Hi everyone. As many of you know, 8 months ago FANDOM began producing Featured Videos that live on wiki pages. We did this to accomplish three key goals:
- Reach a web audience that is increasingly looking for video content, and do it in a way that compliments the text content that has been built over many years.
- Use pre-roll advertisements in front of Featured Videos to dramatically reduce the number of advertisements on any given wiki page.
- Improve page load times by reducing the number of advertisements.
A few months ago we produced some videos for RuneScape Wiki and Old School RuneScape Wiki that did not live up to the standards we want in Featured Videos. Among other issues, we used content that would easily become out of date. We knew that in order to produce Featured Videos, we needed someone who has a ton of RuneScape expertise and the videos needed to be produced in a way that minimized the likelihood that they would become out of date.
We turned to a freelancer recommended by the community here and worked with him and his expertise in order to produce a first cut of these videos. We incorporated the feedback given to us by some of the admins here and also put them through a rigorous internal review, so we could ensure that these videos were the best that they could be.
We know that the addition of Featured Videos may lead to some questions and concerns about how they will impact page performance, so let’s talk about the changes we’ve made to advertisements and page performance over the last several months.
One of the biggest concerns expressed by RuneScape and Old School RuneScape admins and community members is in regards to the number of advertisements per page and their impact on page load times and user retention. Because of the Featured Videos we have across FANDOM, we were able to slash the number of advertisements on every wiki page by 30%. This new ad layout was completed in October 2017, but was being rolled out to several countries beginning in July.
Across FANDOM, the decrease in advertisements has led to major improvements in page performance. The average page load time on desktop across the entire site dropped 46% from the beginning to the end of 2017. For RuneScape specifically, the numbers are very similar: average page load times on RuneScape are 44% lower than they were one year ago.
This has had a significant impact on user retention. In that same period of time, the number of pages that a single user reads per visit to the wiki increased 17% - and that number is increasing, a trend we expect to see continue. The increase directly correlates to when the new ad layout began to roll out worldwide. Your readers are beginning to notice the improvements in page performance, and they are sticking around longer as a result.
You can see these changes illustrated here:
This chart shows the changes in page load times and pages per session from January 2015 to December 2017. The peak page load time was in February 2017, and it has been consistently trending downward since July 2017. The slight uptick at the end of the year is due to typical end-of-year traffic increases and ad differences.
We know that this does not address every concern people may have, but we do hope it's a major first step. You've said for years that advertisements are a problem, and we've said for years that we agree - and now, finally, we have been in the position to do something about it, and the results are pretty spectacular. There's also more to come very soon: we'll be applying many of these same successes to mobile, and we're working on making even more strides to improve page performance.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about Featured Videos, advertisements, and page performance, please don't hesitate to ask them here so we can discuss them with you. -BertH (help forum | blog) 18:36, February 12, 2018 (UTC)
No. - The Treasure Trail one is already going to be outdated within the month.18:42, February 12, 2018 (UTC)
- We'll be updating the videos as needed based on the changes later this month and in the future. -BertH (help forum | blog) 18:46, February 12, 2018 (UTC)
Question - Is the placement of trending articles on every shot of a wiki page intentional? It looks like it was added as a last ditch attempt to add some branding to a video otherwise devoid of anything FANDOM. User:Cqm/Signature
- I'm also sceptical of the benefits to mobile. The video takes over half the page by default, but doesn't use any volume. It's like a pet sat between you and the TV staring at you, waiting for you to notice it. It's not a popup and in the traditional sense, but it's only marginally better. User:Cqm/Signature
- The trending articles module is on every article page. As we continue work on mobile web modernization, we expect to see benefits similar to what we saw on desktop. -BertH (help forum | blog) 19:27, February 12, 2018 (UTC)
Comment - Before giving any opinions here, I want to be completely transparent here given that there are mentions towards admin involvement in the videos in Bert's post. As most people will know, FANDOM implemented featured video before and it resulted in a pretty negative forum thread and posts on Reddit. It was clear that nobody liked them, and as a result Jagex contacted FANDOM on our behalf to help resolve the issues and get the videos, which were abysmal at time, removed from the wiki. FANDOM acknowledged the videos were of poor quality, and over the last few months we have been in communication with them privately, and at one point had a video conference with them, to talk about the issues we have - not just with the videos.
It's clear that what we want as a community and what FANDOM want aren't the same. So, while we absolutely do not want the addition of the videos, they were clear that it was something they were going to do anyway, and thus we tried to help them at least improve the quality of the videos here. The videos that are done by a freelancer was recommended by us, and there was an initial draft of the videos which still had some issues which we told them about and they fixed. We helped with improving the scripts so that things made sense, and we suggested changes that are more ambiguous and would allow the videos to make more sense after game updates.
With that said, myself and I'm sure the majority of other people stand by the fact that featured videos are an unwelcome and unnecessary addition to the wiki. It clutters the page, the autoplaying is pretty annoying, the videos will still become outdated quickly, and I feel that the wider RuneScape community will also become just as frustrated about it as they did before. I do have stronger opinions about video, but I vocalised that already on the previous thread. 19:01, February 12, 2018 (UTC)