Increased broadband speeds and wider deployment of fiber cables means it now takes around one tenth of a second to deliver an advert. But in that very small amount of time, you’d be surprised at the remarkable amount of activity that happens. Even a slight delay can have a detrimental effect on winning bids and advertising costs. What’s more, the time delay can actually disrupt the ad’s delivery and performance quality, something no advertiser wants to experience.

When it comes to infrastructure - speed, reliability and scalability are paramount. Brands and advertisers need to ensure they partner with publishers with fast and robust infrastructures.

Working hand in hand

To cut latency down advertisers must work hand in hand with their partners and ensure they have access to and an understanding of the Internet’s infrastructure. Advertisers and brands should look to partners who employ an Autonomous System (AS), enabling traffic to be sent through to DSPs and Internet Service Providers directly, and subsequently consumers – and that they have forged those relationships.

By having advertising technology in the same location as major internet exchanges, publishers can keep on top of the competition and cut through network congestion and traffic volatility. A win-win all round, this both shortens the time it takes to serve an ad to the consumer (e.g. faster load times), providing a better user experience, as well as reducing the time it takes for an advertiser to participate in an auction. To date, a good majority of players in the industry haven’t taken the leap of having an independent AS number and instead rely on cloud providers or ISP for network transit.

As the OpenRTB bidding protocol is based on an end to end transaction time of 120 milliseconds (the equivalent amount of time it takes to blink your eye) – every millisecond “wasted” can translate to a lost impression. Speed also helps cut down discrepancies, with less time and packet loss. So while a fast connection is important, having an infrastructure built with the most efficient hardware is equally important.

Keeping reliability at scale

Speed isn’t going to be worth much if reliability isn’t there. Before choosing a partner, ensure that they have proper redundancies and scalability to meet not only the demands today, but also into the future. Advertising architecture should be built with the greatest flexibility to allow for linear scalability, providing resilience and eliminating single point of failures.

All of this is achievable, but the industry needs to work collaboratively to not only create, but sustain, a reliable and safe online infrastructure. Programmatic uptake is only going to increase and there’s never been a more important time to invest time working with trustworthy partners. Continuous investment in anti-fraud technology is at the heart of this – once the industry reaches the point it has eliminated underperforming and objectionable traffic, better ads will be served – a result for advertisers and consumers alike.


By Dwight Ringdahl, senior vice president of technology at RhythmOne

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