Becoming The (Video Part Of) Huffington Post In Three Steps
The video world is getting crazier by the minute. Publishers that sell their own video traffic generate $20 - $60 CPM and climbing, compared to sinking display advertising. Not only that, rich media is a much nicer form of advertising than “clean my teeth” banners that users are getting blind to over time. More banners on page do not mean necessarily higher RPM.
So why is video so attractive?
Who would not want to make the same amount of money from 1 million video views rather than from 10 million article page views? (And have users spend more time on site).
However, here’s why you are still probably hesitant about building a video business:
- Hiring a director of video, someone who can adhere the video target for the company, costs money (and is also really hard to find).
- Implementing an OVP costs money.
- Producing original video content costs money.
- Selling video ads is different from selling banners.
- Need to pay comScore more money because it’s video table and not the media table.
- Even if you have all of that, getting to ~10M video views on your site to be considered “a player among marketers” is really hard. Ask anyone.
Why Huffington Post did a good job, and how you can do the same if you’re at square one now:
Huff Post did many things well, in my opinion, and I find their one of their strategies interesting to learn from – its video strategy.
Following Huff Post’s model, here are three ways to build a meaningful video business from scratch:
1. Educate users to click on other people’s videos – as you’re not a video site, assuming you have meaningful site pageviews, your first goal is to introduce video content to your users so they get used to clicking on video thumbnails and “choosing” to watch them while they read. Curate from videos you like from around the Web using your editorial team, or use an automatic mechanism to do so. Present them on your homepage, on your article pages, on your section front -- on every page. What do you gain economically from this tactic? Mainly data. Assuming you flood your site with awesome video links users might want to click on, you’d know what the click-through rate is for videos on your site -- and you can calculate if this figure is meaningful enough. You want to get to a million clicks a month at least (for example, 800k clicks from videos with articles, 100k clicks from videos on your home page, and 100k from videos on section fronts).
2. Then, embed videos on every article, or build a video section with embedded videos. Work with your writers and editors to start enriching the site with embedded videos. They can be all from YouTube, or from other sites, which is 100% free. At this point, change the thumbnails you’ve shown to other sites’ videos in step 1 to link to where your embedded videos now reside.
Example: on your homepage you’ll link to an article with an embedded video and you call it a “video page.” At that point, if you had, say, 1million clicks in step1 and every user ends up watching two to three videos after a click on your site , you now have 2 million to 3 million video views a month. You can now start building up your onsite traffic using many vehicles such as search optimization, social, personalized recommendation, traffic acquisitions and more. In this way, you can get to 10 million video views a month on embedded videos.
3. Replace YouTube videos with something you can sell yourself. At this point you know the one thing most non-video publishers do not know about their business: If you were to produce your own videos and sell pre-rolls, you know how much money you would make, as you know exactly how many video views your site generates on YouTube embedded videos. At this point, if you’ve hired a topnotch director of video, he or she will know what to do.
Why do I like this idea? It’s a low-risk plan to build a meaningful video business. 10 million video views on $20 CPM is $2.5 million a year, which is a nice start.