Our comprehensive guide to making video your #1 source of revenue
It’s a good time to be in video. But it’s not exactly easy getting into video. Some think it’s as simple as putting content online and watching the views (and revenue) roll in. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Today’s publishers face many moving parts on the road to running a profitable video business: from building a content library to implementing a tech stack to monetizing effectively. Our playbook Become a Video-First Publisher equips you with the tips and best practices to succeed. If you want to make video your #1 source of revenue—and truly become “video-first”—this guide is your go-to resource.
To learn more about becoming a video-first publisher, schedule time to speak with a video expert.
Want to adapt your videos for multiple screens? Check out these 3 tips from JW Support
As a JW Player Support Engineer, one of the questions I am asked most is, “How do I best set up one player to deliver my video/ads/live stream across our desktop and mobile sites?” Well, a seamless viewing experience across the most-widely used browsers and devices is exactly what the player was born to provide. No one wants to worry about how their player will affect page layout on, say, the smaller screen of Safari on iOS, or wonder whether their ad will play on Chrome for Android. To this end, here are three considerations to keep in mind when configuring your player.
1. Set your player up for ‘responsive’ mode vs. set aspect ratio
In the early days of web design (or, just a few years ago) a video player that would, by default, resize to fit your browser was a mere aspiration. Even if a website were set up responsively, by using Bootstrap or some other framework that did the heavy CSS lifting, the video player size still posed a problem.
JW Player solved the video part of the resizing problem several versions ago. Just check the box for ‘responsive’ in the dashboard player builder, and your video will adjust to just the right size across browsers and devices. No more media queries or design headaches! Paired with our support of adaptive streaming technologies, this built-in functionality is the definition of ‘set it and forget it.’
2. Use HLS
JW8 supports two video file types, MP4 and WebM, and two different streaming protocols, HLS and DASH. But for the best and most consistently excellent performance, Apple’s HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) technology is the way to go. HLS is basically MP4, delivered over HTTP to your desktop or device in short segments, indexed in a file called a ‘manifest,’ an asset denoted by the .m3u8 file. You could go old-school and link directly to an MP4 in your player configuration, which has its uses. For example, you may run a learning management platform and want your students to be able to easily download videos to watch offline. You have subscribers who pay up front for content, so you are not that worried about anyone stealing your content. MP4 might then work best for you.
On the other hand, you can see how video delivered in short segments one at a time, via HLS, provides the awesome side benefit of increased content security, without having to enable token signing or otherwise lock down your urls.
HLS is provided to all JW Player customers at any subscription level, so upload a video file to the dashboard, grab the embed code, and take a look at it in a page. Or, if you are hosting your own HLS, you can give your stream url a try in our stream tester.
3. Use the JW Cloud-hosted Player
Customers are using videos in a huge diversity of ways, from editorial storytelling, to e-commerce, to broadcast-style live streaming, and more. For this and many other reasons, JW Player provides several options for ways to instantiate the player on a page, including cloud-hosted, self-hosted, and single-line embed.
The single-line embed works great, if you are looking to get your video onto your site quickly and with minimal effort. From your JW dashboard, you can copy and paste the embed code directly into your HTML. Save, reload your url, and click ‘play’ in the page. Done.
When your videos are hosted in JW Platform, you are able to access the widest range of data possible on viewer interaction in JW Analytics. The cloud-hosted player will also rotate your license key ~once a day, so concerns about stolen license keys are no more. Like I said, the best of both worlds.
Learn more about how JW Player can support your video business. Schedule time to speak with a video expert.
Video Player Bidding helps you maximize monetization, provided you’re following these recommendations
After the launch of Video Player Bidding earlier this year, we’ve seen great adoption and some impressive benefits, including faster time-to-first-frame for ads and a great supplemental boost of ad demand for publishers’ ad stacks. As with any great new product comes great learning experiences. With months of data and the associated on-going analysis, our goal is to educate our customers on best practices to optimize Video Player Bidding setups to maximize revenue potential.
If you’re unfamiliar with Video Player Bidding (an easy-to-implement version of video header bidding) check out our previous blog post or the great video below of JW Player cofounder Brian Rifkin and SpotX Chief Revenue Officer Sean Buckley discussing the solution, and look here for how to get started.
In the last three months, the data we’ve collected from Video Player Bidding has proven a few core advertising concepts we’ve recommended in other blog posts we’ve posted.
Know Your Setup
If nothing else, we’ve realized that many publishers are unclear as to the optimal player setup for their page layout and audience. This is a perfect time to do some analysis and introduce improvements and efficiencies.
Cloud-hosted vs Self-hosted
For self-hosted Players, simply set up the advertising block with the “bids” block described in our documentation and examples.
Custom Header Bidding Solutions
We’ve found that many publishers have pre-existing header bidding solutions in place. This can present an issue with event timing depending on the implementation. Typically, the best solution is to provide the Player with a complete and finalized ad tag prior to setting up the Player. This allows publishers to take advantage of the efficiencies built into the Player’s ad scheduling functionality.
The example below describes how to get your custom bidding done and then set up the Player with the appropriate information so as to avoid any timing issues.
// Do your custom header bidding here, which should result in a created ad tag
var finalTag = baseTag + custParams
// Once you’ve built your ad tag with the appropriate key value pairs from your header bidding solution, you can set up the player
var playerInstance = jwplayer(“myElement”)
“tag”: “finalTag”, —— the tag supplied here is a variable, created above prior to player setup
Note in this scenario, the use of the playAd API is not necessary.
Player and Site Considerations
In general we’ve found certain player setup attributes to perform better or worse with Video Player Bidding.
Player size: Believe it or not, Video Player Bidding requires a player height and width on setup. Advertisers want to know the size and type of player their ads will be running on. We’ve found a fairly large number of publishers who are setting up the Player with null, undefined, or 0 height and width, thus giving the Player a formal size too late. This is one of the largest causes of player setup-related failures.
Click-to-play vs ‘autostart:viewable’ vs autostart in view: Given the extra calls that need to be made for the bidding process, allowing the Player more time to set up and for the bidding process to complete increases the chance of success. Autostart in view typically leads to timing issues with all the other network calls on the page, so be prepared for a degradation in performance in this scenario.
Multiple players on a single page: This is generally discouraged even outside of Video Player Bidding. With multiple players, it can lead to extra network requests from both the Player and the bidding process.
Multiple bidding requests: Video Player Bidding is optimized for single prerolls. Bidding for multiple ad breaks, including 3+ midrolls, is not optimal due to the additional network requests it creates.
Video Player Bidding offers multiple mediation options, each tailored to a specific publisher use case.
This is the easiest way to get started with VPB — no additional line items are required in the Ad Server and is the most performant. If the bidder meets the static floor price, then the bidder wins. Otherwise, the Player uses the fallback tag defined in the corresponding ad break slot. Please ensure the floor in SpotX is set at or above the floor in JW.
The downside is the JW mediation option is not aware of any other campaigns (including direct sold) so these campaigns can be cannibalized for programmatic/header traffic. Additionally, as the floor price is static, the bidder may over/under bid for that request.
With this option, DFP determines the winner in that the bidder competes directly with DFP line items. Corresponding line items are needed in DFP. SpotX can help with the setup of the corresponding items.
In this instance, please ensure that you are competing all demand in Price Priority. Competing Sponsorships and Standard line items in DFP above JWP priority will largely negate the benefits of the JWP integration. Expect very low revenue from the integration if VPB is run at a lower priority than traditional demand in DFP.
The downside of this mediation layer is the ads’ time-to-first-frame will be longer as the Player has to send the SpotX bid to DFP to determine the winner.
JW Player + DFP
This mediation option combines the JW Player and DFP mediation layers in that order. If the floor price isn’t beaten, the key value pairs are added to the DFP tag to compete against DFP line items. This is a good option for publishers who use DFP but want to take advantage of the performance benefits of JW Player mediation. Please ensure the floor in SpotX is set at or above the floor in JW.
You should select this option if your primary Ad Server is SpotX. All Publisher Direct Sold demand should be run in the SpotX ad server, competing along with the Open Marketplace, allowing full control over priorities given to SpotX demand versus Publisher Sourced Demand.
Depending on the complexities of your setup as well as how your traffic is split between desktop and mobile, performance expectations should be managed. In short, an autostart player on a page with a large amount of other network calls on a mobile device is not optimal for Video Player Bidding.
We’re Happy to Help
We recognize that both normal Player setups and Video Player Bidding setups can be complicated, especially given your other systems and requirements.
For more information about improving your monetization with Video Player Bidding, schedule time to speak with a video expert.
There are many ways to use video in business, Including explainer videos, promotional videos, and testimonial videos. One of the most popular ways to use video, however, is on social media — especially Facebook. But what does it take to be successful with social media videos? What logistical items should you keep in mind when posting a video on your company’s Facebook page?
Background: Why use video on Facebook?
