why Context is Everything

Report | Nov 1, 2021

What is Content Syndication | video intelligence

Content syndication

Content syndication is the practice of selecting content that was originally produced for one platform or website, and distributing that content to multiple 3rd-party platforms or websites. 

Why does video content syndication matter?

Globally, consumer Internet video traffic will be 81% of consumer Internet traffic in 2021, up from 72% in 2016 – according to Cisco.

So the growth of video content online is clear. However, producing video content for a website comes with a significant expense.

Content syndication matters because it ensures each video reaches the maximum possible audience.

Benefits of content syndication for content owners:

To illustrate the benefits of content syndication for content owners, imagine that you run a website with 100,000 monthly visitors, and your site is all about health and fitness.

If you were to invest money in creating a video about how to do a 'couch to 5K', the maximum audience you can possibly achieve on your own site is 100,000 people. 

It is very unlikely however that all, or even most, of your total audience will watch every video you publish. Let's say, for the purposes of this example, that a realistic forecast for this video, on your own site, is probably around 1,000 plays.

The audience, or number of plays that a video achieves matters because the primary way of generating a return on investment for video content is by placing relevant advertising in front of it.

The advertiser often pays to display their advertising in front of video content on a cost per thousand plays basis (known as a CPM in the advertising world). So if the CPM rate an advertiser is willing to pay is $20 (That is $20 for every thousand plays of their advert), then the ROI on your 'Couch to 5k' video is just $20.

The reality is that the total potential audience for your video globally is far larger than the users of your site.

That is why as a content owner you would work with a video platform to licence your video content for distribution, so that it could be displayed not only on your own site, but also within contextually relevant articles on hundreds of 3rd party websites across the internet.

A Google search at the time of writing this article returned over 6m results for the term 'couch to 5k'. That is a lot of web pages that could be carrying your video.

As a video content owner, content syndication allows you to expand the global audience that sees your video, potentially driving new users back to your own site, while also increasing the revenue that each of your videos achieves from video advertising.

Benefits of content syndication for publishers:  

Video is the most immersive type of content on the web. It combines the power of sight, sound and motion, and is able to create an emotional connection with audiences like no other medium can - it's the medium that most closely resembles how we experience real life.

Many publishers on the internet rely heavily on advertising to generate revenue, and video advertising is growing faster than any other advertising type. The cost-per-thousand rate that an advertiser is willing to pay for video advertising is much higher than they would pay for standard display ads, so it makes sense that websites that have traditionally been text-based now want to integrate more video into their offering.

The best way for a traditionally text-based website to generate more video views is to place a contextually relevant video inside of an article.

However, many large sites could have thousands of article pages, and the cost of firstly creating enough video content to satisfy a large number of articles, and secondly then manually placing that video content into every article is not cost-efficient.

Many publishers solve this challenge by working with external video platforms to integrate quality, 3rd party video content. AI technology can automate the process of reading every video and understanding content and context, whilst also reading every article page for the same, and then matching the best video to the best article automatically.

The benefits of video content syndication to a publisher is that they can display thousands of contextually relevant videos to their audience without the significant production costs, and then generate additional revenue by selling those video audiences to advertisers, who want to reach consumers in a contextually relevant, engaging environment.

There are also SEO benefits for publishers which we will explore in more detail below.

Benefits of content syndication for brands and advertisers:

Syndicated content provides new opportunities for brands and advertisers to run advertising against. Video inventory is in short supply, and so creating new inventory with video content is well received.

If a video advert is served in front of a piece of video content that is contextually relevant, and that video content is in turn placed within a contextually relevant article, then consumer attention and recall increase.

Working with a technology partner who syndicate video content enables advertisers to reach audiences at scale, and with one centralised buying point. 

How does video content syndication work?

Video syndication can either be a manual or automated process, which sees a content owner agree a deal to licence their video content to another publisher or publishers. 

Manual content syndication

Manual content syndication could see a content owner approach a single publisher, and look to sign a distribution deal which would allow their video content to be displayed on that publishers web pages. The deal would typically involve a revenue share on advertising that is served against the content owners videos while on the 3rd party site.

Video content can also be manually syndicated onto social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, Linkedin, and Snapchat. Or video platforms such as Vimeo, or YouTube.


Contextual video content syndication

Consumers won't watch a video simply because it is placed in front of them. On a site that has traditionally been words-based, people are used to visiting in order to read. So in order to drive video views, the video content has to be contextually relevant to the words on the page.

Reach without relevance won't work.

Example: Imagine you own hours of beautifully shot videos showing viewers how to make recipes at home.

You are considering approaching two large news sites. Site one has 1 billion page views a month, and site two has 200 million page impression a month.

At first glance, site one appears to be your best bet, because it is five times as large than site two. 

However, what if site one only had 100,000 page views that contained food related articles, and site two had 300,000 dedicated to food content?

Reach alone will not get you plays, because the video has to be matched to the content for best results, so in this example, despite being five times smaller overall, site two might be a better partnership for your food videos.

The challenge with matching the right video with the right article is that new articles are published all the time, and manually tracking new videos to new articles is extremely time consuming. That is where video distribution platforms becomes helpful. 

Using video distribution platforms 

The manual process of content syndication can be very time consuming, as each deal takes time to agree, and it only connects one content owner with one publisher at a time. 

The growth in audience and plays can take a lot longer to achieve if the content owner and publisher are approaching deals on a one-by-one basis. 

Video distribution platforms automate the process for content owners and publishers. A content owner can broker one deal with vi, which makes their content immediately available to over 1,000 publishers globally.

For a publisher, one deal could give them immediate access to a huge library of high quality video content, produced by a large number of content owners. 

AI technology scans both the video content from content partners, and also the words on the publishers web pages, to understand the content and context. The process of matching the right video into the right article can then be automated.

For advertisers, video platforms enable targeting towards desirable content, so that brands can reach the right audience, at the right time, and with the right message.

What is the impact on SEO?

We mentioned above that there is an SEO benefit to video content for publishers.

One of the key metrics that decide how well a page ranks on Google is dwell time. Dwell time is how long somebody stays on a webpage, and video can often add valuable minutes to a page duration.

SEO experts, Semrush say "if a user visits your website but immediately leaves, this will hurt your site performance (if many people do this to your website, you have a high “bounce rate”). Creating engaging content is the key to luring people in and keeping them there."

Video is one of the most engaging content types online, so giving users a reason to watch a video, and spend longer on your webpages offers real SEO advantages.

Syndicating video content with video intelligence

There are three key parts to any successful video syndication deal, which are:

* Content owners

* Publishers

* Advertisers

Depending on the platform chosen content owners are able to broker a single deal which that makes each of their videos available to thousands of publishers globally. Every time an advertiser is shown before a piece of your video content you get paid, and easy to use dashboards enable you to see real time reporting on where your content is generating revenue.

Publishers are also able to broker just one deal with video platforms, which can give them immediate access to around a million high quality videos. In some cases the integration can be done via a JS tag in Google Ad Manager in around 10 minutes, and the process of matching the right video to the right article can be fully or partly automated, depending on the publishers requirements.

Advertisers are able to buy the right audience, with the right message and at the right time by targeting specific contextual signals at scale, and with one centralised buying contact.


The importance of video content syndication will continue to grow as consumers continue to watch more, and advertisers leverage the power of video to engage with their audiences. 

By working together, content owners, publishers and advertisers can offset some of the costs and work together to create an ecosystem that benefits all parties.

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