The Ad response timeout logic is decision layer within the system responsible for prioritizing ad responses and defining which ads to play and in what order in each Ad opportunity.
Note: Contrary to other layers in the Ad serving logic, this process applies to Ad responses and not Ad requests, as the Ad prioritization and Remaining impression % logic layers.
This article is divided into two sections:
- How the ad response timeout logic works - that explains which ads will be played and in what order.
- Additional timeout parameters - A set of parameters that govern the behaviour of the Ad response timeout logic and the ads played in the player.
Each player in the system has a set of Ad timeout fields that define how long the player will wait for an Ad. The Ad response prioritization logic is defined using the following fields that can be seen in the Player Wizard Ads tab: Soft timeout, Hard timeout, Ad kill time, Start timeout, and Max ad search time.
When the player sends out the relevant ad requests, a timing mechanism starts to track how long it takes for the Ad servers to respond. The system monitors the received ad responses and sorts the ads according to the Soft and Hard timeout fields.
The following diagram and explanation describe how the Soft and Hard timeout mechanism works.
As stated before, the initial Ad requests start an individual timer for each Ad campaign. When the .xml ad response is returned, the system checks how long it took to return since the request was sent. The first verification level is called the Soft timeout.
Soft Timeout - This parameter is set to 400 milliseconds by default, but can be customized by the user when creating or editing a player.
- Ad < 400 milliseconds - If several ad responses return before the 400 milliseconds threshold is reached, the Ad response from the highest priority Ad campaign will be selected and played.
Note: If the Ad opportunity includes more than one ad slot, the same logic will apply, and the highest priority ads will be served according to the Priority score hierarchy.
- Ad > 400 milliseconds - If no ad responses have returned before 400 milliseconds, the system will move on to the second Hard timeout verification.
Hard Timeout - This parameter is set to 3.2 seconds by default, but can be customized by the user when creating or editing a player.
- 400 MS < Ad < 3.2 Seconds - If an ad is returned between 400 milliseconds to 3.2 seconds, the first filled ad response received will be selected and played. The reason for this is not to delay the ad anymore as it is affecting the viewers experience.
- Ad > 3.2 Seconds - If no ad responses are received until the 3.2 second threshold, the system will differ to the next Ad campaign group in line and start this process again. This method will re-initiate until an ad is found.
- If the Ad opportunity includes more than one ad slot, the same logic will apply, and the whatever ad comes in will be served directly to the player.
- The Ad response timeout process is repeated for every ad opportunity during the loading and playback of the content video in the player.
There are three additional timeout parameters that appear in the Ad campaign page. These fields are responsible for controlling the whole timeout logic above. The three additional fields are: Start timeout, Max ad search time and Ad kill time.
The following list explains how the parameters affect the ad serving logic.
- Start timeout - After an ad response has been selected and sent to the player, the Start timeout parameter sets an ultimatum for each ad to load and playback. The default for this parameter is 19.2 seconds but it may be modified by the user when creating or editing a player. If the ad does not load and play until this deadline is reached, the player will stop the process and defer to the second best ad.
- Max ad search timeout - This parameter defines the total time a player will wait for ads in each Ad opportunity. Unlike Soft and Hard timeout parameters, this parameter refers to the total time spent on waiting for ads in each Ad opportunity.
For example: Lets say, that after sending ad requests from the first group of Ad campaigns, no ads were received (no ads after 3.2 seconds Hard timeout).
In this case, the logic will request the next group of Ad campaigns and start the Soft and Hard timeout process again. If no ads are received in the second group, the process will continue this cycle indefinitely.
The Max ad search time comes here to cap off the Ad response process. Lets say we set this parameter to 6 seconds. This will give the Ad response process up to 6 seconds in total to receive ad responses, otherwise the player will revert back to the content video.
- Ad kill time - In some cases ads served to our player might be longer than expected. In some situations, this can jeopardize our viewer engagement with the content they intended to watch. To minimize these occurrences, the Ad kill time parameter sets a maximum length time-frame for the ad to play. If the ad playback exceeds the defined time, the player will stop the ad and revert back to the content video.