Video Header Bidding Lives and Dies with Latency (or Lack Thereof)

Video Header Bidding Lives and Dies with Latency (or Lack Thereof)

Video header bidding is on the horizon for ad tech firms. Now it’s just a question of whether or not they’re fully prepared for it. The oncoming growth of video header bidding is exciting, but not without challenges, either. Today, it’s used by a modest 10% of publishers, but that stands to double to 20% or more within the next year or two. 

There is a major hurdle for that adoption rate to increase, however: latency. 

How should Publishers Prepare for Video Header Bidding Integrations?

In theory, video latency can negatively impact page loads and the overall content experience. Even the slightest delay today is a major concern for advertisers and publishers alike. As of late 2016, sites are losing over half of their visitors for load times over three seconds. That’s a fraction of the time users would potentially spend interacting with content and ads. It’s an abandonment trend that is bound to go up as well, leaving latency as the absolute worst outcome for the entire ecosystem.

Move Header Bidding to SSP for the Intended Quality

Luckily, there are some solutions to solve the latency issues, which all starts with server-side solutions. Moving video header bidding to the server side eliminates latency worries, by conducting the auction on ad tech vendors’ side. There’s no buffering and it’s a seamless, in-stream integration to the mobile content. So video content is delivered, with the intended quality, directly to consumers.

Successful Video Advertising is Achieved with Solid, Agile Infrastructure

But, to get that seamless integration nailed down effectively, the supply-side platforms (SSPs) need to be properly prepared in advance for the coming blitz of video header bidding. Increasing server capacity, implementing more scalable solutions and having the resources to quickly respond to client demands are all critical elements of this next phase of successful video advertising. Let’s face it, each and every publisher is different, which requires unique builds and system architecture on a case by case basis. And this can only be achieved with a solid, agile infrastructure.

And that’s the key.

Video header bidding is primed to succeed along with the growth of mobile video content (it’s projected that 75% of mobile traffic will be video by 2020). But video header bidding can’t succeed without the table being set in advance. You wouldn’t put food on the table without plates, would you? So why would anyone introduce video header bidding without the infrastructure to support it in full?

SSPs must be ready to go with transparent fee and bidding structures, and corresponding high-quality inventory. While neither directly affects the latency issue, poor execution of either takes away from resources that could be better served by delivering quality video ads on top of the mobile content. It’s a poor use of resources and takes away from the financial benefit (on all sides) of header bidding in the first place.

Latency Issues Need Immediate Mitigation for Optimum Consumption and ROI

Latency also poses a threat to advertising innovation and more engaging and valuable ads. If mobile pages don’t load quickly, users have no problem jumping from the site, leaving the ads unseen. At times, simplicity can be most effective to reach consumers. In others, a more dynamic visual experience is required. Latency issues kill quality creative before it’s even seen, and prevent publishers from getting their best content to viewers as well.

The video header bidding rush is coming for ad tech, but they have ample warning to prepare for it and prevent crippling latency. It’s not a race against the clock, necessarily. But this paradigm shift is on the horizon, whether they like it or not.

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