Digital video consumption is at all time high with no end in sight. Entertainment and sports are the major drivers behind the huge growth in video viewing with more than 75% of viewership. Furthermore, and particularly in sports, short-form video is growing faster than live-streaming content. Passionate fans have shown that they want to see and share those magical moments from the last game over and over again.
According to a study just published by FreeWheel (Q2 2016 Video Monetisation Report), sports saw an impressive 44% increase in ad views year-over-year, driven by the solid performance of short-form video, and in the last year accounted for close to a quarter of all monetisation in the United States.
Are these impressive trends reflected in the video viewership on your site? If not, here are four opportunities you should consider to get your piece of this growing pie:
Opportunity #1: Leverage all the video content available to you.
An event like the Oscars or even a typical MLB or NBA game will generate dozens, if not hundreds, of short-form video clips. Do you have processes in place to ingest and capitalise on these clips to keep your audience engaged? Do you have a short-form video supplier to provide you with the premium video player and video content? Or are you making a half-hearted attempt by selecting only one or two clips to accompany your editorial?
Real fans will view everything you give them. They will take the time — and want — to watch numerous clips of the event, athletes, and artists, as well as any backstory video content that enables them to gain a new perspective.
After the game, you need to leverage the game highlights, top plays, players’ highlights, player and coach pre- and post-game interviews, and even related back stories that are readily available to you.
Opportunity #2: Review the effectiveness and efficiency of your SEO strategy.
Simply put, are you at the top of any search when a big sports story is trending in your region? How about when there is a story with your local team? Does your SEO strategy include video?
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the National League Division Series (baseball) against the Washington Nationals. However, the big story is that Clayton Kershaw came on to close the game (for the non-fans, he is normally a starting pitcher, so it was very unusual). Every Dodgers fan or any baseball aficionado will want to see him get the last two outs when the game is on the line.
If I do a search online, where does your news property rank with this story on any search engine? If you want traffic, you need to get an SEO strategy that is comprehensive and, perhaps more importantly, responsive so you can capture those top positions ahead of competing publications.
Opportunity #3: Ensure your Web platforms are truly “mobile first.”
For many publishers, 70% or more of their overall online traffic is coming in via mobile platforms rather than the traditional desktop computer. It is critical that your viewers have a great video experience on their tablets and smartphones. If you are not “mobile first,” perhaps it is time to re-prioritise.
Your audience is nimble, moving quickly from one platform to the next as they go about their day. Whether I want to watch the latest Donald Trump video, my favourite artist being interviewed, or the incredible catch made during last night’s game, odds are I will consume this content on my smartphone. If the experience is not good, I will not come back.
A mobile-first strategy that ensures a consistent high-quality viewing experience across all platforms is foundational to readership loyalty.
Opportunity #4: Leverage the right social media platforms to connect with fans.
Many publishers rely heavily on social media or a daily e-mail to connect with their audiences and let them know what’s trending.
As part of your Facebook strategy, do you have initiatives underway to connect with your audience and get on their newsfeeds? What is your strategy to push and promote viral video content? Are you tailoring social media initiatives and platforms based on audience demographics to maximise engagement?
For example, Major League Baseball serves an older fan base and Facebook might be an appropriate tool, while National Basketball Association fans are generally younger and leveraging Snapchat might prove to be a better tool to reach and engage them.
So, there you have it. Four fresh opportunities to engage, capture, and keep viewer interest and ride the tidal wave of growth in digital viewership. Execute on any or all of these opportunities and you will also unlock new monetisation potential in your readership.
There is no time like the present to get started. In fact, if you want to stay relevant you should have probably started yesterday, so let’s get moving!