Facebook is the king of all social media platforms. But, because there is so much content published on Facebook each and every day, the competition is fierce. Up 200 percent from 2015, Facebook serves 8 billion views per day and people watch 100 million hours of video per day. It’s hard to get in front of your audience among so much clutter. As a result, some changes to the algorithm have taken place over the past couple of years, which have left marketers scrambling to receive the reach they once enjoyed for free.
People love watching videos. Considering that 1.18 billion people use Facebook daily, this creates an unprecedented opportunity for marketers to get their video content in front of potential customers.
In 2016, Facebook announced a company-wide push to become “video first”. CEO Mark Zuckerberg provided his reasoning: “People are creating and sharing more video, and we think it’s pretty clear that video is only going to become more important.” As a result of this commitment, the Facebook algorithm currently rewards the highest visibility to video posts (including live video, but we won’t cover that in this post).
In Spring of 2017, Hubspot published an article titled The Decline of Organic Facebook Reach & How to Outsmart the Algorithm. In it, the author noted, “videos on Facebook are engaging and make visitors more likely to stop, watch, and maybe even unmute when they spot them in the News Feed. Use videos with captions, animations, and engaging visuals to draw in Facebook users’ attention.” Posts that get a lot of interaction earn higher visibility; video can help to get the engagement that is necessary for successful posts on Facebook.
Here’s Why Marketers Are Obsessed with Facebook Video
So why are advertisers going gaga over Facebook video advertising?
1. World-Class Targeting
Facebook knows more about its users than any other advertising platform on earth. Everything a user has ever liked, clicked, watched, or interacted with is utilized to create an incredibly detailed personal profile.
For example, Facebook knows your U.S. political affiliation. Don’t believe me? Go to Privacy Shortcuts > More Settings > Ads > Ads Settings > Manage preferences > Visit Ad Preferences > Top Interests, go to “More” > Lifestyle and Culture > Scroll down to US Politics. Did Facebook peg you correctly? Browse through the other audiences Facebook has placed you in. What do you think? Pretty accurate?
Adjusting your Facebook ad Preferences can dramatically change which ads Facebook serves you.
As an advertiser, you can take advantage of this incredibly detailed and accurate Facebook targeting to serve your video content to the exact right audience. Target only your relevant potential customers and don’t pay money unless they watch your advertisement.
Click here to go to WordStream’s awesome infographic about Facebook ad targeting.
2. Facebook is a Discovery Platform
Everyone knows that you go to YouTube to search for a video. Makes sense. YouTube is a search-based platform, meaning people type in what they’re looking for. Search implies intent, like you actually know what you’re looking for (or at least have a general idea).
Facebook, however, is a discovery-based platform. People are in a different frame of mind when they use Facebook. In most cases, people aren’t looking for anything in particular, so they are potentially more receptive to your video. If your video is relevant to the target audience (and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be!) there is an even greater likelihood it will get viewed.
3. Video Delivery
Targeted video is great when trying to reach all those potential customers who aren’t yet aware of your brand. According to video statistics released by Adobe, “shoppers who view video are 1.81 times more likely to purchase than non-viewers.” Video is eye-catching, memorable, and an easy way for non-customers to get introduced to your product.
No need to bring traffic to your website to watch your product video; instead, show potential customers your video directly in their Facebook news feed. For example, here at TechSmith, we have completely changed how we serve up tutorial content.
Prior to Facebook video advertising, here at TechSmith we hosted all tutorial content solely on our website and YouTube. You needed to either seek it out on our site or search for it on YouTube. Now, we serve helpful tutorials directly into target customers’ Facebook newsfeeds. In the course of one month, we’ve served over 66k tutorials to 10k unique individuals on Facebook. Many of those viewers are folks who would never seek out a product tutorial on their own, but they end up watching because it’s convenient and they then want to learn more.
The Social Media Video Experimental Campaign
Because of this, at TechSmith, we recently made a decision to start using video more on our social media channels. Our current video campaign is a tactic of our content strategy, with a goal of driving traffic to our blog. Each week, we use TechSmith Camtasia to re-purpose two upcoming blog posts, by summarizing them to re-create the article as a video. We share the videos on social media (and also embed them in the blog post), and when people click through the video, they’re taken to the TechSmith blog. If they don’t click, but they view the video, we’re happy with that too.
As with anything new, we made some mistakes. But, we’ve been using social media video for awhile now, so we’ve been able to iron out some of the kinks and have developed some best practices.
Here are three things you must consider when you promote your video on Facebook.
1. Consider what sort of sound will be used in your video.
Captions or subtitles are something that you should consider using in all of your videos. If you aren’t already doing this, though, you’ll definitely want to include them in any videos you share on Facebook. Many people will view the video from a mobile device, and many will view your video without sound. If the meaning is lost by viewing the video without audio, it’s very likely that the meaning will be lost altogether.
To upload video captions in Facebook, you’ll need to use an .srt file. Facebook has a very particular naming scheme for .srt files, so be sure to name your file correctly, or you will not be able to upload. These can be created in a text editor, such as Notepad, although most video editors, like Camtasia, can create captions and export an .srt file.
Consider whether you’ll only offer captions in English, or if you’d like to offer them in multiple languages. If you need to have the same video shared to different audiences in different languages, you’ll need to create unique posts, and also create unique .srt files for each language.
In our current blog video campaign, we’ve opted not to use captions or .srt files, because instead, we use text throughout the video to tell the story. Currently, we only produce these videos in English. We include soft music, which neither adds nor detracts from the content, whether you view with or without audio turned on. Below is an example.
2. Don’t forget about your thumbnail!
The video thumbnail is important. It’s what your video looks like when it’s not playing, and it’s easy to overlook. Some people might have their Facebook account set up so that videos do not automatically play, so in these circumstances, it’s super important to have an enticing thumbnail in place. It will also act as the preview of the video after the post has been long forgotten.
After you post a video, it will end up in the Videos tab of the Facebook page. You can sort your videos to create playlists, if you’d like, which is a good way to organize this content, and often where you’ll really notice nice-looking thumbnails (or lack of).
Did you know that text cannot cover more than 20 percent of an ad’s image when you pay to promote a post on Facebook? This is something you’ll definitely want to remember when you select or upload a thumbnail. Facebook has recently updated this policy, so it is now technically possible, but not recommended–you’ll receive less or no delivery at all. Due to this advertising policy, you’ll want to give careful consideration when you designate your video thumbnail, or you’ll risk getting a fun message from Facebook, telling you your ad(s) are disapproved.
Facebook will assign a default thumbnail–the platform provides 10 options for you to choose from. You can upload a different image to use as a thumbnail, though, if you prefer.
3. Set a goal and/or clear call-to-action for your video.
To truly reap the benefits that video has to offer when it comes to Facebook visibility, focus on quality over quantity. Don’t increase your number of or frequency of posts, but rather, increase the effectiveness of your posts.
Regardless of what your goal or call to action is, make sure you have one. We like to aim for a “share” call to action, but we may tweak that over time. We invite viewers to share the video in the last frame. Overall, what we really want is to drive traffic to our blog, and encouraging people to share the post supports that goal.
Facebook offers a variety of buttons for page posts, all which would be suitable to select as a call to action button, and may help you come up with an idea of what to use.
It’s hard to say what will be the next big thing in social media. But, for now, let’s embrace, and ride this video train for as long as we can!
Video Marketing on Social Media: 5 Ways To Maximize Your Efficiency
So you want to start using video to increase awareness of what you do, generate more leads, and increase sales. Great choice. I’m going to show you five video tips for repurposing your video to help you maximize the use of your recording time so you can reach the most viewers with the least amount of time.
1. Always Engage for the Platform
If it’s on YouTube, do YouTube things. If it’s on Facebook, do Facebook things. You want to respect the platform, respect the users, and “show them you know them” by engaging their way on the platform. Facebook viewers tend to watch videos more passively; so edited videos need to be shorter (20 seconds to a minute long). The audience is more diverse in age so you can really zero in on the niche of your choice. In other words, you can reach out to young moms with one video and then reach out to teens in another, etc. Cater the video toward the different target audiences that would be interested in your product. There is not always a one-size-fits all video and Facebook is a great way to reach many because there are so many more choices. YouTube viewers on the other hand, are searching for video so they are willing to watch longer. That audience tends to max out at middle age. Knowing that, you can cater your audience to that more limited demographic.
2. Start with Facebook Live
Start with a Facebook live event. 20% of all videos viewed on Facebook are LIVE videos. Viewers watch Facebook live videos 3x longer than pre-recorded videos and engage with comments 10x more.
Facebook Live is where you can answer a question like “How to write a mission statement for your business” or “What’s the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement” if you are a business coach. It doesn’t require any fancy equipment either. Just speak into the camera using a mobile device or webcam. I broadcast from my webcam twice a week for my The Business of Video Podcast. Jot down topics and times on a pad and paper while you are live streaming so you can easily find the good parts when you’re done. Or watch it afterward if that’s not possible, and record the topics and times then.
While pre-recorded videos on Facebook are best kept short, Facebook Live is a great place to explore long form content and give you enough time to talk out your ideas. Viewers on Facebook will engage with your content for a maximum of a couple of minutes and that’s ok.
Use that time to flesh out your ideas, restate your ideas if you messed them up earlier and really search for good pieces of content that you can later repurpose on YouTube.
3. Repurposing for YouTube
Now that you have the video stored on Facebook, you have an HD quality video file that can be downloaded directly from Facebook and imported in Camtasia for simple editing.
Using Camtasia and the notes from the Facebook Live, you can search for those areas that would work great as standalone videos. Then, cut them out of the video and save them for later.
So, for example, if your Facebook Live was something like “How to Launch an Advertising Campaign,” you may want to pull out one segment where you discuss “Choosing your Target Audience,” then create that segment as a standalone video.
After you segment the clip, create a custom introduction and a custom ending. You can pre-record these really quickly using the screen recorder in Camtasia. Add the intro at the beginning of the timeline and the outro toward the end.
Using this technique, ideally, your Facebook Live could turn into three or more videos for YouTube, each with it’s own intro and outro, giving you not just a video, but a growing YouTube channel.
4. Don’t Forget iTunes
Podcasting is a powerful tool to deeply engage with your audience members. But the most important reason to engage with podcasting is because podcast listeners are a whole different group of people. Audible learners don’t engage in as much video but they are on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher, and they are looking for podcasts in your niche.
After your Facebook Live is over you can export only the audio and upload to an RSS feed (we use Libsyn). Use Camtasia to make edits or even add simple audio bumpers to make it sound like a podcast.
A meme is a square image or video that usually has a humorous or ironic message. Memes are short-form content and highly shareable memes are great for sharing on Facebook, Instagram, Stories, and other image and video viewing sites around the web.
65-percent of Facebook video views are coming from mobile, and a square video uses more of the mobile screen than a standard rectangle video.
Similarly, Animoto reports that square videos are shared 22% more on social media. Square videos are really easy to produce in Camtasia so it doesn’t take much time at all.
First, change video project settings to 1080×1080.
Next, pull your square video clip into the document. Then add a text annotation above, possibly with captions, your logo, or additional text down below.
*NOTE: This upload is designed for mobile viewers on Instagram and Facebook. When you view the video on desktop it won’t look the same.
Follow these 5 tips and you’ll be able to repurpose your video content all across the web. You’ll also be more efficient in your video marketing which will lower your production costs.
Using Facebook Live as your starting point and filtering the video down through YouTube, iTunes, and Instagram will meet the needs of more audiences on four platforms in less time. This will give you more time to answer those questions, messages, and contacts who are interested in your products or services.
So You Just Facebook All Day? Here’s how you can use screenshots for social media marketing
One of our favorite tools for the job is the screenshot. Screenshots fit into all aspects of social media marketing (including proving you really DO work) from content creation, capturing customer feedback, to showing campaign results of your hard work! Here are just a few ways I’ve found them to be helpful.
Screenshots are invaluable when it comes to content creation. You can grab images from the web, re-purpose customer content, or combine images to make the perfect visual element for your social posts.
It’s also important to make sure your images are sized right for each social network; I created a custom fixed region preset in Snagit which allows me to capture images in the right size from the start! For example, I have created a preset for Twitter share images. I assigned a hotkey so I know when I press CTRL + T I’m going to get a capture box exactly the size needed for a Twitter share image! No unexpected cropping!
Screenshots are a great way to give quick, clear feedback. When drafting social content our team regularly uses screenshots to share our ideas or suggest changes and edits. This eliminates a lot of back and forth communications.
When responding to customers through our social channels, it’s often much faster to show rather than tell. I take a quick screenshot to show people how and where to access certain settings within a product.
Screenshots are a great way to capture customer interactions to share internally. This is especially true if you’re using a tool that not everyone has access to. For example, we use Sprout Social to manage our social media accounts and not everyone has a login. We can easily grab the conversation history and send it off to our marketing team to follow up on a customer story, or just give the product team an example of how people are using a specific feature and how they like (or do not like) it!
How to Post Animated GIFs on Social Media Networks
We’ve all been there; You have the perfect animated GIF ready to post, but it shows up as a static image. Understanding how animated GIFs behave differently on each social media network can take some trial and error for social media marketers. Don’t worry about figuring it out though, we did the research for you so you’re not surprised next time a GIF doesn’t auto play like you intended.
Facebook does not support uploading a GIF directly but you can upload it to a site like Giphy, Screencast.com, your website, or blog and paste the URL into your Facebook post (make sure the URL ends in .gif). The GIF will not animate in the compose view but will animate once posted.
To get the correct link from Screencast.com, paste the shortened Screencast link into your browser’s address bar and hit Enter. Then when the GIF loads, click the GIF. The URL in the address bar will be replaced with one ending in .gif. That’s the one to paste into your Facebook post!
Twitter supports animated GIFs directly by upload. Animated GIFs can be up to 5MB when uploaded from mobile, and up to 15MB from the web. Twitter also recently launched an integrated GIF library, allowing you to search for a topic and insert a GIF right from the compose box!
Instagram does not support importing animated GIFs, but you can post the MP4 video and it will auto-play and loop, just like an animated GIF.
LinkedIn does not support animated GIFs at all; that includes status updates as well as profiles. You can convert a GIF to MP4 and post it that way but it will have a play button and will not loop.
Animated GIFs are a great way to grab attention on any social media platform, as long as you know how to properly use them. They can also be super helpful to use at work too- here’s a post to inspire you- 11 Ways to Use GIFs at Work Right Now.
Have you used social media video before, either on Facebook or another network? We’d love to hear about your experience, or any questions or thoughts you have. Send us a message, tweet, or comment on Twitter or Facebook!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Part 3 of JW Player’s Support Team series on video platform tips, tricks, and best practices
One of the questions we receive the most often is “why are ads not playing in my player?” It is certainly understandable that this is an anxiety-inducing problem, as no ads means no ad revenue. What we find most often is that the player is doing everything correctly, but the ad network is simply not returning an ad for our player to play.
My goal with this blog post is to help you test that our player is doing everything correctly. When you have conversations with your ad networks, you can do so with 100% confidence that our player is not part of the problem. (But if you find that there is an error on our side, we will certainly escalate it to our engineers.)
You can always test your ad tags in our Ads Tester at https://developer.jwplayer.com/tools/ad-tester/
And if you have DFP ad tags, you can use their inspector at https://developers.google.com/interactive-media-ads/docs/sdks/html5/vastinspector
The general rule for DFP tags in our player is this:
If the ad plays in Google’s tester, then it should also play in our Ads Tester with the ad client set to Google IMA.
If the ad still does not play, try setting VPAID Mode to Enabled in our Ads Tester
If the ad still does not play, send it to us so we can test further. And make sure you do not have any geo-blocking or domain restrictions set on your DFP tag.
Initial troubleshooting questions / steps
1) What is the ad client and ad tag that you have configured in the player?
2) If you check your browser’s network inspector, filter for the domain name of your ad tag (or another part of the URL). Are you seeing the request for the ad tag?
Here is a screenshot showing how I filter in Chrome for DFP ad tags. I filter for “gampad” (don’t ask me why, but it has always worked for me, so it stuck. I would love it if someone from Google could tell me where the name gampad came from…)
3) What is the response from your ad network?
You are probably going to see one of four things in the response from the ad network:
The normal VAST response that contains an ad for us to play
A wrapped ad, which I think of as a redirect
An empty ad response. We get something from the ad network but they do not have an ad for us to play.
Ad Network Responses
I do not want to confuse you with the specifics, but here is a sample response for each type:
If you see a <Creatives> section in the response. Hopefully there is a <MediaFiles> section. Check the type=” ” or the URL of the media file. If it ends in .mp4 then you have a normal VAST response. This ad should play in all browsers. Some ad networks will give you a .webm video, but these will play in Chrome or Firefox only.
Notice the <Wrapper> tag on the third line. This means that the ad network response points to a new ad tag in the <VASTAdTagURI> section. What does this mean for your viewer? It means they have to wait for another file to be requested and to load, which means a longer wait for the ad to start. Hopefully the new tag we load will play an ad, but it could also return another wrapped ad tag redirect…
Essentially there are only a few lines in the response. From a technical standpoint, an empty response is a perfectly valid scenario. It tells us the ad network received the request but they chose to respond without an ad. It is unfortunate that this is the case, but at least you know the player is doing everything correctly. My first suggestion would be to ask your ad network what you can do to increase your ad fill.
First of all, VPAID is great when it works and the ads play.
So what can you do to troubleshoot?
My first suggestion is to ask your ad network for sample ad tags that fill 100% of the time for testing. If they cannot give you one, then I do not think they are being a good partner. They should prove to you that their technology works too, right?
DFP has sample ad tags at https://developers.google.com/interactive-media-ads/docs/sdks/html5/tags
Part 2 of JW Player’s Support Team series on video tips and tricks
There is always more than one way to do things, and certainly building websites is no exception. We are not familiar with the entire tech stack you have built on your website (a.k.a. we are not going to read through your minified code), but we are experts when it comes to JW Player. This might be the first time you are trying to implement our player on a page, but we do this every day. Like those insurance commercials, we know a thing or two because we have seen a thing or two…okay, make that closer to 50,000 support cases.
When you come to us with a support issue, the first thing we are going to try to do is reproduce it. Here are some key data points you can tell us right away to make it even easier for us to reproduce your issue:
Have you listed out the reproduction steps? Do we have to click here first or seek to there before the problem occurs? Or do we have to use a specific browser on a specific OS, like IE11 on Windows 8.1?
If your ads are not playing, have you asked your ad network for a sample ad tag that fills 100% of the time? In most of the cases we get about this, our player is doing everything correctly. The only problem is that the ad network is not sending us an ad to play!
Here’s another fun tip that might be new to you:
If you are using a single-line embed code from your JW Dashboard on your page and something is not quite right, you can also quickly test that same embed in a JW preview page. “How quick is it, Todd?” Simply copy the script URL ending in .js and paste it into a new browser tab. But before you press Enter to load the page, change the .js at the end to .html and then load that .html page. (This .html page just happens to be the same URL we use for <iframe> embeds.)
While we’re on the topic of tips and tricks, here are some other hopefully quick fixes:
How are you loading the player on the page? If you are using a self-hosted player and you are not using the latest and greatest version from our production channel, the first thing we are going to do is test in the latest version. Perhaps that bug has already been squashed in the latest release!
Which player configuration options are you passing in the setup() call? Perhaps you are overriding a player default that was set in the dashboard and you were not even aware it was happening…
Who is hosting your content? If your content is encoded and hosted by JW Player, then I would not expect CORS errors, for example. If your video was encoded by someone else, does the same issue occur when you upload the video to your JW Player account and our encoders have a try?
And in the next blog post, we dive headfirst into the wonderful world of why your ads are not playing…
Hope this is useful. Please let me know how else I can help,
Director, Technical Support Team
For more posts from the Support Team series, click here.
To learn more about how JW Player can support your video business, schedule time to talk with a video expert.
Understanding your video content is essential for improving content strategy, engagement, and monetization
You did it—you’ve spent substantial time and resources to create the perfect, attention-grabbing video. Now the question is: How do you get as much mileage out of it as possible? Well, as the yogis would say, turn the gaze inward.
Metadata, the “data about data” that describes what your video is about, is a key component of a successful video business. If you want a more streamlined editorial process, greater viewer engagement, and better ROI, make sure you have an excellent understanding of your video content.
Creating accurate descriptions of your videos is the foundation of strong search rankings that help viewers discover your content. The benefits, though, go beyond search.
Increases Editorial Efficiency
Metadata not only gives editors an easy way to locate their videos, but it also allows them to repurpose particular segments.
In the example below, timed metadata parses out particular video portions into seconds of footage. It then organizes them by tags and narration (in plain text) specific to each segment. This method zeroes in on the exact parts of a video that an editor may want to reuse or identify, saving time as well as resources from what can be a manual editorial process.
Boosts Viewer Engagement
The better the metadata, the better you can deliver more personalized and targeted videos to your audience. To extend your video’s reach, create descriptive metadata that matches the video with similar content. Our JW Recommendations engine uses metadata in determining what kind of related content to surface.
Metadata isn’t only text-based. Previews are a great way to tell viewers quickly what they can expect to watch. Similarly, a good poster image or a teaser clip makes your videos more enticing and boosts views.
Strengthens Monetization Opportunities
Excellent video metadata also helps advertisers figure out where to place their ads. When marketers know the content of your videos, they can tailor their ad strategies to the distinct audiences who are watching. What emerges is a more granular and accurate picture of who their ads reach and where these viewers engage. By reinforcing brand safety, metadata fosters more effective ad campaigns and, for you as a publisher, greater ROI.
Enter Metadata in the JW Dashboard
Metadata is the first tab you see when you click on videos listed in your upload queue. You can add tags, write a description, set publish start/end dates, and fill in a number of other fields to populate information about your video.
