Up to 40% of Ad Requests Never Reach the Ad Server: Conviva

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When streaming ads, publishers face a separate range of challenges than they do when streaming content. Speaking at today's IAB Tech Lab Video Ad Summit, Sudhi Nada, senior director of product management for Conviva, revealed the numbers behind common ad delivery problems and showed how solving back-end issues can lead to better experiences for viewers—and better monetization.

Up to 40 percent of ad requests never even reach the server, Nada said, and that's because ad blockers stop so much traffic. Adopting server side ad insertion (SSAI) can help skirt the blockers. Additionally 12 percent of ad requests come back empty, which could happen when there's no ad inventory left to serve or when frequency caps have been reached, something that could be avoided by holding reserve ads in fallback. Also, 15 percent of ad request gets an invalid response and incorrect media comes back to the video player 8 percent of the time. Knowing the exact cause is crucial to solving the problem.

There are multiple touchpoints for each ad, Nada explained. An ad break starts with a request from the ad server, which goes to an ad decisioning server which selects the creative asset. That creative is sent to the video player which shows it. When viewers get a long startup time they don't know what the root cause is, but they turn away quickly: Every 1 second of delay serving an ad causes 3 percent of viewers to turn away. After 6 seconds 16 percent of viewers leave. While 6 seconds sounds like a long delay, Nada emphasized that it happens often.

Even premium publishers aren't safe when serving mid-rolls ads. Viewers watching long-form content might be expected to put up with a little more inconvenience since they're invested in a show, but Nada said mid-roll ad delays lead to similar declines.

The OTT and CTV ecosystems are growing exponentially and are highly complex, but that complexity is causing poor viewer experiences. Conviva was speaking at the summit, Nada said, because the company wants to bring its quality of service and quality of experience technology to the ad world. Conviva's technology sits in the video player, so it captures the exact experience the viewer sees and delivers analytics in real-time.

Much of the summit's sessions explained new standards for ad delivery, such as VAST 4.1. While Nada applauded those standards he emphasized that they won't detect and repair underlying quality issues.

"We think there's a lot more work to be done here," Nada said.

Sudhi Nada of Conviva

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