In recent years new development practices and hosting technology have helped websites deal with the performance issues of delivering media-rich online experiences, but the delivery of third-party ads has been something that has consistently affected page load times for years.
Modern websites rely on a patchwork of third-party code to operate ranging from code libraries (like JQuery) to social sharing buttons to external ad networks. Most of these code requests are useful and execute reliably, but they aren’t always necessarily tuned towards performance.
Because many targeted ad networks work on a model where advertisers bid for placement on certain websites, many sites have code that queries multiple ad networks to find the highest paying ad. Between loading a page and actually serving the ad on your page, an ad call can touch as many as 500 different servers.
Mobile devices add further complications to content delivery under this model. For instance, mobile browsers may render content differently, and they also might have to contend with slower or intermittent internet connections.
However, the speed at which full mobile websites and applications are delivered is vitally important because any delay experienced by users will cause them to give up on your website or app. For a content publisher, this means losing out on ad revenue, and even causing site visitors to abandon the site out of frustration. When mobile ad networks cannot deliver ads effectively, they’re not promoting their clients effectively, and causing their publishing partner sites to be less effective as advertising venues.
What Content Publishers Can Do
There are various coding practices that ensure mobile ads have a minimal effect on load speed. A good first step is to eliminate any unnecessary scripts. Another step is to determine what elements (including display ads) can be loaded after the main site content has loaded, and schedule scripts to asynchronously execute the code after the initial load.
Developers can also serve multiple ad placements on a page with a single server request that’s forwarded to a proxy server that handles the request, and also records impressions, clicks and other metrics.
It could be wise to limit the number of ad networks the site calls upon. You might not get the absolute highest payment per ad, but you will gain in latency. It could also be important to avoid certain targeted ad networks which have been known to slow page load times by almost two seconds.
What Ad Networks Can Do
The mobile ad network provider plays a really important role not only in facilitating relationships between content producers and advertisers, but they also deliver the ads that appear on the consumer’s device.
Mobile ad networks should have lean and effective algorithms for finding relevant ads. But on a server side, they should also have enough capacity to deal with spikes in demand, and ensure that requests from sites are delivered with extremely low latency. And ad networks are increasingly incorporating data-intensive media such as video and interactive content.
This means that the ad network doesn’t contribute significantly to end-user load times.
Mobile ads are becoming enormously important for online businesses. When it comes to mobile ads, companies have reported major increases in brand spend, rising cost-per-impression, and more interest in video and rich media ads. Advertisers excited by the potential of mobile ads to reach new audiences, so it’s vitally important that mobile ad networks delivering ads as quickly and efficiently as possible.
When everything works together, advertisers get visibility, publishers get revenue, and end-users get ideal experiences.