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One of the most discussed topics in the APM space relates to monitoring ads for digital publishers. There are a variety of problems associated with delivering ads online including an ad’s visibility, user experience (UX) impact, and how it affects overall web performance. These problems are a result of the complexity of  ad delivery networks combined with the reality that publishers need to serve ads in order to generate revenue for their sites. In many cases, when the performance of the revenue-generating side of the business is overlooked, there is a negative impact to the bottom line.

Last year we discussed different “optimization techniques that site administrators can utilize to build faster, cleaner, and more reliable websites“. But these optimization techniques are missing the other critical aspect of APM – monitoring. Prioritizing and determining necessary optimizations can be a daunting task, especially when multiple web properties are at stake. That is why we now offer a robust optimization tool that does the digging for you.

The question still remains, how do you proactively monitor the health and visibility of your ads and revenue-generating assets? At Rigor we are always looking for different ways for monitoring ads and measuring the performance impact of ads on our customer’s sites. We use real browsers to emulate the end user experience and with some careful configuration can zero in on how ads are impacting your site. Lets take a look into some of the possible monitoring configurations for ads.

Ad Presence

In most cases ads are delivered on a site by a third party through an iframe. These iframes are generally stored in css containers relative to the position on the page. Rigor allows you to access a website and verify that elements are present or visible. When you configure a check you must determine the elements and files that are essential for the ad to be delivered. This generally starts with a CSS selector that contains the ad. By verifying this element is visible on the page you can then move into the next step of verifying that the iframe is present.

div id="adsDiv" style="font-size: 0px;"

Using the iframes CSS selector or id, Rigor’s browser can target the iframe and interact with the elements loaded in the HTML.

iframe frameborder="0" src="" id="200_120_html_expanding_0.if" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="true" style="border: 0px; vertical-align: bottom; width: 970px; height: 250px; left: 0px; top: 0px; position: absolute;"

In doing this we can verify that the web server delivered the correct container for the ad and that the iframe element was visible on the page. This case study gives a more in depth look at how monitoring the presence of ads can impact your site.

Ad Visibility

After you know that the correct resources are loading in on the page, it is essential to verify the ad is displayed on the site correctly. After you verify the presence of the iframe you can utilize javascript to perform powerful actions. If you have an ad that is loaded in via the src attribute of an iframe, you can run a javascript command to pull the src value out of the iframe id and store it in a variable.iframe return javascript value ad monitoring

On the next step you can visit that url to determine if the ad returns a healthy 200 response code or if there are HTTP errors.go to ad url ad monitoring

Ad Performance Budgets

Is it also possible to configure threshold monitors that will alert you based on site performance. We provide a number of metrics and allow you to specify success criteria for the check. If you have performance budgets in place for ads, Rigor can alert you based on these goals. For example, if you have an article page on your site that loads in 2 ads and makes calls to 4 ad domains a threshold monitor would allow you to configure an alert if the particular domain has an aggregate load time greater than your performance budget. Similarly, if you know that there should only ever be 4 resources from the ad domain you can configure an alert to fire if that criteria is not met.

threshold monitoring ads

Performance techniques that monitor the visibility, performance, and UX impact of advertisements can provide valuable information on the landscape of your ad delivery and helps prioritize how to optimize and improve. These are some examples of configurations in Rigor and there are many more possibilities. We are currently investigating more ways to configure Rigor checks to do this – if you have any ideas or use cases, let us know in the comments!

Rigor is the first end-to-end web performance management platform for digital organizations. Our platform programmatically identifies, prioritizes and remediates the root causes of poor site performance and reliability. If you are interested in learning more click here to try free for two weeks.

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