The digital world is fragmenting our attention. For those aiming to gain and retain audiences’ attention, and encourage return visits, there’s a tough battle to fight.
Increasingly, research has shown that video has become a must-have in your content mix, and is a great way to gain and retain that all-important attention. Furthermore, it’s a medium that’s now affordable and accessible to publishers of any size.
In this article we discuss why publishers should focus more on audience engagement and what to do in order to balance the visitor experience and ad revenue.
User experience and revenue
A massive amount of content is readily available for Internet users, for all verticals, in all formats, so publishers have to fight to capture attention. Creativity matters more than ever.
“Finding something that disrupts us in a way that again grabs our attention makes us think, makes us look at it – that can be a good thing.”
Isabelle Szmigin, professor of Marketing at Birmingham University
Add in the mounting frustration that audiences have with online ads, and it becomes clear why the ad-funded business model needs a fresh perspective. By solely focusing on ad revenue to fund quality content, you risk alienating your audience.
The need for revenue is no excuse for cramming a website with ads, and disregarding their type, size, relevance or quantity.
User experience is directly tied to your revenue. The more visitors you have and the longer their sessions, the more revenue opportunities are created.
You might feel tempted to jam many ads on a page in an effort to maximize revenue, but more often than not, people will bounce from a page that is crowded with advertising.
“People are still bombarded with ads, their computers stuffed with tags and cookies. They have autoplay video, with the sound off by default if they’re lucky, and all these things affect the page-load speed. In a real-life situation it’s the equivalent of throwing soapy water under a customer, or hitting them with a bat while they walk through a store.”
In this second scenario, in which you place fewer ads, and focus more on keeping the user engaged, they’re likely to surf your site, and become a repeat visitor.
If you put earnings into balance, the second strategy is likely to pay off better on the long-term.
Finding the right balance between user experience and ad revenue might be difficult to achieve, but thankfully contextual video could be the solution.
Why use video?
Throughout 2018, consumer appetite for video has continued to grow. Quite simply, consumption of video is booming.
A 2018 report reveals that globally, an overwhelming 85% of consumers are eager to see more video content from brands. Furthermore, 72% of the respondents stated they prefer video to learn about a product or service, as opposed to text.
The modern day consumer suffers from a severe attention deficit, and is much more prone to interact with visual information than text. Video has become a prerequisite for any publisher’s success, by capturing eyeballs, framing stories, adding context, and making a more compelling reasons for visitors to stick around.
News sites, for example, are focused on diversifying their offering to better fit their readers’ expectations. This includes photos, podcasts, videos and interactive multimedia.
“It’s not enough only to print articles like for the last 70 years.” – Kajo Fritz, section manager at Westfalenpost
“So, we enrich our stories with video footage and audio elements because…people stay on the story for longer.” – Chairman Geraldine Allinson, KM Group
For more video trends, grab a copy of our “Putting video in context” quarterly report.
Why use contextual video?
One important thing to bear in mind is that we are wired to dedicate attention only to what is relevant and worthwhile.
“[The brain] can choose what it pays attention to – and you’re constantly scanning your environment for things that are important to you, and if something like that comes up, you will pay attention to it.”
Ali Jennings, PHD in neuroscience
With this in mind, the conclusion for publishers is to show videos that are connected and relevant to the article on page. This will boost your website in terms of visitor experience, as well as earnings, since you create additional ad placement possibilities.
Our latest research proved the following benefits of including contextual video on one’s site:
- It improves visitor perception of the website.
We measured visitor perception, by accounting for the following aspects of a website:
It looks like contextual video made visitors perceive a website more favorably, and minimized the negative reactions towards ads.
- It engages your audience more
Our research also pointed out that contextually matched videos have increased the time spent on page by 33%. Showing users interesting video that matches what they are reading about kept them interested longer.
- It increases publisher recall
We’ve also measured how many of the respondents remembered the publisher name when it included our contextual video, as opposed to other, non-matching video. The results showed an 83% increase in brand recall when using contextual video.
What does this mean for you? It means that your visitors are likely to stay longer on page, to check out other pages, and to come back for more. If you’re thinking revenue, it means more ads shown, and higher earnings.
If you’re interested in learning more about why context is so important, check out our “Context is everything” film series.
Turning contextual video into opportunities for monetization
It’s simple to identify the interests of visitors to pages about topics like football, movies or diets. Present them with similar videos to complement that topic, and you can use pre-roll advertising in a way that is less disruptive and irritating. If you disregard context, you risk losing them.
There are still plenty of publishers that haven’t started with video monetization, either because they don’t have the resources to produce videos, or because they don’t believe in the potential of in-stream video advertising. If you’re in the first category, you’ll be happy to learn you can source relevant videos from a variety of content providers.
If you’re a skeptic, bear in mind that video advertising is still on the rise, expected to reach 25% of global digital ad spend this year. All this, whilst the year-on-year growth for banner ads is a mere 2%.
Drop the old-school banners.