Four best practices for an AVOD strategy: Part 1 - Engage

By Sergio Santos on Aug 01 2016 at 1:00 PM
This is the first of a four-part series.
People love to watch video.
But with so much demand and competition, the trick is to get your video in front of viewers, and to make money as you do.
In working with content providers to help them boost returns from their video investments, Ooyala’s Strategic Media Consulting (SMC) team has learned a lot over the years about what really engages viewers.
In this series, we’ll be discussing recommendations for how to get the most from your advertising video-on-demand (AVOD) business. Let’s start with tactics to increase audience engagement.
If you rely on advertising, your site is your most important platform. The two most common ways to optimize a site for viewer engagement are: with a separate VIDEOS page, and with video everywhere else on your site.
If you choose to create a dedicated VIDEOS page or section:
Use a large, prominent main video player
A report from Vindico shows that larger, more central players lead to more video ad completions. To boost engagement, make sure the first video that plays is popular or trending.
Take advantage of auto-play
Rule of thumb: if a viewer knowingly enters an environment where video is the focal point, then autoplay is a fair expectation today. Put autoplay on mute for a better viewer experience.
Focus on a pure video experience
Keep your VIDEOS page to just videos. People like to watch without distractions.
Use compelling imagery
Bad thumbnails happen all too often. Use these best practices:
  • Pick an image that will grab your specific viewers
  • Use a clear thumbnail (think movie poster) with bright, contrasting colors
  • Faces and action shots work best
  • Make the play button clear (and don’t block the image with it)
  • Add only key text when needed
Categorize and filter
Many publishers give content to viewers as it’s organized in their back end: by genre (all funny videos together) or by program (all of show A, all of show B). Instead, put yourself in your viewer’s place and think creatively about how they search.
Consider a watchlist
A watchlist is a group of videos a viewer creates to watch later or share with friends. It’s great for engagement and has the added benefit of requiring the viewer to login so you can learn more about what they like. 
  • People want to see what other people are watching, so highlight your most popular or fast-trending content first.
  • Put your content into themes that will excite your viewers. If you’re a food site, highlight mouthwatering chocolate cake visuals. Re-cut videos to pull out key moments for easy watching and social sharing.
Clearly mark articles or pages that contain video
Mark your articles or pages that contain video with a small icon or a play button in the thumbnail. 
Consider video modules
With AVOD, it makes sense to funnel viewers to your VIDEOS page, to make more money. Try video modules: those small batches of popular videos you see on the right rail or at page bottom. A click takes the viewer to your VIDEOS page.
Set your module programmatically so that the videos are constantly updated with your best and freshest content, like “Today’s 5 Most-Viewed Videos.”
Don’t stop with your own site: ask your partner websites to embed your module. 
Showcase video in search results
A viewer who is searching your site for specific content is an engaged and valuable viewer. Help them find more of the content they like by highlighting related videos within their search results. Use special thumbnails or give videos their own section of the results.
Use a “sticky player”
If you embed videos with written articles, try using a sticky player. When a viewer scrolls past the video to read the text, the video player actually pops out of the page and tucks itself away nicely in a corner. The viewer can keep watching while scrolling through the rest of the page.
Tomorrow in the second part of this series, we’ll cover ways to make the most of monetizing AVOD content. 


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