As the proliferation of mobile media continues at a torrid pace ahead of what some platforms can support, a new and important question is finally arising. Am I paying for ads that don’t even render? Of course we are constantly bombarded with questions about what the right viewable thresholds should be and they are fair questions in their own right and are as complex as any depending upon advertiser goals.

The first question however should be, what percentage of my impressions are even rendering? That simple question sets the foundation for the viewable questions. If ads are not rendering other metrics become irrelevant. The simple problem is that impression counters will fire as soon as possible because it’s a benefit to the publisher for it to do so.
Now to be clear, when I am talking about rendering, it includes ads both in and out of view.

So to ask another question, why would my ads not render? There are multiple factors as always with the fragmented mobile environments but the two core factors are carrier network bandwidth and ad weight. As advertisers we are constantly seeking the latest and greatest in consumer engagement and much of that falls on the shoulders of either HTML 5 Rich Media units or video and in many instances combining the two. We now have the capability of providing really fantastic creative but we have to keep in mind more than ever the weights at which these ad units operate. While we all await the proliferation of 5G which may solve for this entirely, it will not happen for a number of years. The simple fact is that it is a very expensive endeavor and carrier networks may not see the immediate value of it until the true rise of self-driving cars and other next generation technology that simply won’t function with a level of confidence without that type of bandwidth.

What are some potential solutions to prevent ad rendering?

They are many fold:

  • The simplest fall back is to actually manage the ad weight.
  • More complex would be an improvement in compression algorithm tech to reduce load times and speed up pre-loading of ads in the background.
  • Third option is to understand which connectivity you are targeting. Simply put, if you are building a really heavy ad unit that is awesome and that you can’t walk away from then you should be running heavily on Wi-Fi and 4G only.

In my opinion, this should be the most important question on marketer’s minds. Estimates range from 20% – 35% of ads may not render. Compound that with viewability, fraud and other external factors and the potential for waste is huge.

At Ansible, this is something we are solving for today through some of the simple means I mentioned before but going deeper than that through our own tech and partnerships. We need to and are solving for this now because the value of mobile media depends on it.

By Benjamin Bring – VP, Media Director