Although online video watching is reaching a major trending peak these days, the overall marketplace for generating ad revenue from video is relatively small when compared with traditional online textually based webpages.

Online Video Content vs. Textual Content

Traditionally, there has been a school of thought that considers text pages and video pages as completely separate beasts. The reality is that video and text have a symbiotic relationship that can allow for both to benefit from each others' user base. Much like how search is critical for creating the first anchor page view on many sites, a text page could do the same for videos by pushing users through related and recommended video content.

It is fairly common for online publishers who offer both text and video to have 20-100 times more text page views than video views. And, it is believed that 90 percent of site visitors read articles but do not watch videos. The reality is that if online publishers could convert even a small percentage of these users into video viewers, it would create an incremental spike in video viewers – allowing for premium video content to be further maximized and monetized.

Unlocking the key to getting more video views has always been a challenge for online publishers. Human behavior on the web is very complex – especially when it comes to viewing web videos. Today, users have a sense of empowerment and ownership of content. And, if they are being provided with content that is not relevant to their needs and preferences, they will quickly move on.

Providing compelling text, in the form of articles and blog posts, is certainly commonplace in today's Internet arena. The next step is to provide actual linkages between the content that users are reading and relevant video content. In addition, it is common for sites to have more granularity in text content than in video content. As such, trying to match text with video often yields many cases of "nothing to recommend" – so it is very important to offer up video content that is not only relevant to the textual content, but that is also relevant to the patterns of the specific user.

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Bridging the Gap between Text and Video Content

Fortunately, there are emerging methodologies that use mathematical algorithms to better analyze video viewing patterns – to truly understand human interaction with video – as well as to make the linkage between textual information, video content, and specific user behavior.  This new science extends beyond just the type of content to actually understanding video length preference, time spent on the site, day of week, Geo-location, how many videos viewed and multiple other metrics to determine user behavior and engagement. The intent of this approach is to gain a true snapshot of each user's needs, preferences and desires in real time and to then provide them with additional, more personalized video recommendations.

The opportunity then is to leverage insights learned from studying the way people behave while watching videos, then offer related and personalized video recommendations on the actual article pages. This to help publishers convert article readers to become engaged video viewers.

Why is this valuable?

Two reasons:

  1. Video can be more engaging to users, creating reasons for them to stay longer on the site.
  2. Video can be better marketed to in-stream video advertisers.

A symbiotic relationship, often found in natural ecosystems, is one where both organisms stand to benefit. Flowering plants and pollinators (like bees) is a great example of this kind of relationship. It is clear that the relationship between text and video has the potential be as symbiotic as the relationship between the flower and bee. Although, rather than spreading pollen, text and video can share and enhance revenue-generating opportunities. Talk about the ideal relationship.

  • Britta Meyer

    I completely agree with your view of video as an incredibly important type of content. In fact, at Loomia, we share this view and it was exactly what drove us to create video recommendations and text-to-video recommendations back in 08. Like you, we continue to see publishers benefiting from video discovery, and so do users. Since then we've learned a lot of things, such as that video consumption and other valuable content consumption is to be optimized differently for different publishers and users. Rather than thinking of it as a "box", we provide an optimized and personalized experience to the user and the publisher, with many levers to pull, and video being a major one. Keep up the good work, as we all aim at making the content web a better place.

  • Adam Singolda

    Britta — thanks so much for the post, and I think you bring up some good points. I’ll try to address them:

    Regarding a positive user experience, Taboola’s ongoing mathematical research deals a lot with user experience as a foundation of what we do. At the end of the day, our main job and responsibility is to help users around the world to discover what they like and often never knew existed, which is really hard

    Video has fascinating mathematical challenges around it that don’t exist in other mediums, such as imagine a user watches a video, and there is buffering -- so he decides to click on a Taboola recommendation and watch something else. It doesn’t really mean he wasn’t engaged with the video, but that there was some tech problem there. The multiplications of situations are large when trying to determine video engagement ranks (what we call EngageRank)

    In most cases, publishers working with us replace existing video list real estate (they already have) with our technology to improve user experience and viewership

    If I understand you correctly, and I agree -- I think different situation calls for different product needs, and you bring up a great point that indeed sometime publishers would want a blend-in-a-box, and sometime they’d like to go with different boxes. All in best for their users/business

    We aim at holistic approach, supporting the balance of various video-discovery goals a user might pursue while reading an article, or watching a video. We believe video (online,tv,mobile) is an important segment .. so we are working really hard on doing one thing well ...... video

    Hope this makes some sense, and again, thanks for the feedback, much appreciated! and ReelSEO of course for being great, and good luck to all of us!

    More info about Taboola is on:

  • Britta Meyer

    Adam- very good article! I generally agree that text and video content complement each other whereby the actual consumption and usefulness in the end greatly depends on the user intent (to Lars' point below, which is right on.) Realizing that one does not fit all, at Loomia we developed content-type agnostic, blended recommendations (text, video, images, applications, anything!) to ensure the publisher can maximize whatever valuable content they provide, but without negatively impacting the user experience by "imposing" behavior on them that would not be in line with their intent. Since launching our solution more than a year ago, the performance data seems to prove the existence of the relationship between content types (as you mentioned above), especially when optimized towards what the user wants and expects to find.

  • Lars

    As someone who creates videos, I also want to get more readers to watch the videos too.

    But as a web user, I personally prefer reading to watching videos.

    1. If you watch a video at work, even if it is work related, people tend to think you are goofing off.

    2. Video takes too long. I can scan an article and get the gist of it in a minute or less, often. You can easily skip to the "meat" of the article by scanning. But video is linear, and you have to keep watching and watching, at the exclusion of anything else if you really want to get the information out of it.

    We try to keep our videos at around 1 minute for that very reason.

    I know I see videos about Internet marketing that I'd love to get the information from, but I don't have 12 minutes to sit there and listen to all the crap that leads up to the one or two golden nuggets that I can take away from the whole thing. (Same goes with hour long podcasts and webinars.) Give me a transcript, please!

    Adding a good summary underneath the video that lets people know if the information is relevant also helps get views from the right people, in my experience.

  • john

    This is awesome ! thanks