Video advertising in hyperdrive

Congratulations. You’re about to get your hands on some of the BILLIONS of dollars that brands spend on video advertising each year. But, just sitting & waiting for the cash to flow in may not result in the profits you’re dreaming of.

Don’t worry with these 4 tips we’ve got you covered. Follow these steps to make sure you don’t miss out on your slice of the video advertising honeypot.

Most ad networks work on a Cost per Thousand Impressions (CPM) model. The more eyeballs your video’s advert gets, the more money you’ll see rolling in. Your focus as a publisher has got to be on growing those video views. You’ll unlock so much more ad revenue if you do.

But how?

1. Newsjack

Take advantage of all the big events that are happening in your industry. Create video content around those dates so that anybody looking for information can find and consume yours.

Futbol Sites is Latin America’s largest network of football (soccer for our US friends) websites. During the World Cup, Futbol Sites saw their traffic increase by a whopping 300% (full story here). The team were able to monetize all of that extra traffic, with brands such as Ford, Gatorade & Pringles all paying to advertise on their videos.

2. Video SEO

You need to make sure that anybody searching for your content can find it. If someone types into a search engine “World Cup highlights” (for example), and Futbol Sites videos don’t appear in the results, they’ve lost a big opportunity to drive traffic to their site.

First, create and submit a video sitemap. This tells search engines what the video is about, and where on your site it is embedded. It means that when someone is searching for your video Google can return the relevant page on your website. For more information on how to create a video sitemap check out the page here.

I also recommend creating a video transcript for your video. Speechpad is an inexpensive way to do this (trust me, it’ll save you hours!). Pop your transcript on the page next to the video. It’s a quick way to get lots of keyword rich copy onto your site.

Using these techniques Moneyweek, the UK’s largest financial publisher, managed to grow their organic site visits 136%! Just think of all the extra ad revenue that comes with such soaring growth. You can read the full story behind their meteoric rise here.

3. Reliable Video Playback

You need to make sure that all your hard work in driving extra visits to your site pays off. It won’t if your videos – and their adverts – don’t play. Check that your online video platform gives you the following:

Global CDN

This will ensure that wherever in the world your viewers are located, videos will stream incredibly quickly.

Adaptive Streaming

Not all Internet connections were created equal. Some are super speedy, while others are a little more sluggish (think 3G on your Smart Phone). Adaptive streaming will ensure that no matter what device or connection speed, your viewers always get the best possible video playback (plus you’ll save yourself some bandwidth too!) Those on fast connections will see full HD videos, while those on slow connections will get a lower definition BUT their videos will load quickly. It’s win win.

Mobile Video Playback

CISCO predict that nearly 3/4 of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2019. If your videos don’t play on mobile you’re missing out on a massive audience.

4. Video Page Template

When someone hits your site, don’t make them hunt to find the video. Place it above the fold, nice and big. Video advertising can be a huge revenue driver for your site, so make sure visitors can’t miss it!

You also need to tempt the visitor to hit play – if nobody actually watches the ad then you won’t get paid (remember ad networks pay out on a CPM basis). Make sure the thumbnail image you use is engaging. Techniques we have found work well are:

– Spark viewers curiosity with a question
– Use human faces
– Make it colorful

Of course different things will work well for different audiences so you’ll need to test this a little to check you’re seeing results. Use vzaar’s VPI (video playability index) to gauge how playable your videos are – a low score will indicate you need to try out a different thumbnail or move your video into a more obvious place on your page.

Make every view count! Learn how to unlock video advertising revenues for your business.

Did you know that digital video ad spend is expected to hit $16.69 billion by 2020? More brands than ever before are choosing to advertise on digital video (in a move away from traditional TV ad spending).

vzaar is here to help publishers capitalize on this trend.

Part of our mission is to help businesses make money from their videos. That’s why I’m very excited to write today about our recent partnership with AOL.

For some years, now, we’ve offered a video advertising interface. It’s a fantastic option for those who do have an ad network all ready in place, you can have your ads up and running in seconds (quite literally). A simple copy & paste job and you’re done.

While this has helped hundreds of businesses to monetize their videos, those who don’t already work with an ad network face a time consuming process before they can get started.

For many publishers there’s a big barrier to entry into the video advertising world. Establishing a relationship with an ad network (such as AOL) can be a lengthy process. We wanted to bring the same get-started-in-seconds process to these businesses.

If you don’t already have an ad network in place then you simply use ours!

Partnering with AOL means that publishers using vzaar can now get their hands on off the shelf ad tags. Your account manager will manage the AOL interface for you, just book a call with us to discuss and we’ll have you up and running in no time.

