Improving Ad Performance

There has been a good deal of work around defining guidelines, best practices, etc. for improving Web page performance (i.e. delivery speed). As Web page publishers have worked to implement these best practices, they inevitably reach a point where they can go no further to improve their own content. The long poles in the tent are outside their control, often in third-party content – in many cases, ads.

How to improve ad delivery performance?

Sometimes awareness is enough. For example, demonstrating the performance impact of non-geographically distributed content, or not compressing files, etc., can drive change. Other times, business justification is needed – showing causation between slow ad delivery and reduced revenue thru fewer impressions, clicks, actions, etc. (easier said than done)

But how to drive toward better ad performance on a large scale?

Google took a step in this direction by including ad landing page performance in their AdWords Quality Score.

While a good start, it doesn’t address the performance impact of ads delivered within a content publisher’s Web page.

The idea to address this in a collaborative way, with involvement from ad publishers, vendors and agencies, was first proposed late last year to the Internet Advertising Bureau by Steve Souders. As he moved to Google, and took on other challenges, the effort never made it off the ground.

I’m happy to say that the torch has been picked up by Tony Ralph (of Yahoo!) and I. We recently pitched the working group to the Ad Operations Council, and there was enough interest to move forward. The Ad Load Performance Working Group has been formed!