Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Jim Kaskade, Trevor Parsons

Related Topics: Java, SOA & WOA, AJAX & REA, Web 2.0, Open Web, Cloud Expo

Java: Article

Super Bowl Sunday 2013 – Winners, Losers, and Casualties

Since the late 1990s, Super Bowl advertisers have tried to successfully link their TV ads to their online properties

No matter which team you were cheering for (or if you even watched the game at all), Super Bowl Sunday 2013 was more than a football game. Since the late 1990s, Super Bowl advertisers have tried to successfully link their TV ads to their online properties, sometimes with mixed results. Even 15 years later, companies can't always predict how well their sites will perform on the big day. But unlike the early days of TV/online campaigns, the problems are more complex than a site going down under heavy traffic.

This year, some of the world's premier brands spent millions of dollars on 30 second and one-minute ad blocks (as well as millions for the creation of the ads) during the Super Bowl, all of which were tied directly to online or social media campaigns. However, not all the sites successfully resisted the onslaught of traffic.

The measurement results from the Compuware network in the periods leading up to, and during, the Super Bowl showed some clear winners and losers in page load time. Events like the Super Bowl require high-frequency measurements, so we set our locations to collect data every five minutes to catch every variation in performance, no matter how fleeting.

For the period from 5 p.m. EST until 11 p.m. EST on Sunday, February 3, the top and bottom three sites were:

Top Three Performers

  1. Go Daddy
  2. Paramount
  3. Lincoln Motor Cars

Bottom 3 Performers

  1. Doritos
  2. Coca-Cola
  3. Universal Pictures

Top and Bottom Web Performers - Super Bowl 2013
All of these sites chose different approaches to delivering their message online. What we found through our analysis is that the issues that they encountered almost perfectly aligned with those that Compuware finds during every major online event.

You're Not Alone
The Super Bowl is often referred to as the perfect storm for web performance - a six-hour window, with the spotlight on your company for 30-60 seconds (or more if you bought many slots). However, the halo effect sees traffic to your site increase astronomically for the entire six hours while people prepare for your big unveiling.

But your company isn't the only one doing the same thing. And many (if not all) of the infrastructure components, datacenters, CDNs, ad providers, web analytics, and video streaming platforms you use are being used by other companies advertising during the Super Bowl.

Even if you have tested your entire site to what you think is your peak traffic volume (and beyond), remember that these shared services are all running at their maximum volume during the Super Bowl. All of the testing you did on your site can be undone by a third party that can't handle a peak load coming from two, three, or more customers simultaneously.

Lesson: Verify that your third-party services can effectively handle the maximum load from all of their customers all at once without degrading the performance of any of them.

Lose a Few Pounds
The performance solution isn't just on the third parties. It also relies on companies taking steps to focus on the most important aspect of Super Bowl Sunday online campaigns - getting people to your site. Sometimes this means that you have to make some compromises, perhaps streamline the delivery a little more than you otherwise would.

While the total amount of content is a key indicator of potential trouble - yes, big pages do tend to load more slowly than small pages - Compuware data showed that two of the three slowest sites drew content from more than 20 hosts and had over 100 objects on the page (with the slowest having over 200!). This complexity increases the likelihood that something will go wrong, and that if that happens, it could lead to a serious degradation in performance.

Lesson: While having a cool, interactive site for customers to come to is a big win for a massive marketing event like the Super Bowl, keeping a laser focus on delivering a successful experience sometimes mean leaving stuff out.

Have a Plan B (and Plan C, and Plan D...)
I know Murphy well. I have seen his work on many a customer site, whether they hired him or not. And when the inevitable red square (or flashing light or screaming siren) appears to announce a web performance problem, his name will always appear.

If you plan for a problem, when it happens, it's not a problem. If your selected CDN becomes congested due to a massive traffic influx that was not expected, have the ability to dynamically balance load between CDN providers. If an ad service or messaging platform begins to choke your site, have the ability to easily disable the offending hosts. If your cloud provider begins to rain on your parade, transfer load to the secondary provider you set up "just in case." If your dynamic page creation begins to crash your application servers, switch to a static HTML version that can be more easily delivered by your infrastructure.

If you have fallen back to Plan J, have an amusing error message that allows your customers to participate in the failure of your success. Heck, create a Twitter hashtag that says "#[your company]GoesBoom" and realize that any publicity is better than not being talked about at all.

Lesson: Murphy always puts his eggs in one basket. Learn from his mistake and plan for problems. Then test your plans. Then plan again. And test again. Wash, rinse, repeat until you have caught 95% of the possible scenarios. Then, have a plan to handle the remaining 5%.

