Starting Video Instantly after a Pre-roll Ad

Achieving a server-side ad insertion experience on the client-side with JW 8.1

One of the most lucrative and engaging placements for online video advertising is the pre-roll ad. This is the ad that comes before main content that a viewer is attempting to watch. When the ad completes or is skipped to the main content, it is imperative to start video as quickly as possible. If viewers are stuck waiting for the video to load, they will leave and likely not come back. The rate at which viewers abandon video increases the longer they have to wait. Studies show that most viewers are willing to wait 1-2 seconds for video to start. After that, you can expect a 6% drop-off for each additional second of wait time.

When it comes to transitioning smoothly from advertising to content, online video has always trailed behind broadcast TV. This is due to the nature of client-side ad insertion and programmatic video. Server-side ad insertion is a potential solution to achieve a seamless experience, but it has been two years since it was added to the VAST 4.0 specification. Overall adoption is slow and expensive because of the lack of standardization around the actual insertion and tracking. It also requires infrastructure changes that only premium media publishers can typically afford.

We launched JW8 to provide a broader base with a broadcast-quality online video experience. Using intelligence gleaned from our large network of video players, we learned how to get 75% of all of our video starts after an ad plays to be under two seconds. Our latest iteration of JW8 improves time to first frame by 100%. In JW 8.1, 75% of videos start up in under a second, with the vast majority of these plays starting close to instantaneously.

The result? An online video experience that’s as seamless as cable TV, even on slower mobile networks. Check out this video that shows the difference in performance when on a cellular network.

What’s next? We are going to extend this functionality and keep making those green bars bigger.

To learn more about how to become a video-first publisher, schedule time to talk with one of our video experts.

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What Is a Video Embed?

Part II of JW Player’s “Anatomy of a Video Series”

Last December, as part of our series on video fundamentals, we looked at the many definitions of a video play and found that “not all plays are created equal.” When it comes to telling the full story of why and how viewers engage with content, the quality of a play matters a lot—but it isn’t the only benchmark. That story begins with “the embed.”


For most users, embedding starts with inserting a code to a website, linking to a video that’s hosted at another location, and surfacing a video player without using any resources from the website itself.

In the world of video technology, though, an embed doesn’t just occur the first time you go through these steps. It counts each time a page is refreshed.

If you primarily think of embeds as pieces of code, simplify that idea further. An embed is any instance that a player is shown.



Embeds are a proxy for web traffic—they estimate the total number of viewers coming to your video site. This metric could be entirely separate from the total number who actually played a video.

Together with plays, embeds reveal telling details about viewer behavior, choice, and engagement.

Let’s say you created a playlist. You made a single embed that featured many opportunities for plays. Some of your videos were played. Others were not.

By tracking the ratio of plays to embeds, you can measure engagement through a play rate. A high play rate means that the content was enticing—for every instance that a player was shown (the embed), the video was played most (or all) of the time.



Here at JW Player, we recommend using embeds to divide up your website. Place different embeds in various sections or pages so that you can compare which embeds led to the most engagement. Zero in on the locations or types of content that draw the most viewers.

In addition, you can easily filter for play rate through our segmentation tool. For those of you with highly engaging content, your play rate might exceed 100%.

We’re in the business of helping you achieve the best play rate possible. Schedule time to talk with one of our video experts.


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The “Anatomy of a Video Series” explores key measures of a video’s life cycle: embed, ad impression, play, complete, and time watched. Together, they provide a comprehensive picture of how and why viewers engage.

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