AppNexus Breaks The Video Speed Barrier

AppNexus Breaks The Video Speed Barrier

AppNexus today announced the development of new technology that cuts latency in video advertising by up to a factor of 1,000, from an average of five seconds to as little as five milliseconds.

Rochelle Burbury
Posted by Rochelle Burbury

The anti-latency solution answers a critical problem in the digital advertising ecosystem and follows AppNexus’ recent launch of an open outstream video marketplace.

“Today’s announcement is a transformative event for digital advertising,” AppNexus Asia Pacific vice president Dave Osborn said.

“In Australia, latency is one of the greatest challenges facing the video advertising industry. On average, every incremental one-second buffering delay for video playback results in a six per cent increase in abandonment rate by users.

“When a video fails to load immediately, end viewers don’t know whether there’s an issue with the publisher’s content or an issue with the ad. Both possibilities trigger ‘user flight’, a problem that is especially vexing for independent publishers who provide a diversity of rich, alternative content to the walled video gardens of Facebook and YouTube.”

In its Global Trust Study released in September 2015, AppNexus found that of the more than 1,200 advertisers, agencies, publishers, and advertising technology companies surveyed, the biggest concern surrounding programmatic video is user experience. Specifically, close to 40 per cent of publishers cited slow video load times as a principal concern.

Another study by Akamai and The University of Massachusetts, Amherst found that 25 per cent of video users abandon content after a delay of five seconds, 40 per cent abandon after ten seconds, and 80 per cent abandon after 20 seconds.

Prior to developing its anti-latency technology, AppNexus ran internal tests with a set of publishers, which revealed an average five-second video load time.

AppNexus’ technology combats latency for instream video by running client-side mediation in advance of video playback, introducing video ad caching, unwrapping VAST to confirm valid video creative, and configuring time-out settings that put video publishers in full control of the creative running on their pages.

This approach uses standardized HTML5 local storage for video ad caching to provide seamless delivery of video ads across desktop and mobile web. The company’s internal tests found that AppNexus retrieves video ads from cache 100x or faster—approximately 50 milliseconds or less—compared to an average process of five seconds. In some cases, this can be up to 1,000 times faster, depending on page load characteristics, user interaction with the browser, network bandwidth, and other factors.

In addition, the AppNexus Seller Tag enables integrated monetization of display, native, mobile, and video ads by streamlining many ad tags from various vendors for different content types into one simple tag. This process reduces latency by using only one network request for all placements and by running auctions in parallel in order to return results in a single response.

“We’re living in 2016, not 1996,” AppNexus SVP of video technology, Eric Hoffert, said. “Online video should be as seamless, fast, and fluid as television.Until the industry meets that objective, there is still work to be done.

“Our approach takes measured steps to improve the underlying functionality of how programmatic video works, rather than layering on additional functionality and complexity. But this is also a call to action. Every millisecond counts, and the whole industry needs to work together to solve the latency problem and create a better video internet.”

AppNexus will showcase its anti-latency video technology at its upcoming San Francisco Summit on March 22. AppNexus’ low latency video API is planned for general availability in Q2.