Believe the Hype: Video Monetization is Real

5 Insights about video monetization from Ad Week Europe

Digital video has become the hottest advertising format in the media world. For publishers, this rapid growth has posed a number of crucial questions: “Is video advertising scalable? Can you really stake your business on it? Is it better than display?”

At Advertising Week Europe this past March, JW Player COO Bill Day sat down with three industry leaders to get to the bottom of these important questions at the session “Believe the Hype: Video Monetization Is Real.” Along the way, the panelists discussed their first-hand experiences of how video is driving publisher revenues. Here are five things we learned.

 

1) Video now accounts for 35% of all online ad spending.

After years of anticipation, video advertising is now aligning with the growth in video viewing among consumers.

 

“Any great ad medium sits on top of a huge shift in consumption,” Day said, noting that video now accounts for 35% of all online ad spending.

 

Time Inc. product manager Umar Nadat believes that “video is the future,” which is why the company now publishes video content alongside written articles whenever appropriate. This integrated editorial strategy has helped Time UK achieve 252% year-over-year growth in video revenues.

 

2) In the era of walled gardens, publishers need to diversify.

 

Facebook’s recent algorithm shift has served to remind publishers that there’s lots of money on Facebook and Google, but it’s dangerous to become too dependent on a single third-party  platform.

 

“It’s all about diversification and making sure we’re not foes with those guys, but we’re staying out of being dependent on one point of capture,” said Sherzod Rizaev, global head of commercial ops for the sports publisher Minute Media.

 

As Day put it, “Diversification doesn’t mean abandonment.”

 

3) Publishers need to make their videos easily accessible to users.

The dominance of walled gardens also means that publishers need to be smart about how they monetize videos and engage the visitors they bring in from outside platforms.

 

When Time UK pays to acquire traffic, Nadat says the company makes sure that it’s linking to pages where video content is front-and-center and easy for the user to find.

 

4) Programmatic is now the dominant stream of publisher advertising revenues.

Like many publishers, Minute Media is now selling a majority of its inventory programmatically, with 85% of global ad revenues coming through programmatic channels.

 

Léon Siotis, UK & Southern Europe managing director at the ad-tech platform SpotX, added that terms like “premium programmatic” are no longer necessary because “programmatic is just your sales channel.”

 

5) Header bidding can be good, but not good enough.

Header bidding has increased ad revenue for many publishers, but setup can still be difficult and time-consuming.

 

Time UK added header bidding for video this past summer, and the results have been positive. On Black Friday, the company saw CPMs of up to £50, performance Nadat described as “one of the most insane things ever.”

 

However, Nadat noted that implementation is still “clunky” for video header bidding, a problem that JW Player is overcoming with our new server-side Video Player Bidding solution, in partnership with SpotX.

 

Click here to watch the full video.

Want to learn more about video monetization? Schedule a call with one of our video experts.

 

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Live OTT: The Advertising Opportunity

5 Insights about monetizing OTT video from Advertising Week Europe

Live OTT (“over-the-top”) video is pushing the boundaries of digital video, and more and more advertisers have taken notice. But to truly become a burgeoning field in the world of digital advertising, OTT monetization must find its footing among a number of issues. At Advertising Week Europe, industry experts—including JW Player’s COO Bill Day—sat down with Léon Siotis of SpotX to discuss the challenges and opportunities within OTT advertising. Here are 5 key takeaways.

 

The Speakers

1) OTT ad data is scarce and isn’t easy to access yet.

Quality data on OTT ad performance has been spotty at best, but the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) will be unifying and standardizing its measurements to include OTT. This means publishers and marketers can eventually compare individual ad consumption across web, mobile, and OTT. But accessing data directly from OTT platforms remains challenging. “Being able to get standardized measurements will help OTT grow from a monetization standpoint,” said Bill Day.

 

2) Companies are still ironing out where OTT advertising fits into their budget.

For some companies, OTT is now part of the innovation budget, but for others, it falls into the overall AV budget—as is the case for Discovery. “The goal is to collate VOD impressions . . . so there’s a convergence between TV and digital,” said David Fisher, Vice President of Digital Ad Sales at Discovery. Innovation budgets, which can reach beyond OTT and include interactive video, are emerging yet hard to measure.

 

3) OTT raises the bar for more relevant ads.

Unlike linear TV, OTT allows viewers to make a conscious decision to watch. “OTT video is in front of a customer who’s decided, ‘It’s my primetime,’” said Aurelia Noel, Global Digital Partner at Carat. An irrelevant ad is disruptive and ignores the viewer’s choice. Aurelia compared this experience to a “bath with nice music, and someone storms into my bathroom trying to sell something.”

 

One key challenge for live OTT advertising, then, is to insert ads in a natural or comfortable way that makes sense. That could include finding natural ad breaks that exist, for example, after every half inning in baseball, though not every live sport will lend itself to advertising in this way.

 

Moreover, the challenge is to ensure ads stay relevant. “People don’t mind advertising as long as it’s relevant, impactful, and playful,” said Aurelia. “It’s our role as agencies to work with advertisers to make sure we have creative that’s fit for purpose.”

 

“Too often you see the creative created first and then we find the audience for it. But it should be the other way around,” she continued. “It should start with the audience: Where is that ad going to be seen? What kind of moment am I going to tap into?”

 

4) OTT advertising won’t face the same challenges as mobile.

Despite its challenges, OTT advertising is expected to break through in a way that mobile video couldn’t at first. “Mobile was in a death trap for years,” said Bill. “It was new, hard to measure, and the screen was small. I don’t think OTT will suffer from that. OTT will scale very rapidly in both consumption and monetization.”

 

5) GDPR is both a blessing and a curse for OTT advertising.

On the one hand, the European privacy and security legislation will further limit access to data that is already rare in the OTT space. But it can also be a “gift in a way because it helps clients put together a data strategy. We can create personas using data, making advertising smarter and more effective,” said Aurelia.

 

The session concluded by asking panelists to rate industry hot topics as either “Underrated” or “Overrated”:

 

  • Death of TV – Overrated. As the most effective medium, TV is going through a golden age.

 

  • Death of the media agency – Overrated. Media agencies may be transformed but will still play a hugely valuable part in the ecosystem.

 

  • Duopoly or Triopoly – Underrated / Real. It’s important to push advertising beyond the concentration of power held by Facebook, Amazon, and Google.

 

  • Artificial Intelligence – Underrated. A decent amount of OTT inventory is programmatically sold, and AI (as distinct from machine learning) will change the ad world.

 

  • Blockchain – Underrated. There’s a lot of opportunity for blockchain to combat endemic issues like fraud in the digital space.

 

Click here to watch the full video.

To learn more about how JW Player can support your OTT video advertising, schedule time to speak with a video expert.

 

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Playbook: Anatomy of a Video

Attracting more viewers starts with knowing how your videos are really doing

Over the past few months, we rolled out a five-part blog series on the key metrics of how and why viewers engage. If you followed the posts, you’re awesome. If you haven’t, it’s time to undo the tragedy. Our Video Analytics playbook is a quick and easy way to catch up. Download the guide today and discover how to use data to improve your video strategy.

 

Think you know everything about embeds, plays, ad impressions, completes, and time watched? “Anatomy of a Video” gets past the surface definitions and digs deeper into how each supports the full story of audience engagement. You’ll walk away with practical tips on how to measure and use these metrics to deliver greater content, more effective ads, and an overall better user experience.

 

 

 

To read all the posts in the blog series, click here:

What Is an Embed?
What Are Ad Impressions?
What Is a Play?
What Is a Complete?
What Is Time Watched?

 

For more information about using data to enhance viewer engagement, schedule time to talk with one of our video experts.

 

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It’s All in the Execution: 5 Tips For Building a Sustainable Video Strategy

JW Player cofounder Brian Rifkin shares advice for becoming a video-first publisher

Digital video was a $13 billion business in 2017 and is forecasted to grow at a double-digit growth rate for the foreseeable future. And given the rise of next generation digital video platforms like mobile, OTT, and even connected home devices, the growth has no end in sight over the long term.

Video simply can’t be ignored by any publisher. However, success in video is not easy. Most websites/publishers built their original business without video, relying on text and images. These publishers are facing the challenges of integrating video into their strategy. Some of the newer breed of publishers launched as video-first and optimized for social platform distribution. With the fallout of Facebook’s recent algorithm change, they are also facing challenges.

The good news is that both of these challenges are surmountable and when implemented correctly, will create a video website experience that is engaging for consumers and lays the foundation of a sustainable advertising business.

Here are  five key recommendations that websites/publishers should focus on for a successful video strategy.

Match your site experience to the user’s expectations.

Experienced and new publishers alike frequently forget that not everyone who arrives on their page will be expecting video content. If you’ve ever x’ed out of a window to avoid an unexpected autoplay video, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

This is why it is crucial to tee up your content in a way that prepares people for video, creating an “intent to watch” experience. Whether the user is arriving from a newsletter, social media, search, or your homepage, you can set this expectation by including a thumbnail image of your video alongside copy with phrases like “watch what happens” or “click here to watch our video review.”

 

Put money into an effective user acquisition strategy.

When it comes to user acquisition, there’s no such thing as a free lunch anymore. Whether you’re using SEO or social media sites like Facebook, generating organic visits has become an intense competition over a shrinking pool of traffic. If you want to bring high-value video viewers to your site, you’ll need to invest in a paid media budget.  Be sure to promote video in these campaigns to ensure you’re driving users to your site with intent to watch.

Regardless of where you spend your money, it’s important to optimize every post for the highest possible ROI. With the right technology, you’ll be able to run multivariate testing on every piece of video content, as well as the copy and thumbnail image you use to promote it.

 

Master the science of online video.

Video can be a major source of digital ad revenues, but it only works when media brands take the time to master the unique challenges of the format.

Unlike display, it’s unwise to simply load up on as many demand partners as you can find, as doing so will lead to VAST errors that poison the user experience and decrease your overall yields. Instead, it’s best to be disciplined about who you bring in, whittling down your prospective buyers to the ones who deliver the highest CPMs and fill rates.

And while publishers make most of their automated display revenues from the open auction, the programmatic video money is in guaranteed deals and private marketplaces. Since both of these arrangements require publishers to connect with individual demand partners, you’ll need your in-house sales team to build relationships with buyers. If you don’t have an in-house sales team, ask your exchange partners to help you connect.

Last, but not least, it’s crucial to hire skilled ad-tech professionals who can recognize and troubleshoot any technical problems that arise.

 

Make it fast, really fast.

In video, the easiest way to uncover hidden revenues is to speed up your website. After all, 53% of mobile users will abandon a site if it takes three seconds or more to load.

Whereas display advertising rewards publishers for loading their page with additional banner ads and content recommendations, video publishers must be careful not to distract the user — in essence, less is more. Since video advertising delivers such high yields, the right page configuration will be one that encourages people to go into the video player and watch multiple pieces of content.

 

Take things one video at a time.

While all of this may sound daunting, it’s important to remember two things: a) there are already publishers who have followed this roadmap to success and b) there’s no reason you can’t take your time finding what works for you and build another page if you need to.

Instead of trying to execute a total pivot to video overnight, it’s best to take things one video at a time, testing and learning as you go. The key is to remain focused on building a video-first content strategy, a speedy, intuitive user experience and an intelligent programmatic stack. If you can do these things, you’ll be well on your way to finding a path that works for you.

 

Ready to become a video-first publisher? Schedule time to talk with a video expert.

 

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Market Smarter with Video Intelligence

In a B2B Growth podcast, JW Player CEO Dave Otten shares how marketers can tap into viewer insights that drive the bottom line

What lies at the heart of a good marketing plan? It boils down to one thing: understanding what makes your audience tick. But truly getting to this point can be a royal pain. Sometimes there’s limited data. Sometimes there’s only a partial story of who the target audience really is.

The good news is that market research is growing more sophisticated every day thanks to video intelligence. Using data and insights gleaned from viewer behavior and consumption, marketers can connect the dots on how audiences engage with media online and reach the right people at the right time. Our CEO Dave Otten explains how on B2B Growth, a daily podcast for B2B marketers.

The video industry’s “dirty secrets”

According to Dave, there are two main problems or “dirty secrets” facing marketers and publishers in the video industry:

 

  • A shortfall of quality video content: There’s an imbalance between the demand from advertisers and the supply of quality inventory from publishers. Creating engaging, compelling videos remains a key challenge for a lot of publishers trying to monetize successfully.

 

  • Limited data that informs monetization: Many video advertising strategies could be improved with better insights into video content, how it’s consumed, who it’s reaching, etc.

 

Video intelligence as a marketing tool

“For marketers looking to reach audiences, JW Player helps those folks get access to data sets that they can then use to enrich their existing data around who their customers are today,” says Dave.

(These “data sets” are among the video world’s largest—each month 1 billion people, or one seventh of the global population, will watch at least one JW Player video.)

Dave gives the example of a person who buys Tide detergent and regularly visits a handful of sites and watches specific videos. Video intelligence would help a Tide marketer see how these viewing patterns are interconnected, understand better who this person is, and what s/he might do next to inform a next purchase of Tide.

Another example is the consumer who watches a video on VICE.com and then visits Cosmopolitan.com to watch a fashion video. Pre-video intelligence, a marketer might primarily define the audience in terms of VICE’s demographics, but now there’s an added layer of nuance—an interest in fashion—that could impact the marketing message.

“We provide granular insights” that allow marketers to “make connections at an individual and content level of how people engage and where their interests might lie,” says Dave. Marketers might discover, for instance, that seemingly unrelated sites actually share the same users.

“If you can make those connections and make it more efficient for marketers to be successful in reaching their audiences,” he continues, “then that’s a big win for everyone in the ecosystem.”

 

Improving user experience with video intelligence

A quality video advertising experience would not be possible without excellent playback, and video intelligence enhances the speed and performance of video plays.

Dave explains that time to first frame is lightning-fast because “we use video intelligence to make sure we load the proper components of a video player given your bandwidth connection.”

If players are set to autoplay, video intelligence helps determine that the video only runs if the player is visible on the screen—for advertisers, a guarantee that their ads are being seen.

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As we’ve shown in our JW Recommendations blog series, publishers have much to gain by capitalizing on video intelligence to engage audiences. But for advertisers, the possibilities are only just beginning—and could be quite endless. Video intelligence is increasingly essential to understanding audiences, delivering riveting messages, and growing profitable businesses.

 

To all the advertisers out there, welcome to the new world of marketing.

 

Click here to listen to the full podcast (episode #664).

 

Learn more about strengthening your marketing strategy with video intelligence. Schedule time to speak with a video expert.

 

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