The digital publishing industry has taken a lot of twists and turns over the last couple of decades. Long story short, we've now landed in a world where content shock is real, it's noisier online, and it's getting harder and more expensive to capture new audiences. In the midst of the fight to capture, monetize and keep new audiences, a new type of advertising has emerged with a bang: native advertising.
According to the Native Advertising Institute (the authority on the matter), native advertising matches the form, feel, and function of the content of the media on which it appears.
This could mean a lot of things — an editorial partnership between a brand and a publisher, an in-feed social media ad, sponsored content, and of course, content discovery.
Content discovery is a specific type of native advertising that prompts the site visitor to discover a new piece of editorial content, branded (or sponsored) content, or video.
It's an effective way to distribute content because of the highly engaging user experience. The environment in which content is shown is familiar, and therefore, not disruptive like other forms of advertising.
And as content discovery grows up, the importance of video content in capturing and engaging audiences has become clear.
A Brief History of Content Discovery
Publishers have always been the masters of attracting interested, engaged and loyal viewers, and marketers have always been the masters of convincing publishers to sell them some of that airtime (or view time if you're reading, of course).
Native advertising emerged in response to the need to find publishers, products, events and groups people didn't know about, and thus can’t search for (unlike search and social where you need to choose what to search and who to follow). Now discovery platforms could make recommendations based on sophisticated algorithms and help people discover new topics that might interest them.
Content discovery allows publishers to access those same powerful algorithms they access on search and social channels. This helps keep visitors on-site engaging with editorial content to increase loyalty, while consuming sponsored content and video to drive revenue.
In short, content discovery gives publishers control over their audience's experience, and marketers an opportunity to reach a highly engaged audience in a non-intrusive way.
How Content Discovery Works
Content discovery is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) based algorithms that not only understand people online, but learn about their behaviors in order to show them the most relevant and engaging content.
These machine learning algorithms study content and assign the content scores based on their success in engaging audiences across the internet. The compatibility of these videos to a given web page is assured by a combination of contextual matching, geographic targeting, and other advanced analysis methods.
When the discovery algorithms see this information, they learn from it and make recommendations of content that they know the audience will like.
The Rise of Video Discovery
Video has come into play because it's impossible to ignore its effectiveness when it comes to engaging consumers and audiences.
It's not just effective, it's officially bigger online than it is on TV. Just to run through a few numbers:
- 85% of all internet users in the US alone watch online video content monthly on any of their devices. (Statista)
- 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands and businesses they support. (Hubspot)
- The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video. (Forbes)
It's hard to argue with that kind of data.
Still not convinced? Here’s an example from Primis Co-CEO Eyal Betzalel:
Video is booming all over: OTT, connected TV, apps, web and mobile web. But video alone is not enough to keep users engaged. It's the ability to deliver users the right content, at the right time in the right place. Take Netflix for example. There's so much content, most users just scroll through what Netflix recommends. It works because Netflix serves up good video content that's relevant and increases video consumption.
YouTube is also a great example of this — they know the importance of understanding their audience's habits first and showing them recommendations second. This is why advertisers want to advertise so much on YouTube — viewers are highly engaged and paying attention.
All major platforms invest heavily in tech, in order to match the right recommendation for each user, to increase consumption. Publishers should be striving to emulate Netflix and YouTube's models — they should enhance and extend online experiences by helping users discover engaging, high-quality video content based on their viewing habits.
What's Next for the Industry?
It's clear that video is here to stay. It's effective, and it pays for publishers to implement ways to sell video supply.
The next big hurdles will be data (as always) and context. Publishers shouldn't be distributing video with technologies that don't take viewer habits into account.
Content must be merged with technology to produce a truly effective consumer experience... video service providers can better predict when their subscribers or customers will leave their service or content and help them to understand how to better capture their attention. This is also important for marketers when determining where to put their promotional spend and who to target in order to retain key customers.
Vice President of Product Management
TiVo for MarTechSeries
The bottom line is that the next generation of video discovery tools should be able to make the right recommendations based on more than just interests and previous behavior.
Regular publishers want to follow the big video companies and recommend video content, but they don't have the tech resources to build the same recommendation engines that YouTube, Netflix and other big tech companies have. So, we will see publishers running towards third party vendors to fill the tech void and get the same video discovery engine running on their sites to increase video consumption and revenue like the big tech companies do.