Video advertising is a rapidly growing business, expected to generate $17.68 billion in 2016, according to Magna Global. While we've mostly concentrated on OTT subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon, advertising-
sponsored OTT services (AVoD) will be an important component of online traffic.
A recent report from video technology vendor Ooyala Inc. listed the best practices the company has picked up working with a range of customers and analyzing the data they collected.
First, the company advocates separating out the video content on a site and creating a specific video section to showcase it. Visitors who want to watch videos should be able to find them right away.
But, the company adds, it's also important to integrate videos into news stories and other text-based features, to address more topically driven visitors. So a video on a particular topic should also be embedded into a story on that topic.
The company lists the following important recommendations for each section:
For the video showcase section of a site:
Focus on a pure video experience: Have only video on this page, and minimize other types of media.
Use a large, prominent main video player: Larger players lead to more video views being completed, according to prior research.
Prioritize trending or popular videos: Popular videos should be showcased at the top -- the most popular video should be the first one the site visitor sees.
Leverage autoplay functions: Let the video start playing automatically; users now find this acceptable in areas of a website that are video-centric. But keep it on mute, Ooyala advises.
Pick exciting thumbnails: Video thumbnails are all too often the first frame of the video, which is not always a compelling image. The thumbnail on the site is like a magazine cover -- it has to get the visitors attention. Ooyala advises picking a compelling image with bright, contrasting colors. Websites should also make sure the play button is clearly marked, but doesn't obscure the image too much.
Categorize effectively: Content shouldn't just be organized based on genre, or in the way the website receives it from the content provider. It needs to be organized around the specific site users. Websites need to carefully and intelligently strategize around how visitors search for content on their site, and organize content based on themes that suit their own users. Also, people most often want to watch what others are watching, so the sites should prioritize popular content.
Create a watchlist: Ooyala advocates creating watchlists to leverage visitor networks. A watchlist is a group of videos that a viewer creates to watch later or share with friends. It helps boost views and expand the site's reach by using site visitors' own friends and other networks. It also requires viewers to log in, helping sites gather more information on their visitors.
For video integrated into other sections of the site:
Mark articles or pages that contain video. The company suggests creating a video icon of some sort that can identify articles or posts that have video included.
Add video modules: Ooyala has found that driving visitors to the video page helps drive AVoD revenue. Video modules, or small batches of popular videos posted on a right rail or the bottom on the home page, can help drive people to the video section with just one click. The module should display the newest and most popular videos on the site.
Showcase video in search results: Include video content in search results, and potentially highlight video results in a separate section.
Use a "sticky player": Videos embedded in articles should use a "sticky player." With these, the video player actually pops out of the page and tucks away in a corner of the browser. The viewer can then read the rest of the page and watch the video.
Ooyala offers a prime example of the impact of these best practices. According to the company, a major news conglomerate was covering up thumbnail images with titles and play buttons, and its homepage didn't clearly mark articles that included video. By simply making these small fixes, video viewership rose 11% within a month.
The report also lists some best practices for improving monetization through more effective ad inventory management and sales.
According to the report, the basic formula for making money with video ads is: (Number of Video Views) x (Sell-Through Rate) x (CPM) = Revenue. For example, (1M views) x (80% sell-through) x ($10cpm) = $8,000 in revenue.
So to increase revenue, any one of these would need to be improved. We've talked about improving video views, but websites can also improve their sell-through rate and advertising rates or Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM).
To increase sell-through, Ooyala advocates adding more platforms (mobile, desktop, in-app etc.) and more specific devices (Apple TV, Roku etc.), as well as different ad placements. Many websites just offer pre-roll ads, i.e., those that run before the video. But mixed groupings can appeal to a broader set of advertiser needs, according to the company.
Ooyala also advocates using programmatic advertising, or advertising that is traded automatically using algorithms. Ooyala's Q1 2016 Global Video Index found a 22% quarterly increase in programmatic premium inventory, which, combined with growth in programmatic investment from premium buyers, led to a 74% increase in paid impressions.
The company also recommends using ad reinsertion (i.e., anti-ad blocking) technology to counter ad-blocking apps and including live streaming where possible.
Lastly, the company urges AVoD providers to look at increasing their advertising rates. This can be done by introducing new, premium-priced advertising formats, such as in-player banners, full-page takeovers, sequencing ads to tell a story and other formats. It also recommends developing more insight into site visitors and selling targeted audience-based packages. This is, of course, dependent on data and analysis of site traffic. Similarly, exclusive access to parts of a site's inventory could help create new premium packages.
— Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation