5 steps to a successful online video content strategy

Online video is booming, but how can marketers get the most out of their campaigns? Alex Craven at Videojug, looks at 5 crucial points to optimise this growing medium.

U.K. online video viewing continues to boom, with the latest statistics showing an increase of 37% during the last year*. And Investec's recent 'Digital Media Conference' confirmed video to be the hot space in digital advertising.

Publishers are not only attracted by the opportunities it creates for longer dwell times and for communicating in more rich and engaging ways, but also the significantly higher yielding advertising opportunities it affords. Here are the key things you need to know to be able to formulate a successful online video content strategy:

1. Type of content:

From user generated and professionally produced, to long form and short form content - online video takes many forms - with each influencing the way in which users consume the content, as well as its potential value. The key thing is to have brand-friendly, congruent content that can be packaged into meaningful audience segments. Unrelated video won't get you any traction.

2. Sourcing content:

How content is sourced - whether you create, syndicate or aggregate content, will determine its value and the audience numbers you are able to attract to it. Ultimately you can create new, original and unique content, you can licence selected content on a per-video basis or syndicate it en masse, "piping" it into the site. As a guide, niche sites will have lower volume but higher value audience and content, probably best accompanied by highly relevant, evergreen and brand safe video content. More generic sites will need larger content volumes to create a viable revenue stream; they can create content successfully but to get the coverage they may also turn to syndication. However, the commercial returns from syndicated content simply piped in can be far less than with other acquisition routes.

3. User experience:

There's a fine line to tread between integrating and monetising the content on your site and delivering a good user experience. From the acceptable length of a pre-roll, to whether your video can auto load, has be above the fold, can loop automatically and how many ads you can show in a single session; when it comes to agreed best practice and standards, the industry is still very much in its infancy.

Using your own site will enable you to understand what you need to do to create a good user experience that will make people want, and require to return. Spending time analysing your user behaviour via a web analytics tool, and AB testing will also deliver insights that allow you to fine tune your strategy. Users need to know intuitively how to work your video pages and you can learn a lot from looking at other sites. YouTube's layout and style is becoming the norm.

4. Ad formats:

Currently, the main ad format for monetizing video is pre-roll, but running a TV creative online is only the first step for online video. Currently there are only a few ad formats designed specifically for video and creating a non-intrusive, user friendly experience that allows the user to maintain their session; but over time we'll see more engaging, interactive ad formats designed specifically for online video.

5. Monetisation:

Only the largest publishers have the luxury of an in-house sales team. Smaller ones will need to use the expertise of sales networks, utilize ad exchanges and work with a number of partners to maximize the yields and sell through rates on their online video content.

The opportunities for monetising content are not restricted to ad formats, but can also come from syndicating that content on to other sites and platforms, into other countries and languages and generating revenues through mobile apps. Over time yields will reduce as supply and demand levels out, and the video space will become even more competitive. You can ensure that you're in a strong, competitive position by having unique, evergreen and engaging content and monetising it in a way that provides value to your users.

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