While digital consumers used to search the internet for content, several years ago Facebook began pushing content to us. And as our attention spans got shorter and shorter, we no longer wanted to read past the first paragraph of an article. But our eyes are still drawn to sound and motion, so we want to consume all of our content and news in video form.
The news cycle is no exception. In digital publishing, the most successful companies are those that have the foresight to stay ahead of the technological curve. Even as publishers face huge monetization challenges, they have discovered something new: native video.
Dollars are moving rapidly from TV to the web, so publishers can chase the viewing habits of their finicky audiences. In the U.S., online video consumption grew 30 percent year over year to Q4 2012. That number continues to increase.
Most publishers have a video player embedded in each article and users can click to watch the video footage that is relevant to that article. It’s a great user experience, but it’s hard for publishers to generate enough video views to satisfy the unlimited pre-roll budget available to them. It’s really hard for a salesperson to even put a competitive proposal together to compete with the scale of Facebook or YouTube. And publishers find themselves in a state of being perpetually “Sold Out”.
With native video, publishers can exponentially increase the amount of their own video content on their own sites.
So what is native video? True native is defined as: 1) the ad placement runs in the editorial well, 2) is designed in the look and feel of the publishers site and 3) the user stays on the site to consume the content—the ad doesn’t click off to the advertiser’s site. Native video adds a fourth dimension: native video content is content produced by the publisher. What could be more engaging to the user than the publishers’ own video content?
By creating a native video placement on every article page and uploading a dynamic MRSS feed of all of their own video content, publishers have made all of their video content available to every single user.
The user experience looks like this: when the user scrolls to the end of an article, they will see a video running in muted autoplay. When they click on the player, they will be treated to a complete library of current videos to browse.
Publishers that aren’t leveraging this latest development in publishing are missing out on a huge revenue stream. Advertisers are demanding video content at a record pace, and yet publishers aren’t able to meet their needs because many either haven’t fully embraced native video on their sites, or what they are offering is limiting what the advertisers can buy. Here’s what advertisers are looking for:
- Size matters! Buyers are bidding on player size and they are looking for large players—at least 450 pixels wide
- Viewability matters more and more! Buyers are looking for viewability rates of 70 percent plus
- Bots don’t count! Buyers are looking for human traffic. They want to reach an engaged audience that clicks to expand the player and sticks around to watch multiple videos for 6, 8 or even 10 minutes.
What’s holding publishers back? Page load time and unmuted audio are major concerns, but when the technology is deployed properly, these issues can be resolved. And regarding viewability, the video content can be set to begin playing only when the video comes into view, similar to the Facebook autoplay experience.
The bottom line is that video ads generate many times the number of engagement as standard banner ads – up to five times as many, by some reports.
User engagement is the publisher’s secret sauce. From an advertiser perspective, the online publishers that fully support video ads and native video will be given priority by buyers. Publishers that have jumped on the native video bandwagon have the user engagement and revenue to show for it.