too long to load, it won’t recognize it as viewable, and assign a lower bid price to the ad.

Throughout our engagements with publishers, we’ve seen that low viewability is linked to bid prices that are frequently 25% – 50% lower than what their competition is receiving. Guess who gets the higher bids in that scenario? The higher eCPM? The most revenue?  

So take a good look at your foundation. What are the quantifiable metrics for the speed of page and ad loads? How is the placement of the ad code on the page contributing to that speed? Are delays in loading for header bidding causing time outs? If lazy loading is used, is it implemented so the buyer’s standards for viewability are met?

Having laid a good foundation, NOW you are ready to implement and evaluate demand partners, pricing and pass-back strategies.

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