Remember the first time you fell down a YouTube rabbit hole? Maybe it was a satisfying loop of unboxing videos. Or, maybe you were pulled into the YouTube beauty vlogger world. Or, maybe you just wanted to learn a new skill and ended up learning ten.
Chances are, some version of this has happened to you. Whether on YouTube, binge-watching a show on Netflix, or some other type of video feed, we know that video is a highly engaging content format — especially when it’s personalized for your tastes.
These ‘rabbit holes,’ or times when we’re highly engaged in video recommendations, are exactly what we’re aiming for when we implement video discovery.
Video discovery is a type of content discovery: a form of native advertising that prompts a user to discover more content, specifically video.
This is important because video is hard to recommend. It requires even more powerful artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to power algorithms that focus specifically on context and viewer habits.
But before we get into those, let’s take a deeper dive into video discovery and why it’s taken the advertising world by storm.
Why is Video Such a Big Deal?
Video is currently the most accessible and most powerful form of content and advertising on the web — and it’s become difficult to ignore.
- More video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years
- 87% of marketers use online video
- By 2020, 75% of mobile traffic will be video
It’s simple, really. Video is a big deal because people are watching it. When they’re watching branded videos, they’re more likely to buy products, according to 90% of those surveyed by HubSpot. So, search engines pay attention to these trends and send more traffic to sites with video.
It’s offering the right video that can be the tough part — how are publishers supposed to recommend personalized video content in real-time?
How Video Discovery Works (When it’s Done Right)
An important factor in Video Discovery is that it is a native offering also in appearance, which means it’s non-disruptive to the viewer.
Native advertising techniques work because they give users a feeling that they’re not watching an ad – the video unit is an integral part of the site.
When video is an integral part of the site, people enjoy the viewing experience even more. And, when that video content is intelligently targeted for their needs, well, it’s a match made in heaven.
In order for an algorithm to be powerful enough to make this sort of intelligent recommendation, it’s going to have to take several things into account:
- Context. The page alongside the video will need to be scanned in order to know whether or not the content matches the environment.
- Data. To be truly intelligent, algorithms need massive amounts of data and are often powered by some of the world’s largest third-party data companies like Acxiom.
- Engagement. At the intersection of content and user data lies engagement, and both items are needed to provide an engagement score to each user and video combination (millions of combinations per second). If the score matches with a video, the video is shown.
Viewers, Publishers, and Advertisers All Stand to Profit
Through the incorporation of both video advertising and a publisher’s own editorial video, the optimal environment for engaging with video is created:
- The publisher is provided a way to easily match their content with the right user, match video ads with the right user, and match them in the right combination for each individual viewer. This allows them a new source of revenue, and a new way to delight, and therefore retain, users.
- The advertiser gets to reach users in an environment alongside content that’s truly engaging.
- The user gets to engage with great content in which they’re actually interested, in a non-intrusive way.
There’s one caveat: you have to pick a video discovery platform that takes all of these opportunities into account.
Your Options to Get In the Game
You’ve probably already heard of some video discovery options. YouTube provides the opportunity for advertisers to reach viewers with pre-roll ads, and for publishers to reach new viewers, with one catch: they all have to let YouTube own the audience.
Providers like Teads, Vidyard, and AdMogul provide great outstream options, but they don’t provide publishers with the option to add video content to their websites.
Providers that are only supplying outstream solutions are essentially offering publishers who don’t have enough video content a video unit in the middle of the page to close this gap. Meanwhile, video discovery gives publishers the option for both monetization and engagement with their own editorial videos. Viewers enjoy the website, stay longer, and view more pages, which is something that outstream advertising can never offer.
What’s Next: Tackling Scale, OTT, and Production Obstacles
There are many obstacles that publishers and advertisers still need to face in the video space, but there are a select few that stand out.
The first is the problem of return on investment due to scale. This is the biggest problem publishers face today when it comes to driving traffic to their own video content.
Publishers spend a lot of time and resources creating and producing videos, but they don’t always distribute them with enough scale to get a good return on investment. In this sense, creating new video inventory for publishers in a native user-friendly unit, and increasing the number of times each video is shown, can make video a profitable source of income.
The industry has figured out how to serve relevant content at the right time. The next step will be the right place.
You see this trend on all major platforms: YouTube, Facebook, Hulu – you name it – they all invest heavily in tech to match the right recommendation for each user, to increase consumption. At Primis we try to help our publishers do exactly that, but on publisher sites, not YouTube. Our tech looks at addressable data, contextual matching, and historical engagement metrics and utilizes machine learning algorithms to match every user with the best content – for them. This then allows publishers to delight their users, retain them, and increase revenue.
Finally, distribution. Video can get expensive, and in order for production costs to stay manageable, distribution has to get even more effective. Videos that don’t reach the right people aren’t worth the cost.
Content distribution requires more than just a tech solution. A publisher needs a big and deep library of content to speak to the diverse interests of their users.
In the digital publishing and advertising landscapes we are always looking for the next product which will provide a better experience for users, and better ROI for publishers. Now, after video has completely taken over, and content discovery advertising is on nearly every site, it is finally time to merge the two with Video Discovery.