In an constantly busy online market that’s flooded with video, it’s getting tougher and tougher to make an impact. The latest BuzzSumo Research Report on content trends shows that content publishing in general continues to increase, which leads to immense saturation. However, making your own mark on this vast market is still possible. Of course, you have to take the necessary steps first.
It is interesting just how much the video industry is shifting. The video platform scene, for instance, is changing its course from providing an alternative to money-making giants (YouTube, Facebook, etc) to let’s-monetize-everything-we-can mindset.
I was lucky enough to work in the industry (yeah, luck). I thought I’d share few thoughts. I’m certain it’ll be an interesting read to any marketeers/businesses who are seeking a way to make video a part of their marketing strategy and earn dollars on top of it.
It may sound like a cliche, but it is true. During the year 2018 half of the global population, which comes down to approximately 3.6 billion people, are going to be using the Internet (Dazeinfo). Some of the main reasons for that are cheaper Android phones and easy-to-get Wi-fi.
Another important shift is that people are switching to mobile and more and more ad dollars are following. This created a $7 billion mobile ad opportunity. In addition to that, platforms offer safe content to host those ads and that’s why it has never been a better time to hop onto the video bandwagon. Also, it must be said that 50% of Internet users look for videos related to a product before visiting a store (ThinkWithGoogle).
Daily usage (in general) has seen another massive increase. Revenue gains for social network sites like Facebook are on the rise as well with 1.15 billion mobile daily active users (Mobile DAU) for December 2016.
But let’s not get too bogged down with stats.
Getting started in the video business already means you’re thinking in the right direction. There is no doubt video marketing and video advertising play important roles and are both crucial in helping a company sell its brand, products and/or services.
When you have quality video content, say on YouTube, for many the next step is monetization. But a potential issue is that Google frequently makes drastic changes to the platform and tends to change policies towards certain content and that can easily have a negative outcome both on the channel and ad revenue.
I’m not saying you should ditch YouTube. However, in order to achieve your video-first strategy, you should be focused more on having a tried-and-true video player that has all the necessary elements that make a modern-day HTML5 video player as well. It’s the fastest and easiest way to deliver video across all major mobile and desktop platforms, anytime and anywhere and earn revenue on the videos you make.
When searching for a native video platform, you need to be thinking about video content, which can include everything from product demo videos, help/training videos, or webinar recordings, on demand video, hosting live stream events and so on. Your focus should also remain on accessibility, safety, and, last but not least, pricing (dictated by your budget, of course).
If you’re on the lookout for a proper HTML5 video player or a video platform to work on, it’s honestly up to you to decide which one suits your business needs (and budget). Here are your best and safest bets:
Enterprise. Offering everything from Video Cloud to Brightcove Enterprise Video Suite, this is a top choice when you’re looking for an enterprise-level video platform and you have the budget for it. Regardless if you’re business involves broadcasting, publishing, marketing, or enterprise communications, this is a great choice.
Additional feature worth mentioning: Brightcove Lift an ad blocking solution. Yes, you’ll need it at some point.
Free. Video.js is an extendable framework/library around the native video element. It offers a plugin API so that different types of video can be handed to the native video element (HLS, Flash, HTML5 video, etc). It also features an extendable and themable UI, accessibility for keyboard and screen reader users and has plugins for additional video formats. Keep in mind free comes at a price which, if you are a tech savvy crew, should not be a problem as this is the best framework to put your skills at work.
Best of both worlds. The solution you need when you are looking for a way to monetize your video beyond services such as YouTube. This platform, unlike YouTube, grants a more controlled environment where you can maximize your revenue without worrying about content policy changes. It’s great for video hosting (which comes with a price tag) and publishing solution with enough developer tools (which are free) to customize the platform and the player to your liking.
Additional features worth mentioning: ADIQ an adblock recovery and White Label SSP brand new feature I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. The service seems promising enough and has the potential to be a game changer.
Best of both worlds. The JW Platform allows you to host and stream video at scale. It is genuinely one of the most wanted and most popular HTML5 video player/platforms out there. It’s an open-source online video platform and another solid and safe choice. The platform provides video hosting and streaming, advertising, and analytics features as well (as most do).
Additional feature worth mentioning: JW Recommendations an automated solution that surfaces contextually relevant content from a publisher’s library to its audiences, at scale.
Free. Unlike Video.js, which is free as well, MOW Player actually offers complete enterprise video platform experience for free. So not only you’ll be able to use their top-notch HTML5 video player but also you’ll be able to manage and monetize your video content for free as well. What’s the catch? Well, they’ll hook you up with their own Header Bidding technology for video ads and share the profit with you.
Additional feature worth mentioning: You can empower your content by creating videos from your articles.
With Playwire you’re already one step closer to digital monetization. It offers various commendable advertising solutions. It’s a publisher-focused company, Playwire Media centers on publishers.
Additional feature worth mentioning: Trendi™ Video widget premium video content option.
So what now?
As a publisher, the only way to ensure ad revenue and solid ROI is to establish a solid connection with audiences. When you think about it, the whole thing boils down to common sense.
Each business move you make depends on how well you convert casual viewers into customers
In order to drive conversions, there is a variety of strategies you can employ. One of the essential ones is to hook viewers within the first few seconds, by creating the appropriate pace for the video.
This is a strategy that has proved valuable not only for video content creators, but for publishers and business owners who are keen to see their brand grow. And as the brand grows, ad revenue improves and that is another major step towards having a successful business that relies on video.
Now, the profit …
Video advertising, instream and outstream, are one of the most effective revenue sources today. Outstream ad unit, viewable by design on any screen, or device is an innovative format which positions video ads right in the middle of editorial content. The most important thing is that this format launches when in view on the screen, pausing when below 50% visible and to top it off it merges seamlessly back into the page once the view has been completed.
Bear in mind that instream, on the other hand, is a rather standard system, which denotes pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll ad placements for videos. Even though it’s vulnerable to ad blockers, instream is quite reliable system for placing video ads. It’s also one of the most effective ones because it easily gets into the mindset of consumer video content. In-stream ad formats are typically divided into companion ads, linear video ads and non-linear video ads.
Still, you can stick to outstream, which appears in non-video environments, such as text-based editorial content, social feeds, etc. Outstream video is triggered when users scroll down and content opens up. It’s true that outstream is a relatively fresh concept to video, albeit it boasts a solid advantage, allowing your ads to appear anywhere and everywhere.
It might be a bumpy ride…
It has to be said that the majority of online businesses that rely on video are having huge issues with projecting advertising revenue, because they see ad blocking as a major obstacle. Your best bet around that is to nab a reliable proprietary ad de-blocking tech (much like already mentioned Brightcove Lift or AdIQ) that can help small businesses and large enterprises feel confident about their video ad content being seen on both desktop or mobile devices.
One of the most crucial things to remember for video is to make the most out of the features that are already available to you. There are also ways you can increase user engagement. All you have to do is simplify things. For instance, things like having shortened URLs in video description texts should direct people to a brand website for info or if they wish to make a purchase. The URL can also lead potential customers to the app store landing page of your business, which is where they can download your app. It’s a good idea to have those links at the start of the video description, so they’re visible before.
Second, live streaming is not the future, it’s the ‘now’ so keep your eye on that as well. Live streaming is still one of the best ways to connect and interact with your audiences.
Despite the obvious content saturation and the decline in social sharing of trending topics/posts, video is definitely the best option for marketers to reach out and engage their audience. Having a solid tech will help you find your unique voice, and that voice provides value for your audience, which, in turn is what separates you from the lot.