2018 is not over yet and there is still time to take a share of the frantic end of year digital ad spend! Q4, as everyone knows, is the final push to hit targets for advertisers and publishers, and the strict rulebook generally gets thrown out as everyone battles to make up shortfall before the year ends.
To ensure your business maximises its video revenue in Q4, follow these key steps:
1. Increase competition to drive up CPMS through unified auctions
The best way to ensure you hit your revenue targets and make up any shortfall is to introduce some competition.
Header Bidding - a way for publishers to offer inventory to several ad exchanges at the same time before making calls to their ad servers - should drive up your yield by opening up your inventory to more demand sources and let them compete against each other.
This is already working really well for Display advertising and there are several ways of implementing it for video, but for a quick fix, use pre-bid and set up a few vendors for competition.
Getting rid of the “waterfall” - a way publishers try to sell all remnant inventory - will also reduce latency and therefore improve the user experience, hopefully encouraging them to sit through the ad and maybe watch another video.
If you aren’t ready for Header Bidding, try validating the priority of demand sources in the Ad Server by running a comparison of them all. You want to prioritise those which are delivering higher CPM (cost per thousand) and fill rates, and lower error rates.
2. Get more views per user
Attempting to drive users to your site is hard to achieve, but increasing the number of views per user is an easier way to increase inventory. Try using a recommendation engine (e.g. IRIS.tv) or a playlist player to encourage users to view more than one video.
If you are producing longer form content you may also want to try a mid-roll ad to increase the number of ads per user/video.
Produce content that your audience wants to view but also advertisers want to buy. When monitoring the most popular videos, check to ensure that they are also being monetised.
If you notice a particular type of content is selling well then you can pivot your content strategy to create videos around this in consultation with your Sales team.
Monitoring content engagement is key and you can drive up views and impressions by testing things in real time. For example, different headlines, descriptions, hero images and thumbnails.
It’s also important to track if there are particular players (ad units) that are selling well, you can then encourage your Editorial and Social teams to promote them. Placement of the player is important, for example, a contextual player with relevant content to the article will have a higher play rate.
3. Give your buyers the quality they crave
Can you measure the value of your inventory? If you can’t prove the quality, no one will buy it!
Start by making sure that your viewability is high: 60% in view for 2 secs is a good benchmark. It may be in-view at time of ad-request but then not by the time the ad is delivered if the user scrolls down.
Placement of large players at the top of articles is great but beware of display banner ads, which drop down and obscure these players or push them below the fold. Sticky players are good for viewability, but most users are not big fans of the player chasing them down the page.
Also, be sure to check that the sticky player doesn’t affect viewability of your display ads.
Player size is also important, larger players are what advertisers want to buy, so the size should be a minimum 300 x 400 px. If you have a sticky player check that the ad request is made before the player resizes, you want the request to be for a large player as there will be less demand and lower CPMs for smaller players.
A high View Through Rate (VTR) is another metric that buyers are looking for as it shows that the viewer is engaged with the ad.
Make sure you are passing through information about the video and its context to the buyer e.g. description URL, content tags, to ensure that the user gets a more relevant ad to the content. The more relevant the ad is the more likely the viewer will be engaged.
Ad speed is also important, you want to allow enough time for an ad to successfully load but you don’t want to slow down the user experience. Try testing the timeout settings to find what the optimal time is for your monetisation set up.
4. Make sure your player settings match
Options and opinions vary on what the best settings are for the publisher, the buyer and the user. Check your settings in your ad server, make sure your player settings match, is the correct ad unit targeting the right player with the expected behaviour, country, device, etc.?
Very small mistakes can have large impacts so double checking everything is set up correctly is essential.
You need to implement the settings that will best help you execute your monetisation plan. For example, should your ad request go out when the player loads or when the user presses play?
“On load” means your fill rate will look lower as, unless the player is autoplay, not all player loads are monetisable, but “on play” may lead to increased latency for the user. Similarly, increasing the timeout is annoying for the user but gives more opportunity for the ad to be delivered.
As browsers clamp down more on autoplay videos, it’s worth really considering whether your players should be set to ‘click-to-play’, ‘autoplay’ or ‘in-view autoplay’.
Autoplay is a really easy way of increasing your inventory, however it tends not to be great quality and has low user engagement. Using autoplay could risk annoying your users and increasing your bounce rate.