Today’s online publishers have to work much harder to keep audiences engaged and to earn revenue from advertising. Not only do they have to offer interesting content in as many media formats as possible, but they also need to generate revenue from every space of their property. Publishers who can manage this balance will likely enjoy larger, more engaged audiences and happy advertisers. Unfortunately, the most lucrative and engaging medium – video – is often left out. And, I don’t mean having a video section or a few videos that accompany articles. I’m talking about having a video player on every page.
It seems that publishers are hesitant to follow this philosophy. But when you look at properties of Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL, every page seems to have a video player. BabyCenter is a prime example of a mid-market publisher that understands the importance of video for both content and advertising. (No, we have no relationship with the company; we just thought its video approach was exemplary).
In addition to an entire section devoted to videos, BabyCenter incorporates one (sometimes more) video on every page. On the homepage alone, you’ll notice a featured video on the upper right-hand corner, which, if played, runs an ad that generates real revenue for the publisher, and also provides the visitor content.
Now try this: navigate the site and find a page that DOESN’T have a video player above the fold. You may not see a video pre-roll, but that is likely because the publisher is mixing un-monetized streams with monetized streams to avoid alienating the user. Whether or not it generates ad revenue, any video play molds audience behavior to interact with video.
BabyCenter boasts an average of 1 to 1.2 million global visitors per day. Now, imagine many of those users are watching at least one video with an advertisement -- whether they are interested in
the content or are just curious to know what happens when you click play. Either way, you’re making money!
This isn’t to say that it is all about generating revenue. BabyCenter’s videos bring the editorial content on its site to life. After expectant parents read an article about the development of their pregnancy, they can actually watch an animated 3-D video of an ultrasound.
BabyCenter’s sponsors win, too. They have an opportunity to reach audiences at multiple touch points. Normally, if a brand wants to deliver a video advertisement on a website, it has to wait patiently for the audience to find a video player and engage. By putting a video player on every page, BabyCenter offers greater inventory to all its advertisers and provides specific contextual and topical targeting options because there is a stream happening in every content category.
So what can other online publishers learn from this? Video should be front and center (or at least above the fold) everywhere. Don’t limit your video content to just the video section.
Think of how convenient it would be if every publisher did this. Cooking websites could incorporate quick tips for dining, travel websites could add video segments about where to vacation, and health websites could provide information on how to stay fit.
Bottom line: When there’s video on every page, the audience gets more content, advertisers access more inventory, and publishers generate more revenue.