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How advertising delivery can be bad for your web site, your readers and advertisers

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 19-Jul-2012 20:11

Another advertising order for Geekzone, another reason to be happy. But I'm actually sad - sad for my readers and advertisers.

You probably know by now I try to get maximum performance out of the servers we use. I also work hard, using different software, services and techniques to get the site as fast as possible.

Many people use ad blockers for different reasons. Some say they find the ads slow down their PCs, others say ads may be vector for malware. Some say ads slow down web page load times.

To solve this last problem we use different approaches: we use Google DFP for ad delivery (and gain speed thanks to their world wide network of caches), use Javascript asynchronous loading, and enable single request for ad delivery.

Assuming we are hosting the creatives (ads) with Google DFP, a single call will be all its needed to get the image and parameters to show it on the page.

If the advertiser is using DoubleClick (a Google company agencies use to manage a campaign workflow) , Google is smart enough to get the ads out exactly like it would do with hosted creatives - that is in a single call.

Between advertisers and publishers there's almost all the times an agency that represents the publisher, trying to sell available inventory. These agencies get paid a commission on each sale they manage to complete. They also like to know how many impressions and clicks campaigns are getting. As a publisher using Google DFP I can easily give agencies access to real-time reports for their campaigns. But I haven't seen any agency that takes advantage of this feature.

Instead, these agencies load the tags supplied by the advertisers into their own systems. In turn they give the publishers their own tags. And we obviously need to load our own scripts to manage the delivery.

So instead of having one script that loads and ad with a single call (the Google DFP and Google DoubleClick integration), we have a script that loads the agency script than in turn loads the advertiser script than in turn loads the ads.

This ads an incredible latency to the whole ad delivery system. Usually these ad agencies don't have servers closer to end users. They don't use CDNs. Things get slow. And when things get slow users navigate away. And when users navigate away then don't see the ads.

For all purposes Google DFP delivered the code and counted one impression. But by the time the browser loaded the second script and is waiting to load the third script the user might have closed the window or clicked a link to go away. So the agency doesn't count the impression. Then they complain there's a difference between my counter and their counter.

Another important thing: Google DFP is smart enough to deliver more impressions of those ads that perform better. In other words, if the advertiser supplies more than one ad then Google DFP will make sure it shows more of the ads getting a higher number of clicks. If we run an agency tag we lose control and can't count the clicks, meaning all ads are delivered in a balanced manner. This mean the optimization that could benefit the advertiser and attract more clicks is lost.

At the end advertisers lose the opportunity to get more clicks, our reader sees pages slowing down, and agencies act as a middle man that really is trying to do more than they should do by getting technical where they don't have the capability and don't actually ad any value.

This is not a rant at one specific agency. Most agencies work like this. They just don't understand that a fast web means more business for everyone.



Other related posts:
Google crawling Geekzone HTTPS
Geekzone gone full HTTPS
Google Chrome cache performance






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freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

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If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me freitasm@geekzone.co.nz. Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

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