Why Real Time Isn't Fast Enough

"Real time" isn't real time in most media. Predictive analysis really isn't predictive. The advertising industry has abused the terms. But there are changes coming down the pike that will make real-time advertising and predictive ad serving more real time and predictive. Marketers heard about one change this week, but there are others on the way.

Some point to ad load times as the biggest issue around real time. The Media Rating Council, the ad industry's watchdog for research, says that on average, mobile ads for apps and Web sites take five seconds longer to load -- nearly twice as long their desktop Web site counterparts

The MRC released Tuesday the Mobile Viewability Ad Impression Measurement Guidelines designed for mobile Web site and in-app advertising. It supplements the existing IAB, MMA, and MRC guidelines.



"A mobile viewable impression requires a minimum of 50% of pixels in view for one consecutive second for display and two consecutive seconds for video," wrote MediaPost's Gavin O'Malley.

George Ivie, the MRC’s chief executive, told the The Wall Street Journalthat "'mobile ads render considerably slower than desktop ads.'" based on recently conducted research on ad load time for tens of millions of mobile ads.

Slow-loading ads and content prove challenging for the ad industry for several reasons. "For publishers, it makes it tougher to sell advertisers on the power of marketing in this still nascent medium when they have don’t have complete confidence that most people will even see such ad," according to The Wall Street Journal. The slower the ads and content load, the easier it is for people to close the browser window or click to the next page. 

Ad blocking has become another challenge when it comes to real time, slowing the load time of ads and content on some Web sites. Catchpoint Systems monitored 20 mobile sites using Pi-Hole DNS-based ad blocking. Tests were run at 15-minute intervals and results were collated into a median average for each site. The tests showed that on some sites ad blocking slowed Web site page load times. 

Although a little controversial, My Activity is one tool that Google launched this week that will help with real time and predictive ad targeting. When allowed, Google now tracks every online move someone makes across desktop, mobile, and Internet connected smart devices like Home when logged into its services such as Calendar, Gmail, and Chrome.

Then there's the Chrome extension, Google Keep, which organizes a person's notes. Another data point for Google to pull from when attempting to predict and serve ads and content in real time.

1 comment about "Why Real Time Isn't Fast Enough".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, June 30, 2016 at 6:50 p.m.

    Laurie, well written. There is another side to this story and that is what publishers will block ads from appearing. With Google AdSense and the other RTB's used by many, they give the advertisers to block ad to any publisher or the groups the publisher that is aligned to. So what happens is many publishers get lower quality ads. Then I can block low quality, irrelevant ads.

    The reason for saying this is my website is high quality with a very large active membership but we get dumped into groups of websites that are of lower quality and in some cases, unprofessional. This is not fair to us or the many of quality publishers who get put in the same position. So we get a larger number of low quality ads whether we like them or not.

    Last, we are close to uploading a new version of our website that will load much faster and upgrade to faster servers. Will this matter to the quality of ads we receive? The answer is no. We will still suffer under the same problems as before. So in the end the people who are blocking ads are doing so because many of their favorite websites are being dumped with low quality ads and thereby in the end blocking the higher quality websites and publisher just as much. This is a math game also.

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