The last decade has seen a whirlwind of upheaval and innovation in digital publishing. Gone are the heady days in which advertising more than covered the costs of printing and distribution. That time has been replaced by a seemingly never-ending cycle of experimentation, trial-and-error and occasional victories in the great battle of the Digital Age: monetization.
Starting with rudimentary display banner ads in the late-1990s, online advertising for many publishers has often felt like a game of whack-a-mole: adopt one new strategy and see some early success, only to realize six months later that your ads either don’t generate enough revenue or are alienating your audience. Repeat the process with another form of digital advertising.
Monetization of Video Content
One new media channel that has found some sustained success for many publishers is video. Ever since MTV debuted with the playing of the iconic “Video Killed the Radio Star” as its first-ever music video, it’s been clear to many publishing veterans and observers that video had the potential to upend the publishing landscape. It took a few years (OK, a couple of decades) for that fantasy to become reality. Now, video is an integral part of almost every publishers’ digital content strategy. Or it should be. Much of the conversation for publishers about video advertising centers on content. Where to get it, how to optimize it and how to get their audience users to view it. Often missing from the conversation is the other side of the video ad equation: monetization.
Video Content Plus Monetization
There is no one-size-fits-all path to successfully monetizing your digital video content and ad inventory. It requires a variety of ad and content types. Most importantly, thought, publishers need to figure out how to combine content plus monetization for a fully unified and effective video ad mix. Here are three ways to do just that:
#1 Determine How You Want to Monetize Your Video Content
It’s important to determine what type of video player format you intend to use on your site before you begin any video monetization campaign. At Matomy, we work with thousands of publishers and have found that the most popular and effective video player formats are the following:
• Large players, which are implemented on top of the page or within the body of an article, and support the article with visual images;
• Video sliders, which are highly engaging units that float from the bottom of the page and stop in the right-hand corner of the page; and
• Video widgets, which are high-impact placements that can be embedded in multiple sizes at different locations on a page.
#2 Determine When to Place the Ad Within the Video
Timing is everything, as they say, and this is especially true when trying to monetize video ad inventory. While pre- and post-roll video ads have gained prominence in recent years, they also have the tendency to annoy people or be ignored, as viewers skip over them (in the case of pre-rolls) or stop watching the content before the ad airs (in the case of post-rolls). It’s best to experiment and find which video ad type works best for your site. You may find that interstitials and overlays, which co-exist with the video content, work best because they fit seamlessly into the existing content.
#3 Find the Right Media Partner
All of the video content in the world won’t mean a thing for your monetization efforts if you don’t work with the right media partner, but what qualities should you look for in one?
First, it should provide a wide variety of video content from several different recognized third-party sources. This ensures you receive a diverse stream of content that can be targeted and monetized with specific audiences and advertisers.
Second, a video media partner should offer multiple player formats that can be customized for your content needs. A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t ideal because every publishers’ site is different, as are their content monetization needs.
Ultimately, a media partner should offer an all-in-one video media buying and monetization solution that delivers both scale and customization.
Publishing in the Digital Age is filled with many challenges, none more so than the challenge of monetizing your content. Hosting video content, and monetizing that content via advertising, is one of the emerging ways in which digital publishers can find long-term profitability. Success with video requires a smart mix of access to high-quality, engaging content plus monetization capabilities.