It’s expensive to produce a good video, so it’s important to give it legs. Metadata allows that video to attract more viewers, save more editorial resources, and make more money. When it comes to increasing engagement, dig into the core of what the video’s about.
To learn more about enhancing your videos with metadata, schedule time to talk with a video expert.
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:
The most effective copy supports intent to watch and boosts play rates
The key to delivering engaging videos starts with enticing media titles. To support an intent-to-watch experience with viewers who choose to click play, you’ll want to draw them in with captivating and hard-to-refuse headlines. We share tips and examples for creating successful titles that pull in the views.
Make Titles Consistent, Vibrant, Intriguing, Helpful
Align titles with the page itself. Consistency matters. Encourage intent to watch by making sure that your headline fits with the article or page where the video resides. Your video should complement the reading experience, not disrupt it.
Put titles on thumbnails. Make your titles vibrant by including them on prominent thumbnails. Some of the best thumbnails combine a large meme-like title with strong colors and a clear focal point (a person/face can work particularly well).
Build intrigue and mystery. Provide just enough information to make viewers want to find out more. Our favorite titles frequently tease the content. This could take the form of a cliffhanger, an unexpected premise, a half-finished micro story, and more.
Answer your viewer’s question. On the flip side of intrigue is offering the direct user benefit. Put yourself in the shoes of viewers looking to learn more about a topic that your video covers. A title that reflects what they’re searching for and captures critical keywords not only makes them click but is good for SEO.
Successful Video Titles
Let’s take a look at some examples from popular videos on the Web.
Mystery / Intrigue
Glam Girlfriend Thinks Her Beau Is Just Getting a Makeover but Then He Did This
One Mom’s Beehive Hairdo Gets a 21st-Century Update
Caught on The Ellen Shop’s Hidden Camera
Answer the Question
How to Make Barbecued Ribs in Your Oven at Home
How Luke Skywalker Became “The Last Jedi”
How to Find the Perfect Foundation and Apply It Like a Pro
6 NBA Teams Who Could Make a Surge in the Second Half of the Season
42,000 Matches Lit at the Same Time
Crocodile Attacks Elephant
We recommend A/B testing to compare which methods work best and then adjust your copywriting strategy. For help with producing copy, consider Fiverr.com, the world’s largest market for freelance services, with jobs starting at $5.
Video Titles Improve Recommendations
Beyond attracting viewers and boosting play rates, great titles support stronger video intelligence. The accuracy of JW Player’s recommendations engine depends on publishers titling, tagging, and describing videos correctly. Enticing titles help us assess what your video is about, surface more relevant content to heighten engagement, and ultimately lift viewership.
To learn more about increasing your views and play rates, schedule time to talk with a video expert.
Part II of JW Player’s “Anatomy of a Video Series”
Last December, as part of our series on video fundamentals, we looked at the many definitions of a video play and found that“not all plays are created equal.” When it comes to telling the full story of why and how viewers engage with content, the quality of a play matters a lot—but it isn’t the only benchmark. That story begins with “the embed.”
For most users, embedding starts with inserting a code to a website, linking to a video that’s hosted at another location, and surfacing a video player without using any resources from the website itself.
In the world of video technology, though, an embed doesn’t just occur the first time you go through these steps. It counts each time a page is refreshed.
If you primarily think of embeds as pieces of code, simplify that idea further. An embed is any instance that a player is shown.
WHAT CAN AN EMBED TELL YOU?
Embeds are a proxy for web traffic—they estimate the total number of viewers coming to your video site. This metric could be entirely separate from the total number who actually played a video.
Together with plays, embeds reveal telling details about viewer behavior, choice, and engagement.
Let’s say you created a playlist. You made a single embed that featured many opportunities for plays. Some of your videos were played. Others were not.
By tracking the ratio of plays to embeds, you can measure engagement through a play rate. A high play rate means that the content was enticing—for every instance that a player was shown (the embed), the video was played most (or all) of the time.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO USE EMBEDS?
Here at JW Player, we recommend using embeds to divide up your website. Place different embeds in various sections or pages so that you can compare which embeds led to the most engagement. Zero in on the locations or types of content that draw the most viewers.
In addition, you can easily filter for play rate through our segmentation tool. For those of you with highly engaging content, your play rate might exceed 100%.
We’re in the business of helping you achieve the best play rate possible. Schedule time to talk with one of our video experts.
The “Anatomy of a Video Series” explores key measures of a video’s life cycle: embed, ad impression, play, complete, and time watched. Together, they provide a comprehensive picture of how and why viewers engage.