High Performance Ads - Is It Possible?

Web Performance
Location: Regency 1 Level: Intermediate
Presentation: High Performance Ads Presentation [ZIP]
Average rating: ***..
(3.33, 3 ratings)

Advertising provides the primary revenue source for many of the Web’s most popular sites. And yet, ads have a reputation for slowing down web pages. The experts on this panel discuss techniques and experiences with mitigating the impact of ads on site load times, and efforts that are ongoing to establish standards for measuring and improving ad performance.

Photo of Eric Goldsmith

Eric Goldsmith


Eric Goldsmith, Operations Architect at AOL, has more than 18 years of experience in the areas of product development, engineering and operations. At AOL he has led efforts to deliver the highest levels of performance and availability for top Web sites, including: AOL.com; AIM.com; and AOL Video; among others.

His areas of expertise include Performance Analysis, Capacity Planning, Network Engineering and Security, and Software and Product Development. Prior to AOL, Eric worked for companies such as UUNet, WorldCom and CompuServe, as well as telecom and Internet startups. He holds a BS in Computer Science from The Ohio State University.

Photo of Artur Bergman

Artur Bergman


Artur Bergman, hacker and technologist at-large, is the VP of Engineering and Operations at Wikia. He provides the technical backbone necessary for Wikia’s mission to compile and index the world’s knowledge. He is also an enthusiastic apologist for federated identity and a board member of the OpenID Foundation. In past lives, he’s built high volume financial trading systems, re-implemented Perl 5’s threading system, wrote djabberd, managed LiveJournal’s engineering team, and served as operations architect at Six Apart. His current interests extend to encompass semantic search, large scale infrastructure, open source development, federated instant messaging, neurotransmitters, and the future of cyborgs.

Photo of Tony Ralph

Tony Ralph


An 8 year Yahoo! veteran, I have worked directly with display ad delivery
for the last 4. One aspect of this work is the monitoring and analysis of
3rd Party ad quality and performance. This work has helped lead to the
formation of an IAB Working Group with other major publishers on ad

Bryant Mason

Microsoft Corporation

Bryant Mason is a Principal Test Manager with the Microsoft Advertising Research and Development Group, where he is responsible for performance engineering. He has been optimizing large-scale Internet services at Microsoft since the late 90s. Over the past nine years, he has been busy building advertising platforms that handle tens of billions of requests each day. When not working on the next generation advertising platform for Microsoft, he contributes to industry standards for on-line ad performance.

Photo of Sameer Ajmani

Sameer Ajmani


Sameer has been building large-scale distributed systems at Google since 2004, including work on parallel data processing, Bigtable, and, most recently, content delivery systems for DoubleClick image and video ad creatives. He is now leading a new effort at Google to make the Web faster by making ads load faster.

Photo of Richard Bush

Richard Bush


Since 1996 Richard has worked in internet and computing related industries, during this time he has been involved in development of commercial websites and marketing technology.

During Richard’s 6 years at RBI UK, he has been involved with best practice and creation of many of RBI’s ad funded websites.

In his current role as a Director at ADTECH US, Richard has responsibility for the teams that implement the ADTECH AD server for customers, and has many years of hands on experience with day to day ad delivery, for many of ADTECH’s largest customers.

Comments on this page are now closed.


Bryant Mason
06/25/2009 1:59am PDT

There are a number of acceptance criteria today, such as media size, that can be used as a proxy for download performance to some degree, but Sameer is absolutely right: advertisers, agencies, and ad networks all respond to market forces and we, as performance engineers, need to make download performance a compelling part of the on-line advertising marketplace. We also need to make sure that any acceptance criteria associated with ad download performance are compatible with current business workflow, otherwise they will never be adopted. In other words, we need criteria that are independent of the ad network and the publisher and, more importantly, that the tests do not require a multi-tiered test system or engineering skill to run—-advertisers and their agencies are not staffed by engineers.

Picture of Sameer Ajmani
Sameer Ajmani
06/24/2009 2:13pm PDT

If we can show, convincingly, that slow ads make less money, then we will motivate creative agencies, publishers, vendors, and advertisers to care about the end-to-end performance of ad serving. While formal acceptance criteria make sense to prevent the most egregious problems, we’ll get much more voluntary cooperation by showing that better ad performance improves revenue. My hope is that these market effects will encourage creative design firms to learn and apply the best practices that we now use for web delivery.

Picture of Claude Johnson
Claude Johnson
06/24/2009 11:02am PDT

I’d like to acceptance testing of ads during the staging and/or deployment stages. Meaning, measurement of performance becomes a formal acceptance criteria for an ad to get published. Ads that don’t make it through SHOULD hurt the vendors, agenices, networks or others involved in placing it.

The networks and vendors need to make sure to throw out the staging/pre-deployment stage statistics, of course. I’m not sure how to make that work at this point, but this is just an idea.

This pre-deployment stage would be the place for performance testing, with the actual environment and the vendors sites all providing content. Y Slow, Page Speed, Firebug, etc. can provide data based on the real network architecture which will be serving the ads, alongside the real content.

  • Keynote Systems
  • Google
  • Shopzilla
  • Aptimize
  • Facebook
  • NeuStar
  • Rackspace Cloud
  • Schooner Information Technology
  • SoftLayer
  • SpringSource
  • Sun Microsystems

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