We’ve all heard about how ridiculously fast the mobile video experience has been chugging along, with seemingly everyone having smartphones and other mobile devices at their fingertips.  One thing though: the mobile experience is a lot different from the desktop experience.  You see, when people pull out their mobile devices, they’re usually trying to pass time.   They want to see something for quick consumption.  Video discovery and distribution service Taboola has teamed with top multimedia provider Hearst Magazines UK to deliver a mobile experience they feel is beneficial for all.  What is their secret?

How Taboola & Hearst Target the Mobile Experience w/ Video

Adam Singolda of Taboola sat down with Hearst UK’s CTO and Digital Spy founder James T. Welsh to discuss the methods by which brands can get their content seen on a mobile device.  What did Welsh tell Singolda?  He said:

As a digital media company, it’s incumbent upon Hearst UK to build products and content that can be delivered in a way that’s optimal to the way our customers use and enjoy them, whether in print or online. Our digital offering combines curated content, user generated content, tools and transactions. Take mobile: downsizing the desktop experience doesn’t generate sufficiently enjoyable & relevant experiences, nor long term value for our business. We believe agility and risk taking will yield significantly better and more robust results.

So it’s important to note that the mobile experience is completely different from the desktop one.  With mobile, you have to catch viewers’ eyes in an instant, and make them want to watch something that they can consume in a time-killing way.  Hearst latched onto Taboola to get their content in front of the right viewers with a system that is similar to Google AdWords, where people choose to click on content that is useful, and the links lead to the content’s original web page.  Publishers bid to get in the right places and get seen.

Welsh says:

The mobile transition, and video’s role within it, is a huge opportunity for publishers.  Cutting down standard banners to fit a small screen is unsatisfying for both customers and our commercial partners.  Presenting relevant multimedia content—original as well as third party— in an environment built from the ground up to super-serve customer needs, is an exciting space for innovation, and value generation. Hearst UK is transforming the content ecosystem and this is an important space for us to be in.

So what does this experience look like?  Here’s a picture:


It sort of makes this seamless transition from the page you’re on into the recommended content.  Everything looks like a part of the page the consumer landed on, and when relevant content is placed in front of their eyes, they are more likely to click on it, enjoy their experience, and ultimately, make both publishers and consumers happy.  Taboola does this using those crazy algorithms that pinpoint what kind of content a user is most likely to click given that user’s clickity-clacking history.

So how does Taboola believe their mobile experience is better than others?  It all comes down to video, of course.  This is how Singolda described this experience to Welsh:

1. Mobile is a great platform to consume video – I think that, between iPads and large screen smart phones, our handheld devices are becoming quintessential to consuming content, video in particular. This is encouraging because, if people are willing to watch videos from their phones, it means that advertisers can reach users in an intimate and unique environment over time. Ultimately, this is something that can increase not only engagement, but time spent, and especially revenue given video CPMs can be 5x-10x higher.

2. People are less likely to buy on the way to the doctor – I think that in most cases, we open our Mobile browser to “kill time”—whether it’s on the way to the doctor, waiting for a meeting, or in a cab. I think that’s very different than our Desktop experience. If this intuition has merit, and the main reason we open a mobile browser is to consume a few pieces of information to “kill time”, then we are less likely to buy a product. However, the same people who are not necessarily looking to buy something when they are killing time – might choose to read a great article that is paid for by another publisher, or perhaps an article about a great application to download. It is in this way that Taboola’s paid content can act as a strong monetization vehicle within the mobile environment.

So it sounds like Taboola is making this mobile monetization possible with strong video recommendations and getting people to spend more time on their devices clicking through content that they want to see.  This is the ultimate measure of success in video: actually getting people to want to click on the content, rather than playing a pre/mid/post roll ad in which they had no choice in the matter.  When your content is so good that people want to see it, you are getting true numbers rather than inflated, “no choice, no impact” views.  Getting that across on mobile is another big step in video’s monetization capabilities.