Swoop and Performance

Earlier this year we discussed Swoop’s impact on page load times, as consumers and publishers alike put the speed of their site front and center. Now, let’s dive a little deeper into how Swoop works, and the measures we put in place to ensure the fastest possible load times.

Fully-controlled end-to-end system

end-to-end-systemA traditional IAB ad request goes through many systems controlled by different vendors, each with its own competing incentives and, of course, a three letter acronym: DFP, SSP, RTB, DSP, DMP, etc. A Swoop ad request is handled by Swoop through and through. Swoop’s network is fully end-to-end, spanning from advertisers to publishers and their users. We control every step of ad requesting and serving to remove any uncertainty that could negatively impact performance, reliability or user experience.

Non-Blocking JavaScript

Modern browsers can still only execute JavaScript in a linear fashion, meaning that the more JS elements on a page, the more scripts there are fighting for these limited processing resources. Some ad tech companies set their JavaScript to block other scripts from running until theirs have finished – a crude way of making it look like their ads are loading faster by forcing them to load as fast as possible. Their greedy approach often comes at the expense of user experience as it slows down content loading and layout on the page.

Swoop is much more environment- and user-friendly – our JavaScript is explicitly non-blocking, which helps the pages we’re embedded in to load faster as a whole, but with the side effect of splitting our script’s execution over potentially multiple periods of time. We are willing to slow ourselves down in order to improve user experience on the site, which we’ve found to improve user engagement with both content and advertising. It’s a win for users, publishers and advertisers.

The reason Swoop is able to do this is that we do not have to fill IAB ad slots. With standard ad tech companies, it’s necessary to load as fast as possible, because the ad slots must be filled and must be filled now. Whether the content of the page has loaded or not is irrelevant.

Swoop, however, is dependent on the content itself – we ingest the entirety of a page’s content for search queries, dynamically create a Swoop-only ad slot on the fly, and insert our ad when the slot itself comes into the viewport. Our incentives are aligned with those of users and publishers: we want the page content to load as quickly as possible.

Serving static assets from a CDN

Any static asset runs the risk of being a bottleneck in the load process. To counteract this, we serve every static asset from our own content delivery network, allowing us to optimize and speed up asset delivery.

We also browser-cache all static assets for at least 10 minutes, ensuring that any ads that appear multiple times across a publisher’s site load nearly instantaneously.

Minify and compress static HTML, CSS and JavaScript assets

i-am-minifying-your-codePublishers are already very familiar with the pagespeed benefit gained by minifying and compressing static text-based assets. Ad tech providers, too, need to abide by these best practices, and Swoop does – every HTML, CSS and JavaScript file needed to display a Swoop ad is minified and compressed.

In addition to pagespeed benefits, this also means that your site requires that much less data to load for mobile users.

Video assets do not load by default

Unlike a lot of video embedding and advertising services, if Swoop serves an ad with a multimedia element to it, the actual video does not load unless a user touches or clicks it. One of the biggest causes of slow site load we’ve found in the past is video elements that pre-load the video itself, rather than waiting for the user to indicate they’re interested in consuming it.

No animation

Long animation frames in rich display ads are often a primary cause of slow user experience and harsh impacts on battery life. Swoop does not use any animation when displaying our ads – once again, low impact ads with no extraneous weight.

Continual real-time performance data from all service endpoints

Swoop is continually monitoring every endpoint within our service for performance data, ensuring that each one serves ad elements in a fast, efficient manner. Underperforming endpoints are swiftly dealt with and replaced. The result:

  • Median response time for each endpoint under 100ms
  • 95th percentile response time for each endpoint under 200ms
  • Billions of data points monitored over thousands of sites

Conclusion: Swoop ads contribute to fast-loading sites

We take every possible opportunity to ensure that Swoop ads are fast, lightweight and efficient. More importantly, we take great care in ensuring we don’t unduly interfere with a page’s JavaScript – Swoop will not interfere with actual content loading in order to get ads inserted first.

Finally, we make sure that every element we load is both necessary and minimal, and we constantly test and improve our endpoints to ensure that every step of our end-to-end advertising marketplace is optimized for performance.

For more information on Swoop, our integration, or how we ensure speedy ads, reach out to publishers@swoop.com

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