Time Based Breaks

Note: This feature needs to be enabled for your account. Contact your Account Manager if you want to use time based breaks. If you want to include sponsors in time based breaks, that needs to be enabled for your account as well.

A time based break refers to a linear ad break (pre-, mid-, post-, or seek-roll ad break) which has constraints for both the number of ads to show and total length of the ad break. The ad break ends when it reaches the specified duration, or when all its slots are filled, whichever happens first. Limiting ad break duration helps to increase viewer retention, and in turn increase your inventory because your viewers are more likely to return to your site and start more videos.

When the feature is enabled for your Pulse account, you can set ad break duration limits in your insertion policies by entering the maximum amount of seconds you want the ad break to last. For time based breaks, both maximum duration and maximum number of ad positions have to be specified.

It is also possible to include the sponsor ad duration within the maximum duration defined in the insertion policies of linear ad breaks. If the feature is enabled on your account, it applies to all insertion policies for linear ad breaks where a maximum duration has been set. The number of ad positions is unaffected, but the maximum duration now also includes the duration of the sponsor ad being shown and the sponsor ad is always selected first.

Example: Sponsor Ads Not Included in Time Based Breaks

Mid-roll time based break insertion policy example

You set up a mid-roll insertion policy with a maximum duration of 80 seconds and maximum six ad positions. This means that instead of showing six mid-roll ads by default, you show as many mid-roll ads as you can in 80 seconds. The maximum number of ads you can show is still six, but the ad break ends when it reaches the specified duration, or when all its slots are filled, whichever happens first.

Assume you have the following four mid-roll ads which qualify for selection: one 30 second ad, one 20 second ad, and two 15 second ads. According to the example insertion policy above, the mid-roll break is filled with the eligible four ads (30s + 20s +15s + 15s = 80s) and ends because it reached its specified duration.

Example: Sponsor Ads Included in Time Based Breaks

Mid-roll time based break insertion policy example

You set up a mid-roll insertion policy with a maximum duration of 80 seconds and maximum four ad positions. This means that instead of showing four mid-roll ads by default, you show as many mid-roll ads as you can in 80 seconds, but the maximum duration now also includes the duration of the sponsor ad being shown and the sponsor ad is always selected first.

Assume you have four mid-roll ads which are all 20 seconds long and qualify for selection. You also have a sponsor goal with a mid-roll ad that is 30 seconds long and qualifies for selection. According to the example insertion policy above, the mid-roll ad break is filled with the eligible 30 second sponsor ad first and two of the 20 second long mid-roll ads next (30s + 20s +20s ≤ 80s). Since no ≤10 second ads qualify for selection, the mid-roll break ends before reaching its specified duration or maximum number of ads per break.

If the four eligible mid-roll ads were 10 seconds long each, then they would all be selected for the mid-roll ad break together with the sponsor ad (30s + 4 x 10s ≤ 80s) In this case, the mid-roll ad break would effectively contain five ads and it would end because of reaching the maximum number of ads per break.

Time Based Breaks in Pulse SDKs and Flash SDK

Setting the maximum duration in seconds for a break is also available in the Pulse SDKs and Flash SDK and is done through adding the parameter when you request an ad session from Pulse:

  • HTML5 (from v2.1.16.10.3):
    OO.Pulse.RequestSettings.maxLinearBreakDuration
  • Android (from v2.2.16.10.0):
    RequestSettings.setMaxLinearBreakDuration()
  • iOS & tvOS (from v2.2.16.10.0):
    VPRequestSettings.maxLinearBreakDuration
  • Flash SDK (from v2.4.16.11.1):
    RequestSettings.maxLinearBreakDuration
Warning: Adding the maximum linear break duration in an ad session request to Pulse sets the maximum duration for each linear break requested, even if no maximum duration was previously defined in the applicable ad insertion policy in Pulse.

Time Based Breaks in VAST and VMAP Integrations

When requesting VAST or VMAP tickets directly, you can pass in the tbbl (time based breaks length) parameter to indicate the maximum duration in seconds for linear ad breaks. This setting may override the amount of ads returned as set in the insertion policies for linear ad breaks, in case the total length of the ads would otherwise exceed the set ad break length. For example, tbbl=60 indicates that each linear ad break may only be 60 seconds long.

Warning: Adding the maximum linear break duration in an ad session request to Pulse sets the maximum duration for each linear break requested, even if no maximum duration was previously defined in the applicable ad insertion policy in Pulse.

Limitations

The limitations of using time based breaks are:
  • It guarantees that ad breaks are not longer than the time you set, but it does not guarantee the complete duration limit is filled with ads.
  • Ads that are too long (exceed the defined duration limit of the break) are not eligible for time based breaks and will not get selected.
  • The forecasting engine cannot always take time based breaks into account. For campaign simulations, we assume the goal always 'fits' within a time-limited break. Depending on the length of ads used in an actual campaign, the forecast could appear to show more available impressions than the campaign can actually deliver in a time-limited break.
  • You have to specify the estimated duration of third party and IPTV ads to make them eligible for time based breaks. If the ad exceeds the duration limit of the break, it will not get selected.
  • RTB ads are never eligible for selection because Pulse does not know their duration in advance nor can it be estimated.