How to support video with mitigated latency
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How to support video with mitigated latency

Marketers have an increasing array of tools to spread their messages, and attract and retain customers – and video is one them.

It is becoming particularly important to advertisers in todays social media world. According to the World Advertising Research Council: "[Network] Latency is one of the greatest challenges facing the video advertising industry…on average, every incremental one-second buffering delay for video playback results in a six per cent increase in abandonment rate." 

In general, video traffic is increasing exponentially, with Ciscos Visual Networking Index claiming that “it would take more than five million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2020. Every second, a million minutes of video content will cross the network by 2020.” The findings of Cisco’s survey also reveal that video traffic over the internet will equate to 82% of all Internet Protocol (IP) traffic, relating to businesses and consumers.

Cisco also supposes that the “annual global IP traffic will pass the zettabyte ([ZB]; 1000 exabytes [EB]) threshold by the end of 2016, and will reach 2.3 ZB per year by 2020. By the end of 2016, global IP traffic will reach 1.1 ZB per year, or 88.7 EB per month, and by 2020 global IP traffic will reach 2.3 ZB per year, or 194 EB per month.” The firm also predicts that video traffic will grow fourfold from 2015 to 2020, a CAGR of 31%.

To top this, Forbes reported in September 2015 that “Facebook users send on average 31.25 million messages and view 2.77 million videos every minute, and we are seeing a massive growth in video and photo data, where every minute up to 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube alone.” David Trossell, CEO and CTO of data acceleration company Bridgeworks, also cites Michael Litt, CEO and co-founder of Vidyard, who claims that the future of the internet is television because more and more people are using streaming services for entertainment, which means that the major broadcasters are also having to play catch-up. At this juncture, its worth noting that BBC Three has moved online.

Be heard over the noise

These are impressive statistics, but why should marketers be concerned? From a competitive advantage perspective, this means that there is more noise to contend with in order to get marketing messages across to ones target audiences. Technically Trossell says it means there is “more pressure on the internet and on content delivery services, with increasing demand and higher quality play out. But, on the whole, many of these facilities have been sorted even with seamless stitching advertising services.”

Catchpoints blog also comments: “Though it’s hardly a new form of digital marketing, video ads are gaining more of a presence on the web. Many social media sites have adopted this method and retailers have jumped at the opportunity to advertise to specific users. Running these tailored ads, though, can come at a price – typical video streaming adds complexity to the webpage, and even more so when they are using tracking services to target them. If the stream causes latency or loading errors, it can completely interrupt the user’s experience with the page and discourage them from interacting with the website (or the ad) any further.”

Data performance pressure

Trossell adds: “Like many services, most of the video production work is done behind the scenes and thats where there are pressures on data movement performance. As a result, many marketing agencies are hampered with data movement difficulties – with the use of modern post-production facilities, many marketers are localising advertisements.”  He claims that this process involves shipping large video files around the world, but video processing could be placed in a location where it is cost effective.

“Many organisations still use the method of playing video out over an IP link using SDI to IP conversion. Whilst this was sufficient in the past, it hasnt kept up with the latest network bandwidth availability,” he comments, while stating that this method doesn’t require bulk video files to be sent over IP.  It is less affected by network latency when used over large distances as it is a data stream, but the equipment is expensive and performance is fixed to the playout speed. With IP file transfers it is possible to use high speed connections, but latency has a considerable overall transfer performance.

Latency: the greatest challenge

The greatest challenge is to deal with network latency, which leads to buffering and the risk of abandonment. To mitigate latency, most organisations turn to traditional wide area network (WAN) optimisation tools to accelerate data and to reduce the effects of latency. But Trossell says this represents a cold file that has “never been seen before, and so it is transferred in full while the files are in a compressed format which dont appropriately de-duplicate at all.”

Trossell, therefore, argues that marketers shouldnt settle for traditional WAN optimisation, but for more innovative solutions that are driven by machine intelligence such as PORTrockIT, which accelerates data while reducing data packet loss and mitigates the effects of latency.

Adexchanger offers some more food for thought about why this should concern marketers: "Did you know, for example, that including video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%? Or that 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with others?"

Marketers should, therefore, ask their IT departments to invest in solutions that enable them to deliver marketing messages without their conversations being interrupted by network latency.

Graham Jarvis Marketing, Business and Technology Journalist
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