What does it take to create a video viewing experience so seamless and effectual that advertisers will happily pay higher rates? In the first installment of this series, we explored UX and its impact on video monetization. While great experience — from faster load times to a mobile-friendly format — contributes to success, there's more to creating an effective video publishing strategy.
The way you present and position video content on your page influences everything from view-throughs to engagement rates. The goal for all publishers is to create an optimal experience for the user and advertiser.
With that in mind, here are five best practices for improving the appearance of your video content and increasing the value of your ad inventory.
1. Select Eye-Catching Thumbnail Images
Before a video can generate a single view, it has to catch a user's eye. On a page teeming with content, this isn't always easy. The thumbnail images you choose to represent each video must be powerful enough to generate an immediate response, so that users can't help but click.
Thumbnail images should reveal enough about the content that the user can make an informed decision to watch. Pick an image that showcases a key moment in the video and incites an emotional response. Featuring faces is also a smart move; just as happy faces can improve the effectiveness of advertising (neuromarketing research shows that "A smiling face is a powerful and incredibly simple tool to enhance customer joy and increase brand appeal"), consumers are likely to be drawn to the faces in your thumbnail images. You'll also want your images to feature a single point of focus and contrasting colors, as this will improve visibility on small mobile screens.
2. Write Clear Titles and Descriptions for Each Video
To accompany your thumbnail image, you'll want to craft a title and description that accurately sums up the video content. With limited character-space and fleeting attention spans to contend with, you'll need to combine succinct copywriting with critical keywords.
The metadata you include in both your title and description can help improve your search ranking and the visibility of your videos — especially if the keywords appear early on in the text. Consult with your in-house SEO expert for suggestions from their A+ keyword list. Also, be sure to embed your metadata in your video file, too, as discrepancies between what's in your file and on your page may confuse search engines and negatively impact your SEO.
3. Viewability is Key
Just how much does viewability matter in video ad campaigns? According to global media investment management company GroupM, it matters a lot. The company is a leader in the push for higher viewability standards, insisting that the entire video player is in view for its clients' video ad impressions and that half of the video is viewed with the sound on.
GroupM is not alone. A new study conducted by Kellogg Co. brands and media measurement company Nielsen Catalina Solutions found a direct correlation between longer view times and increased sales when a video is watched between 2 and 16 seconds. As Andrew Feigenson, Chief Revenue Officer of Nielsen Catalina Solutions, told Advertising Age, there's "a big difference between in view and not in view in terms of sales impact."
To ensure your viewability rates are up to snuff, analyze the performance in your ad server or SSP. Many offer viewability data that can help you gauge how you measure up against current Media Rating Council (MRC) standards for both desktop and mobile ads. Tools like Moat Analytics, DoubleVerify, or Integral Ad Science are worth exploring, as they can help you optimize your digital media impressions for higher quality video campaigns.
4. Use a Large Video Player and Make it the Focal Point of Your Page
A surefire way to improve your viewability is to modify the placement of your video player on the site page. Your video content should be the main element of the page.
Opting for a larger video player (600 x 400 pixels or bigger on desktop) can give your video content an engagement advantage while also adding value and, ultimately, boosting revenue; on mobile, embedding 100 percent responsive width players that take up as much real estate on the screen as possible will likewise provide greater advertising exposure. Remember, avoid embedding multiple players on the page. Providing playlist thumbnails adjacent to the player, such as a sidebar format, is a better option when it comes to showcasing numerous videos.
5. Use Click-to-Play Rather Than Autoplay
It is a video publishing truth that you will achieve the highest fill rates and CPMs when your users have intent to watch a video. By providing your audience with control over the viewing experience with click-to-play videos, you know your content will have their full attention, and so will the ads.
For more insights on sharing and creating excellent content, take a look at this Caseo blog post.
Check out the next post in our "Video Publishing Best Practices" series for five more tips for improved video engagement.
Contact JW Player today to talk about how we can help you improve your site's viewer experience in order to achieve higher video CPMs.