Now What?
What have we learned from Super Bowl 2013? We have learned that during a period of peak traffic and high online interest, the performance issues that sites encounter are very consistent and predictable, with only the affected sites changing. But by taking some preventative steps, and having an emergency response plan, most of the performance issues can be predicted, planned for, and responded to when (not if) they appear.

When your company goes into the next big event, be it the Super Bowl or that one-day online sale, planning for the three items listed here will likely make you better prepared to bask in the success of the moment. We will be assisting you over the next few days by more deeply analyzing the performance of some of the top brand rivalries, in the Compuware version of the AdBowl.

More Stories By Stephen Pierzchala

With more than a decade in the web performance industry, Stephen Pierzchala has advised many organizations, from Fortune 500 to startups, in how to improve the performance of their web applications by helping them develop and evolve the unique speed, conversion, and customer experience metrics necessary to effectively measure, manage, and evolve online web and mobile applications that improve performance and increase revenue. Working on projects for top companies in the online retail, financial services, content delivery, ad-delivery, and enterprise software industries, he has developed new approaches to web performance data analysis. Stephen has led web performance methodology, CDN Assessment, SaaS load testing, technical troubleshooting, and performance assessments, demonstrating the value of the web performance. He noted for his technical analyses and knowledge of Web performance from the outside-in.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize supplier management. Learn about enterprise architecture strategies for designing connected systems tha...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce the value of the network in helping organizations to maximize their company’s cloud experience.
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, will discuss the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. The presentation will also discuss how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics to discuss are barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold.
Whether you're a startup or a 100 year old enterprise, the Internet of Things offers a variety of new capabilities for your business. IoT style solutions can help you get closer your customers, launch new product lines and take over an industry. Some companies are dipping their toes in, but many have already taken the plunge, all while dramatic new capabilities continue to emerge. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Reid Carlberg, Senior Director, Developer Evangelism at salesforce.com, to discuss real-world use cases, patterns and opportunities you can harness today.
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices – computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be!
Noted IoT expert and researcher Joseph di Paolantonio (pictured below) has joined the @ThingsExpo faculty. Joseph, who describes himself as an “Independent Thinker” from DataArchon, will speak on the topic of “Smart Grids & Managing Big Utilities.” Over his career, Joseph di Paolantonio has worked in the energy, renewables, aerospace, telecommunications, and information technology industries. His expertise is in data analysis, system engineering, Bayesian statistics, data warehouses, business intelligence, data mining, predictive methods, and very large databases (VLDB). Prior to DataArcho...
Software AG helps organizations transform into Digital Enterprises, so they can differentiate from competitors and better engage customers, partners and employees. Using the Software AG Suite, companies can close the gap between business and IT to create digital systems of differentiation that drive front-line agility. We offer four on-ramps to the Digital Enterprise: alignment through collaborative process analysis; transformation through portfolio management; agility through process automation and integration; and visibility through intelligent business operations and big data.
There will be 50 billion Internet connected devices by 2020. Today, every manufacturer has a propriety protocol and an app. How do we securely integrate these "things" into our lives and businesses in a way that we can easily control and manage? Even better, how do we integrate these "things" so that they control and manage each other so our lives become more convenient or our businesses become more profitable and/or safe? We have heard that the best interface is no interface. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Co-Founder & CTO at Octoblu, Inc., will discuss how thes...
Last week, while in San Francisco, I used the Uber app and service four times. All four experiences were great, although one of the drivers stopped for 30 seconds and then left as I was walking up to the car. He must have realized I was a blogger. None the less, the next car was just a minute away and I suffered no pain. In this article, my colleague, Ved Sen, Global Head, Advisory Services Social, Mobile and Sensors at Cognizant shares his experiences and insights.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) ir...
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT. Attendees will learn rea...
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, will share some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder ...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to create new business models as significant as those that were inspired by the Internet and the smartphone 20 and 10 years ago. What business, social and practical implications will this phenomenon bring? That's the subject of "Monetizing the Internet of Things: Perspectives from the Front Lines," an e-book released today and available free of charge from Aria Systems, the leading innovator in recurring revenue management.
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges.
There’s Big Data, then there’s really Big Data from the Internet of Things. IoT is evolving to include many data possibilities like new types of event, log and network data. The volumes are enormous, generating tens of billions of logs per day, which raise data challenges. Early IoT deployments are relying heavily on both the cloud and managed service providers to navigate these challenges. In her session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Hannah Smalltree, Director at Treasure Data, to discuss how IoT, Big Data and deployments are processing massive data volumes from wearables, utilities and other mach...
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Erik Lagerway, Co-founder of Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice s...
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehe...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, will discuss single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...