bRealtime Blog

How to ‘Contain’ Latency

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 10.47.00 AMThis article is written by Kelli O’Donnell, Product Marketing Manager, CPXi

What is Latency?

Technically speaking, latency is the time it takes for a host server to receive and process a request for a page object. Page objects can be anything from a banner ad to a CSS file to a standard image. So tangibly, latency is the time it takes for a user to see an advertisement (or other page object) on a website. This time is usually just fractions of a second, but these fractions start to add up – and that’s what publishers are worried about.


What’s the Connection to Header Bidding?

Having multiple lines of header bidding code increases a page’s latency. This increased latency happens because header bidders are set up to “call” to different exchanges. And different exchanges bid at different speeds for your inventory. So if you don’t have the right container solution to manage all of your header bidding partners, you could substantially increase the latency on your site.


Why are Pubs Concerned?

Latency results in inefficiencies for publishers, like a poor user experience and decreased publisher revenues. Most obviously, users leave sites when the content takes too long to load. Eric Hoffert of AppNexus states in a recent press release, “On average, every incremental one-second buffering delay for video playback results in a six percent increase in abandonment rate.” Publishers are concerned that increased latency, due to multiple header bidding partners, will result in increased abandonment rates and decreased user engagement. It’s inevitable that header bidding will increase the latency on a webpage. But publishers can manage latency in a way that makes it seem negligible.


Should Pubs Even Use Header Bidding?

All this to say, publishers shouldn’t let increased latency keep them from participating in header bidding. The revenue lift from selling ads more efficiently will greatly outweigh the effects of increased latency. ExchangeWire reports, “publishers that have implemented header bidding tend to make more money. For example, Livingly Media earned an impressive 10% incremental revenue growth following the implementation of AppNexus’ header bidding solution.” Still, publishers should work to manage their header bidders as efficiently as possible. After all, publishers make the most money when all bidders are treated fairly.


What Should Publishers’ Next Steps Be?

If publishers participate in header bidding, they need to establish a strict timeout threshold. Most container solutions provide this kind of function and shut off all bidders within a designated time frame. While we recommend a 500-700 millisecond timeout and other experts suggest a broader 400–800 millisecond timeout, it’s up to the publisher to determine its ideal threshold. Container solutions also have another advantage: having a container with multiple demand sources plugged into one script creates less latency than having multiple head scripts on your page. But not just any container solution will do. When selecting a partner, you should find a container solution that you trust – one that gives you full transparency into the performance of your bidder stack. Some other factors you may want to consider when choosing the right container solution may be: seamless integration, first-class operational support and a reliable inventory source.


If you’re interested in integrating a header bidder on your site or understanding container solutions at a deeper level, visit bRealTime’s corporate site or email us at [email protected].

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