Lose the Load Time: Cracking the Mobile User Experience

Everyone agrees mobile is the future. 

But everyone also seems to agree that there are still a few big barriers before we can confidently state “the future is now.” 

The crumbling cookie and the death of the display banner at the hand of native formats are red-hot topics on the adland conference circuit. 

However, in my mind, neither of these is as big of an issue as the set of difficulties generally encountered as part of the average mobile rich media or video user experience. 

Before a user can become interested in an advertised product, they have to see the ad on their terms. This is a fundamental problem yet to be really solved. 

What exactly do I mean? 

While everyone agrees actual content consumption is heading to mobile, without faster access to content, today’s fickle, hyper-connected, short attention-spanned consumer will thumb to the next readily available mobile app or web content experience.  

In the U.S., the Achilles heel of mobile advertising has long been speed. Publishers have aggressively worked to provide faster loading web infrastructure, and ad tech companies have offered smaller ad sizes and better ad compression in order to solve this lingering problem. 

But earlier this year, a previously quiet player – mobile equipment manufacturers – came along and made probably the biggest contribution to making heavy ads easier to experience. 

The release of HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) and MMS (Microsoft Media Server) – adaptive streaming format extensions introduced by Apple and Microsoft expressly for mobile handsets and tablets – have the potential to make ‘seamless’ ad experiences a reality in mobile. 

Here is how it works: HLS and MMS break videos up into tiny segments, and encodes each segment at different bit rates and sizes. 

When the ad is played on a device, a variety of technical factors including player size and available bandwidth are analyzed and the best-fit specific segment is served to each user depending on the parameters of their video experience.  This process repeats throughout the course of the ad, with each segment seamlessly stitched together with the last.

That means a person viewing an in-stream video embedded in a mobile web page on a 3G connection will have a good chance of accessing the video stream within 3 seconds. 

Now that is progress. Progress to the KPI every branding advertiser cares about – reach. 

Faster video loads means more viewable impressions, more quality (in-demo) ad experiences, and more engaged consumers.  

It’s a win-win proposition across the board – and a key reason Videology prioritized and released full automatic transcoding and delivery support for both the HLS and MMS video format types. 

When brands can communicate more effectively with consumers on the device-of-the-future, a true value exchange occurs – consumers enjoy better ads and brands reach more consumers.

That’s an improvement I believe everyone can agree on. 

David Scatterday

Director, Product Marketing

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