Publishers, It’s Time to Adapt

We have become a generation with a short attention span. Today, publishers must work extra hard to capture our attention. In addition to having an online presence, publishers need to keep audiences engaged throughout their entire time on the site. According to comScore’s Video Metrix service, 187.8 million Americans watched 46.6 billion online content videos in March, while the number of video ad views totaled 28.7 billion. In other words, there’s a significant consumer appetite for online video. Publishers can do themselves more harm than good when they don’t offer meaningful video experiences on their sites. Publishers need to adapt to these new consumer behaviors or run the risk of quickly becoming irrelevant.

Video is a prime way publishers increase engagement on their site. Last year, Condé Nast launched a new digital video network with 30 original video series inspired by its own publications, including Glamour, GQ, and Vogue. Its content is widely distributed across the digital realm and has attracted big-name sponsors, such as Procter & Gamble and Microsoft. National Geographic is also stepping up to the plate. If you navigate its website, you can find video on almost every page, and oftentimes in several places.

Publishers don’t need video content that exactly matches the content in editorial; the content just needs to be relevant. A study by digital marketing software and services company Searchmetrics found an interesting trend about the most tweeted (shared) news articles of 2013. The articles that had the most tweets were ones that were originally accompanied by relevant video content on the publication’s page. For example, one of the most tweeted stories written by the Washington Post highlighted an investigation into the life of a middle school shooter. That editorial piece on the Washington Post’s page had a video next to it showing President Obama giving a speech about the upcoming Senate vote on gun control legislation. National Geographic uses the same formula. This article about canines in combat runs alongside a video segment about K9 handlers who served in Vietnam.

Publishers are always looking for ways to make their sites more “sticky” (increasing users time on page). YouTube has already mastered this formula. You wouldn’t be the only one who has visited YouTube to check out the latest iPhone review and ended up 10 videos deep, watching a cat playing a keyboard. It wouldn’t be off base for audiences to expect, and even welcome, a fitness video next to an article on the latest exercise trends, or a travel video paired with an article highlighting vacation hot spots.

We understand why publishers might be hesitant to move into the realm of online video. Video can be expensive, complicated and require multiple vendors for a full solution. Despite these challenges, publishers are finding that there are a few excellent solutions that streamline the entire process. The future is clearly in video and publishers can leverage this medium to take full advantage of their online real estate.

Originally posted on Adaptive Media CEO Qayed Shareef’s blog on LinkedIn here.

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