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The Publisher's Recipe for Video Revenue Optimization

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Time spent with digital media is on the rise—a fact that was true even before the COVID-19 crisis had us all streaming Tiger King on one screen and CNN on another. At the same time, despite the higher traffic rates, online publishers have been challenged with declining demand and reduced CPMs from advertisers, ultimately causing lower revenue overall.

According to a recent report from Omnicom Media Group, programmatic display CPMs in May 2020 fell 40% (below $2) compared to early March. Premium video CPMs also declined, but by a much less dramatic 5%.

With fewer ads and less money paid for each, it's paramount that digital media publishers do everything they can to leverage their assets in ways that maximize the revenue-generating opportunity. With the complex media landscape and unpredictable news agenda, however, there is no single action that will automatically result in skyrocketing revenue. But there are steps that publishers can take that, together, comprise a repeatable recipe for improving revenue performance. 

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

The basic components of monetization are the ad unit, the inventory on which that unit appears, and the engagement it receives. Optimizing revenue requires placing the most engaging ads against high-interest content. 

Since video ad units typically yield higher audience engagement, such as longer periods of time spent on a page, they typically fetch higher CPMs than do display ads. The aforementioned Omnicom report noted display CPMs had fallen below $2, while premium video was averaging $21. However, since video ads require more time to load versus traditional display units, they won't give the lift intended if they're placed on poorly performing pages such as those with high bounce rates. 

Mix these thoughts together in your mind and set them aside to marinate for a bit.

Step 2: Find Your Sweet and Sour Spots

Use your site analytics to understand where your audience engages for the longest periods of time (your sweet spots) and the shortest periods of time (the sour spots). This may mean analyzing average time on page or bounce rate, or another engagement metric, such as affiliate link clicks. Using these metrics, evaluate your site performance by page type, site section, and/or editorial content category, by device type, traffic source, or operating system, or by other criteria. Make a list of your top and bottom performers. 

Stir.

Step 3: Maximize your Sweet Spot Potential

Focusing on your top-performers for high engagement and low bounce rate, consider ways to optimize your most-engaging content experiences for the highest-valued ad opportunities. Work with your operations team to determine where on the page the player will get maximum visibility and entice the most engagement.

The placement of the ad itself is also an important consideration. Test, analyze, and revise to get to the best combination. For example, you may find that skippable ad insertions, which fetch lower CPMs (around $10, per Omnicom), yield significantly higher engagement and therefore net the same revenue for the inventory. You might also consider customizing your player styling on these pages so that the experience is more seamless for the audience with an ad that appears more native to its surrounding page context.

There are many options. Season to taste.

Step 4: Don't Overlook Opportunity

Now take a look at your bottom-performers—the pages where your bounce rate was high and/or your time on page was at its lowest. These pages may not be the best opportunities for video monetization, but they are still good opportunities to monetize with quick-loading display placements. This is another area where your operations teams can help determine the best type and placement for your ad experience on these pages, as well. 

Serve. 

Step 5: Analyze

As you're making changes, be sure to test your actions as you go. Compare your before and after. Set up targets to hit and define your benchmarks. Keep track of what's working best and add more parameters to sweeten your success where it's needed.

Digest.

Indeed, when it comes to optimizing your site's monetization performance, there is a lot to measure and a lot to monitor. Don't let the heat scare you out of the kitchen! By following some simple steps and leveraging the right kinds of support, success can be achieved.

[Editor's note: This is a vendor-contributed article from AnyClip. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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