Startup Time

Nothing can be more frustrating than watching a video that doesn’t play. No matter how often you press the “Play” button, it never starts. Until finally, what feels like an eternity later, it finally plays. This concept is known as “Startup Time”, so let’s talk about it!

What Is Startup Time?

Startup time measures how quickly a video (or audio file) renders the first frame after it’s started playing. It’s one of the most important metrics you can track because lengthy startup times can quickly kill user engagement. This measurement is so essential Spotify founder Daniel Elk used it to make his streaming service match offline media playback.

With slower startup times, users are more likely to abandon your media before watching the entire thing, with almost 6% of viewers leaving for every second they have to wait for back in 2012. Now, users are more likely to abandon it if the video takes more than two seconds to load.

How To Improve Startup Time?

There are a ton of factors that can affect your overall startup time. While it’s a critical metric to track, there are far too many other metrics that can also affect it as well. Some things that may affect your startup time are:

  • Large video sizes
  • Uncompressed, raw video
  • A slow CDN
  • Host & user bandwidth limitations
  • Bitrate

To improve your startup time, these are some factors you may need to consider improving first. You can also check out this post on our blog about other ways to speed up your video delivery.

Wrapping It Up

Startup time can make or break your business, with how critical videos are in today’s digital marketing. However, to speed things up, there are a ton of other factors at play that you might not have control over.

What you do have control over is how you serve your media to customers. And by using Cloudinary, you’ll have complete control over how you deliver your content. Cloudinary’s Programmable Media can dynamically change your content to fit your user’s needs, including video quality and image transformations. And with our Media Experience Cloud, you can manage and optimize your digital media in one place while delivering media quickly with our powerful CDN.

What are you waiting for? Get started with Cloudinary with a free account and unlock your media’s true potential.

Last updated: May 25, 2023