AOL have a number of Trading Desks that use their One Video Demand Side Platform which means that they have unique demand that publishers can benefit from. Publishers can plug their inventory into the open exchange which is great for fill and volume, but also set up Private Marketplaces, which drive higher CPMs.

We’re proud to work with one of the most powerful, effective online advertising tools in the business. And we’re prouder still to be helping more businesses than ever before to unlock video advertising for their business.

Make every view count! Learn how to get started with video advertising

On Monday 20th February vzaar video playback was unavailable for almost 2 hours. We sincerely apologize for this. We know how much your business relies on vzaar. The dependability of our service is our top priority, but in this instance we failed to maintain the level of uptime that you – and we – expect.

I would like to share with you how this happened and explain the steps we are taking to prevent it from happening again.

What Happened?

We unintentionally deployed a change to our database which included altering a column name in one of the tables that video playback is dependent on. This change was not yet ready to go out, and as a result caused the system which loads the videos to fail.

How Did It Happen?

Our routine deployment process involves creating a branch from our Master branch. During development, the team make their code changes and then merge their working branch back into the Master branch ready for release.

At this point we create a Release branch. We have intensive QA procedures in place around our Release branch, designed to catch any bugs in our code before they make it live to site.

So why didn’t they catch this one?

The problem in this case is that we didn’t deploy the Release branch. We unintentionally deployed our Master branch, not the fully tested Release branch. The Master branch contained the code that hadn’t been tested yet and wasn’t ready for release.

How Did We Fix It?

Ultimately we restored the database column back to its original state. But, this took longer than we expected.

Within a matter of minutes our developers had initiated this fix. However, we were deploying it to our Release branch and it was the Master branch which was the problem.

When our initial fix didn’t solve the issue it was important to take a step back and reassess the situation. It was important to tackle the problem calmly. If we rushed to deploy untested fixes we risked compounding the error. We absolutely understood how important it was to get playback restored quickly. However, we didn’t want to risk database corruption, by not making sure we understood the problem correctly.

We needed to unpick the chain of events and untangle the confusion over which branches that had been deployed. Once we had done that, the fix was clear and we were able to execute it safely.

How Will We Prevent This From Happening Again?

First, we have put a safeguard in place to protect against human error. It is no longer possible to deploy the Master branch live to production (i.e. code that has not been through our QA procedure). Our deploy script looks for a current_release tag to know which branch it should put live. In future, the current_release tag can only be applied to the correct Release branch.

Secondly, we’ve also put in place a policy change to mitigate the risk when table columns need to be altered. The new policy is to create a new column, ensure code that references this column is deployed and working, and then clear the old column. This is slower, but the risk mitigation is worth it.

In Summary

We realize that outages are unacceptable and we are the first to accept that we did make mistakes in our deployment process (which led to this issue). We thought we had enough QA procedures in place to catch problematic code, but this has highlighted where our current policies need to be updated. Rest assured those updates have been made and our platform is now more stable as a result.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. On behalf of the entire team once again, we are truly sorry. We hope you understand we’re working hard to ensure against any further outages.

Online video platform comparison checklist

Your reputation is on the line.

If video is your core product it’s vital that you choose the best online video platform. After all, if your OVP fails so too does your business.

The key to longevity is to hook and retain your customers. You can’t do that if your videos don’t play back in high quality or if visitors can go elsewhere to view your videos for free. But, you also need to manage costs. As a small – medium sized business you need to get the best from your team and squeeze the last drop of productivity out of each and every day.

If your video platform doesn’t help you to solve these headaches, you’ve done your research wrong. Here’s what any video platform comparison worth its salt needs to look out for.

Top Quality Video Playback = Happy Viewers, A Stellar Reputation & A Profitable Bottom Line

Picture the scene: Fiona’s had a long day at work, she’s ready to de-stress & re-energise so she logs in to her favourite online class: a spot of online yoga. She fires up your website and hits play on your latest video. And waits. And waits. And waits. And…

We’ve all felt the frustration of long loading times and video buffering. If your business is built on video it’s the kiss of death. Fiona will exit your site, cancel her subscription, head to one of your competitors, and give you a negative review while she’s at it.

It’s the nightmare scenario:

  • All the time and money you spent making your videos goes to waste if they don’t playback.
  • All the time and money you spent marketing to Fiona goes to waste when she cancels her subscription.
  • You’ve wasted the chance to up sell to Fiona, she’s unlikely to come back to try more lessons with you.
  • You’ll waste valuable time dealing with complaints & negative reviews, time that could have been spent on any one of the multitude of to dos on your list.
  • Bad news travels fast, you’l become that website with the videos that don’t play. Any prospective customers will uncover your bad reviews in mere seconds. They’re just a quick Google away.

The only way to avoid this ordeal is to deliver a quality product. With a quality online video platform.

