Exponential growth in streaming is putting more pressure than ever on content delivery networks (CDNs) to deliver rich digital experiences. Live video will grow 15-fold from 2016 to 2021 and it is forecast there will be 1 billion 5G connected devices by 2025. In simple terms, quality content needs to reach more people, faster, better.
Fans – from sports enthusiasts to gamers to ecommerce shoppers – have high expectations and limited patience for slow websites, sub-optimal quality, video rebuffering, live streaming lags and even irrelevant ads. Low latency and seamless delivery are critical in order to stay competitive, reputable and relevant. This whitepaper explores why every moment matters in content delivery and the importance of selecting a powerful CDN that offers value to you and your fans.
Just like moments that matter in real life, seamless delivery of digital content is easily spoiled by delays, connectivity issues or shaky quality. Imagine a child’s first solo bike ride, their big moment on stage, or a loved one finishing a marathon … emotions are high, everyone’s poised… then picture the magic moment being interrupted or frozen. It’s annoying, disappointing and can quickly turn from a moment that matters to a moment of frustration. The impact is longer lasting than a moment, however, and if your fans are disappointed in this way they can quickly turn from advocators to detractors. When you’re launching a major live event or your website is driving high traffic volumes, you need to dazzle not disappoint. Every moment matters and your CDN should be resilient and agile to provide broadcast quality performance.
With reference to fans, we don’t just mean the sports fanatics. We mean every consumer of your content. Whether you’re serving gamers, streaming music, video-on-demand or file distribution, you need to engage customers with impressive quality, speed and continuity of service. Fans drive your ratings such as NPS (net promoter score), and impact your appeal and gravitas to sponsors, advertisers and stakeholders. A rich digital user experience means they are more likely to return (to watch highlights, for example), consume additional content and share good reviews.
Provide a superior experience, protect every moment that matters, and you’ll be attracting and retaining customers and meeting your SLAs/KPIs (e.g. bounce rates, uptime) with confidence. A poor user experience, however, has deep impact. Whilst end users may not be able to take their custom elsewhere (at least not immediately), they can certainly shout about it. Hundreds of thousands of consumers are powerful, so make latency work to your advantage and ensure you’re trending positively.
Your content consumers are likely to be using and switching between a variety of devices, expecting a seamless and quality experience that keeps up. This makes your task challenging but the right CDN will have your back. A large global private network is not only highly secure but bypasses the congestion of the public internet to ensure that quality is not impacted by large or unexpected surges of traffic. Global reach with points of presence around the world, and a high cache efficiency ratio, moments that matter can be appreciated by everyone wherever they are. In a world that is more connected than ever, accelerate the next generation of real-time, interactive and immersive content to delight your global customers.
By 2021, latency / bandwidth will be critical for over 30% of workload deployments.1 Lose the latency by choosing a CDN with multiple low latency live streaming delivery options, and edge compute, reducing delivery delays by executing serverless compute tasks closer to the user. This creates innovative opportunities such as optimising engagement with personalised experiences, teaser content for upsell strategies, or the power to block content entirely for different regions (perhaps for compliance reasons). Edge compute is also automatically scalable, responding instantly to spikes for a more elastic approach, negating wasted overprovisioning costs.
As new and exciting opportunities permeate the world of content delivery, so do threats. Stay a step ahead of technical issues before your fans even know about them and make security a priority for seamless delivery, compliance and peace of mind. Security is growing in complexity as criminals learn sophisticated strategies and consumers themselves pose threats. According to Limelight Networks’ State of Digital Downloads consumer research report, people are increasingly okay with stealing digital content.
De-risk the moments that matter with a CDN providing cloud-hosted layered defence that prevents data theft, or DDoS attacks designed to make your web infrastructure unavailable. You’ll be able to detect and mitigate risks before your users encounter disruption, or worse still, discover their personal data has been compromised. Security is all part of a superior user experience – including a slick sign-up process – and something you can’t afford to get wrong or make cumbersome. Strike a balance between enterprise-grade security and a great user experience with data encryption and security that scales without impacting performance.
World-class CDNs protect content against unauthorised sharing with DRM (digital rights management) or digital watermarking, a smart way to deter and identify perpetrators attempting to share content without permission. Not only does this prevent piracy, it reassures fans that your content is worth paying for since it cannot be easily hacked or illegally shared.
Live events are fraught with risk such as latency or quality issues which could impact the essential moments that matter, so your CDN should maintain control of superior streaming. Ensure your customer’s adrenaline is pumping for the right reasons – engaged fans not enraged fans. Look for live event support, local (native speaking) expertise and tools to assist with post-event analysis for continual improvement.
To continue serving rich digital experiences, your reporting and analytics need to be transforming data into actionable insights. Key metrics such as content, traffic, applications and user behaviour inform the wider business, help with decision making and goal setting, but to be a market leader you need real-time dashboards. Know how content is being consumed, how users are interacting with content and gauge the user experience. Using insight, rather than hindsight, you will be able to pivot strategically and move towards goals more quickly.
A powerful CDN will offer reporting beyond the basics to configure and manage diagnostics for a deep dive into the pertinent factors for your business. The benefits include operational efficiency, quality experiences (in terms of flawless delivery and optimisation), improved forecasting and an agile approach to changes in business requirements.
In a digital world with no patience for slow or unreliable digital experiences, the processing and delivery of your digital assets has to be fast, reliable and secure.
The growth of live video is huge, and the number of connected devices is growing rapidly, along with your fans’ appetite for more content, faster. Every moment is an opportunity to wow or frustrate, so choose a powerful and resilient CDN to stay in control of your content provision. Strive for superior quality that’s secure and available wherever and however your fans want it. Just like life events, when the moment is lost it can rarely be revived.
Your choice of CDN keeps you competitive, engaging your fans with a rich digital experience that leaves them wanting more. Key features to scrutinise include a large global private network and edge computing, sophisticated security, and free unrestricted access to 24/7/365 live technical support and professional services. When you know seamless delivery in assured, your teams are free to innovate and focus on strategy, using insight to create and deliver next generation content. Protect the moments that matter to your fans and meet business goals with confidence.
The world’s largest broadcasters and content rights holders trust Limelight Networks for best-in-class delivery of their biggest launches and highest-profile live streaming events. Get in touch to see how we can help you lose the latency and gain the fans.