What is slow loading?
Slow loading is when you see the loading "spinner" within the Vidible player for long periods of time, while the player is essentially doing nothing but "loading". This loading process is actually not the act of loading the Vidible player. It is very important to point out that the Vidible player is very small and light-weight, which means it actually loads very quickly when embedded on a website. This topic can be somewhat complex and this article will not be able to cover every aspect of what can cause perceived slow loading issues. The majority of reported issues are perceived to be slow because of the loading "spinner" that you see within the player. This "spinner" is actually the player performing some sort of action prior to showing you video content. This action, the majority of the time, is the player trying to present an advertisement in the pre-roll ad slot. Depending on how many ad sources (ad campaigns) and various ad based configurations you have setup - this "spinner" can take an extremely long time before showing an advertisement or moving onto the content. This article will point out some ways of dealing with this.
For further details, please see the following topics:
The number one issue that causes players to take too much time in the ad search/discovery period (the spinner before the video content), is that there are too many ad sources being checked for ad fulfillment. This "loading" presents it self ONLY in a pre-roll ad opportunity scenario. The act of having too many ad sources can present it self in two common ways.
- The most recognizable issue is an Ad Set with too many Ad Campaigns. Ad Set's within Vidible can contain any number of Ad Campaigns. In turn, a Vidible Player, which these Ad Sets are assigned to, can have any number of Ad Sets. The result can mean that a Player could have potentially too many ad campaigns assigned to it (via ad sets). The process of the player checking against dozens of ad campaigns looking for ad fulfillment can cause huge time delays prior to finding an ad or moving onto the content. This issue only presents itself in a "bad way" in the pre-roll advertisement slot. Mid-roll advertisements are non-blocking (meaning checking for ads will occurring while the content continues to play).
- The most common, but less recognizable issue, is when a particular ad campaign (or multiple) uses a special VPAID ad unit sometimes referred to as a SHIM. What happens is that the VPAID unit is loaded and this unit then begins to make advertisement requests to various other sources which you have not configured within the Vidible platform. This act of checking for "any number" of ad sources is essentially the same issue as number 1. Checking all the ad sources takes time and all the while, the "spinner" is present but nothing is happening. This issue becomes massively more complex and problematic when you have a SHIM that loads yet another SHIM, resulting in more and more requests to various advertising sources (looking for opportunities to fulfill ads). To learn more about what Vidible calls a "VPAID SHIM", please read our article What is a VPAID SHIM?
Keep it simple
The easiest and best way to deal with longer than average wait times to secure a "preroll" ad opportunity, is to minimize your vendor partnerships. It may sound oversimplified but the truth is the better guarantee you can get from fewer vendors generally means the less number of "ad tags" (Vidible Ad Campaigns) you need to assign to a player. The less Ad Campaigns running, generally speaking the quicker the results will be. After all, you may not get as high of a fill rate per opportunity with less campaigns, but you will increase the number of opportunities presented because your users will create more "opportunities" by playing more video and not "closing" the page when the player never does anything but "load". This of course isn't always a for sure thing. As mentioned above, VPAID SHIMS can present them selves to cause massive waits. That means with one single campaign you can still end up with a massive wait time.
Dealing with Shims
Since shims are configured by the ad vendor you generally have very little control over how they will perform. One good piece of advice we suggest is make sure to test each ad tag before putting it into your Vidible player. If you use a third party tool like Google's VAST Inspector you will see how the ad tag performs (and its SHIM). If you are waiting for long periods of time in the Google test tool, you can assume the same results will occur in the Vidible player. If you have a tag that takes longer than you think is acceptable, we suggest not using it within your setup on Vidible.
Another great tool that we offer for dealing with unruly shims is the "Start timeout" field on the advanced ad settings of the Vidible player. Essentially when using this field you can limit the amount of time a VPAID SHIM (or really any ad unit) takes from point of "load" to point of "start". Since a VPAID SHIM is working within limbo between it being loaded and an advertisement actually starting, the "Start timeout" feature allows you to control the amount of time in limbo the SHIM can spend. If you must work with SHIMs that take long amounts of time to "start an ad", we suggest using the feature to decrease the amount of time in limbo they can spend to something you feel is acceptable. By default we allow for 19.2 seconds, which is a long time, then again we assume that campaigns shouldn't take advantage of the time given and you as the owner have the last say. To read more about this feature and others like it please see Introduction to our Player Ad Serving Logic.
Shrink your Podsize
The following article What does the Pre-roll Interleave field do? also explains the "Podsize" feature of the ad setup within the player. Often times, users will unknowingly set the Podsize of player to something unreasonably high for the type of fill rate they are guaranteed by their vendors. Having a Podsize of "4" on a preroll means that you need to fulfill 4 preroll ads to start in a single preroll opportunity. This means that whatever your ad campaign setup is, multiple it by 4 and wait. We suggest sticking to a Podsize of "1" when dealing with prerolls unless you know you have a quality fill guarantee from your vendors.
Tighten the control of all Ad Opportunities
The "end all" of control over your ad opportunity timing is the "Max Ad Search Time" feature in the player ad setup (What Does the Max Ads Field Do?). This field lets you designate a maximum amount "wait" time for any single ad opportunity. If you have a standard that you are trying to set and you feel like "X amount of waiting" is too long, then put that time (in seconds) into this field and the player will stop "waiting" and move onto the next configuration (play a non ad video etc..).