Your OVP Checklist

Multi Bitrate & Adaptive Streaming: Encode multiple renditions of your uploaded video (low definition, standard definition, high definition). Then automatically stream the best version for your viewer. Those with speedy Internet connections get crystal clear ultra HD quality, while slower connections (think shared public wifi, or 3G cell phone signal) get buffer-free viewing. Your viewers get a great experience, while you manage costs (you won’t waste bandwidth trying to deliver a super HD file to a viewer whose Internet connection can’t handle it). Learn more.

Global Content Delivery Network: Your platform should have servers all over the world so that the video streams from whichever server is closest to the viewer. It makes for much speedier delivery. If you’re trying to reach viewers in China, the Great Firewall can make it difficult. Double check your video platform hasn’t been blocked. Learn more.

Support, Support, Support: I’ll level with you. Even the best online video platform isn’t perfect. But, when an issue arises it’s how the team deals with it that counts. If you can’t get your account manager on the phone, you have a problem. If the support team waits days to answer your emails, you have a problem. If you’re trawling support forums in the wild, you have a problem. Check that you’ll be given a personal account manager and that you can get them on the phone, live chat, or email.

Workflow Too Complicated? Make It Simple: The Video API

When you sign up to any online video platform your team needs to learn a completely new piece of software. It’s a time sink. Even when they become confident, there’s still an overhead to switching between different systems.

Let’s say you’re trying to create a new course. First you have to set up in your CMS. Then, head to your video platform to upload the video & manage its settings. Then, come back to your CMS to add that video into the course.

Now imagine doing this for 10 new courses, each with 20 videos.

When carrying out your video platform comparison check for a robust API. This will allow you to incorporate the platform directly into your existing systems. No need for staff to learn how to use a new product or switch up their workflow.

The API should:

  • Be quick to set up and integrate.
  • Have full documentation and comprehensive language support.
  • Be able to handle 1000s of requests.

Learn More.

Return On Your Video Investment: Encrypted Streaming

Your whole business is based around charging your audience to access your content. So what if they turn up for free on YouTube? All those viewers you spent money marketing to will simply go watch for free – why would they pay for something that’s freely available elsewhere?

Protect yourself from pirates. Without the proper video security in place you’ll see zero return on your video investment.

When you compare online video platforms go for one which will:

  • Encrypt the video stream.
  • Lock your videos down so they only play on your website (and nobody else’s).
  • Keep your videos private by default.
  • Schedule videos so they can only be accessed when you say so.

Learn more.

In Summary…

You want to grow & engage your audience, increase video ROI, create a great online reputation and boost productivity. As you compare online video platforms, make sure you check all of these off your list:

  • Multi bitrate & adaptive streaming
  • Global CDN
  • Personal Support
  • Robust API
  • Encrypted Streaming
  • Domain Control
  • Privacy Control
  • Video Scheduling

All this may sound expensive, but in reality you can get started for just $250 per month.

Free Guide: How 4 Online Businesses Use Video To Skyrocket Their Success

Uncover tips from 4 successful subscription companies. Optimize and secure your online videos to boost profit and wow viewers with HD streaming.

How 4 Online Businesses Use Video To Skyrocket Their Success

It’s hot. It’s new. And it’ll transform your viewers’ experience.

Today we launched adaptive streaming and multi bitrate in vzaar.

As of now, you can select multiple playback options for your videos. Enable HD (high definition) streaming for strong internet connections and LD (low definition) for weak connections at the same time.

Why is adaptive streaming awesome?

Adaptive streaming improves your viewers’ experience. Wow viewers with stunning high res video quality, while not having to worry about viewers on weaker connections. Your stream will automatically adapt to their connection to ensure fast and reliable streaming.

What’s more, it’s super easy to set up.

Just create and save video ingest recipes by selecting the playback options you want to provide your viewers, from ULD (ultra low definition) to UHD and everything in between.


Our ingest recipe suggestions

  • To target a specific segment of viewers in your audience (eg. remote viewers with weaker connections) create a recipe with a variety of lower dimension bitrates
  • For stronger connections, select a range of HD streaming options for higher visual quality
  • To target all viewers at once, select a wider range of renditions

Save your video ingest recipes to use them again when you upload videos in the future. This will save you time and effort, so you can spend more time doing the important tasks like creating your video content.

Our adaptive streaming isn’t the only thing that’s new.

It’s now easier than ever for your team to interact with vzaar. Our API hooks into your CMS (content management system), so your team don’t have to go to the vzaar site to upload videos. They can do it all from your website. This means less software to learn and more time to spend on other tasks.

In short, our new API improves your experience of uploading, formatting and streaming your videos.

Try it yourself

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