Beyond YouTube: Alternate Video Venues

By now it likely you’ve heard that YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google in the U.S. and probably globally. That’s a lot of visibility and SEO/Social opportunity. But I urge you to think beyond YouTube in your video SEO and social strategy.

Digital video consumption is soaring. According to the IAB, 59 million Americans – almost a quarter of the population – consumed digital video at least once a month in 2014, a 13 percent increase over 2013. Consequently, digital video ad spending is exploding. According to the PewResearch Center, the $4.15 billion spent on digital ads in 2014, representing just 2.4 percent of total ad spend, will rise to 15 percent by 2017. Spending on mobile video ads is growing even faster, on track to rise from $1.5 billion in 2014 to $6 billion in 2018.

While this is just a fraction of the $69 billion spent on linear television ads last year, the trend favoring digital video is very clear. Today’s millennial generation loves video content – according to ZenithOptimedia, time spent on the Internet since 2010 has risen from 69.6 to 109.5 daily minutes, and video is a big part of that increase.

Ad dollars always follow the eyeballs, and the big players – including YouTube (1 billion users) and now Facebook (1.14 billion users) – make it easy to run video spots in a variety of different formats and types, and provide excellent targeting options. But there are a number of emerging ad-supported video ad venues your team should also be investigating. Interestingly, many are extensions of existing social media services:

Facebook

Huge scale and opportunity are only two of the benefits of video on Facebook. If your video is share-worthy, Facebook may be a great home for it. You can, of course, pay to increase reach. Another key in FB video is that it auto-plays. Nothing is more engaging than a video that is already playing. With the right video, we are hard-wired to pay attention.

Instagram

While some of Instagram’s 300 million users objected to the launch of its ad program when it launched in late 2014, advertisers have jumped in and no user revolt appears likely in the future. In March of this year, Instagram (owned by Facebook) allowed advertisers to add hyperlinks to their videos so users can be driven to their own sites. Unlike video sites allowing wide-screen (16:9 aspect ratio), Instagram’s video window is 1:1 (square), so some re-cropping/reframing may be necessary when repurposing existing content.

Vine and Periscope

Vine, with 40 million members and Periscope, with 10 million, have a unique approach to video advertising. Neither of these services (both owned by Twitter) permit “force fed” (interruptive) video spots. Instead, advertisers must contact popular video “stars” for product promotions, which has led to the rapid development of a social media talent agency ecosystem to match up brands and influencers.

Pinterest

Pinterest has about 73 million users, started selling “promoted pins” last year, and recently added video ads in the form of “Cinematic Pins.” These ad units work in a novel way: they’ll only start playing when a user stops scrolling past them. Pinterest provides advertisers with several ways to buy video ads: CPC, CPA, or CPM.

Twitch

With 45 million users, this fast-growing game-focused platform (now owned by Amazon) provides advertisers an excellent way to reach the coveted 18-to-24 demographic. Twitch provides standard IAB ad units, native video, and custom executions that can appear in various places within a user’s video stream.

Snapchat

Snapchat (with nearly 200 million users, who trend young) started its video ad program in late 2014 and launched its Discover product, which features premium content from several publishers, in early 2015. Snapchat’s reported $100 CPM pricing for Discover has been somewhat controversial, given that a Credit Suisse study projected average premium video CPM for 2015 to be well under $30. Still, the service is new (Snapchat only launched in 2011) and pricing innovations will likely be a part of its future. Snapchat is also interesting insofar as it’s pressuring advertisers to “think vertical,” which means recognizing that most mobile video views occur when the phone is in the vertical position. According to Snapchat, vertically-oriented ads outperform landscape-formatted ads by a factor of nine.

Yahoo

Yahoo’s MVNS (mobile, video, native, social) ad revenues are on track to exceed its conventional display revenues, which is good news given that its display ad revs are dropping. This past April, Yahoo (which currently has 800 million users; 350 million of them are on mobile devices) rolled out two new video-oriented ad formats: native video and video app-install ads. According to Yahoo, “app install video ads see an 89 percent completion rate, and users acquired have up to 43 percent more app sessions than average.”

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