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WTF Video Ads!?!?: How bad video ads ruin your end user experience

I have been following the ad blocking changes in IOS 9 closely as we work with many media companies that are supported solely through advertising.

So it was with great interest that I read the most recent article from the NY Times which explores the cost in both time and money of ads on mobile devices (The Cost of Mobile Ads). The data was fascinating as it paints a picture of a much faster web without ads.

I wanted to do a much deeper dive as the NY Times pointed out that on Boston.com, the biggest issue are the video ads and since we at Swarmify are focused on fixing video streaming, it was of particular interest.

It didn’t take long to figure out the issue.

Hint: It’s the video ad delivery

Initially I just wanted to view the site on Google Chrome as I can easily turn on/off adblocking and explore just why the ads are so slow. With adblocking turned off, I loaded up Coffee art in Boston and immediately hit an issue. The video ad that plays prior to their video streaming kept #stalling and #spinwheeling. See a screen record below of what happens.

So the video ads are ruining the experience of the actual content and not just because they are ads. The delivery of the ad itself is causing the issues as this test was done from a hardwired internet connection with 100/100 connection in a data center. So bandwidth was not constrained on our end at all.

For as much as advertisers are spending on these ads, why not focus on making sure they are delivered quickly and consistently as the end user will bail on the ad and also on the content underneath so it is a LOSE/LOSE for everyone. Why is video delivery so bad on these ads? The ad delivery is handled by Google so it shouldn’t be a network problem.

At Swarmify, we believe that video delivery needs redesigned from the ground up to support reliability, resiliency, reasonable cost, and be really easy. We are already working with the media companies to help deliver their video using our technology and we would love to help video ad companies as well. It is time that Internet video not be a gamble on stalls, delays, rebuffers, and outright failures. More on how we fix it can be read here if you are interested.