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Kwicr: Slow Start Times on Mobile Threaten Viewer Engagement

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Optimizing content for the last connection point will likely bring more value than lots of bells and whistles in your app.

"Buffering of 1% of a video will reduce viewing time by 11 minutes," said Hugh Kelly, VP of marketing and strategy for Kwicr told the crowd at the Content Delivery Summit in his session "The Impact of Mobile Broadband on Mobile Video."

"The mobile first push means this is the only place some viewers are consuming content. So whether you're trying to reach millennials in North America, commuters at the end of the day, or users in countries like India, China and Brazil, a ten-second delay in start time will result in 18% of your users abandoning your app," he said.

Kelly summarized Kwicr's study of a real world performance tests from more than 80,000 users running more than 50 apps in 10 million sessions across the globe. They are forecasting mobile video will generate more than 69 percent of mobile data traffic in the next five years. The challenge is that some users are expecting wireline levels of service on cellular or wi-fi connections. Other users internationally never had this option, but the same problem applies—the video stalls, they go elsewhere.

"Throughput and packet loss vary widely based on time of day, network device, and geographic location," said Kelly. "We studied controlled data on a million sessions a day from almost every country in the world examining throughput on cellular wi-fi connections, as well as packet loss."

The tests were real world tests, so some applications would run in the U.S. and not internationally, but the amount of data acquired points to some interesting facts that highlight that publishers need to look at how often the level of service may be interrupted.

The U.S. came in at a wi-fi throughput of a bit over 3Mbps and Singapore was slightly over 5Mbps. Cellular throughput was a touch under 2Mbps in the U.S., with France and Singapore the leaders at 4Mbps. Packet loss was at 1.2% on cell and 2.7% on wi-fi for the U.S. while worldwide it was 1.6% cell and 2.8 on wi-fi.

Kelly cautiioned future developers that if they want to keep their audience engaged, they need to closely watch performance metrics.

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