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Faster video load times promised

News, 04 March 2016

NEW YORK: New "anti-latency" technology is promising to slash video load times and improve the consumer experience whilst also eliminating one of the potential reasons for ad blocking.

The AppNexus solution claims to speed load times by a factor of 100, reducing typical waiting times from five second to 50 milliseconds, The Drum reported.

"Today's announcement is a transformative event for digital advertising," declared Eric Hoffert, SVP/video technology at the ad tech platform.

"Latency is one of the greatest challenges facing the video advertising industry," he explained. "On average, every incremental one-second buffering delay for video playback results in a 6% increase in abandonment rate."

End viewers don't particularly care whether the issue lies with the publisher's content or an ad. "Both possibilities trigger user flight," he said, citing research that showed a quarter of video users abandoned content after a delay of five seconds, rising to 80% after 20 seconds.

The problem was "especially vexing for independent publishers", he added, which supplied "a diversity of rich, alternative content to the walled video gardens of Facebook and YouTube".

For those interested in the nuts and bolts rather than the outcome, the technology works 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 creatives running on their pages".

Hoffert said that online video "should be as seamless, fast, and fluid as television. Until the industry meets that objective, there is still work to be done".

Consumers and brands are increasingly turning to video, encouraged by an evolving digital-video ecosystem that now offers everything from real-time Meerkat broadcasts to six-second Vine clips. Only this week Snapchat announced that people using the app were viewing 8bn videos a day.

While marketers will welcome faster load times, these should not distract from the need, highlighted in Warc's Toolkit 2016, to be clear on the different types of content they need to develop for the various platforms and to consider the best times to publish it.

Data sourced from The Drum, Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff