In this blog post we detail how Varrando aggressively optimizes pre-roll load time.
As always, we lead with some numbers and facts. To put into perspective why video players should take steps to optimize Pre-roll as much as possible.
The total load time it takes a Pre-roll to start greatly depends on player load time as well. In a future blog post, we will cover a comparison of player sizes of major providers on the market.
So, a study done by the University of Massachusetts revealed some very interesting insights. A data set, consisting of more than 23 million video playbacks, from 6.7 million unique viewers, who watched an aggregate of 216 million minutes of 102 thousand videos over 10 days, was analyzed.
They found that:
- Two seconds. That’s when online video viewers start leaving, if videos are not loading properly.
- On average, for every second that the video doesn’t start playing, roughly 6% of the audience bail/leaves.
- “After five seconds load time, the abandonment rate is 25%. When you get to 10 seconds, half are gone.” author of the study declared.
- A “viewer who experienced failure” during video playback, is around 2.3% less likely to return to that site within a week’s time, compared to a person whose videos loaded smoothly. Imagine the impact for the overall video audience numbers of a publisher.
According to Harry Shum, from Microsoft, people will go to a website less frequently if it loads 250 milliseconds slower than a competitor’s. To put this into perspective, this graphic highlights that’s faster than the blink of an eye. Takeaway? Every millisecond counts. Especially, for news publishers where video coverage for important news may not differ much in depicted information.
Let us take an use-case. We are going to compute the ad revenue lost per 1 added second of load time. Assumptions:
- Ad revenue is obtained from a pre-roll.
- For the sake of this example we are going to take an average CPM of 10$.
- 6% of the audience departs every second of added load time
CNN sounds good? According to their blog they had a record of 292M of video starts in June 2016
Using the numbers above, we estimate CNN would lose $175K / month or 2.1M / year, per 1 second added to their player/preroll load time.
Note: This is a rough estimation not taking into account Adblock usage, etc.
How Varrando optimizes pre-roll
Apart from having the smallest HTML5 player on the market, Varrando enables the following load optimization options.
Run pre-roll ads after content starts
What do you do if the pre-roll has a very slow loading time? This can be caused by a large number of factors: eg. multiple ad redirects. The metrics shown above should be a powerful motivator for publishers to guard against this [slow pre-roll] problem. Sadly, few, if none, players provide effective solutions. We have even seen players entering into infinite loops.
Although, a basic solution is rather simple to implement. Ad timeouts.
We take our ad timeouts seriously for the sake of user experience. Complete control is offered using Pre-roll, Post-roll and general time outs. We went a step further. What if you want a short pre-roll timeout but, still run the pre-roll later? How to enable this? We took the following approach: when pre-roll timeout is reached, content will start for several seconds. As soon as pre-roll finishes loading, content is paused and pre-roll is run.
Checking this option enables the described behavior.
Load map while player loads
Among many advertising models, we support adding a VMAP URL. VMAP is an – XML template to specify where to insert ads in a video. Should this option be selected, concurrent/parallel logic, that fetches and interprets ad breaks from the VMAP URL, is launched as early as possible during loading.
Request pre-roll ads while player loads
If we have a Pre-roll, it is most beneficial to check this option. By doing this, one of the first things in the player loading process is to load the Pre-roll as fast as possible.
With the smallest player size, pre-roll load time optimizations, and, complete control over ad timeouts, Varrando is the best HTML5 player on the market for any pre-roll ad strategy. Request the royal tour! Or, try demo.