Using Serverless for Faster Cookie Syncing at 30% Cost Savings

Key takeaways

Future PLC found an edge delivery solution that freed up budget and increased the speed of cookie syncing and ad delivery for its ad tech stack.

  • Serverless Scripting used to speed up cookie syncing to increase “real time-ness” of real time bidding (RTB) platform
  • StackPath’s CDN used to quickly deliver ads to an audience of 171M monthly users
  • 30% cost savings with Serverless Scripting compared to Lambda@Edge

Situation

Future PLC is a global media company that publishes 100+ digital brands that reach 203 million online users every month. In 2014 Future PLC built a technology stack that allowed for real time bidding (RTB) to monetize its brands and help advertisers get in front of the right people, at the right time, in the right place.

After building the RTB platform Future PLC needed a CDN solution to support its ad delivery and user identity platform. To ensure ads loaded as quickly as the content on the brand sites, CDN performance and accuracy was imperative. The CDN that Future PLC initially chose for the RTB platform delivered on performance but its geo-location feature did not work well, leading it to fall short in delivery accuracy.

The engineering team in the ad tech department started looking for a new ad delivery solution.

Objective

During their search for a better CDN for their RTB platform, the Ad Tech engineering team also started investigating ways to optimize another part of the user identity technology: the cookie sync (i.e. the trade of anonymous user identifiers between two domains to allow for better quality ads). To speed up the sync operation, the platform needs serverless technology that operates at the edge, the closest to the users. Putting the function that streamlined the cookie sync closest to the partnering web properties would increase the “real time-ness” of the RTB platform.

Considering this optimization, an ideal solution for Reda Guermas and his team would have both a CDN to increase the speed of ad delivery and a serverless solution that executed functions as quickly as the CDN delivered ads. Such a solution would better serve both sides of the business: the advertisers who want access to targeted audiences in RTB environments and readers who want a smooth digital experience.

“The faster the cookie syncing process is, the better it is for us from a bidding perspective because our matched users are better valued than unmatched users,” said Reda Guermas, the VP of Engineering of Ad Tech at Future PLC.

Approach

While looking for platforms with a reliable CDN and serverless edge offering, a major Cloud provider was the first platform that came up. This was around the time StackPath was in stealth mode. With few other companies offering both CDN and serverless technology, Future PLC decided to go with that Cloud provider. With a growing collection of brands and advertising partners, Future PLC needed the scale of a Cloud solution but also a platform that could help expand Guermas’s department’s budget for more innovative endeavors.

In 2018, the engineering team came across StackPath and found what they were looking for: a serverless edge offering that met their requirements for speed, scale, and budget. After running performance testing they pushed their cookie sync functions and ad creative to StackPath’s edge.

Results

Future PLC saw over 30% in cost savings with StackPath’s Serverless Scripting product while benefiting from StackPath’s network of edge servers that are located as closely as possible to Internet Exchanges (IX’s) in densely populated cities throughout the world. In addition to this, Guermas and his team received the support they needed to offload delivery from their previous platform to StackPath.

“We experienced a 30% cost savings with StackPath and received premium quality support from their team to deliver a high-speed experience to our advertisers and audience.”

Reda Guermas • VP of Technology, Ad Tech @ Future PLC

Company Description

Future PLC is a global multi-platform media company with a programmatic advertising stack that helps its clients benefit from its audience of 171 million monthly users.

Industry

Advertising & Publishing

Use Case

Cookie syncing and ad delivery

Products

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