With the increased demand from advertisers for click-to-play video inventory only, publishers are under extreme pressures to meet this requirement while still being able to generate sustainable revenues.
Autoplay has provided publishers with a relatively predictable revenue stream with minimal consideration needed for the videos being played. We’ve all seen the generic ‘pet playing the piano’ video autoplaying while we’re reading a totally unrelated story.
However, in the click-to-play world we now operate in, bland and irrelevant videos just won’t cut it. Publishers have no choice but to be more mindful and selective of the videos they present to their audience. If it is not relevant and engaging, it will not get a click and the all important pre-roll advert wont fire.
Whether you are producing in-house or sourcing quality third party content, the main challenge is how do you decide what video is going to have the best chance of being clicked?
Here are some considerations to help you with that decision making process.
1) Know your audience
Firstly, before you identify which video you will use in your article, you have to identify who you are targeting? It is proven that video is the most effective way to engage your audience. You know you should be including video as a part of your online marketing strategy, but where do you even start? Identify your target audience. If you don’t know who your audience is you won’t know what message (video) will best resonate with them.
2) What video format will work best?
Different video formats perform better on certain platforms. Different videos resonate with certain audiences. Secondary only to the video subject matter, the biggest indicator of success will be your ability to match a video format to a consumer who will engage. i.e. click-to-play, watch to completion, like, share etc.
More traditional, TV style, presenter lead ‘talking head’ video format lends itself well to a TV style viewing experience and opinion based storytelling - if this is the experience favoured by your audience, try implementing this video format.
If your audience is predominantly mobile (which is the case for many publications in this day and age) then the video you choose needs to be optimized for this experience. Think sound off, text overlay (think Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat). This format has proven very effective as the modern way to consume video, but the most important driver in publishing video in this format must be the consumption behavior of the audience you are trying to engage.
3) The importance of thumbnails
The Thumbnail is a vital factor to secure the elusive ‘click-to-play’. Thumbnail images should be both an indicative preview of the video as well as an alluring call to action that will entice the user to click/swipe/scroll/give command. Thumbnails are relevant to all mediums of video consumption and thumbnail optimization should be recurring feature in your video strategy, small changes can see significant changes is user behavior.
4) How long should the video be?
A much debated topic and a question we are often asked - “What is the optimal video length?” The answer - an emphatic, “it depends”. There are several factors to consider, firstly what platform is this content going to be consumed on? (web, mobile-web, OTT) Generally shorter videos are better for mobile consumption. Again drawing from Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, snappy video content and the cellphone are a match made in heaven. Conversely, OTT consumers are generally going to have a much longer watch time and therefore are offering their eyes to be engaged by visual storytelling. Indulge these users with a longer video and TV style viewing experience.
5) It’s all about the Metadata
The unsung hero of the successful video strategy. Unglamorous as it may be, quality metadata is what sets apart the leading video practitioners. From SEO to fuelling video recommendation engines - video descriptions and keyword tags are your best friends. If you haven’t already, build a video taxonomy and address your video metadata.
6) Placement drives clicks
You’ve chosen a relevant video, the thumbnail is engaging and metadata is on point. You are ready to rack up plays in the millions, right?...wrong. Video implementation is just as important as the video content that you just selected. Successful implementation is all about knowing your audience behaviours - how will this video fit into the experience of my users. For web and mobile web video placement is key - above the article, below the article, through the article.
In conclusion remember to put yourself in the shoes of the user and create a complimentary, not a forced experience. Convince the user to click on the video by personalising and creating a content journey that will encourage them to click, watch, explore and click again. Your audience gets to watch great content, your advertisers reach their target audience and you earn the revenue you deserve for a job well done.
Are you excited to learn more? Make sure to subscribe below as we continue our VideoElephant Insights series next week.