User Engagement Remains Challenge For Digital Video

It’s no secret that video is the darling of the advertising industry. It is a highly engaging format that attracts both advertisers and publishers alike. This affinity has publishers quickly looking for ways to capitalize on a piece of the video pie.

From large traditional print companies like The Washington Post, to digital-only properties like, more and more publishers are looking to leverage the benefits of video to drive digital engagement and access new revenue streams. But this is a feat easier said than done.

The challenge of further monetizing digital video isn’t simply creating more video ad impressions -- it’s about driving higher levels of user engagement. Increased engagement is at the core of delivering premium video ad exposure, and publishers can charge for those impressions accordingly. A publisher could easily create new placements via in-banner video, outstream and/or interstitial placements. But this results in an overabundance of video inventory, which occasionally creates less than desirable ad environments, not to mention poor user experience. Achieving a premium environment means mastering the delicate balance between creating more video opportunity and negatively impacting user experience.



While mastering a new video strategy isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, the best video ad experiences are those adjacent to equally good content or programming. This is evident in the success of TV advertising, particularly around key programming like the Super Bowl.

An audience immersed in the programming or content is more likely to engage with the corresponding ad messaging. This means that any investment into a digital video sales strategy must be accompanied by an investment in content.

We’ve seen the digital community embrace a plethora of tactics to seamlessly integrate video into their platforms. Some have heavily invested in in-house studio and video production shops to drive video consumption of their brands. Some are also developing everything from vertical video channels to live video programming and short, digestible-bits of content designed for a specific platform.

Platform is another variable that must be considered to capitalize on video’s opportunity. The content, along with the impression, must relate to the target audience. In some cases, publishers will need multiple video strategies for multiple properties to cater to different demographic profiles. For example, publishers targeting a millennial audience would benefit from a digital video strategy tailored to mobile devices, as this demographic group continues to dominate mobile media consumption.

The mechanics of the corresponding monetization strategy are changing as well. As content consumption trends change by demo and platform, standard pre-roll might not provide the best ad experience when compared to other options such as content integration, sponsorship, or product placement.

When consumer habits evolve, so must content and the corresponding advertising that they consume. The impressions that may have previously worked will no longer hold the same impact or provide the same premium ad experience that they once did.

As advertisers increase their appetite for digital video, publishers are primed to capitalize on this growing revenue stream. Building that revenue stream, though, requires more than simply tweaking the frequency and ad insertion levers of the ad server. Digital publishers who want to succeed in the video realm must take a "user first" approach to content creation and platform distribution. Only then will the emergence of the appropriate ad creative come to the surface and create the necessary engagement of all parties involved to sustain a meaningful, long-term revenue model.

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