Why Personalization Is Crucial to Driving Video Revenue
While video continues to be the fastest growing form of media and premium video ad inventory commands the highest CPMs, publishers have struggled to fully capitalize on this fundamental change in media consumption. The reality is most of the 750 billion or so monthly video views are being consumed on Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat. Unfortunately, social media video views provide poor unit economics compared to video views on publishers’ owned and operated sites and apps. While it is always important to be where your audience is, publishers shouldn’t leave millions of potential ad dollars on the table because they aren’t optimizing their video distribution.
They key is making publishers’ owned and operated properties (O&O) a destination that serves the interests of loyal users first since they are the core group that organically enters a dot com address or downloads a dedicated app. Many others may enjoy a publisher’s content but most are agnostic to where they consume it. Consider this: of those that press play on a video on a publisher’s O&O, 80% leave the website before the video even ends. That means most of the video revenue potential comes from the loyal 20% who come back and are willing to watch more than one video.
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Focus on Video UX
Historically, growing a loyal online audience has been difficult, but recent innovations around user experience and publishing workflow have helped publishers improve user engagement. For example, Time Inc. has instituted video players that minimize to a smaller player when readers start scrolling, so they can keep watching the video as they dive deeper into the content. While video is the fastest growing form of media, online publishing is still driven by pages of text and images. Users are accustomed to second screen experience already so applying that UX on a single screen is a welcomed innovation that allows both readers and viewers to experience content their own way.
Personalize the Experience Using First-Party Data
Advances in data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence have paved the way for innovations that enabled content owner and user to build a one-to-one relationship, acquire valuable first-party data, and provide monetization options that satisfy the needs of marketer, publisher, and ultimately, the user. There is a saying in marketing that it is more profitable to sell more to fewer customers than to acquire new ones and sell to them. This is the core logic behind innovations such as personalized video programming.
Prometheus Global Media, publisher of The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard, uses video personalization to support its digital distribution strategy. The publisher gives video greater exposure on their sites, allowing users to view the extent of their library and premium content. Prometheus powered its video players with personalization plugins that surfaced the most popular content categories, encouraging consumers to watch more videos in a continuous play user experience. Through increased video entry points, users rapidly began to experience the breadth and depth of Prometheus’ video library. Over time, these core users shared the content they liked socially, which helped increase visits from new users organically.
Additionally, understanding what videos users are most engaged with and comparing that to different conditions, like device and category, has helped inform Prometheus’ video editorial strategy. Knowing what portions of its library drove the most views allowed the publisher to test or validate assumptions regarding content creation or content acquisition. The data insight also led Prometheus to A/B test different content formats and clip lengths. With these tools, the publisher leveraged data in ways that allowed it to focus on creating the best content.
The ability to program the most relevant video from its library automatically freed Prometheus to be more aggressive with creating video entry points while creating a more engaging experience for its audience. The data showed that when a viewer is offered video recommendations tailored to their tastes, they are more likely to stick around beyond the initial video, which multiplied Prometheus’ opportunities for monetization.
Incorporate Premium, Branded Video Campaigns
New monetization opportunities include serving branded video campaigns inside video streams, which publishers can sell for 10-20X higher CPMs than pre-roll. In some cases publishers have reduced the pre-roll ad load and inserted branded video in different streaming positions resulting in less ads being served, but more revenue being generated.
Rohan Castelino is director of business development & marketing for IRIS.TV. Mr. Castelino has over 12 years international experience working in the intersection of media and technology. He spent six years in Beijing and Shanghai where he helped produce and finance international film and television co-productions with China, Hollywood and Europe. Prior to joining IRIS.TV, Rohan worked with major media companies such as Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, and Illumination Entertainment.