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Leveraging Video to Weather an Economic Downturn

By Anthony Gonsalves

Nothing in the future is ever guaranteed, but these days the future is feeling more uncertain than ever as economic headwinds make forecasting ad spend increasingly difficult. Today's publishers are being challenged to adapt to changing consumer preferences with shrinking budgets and lofty revenue goals. Publishers can prepare now amid uncertainty for whatever comes next by supercharging their video strategies using the tips below.

Create Valuable Experiences to Keep Readers On-Site Longer

Consumers are spending an abundance of time watching digital video content (at least 149 minutes per day as of 2021) and not surprisingly forecasts show that digital video consumption will surpass TV viewing time by 2026, according to Statista. Viewers are poised to watch more content online than ever before but will still be selective about where exactly they consume their content.

According to a recent report by Connatix on consumer preferences for video, the majority of viewers surveyed (68 percent) reported visiting three or fewer channels to consume video content. Therefore, the publishers that are equipped to deliver not only quality video content but excellent programming in an engaging way (and monetize it appropriately) will be at a huge advantage.

This is where accompanying content comes into play. With instream inventory significantly declining under the IAB Tech Lab's new video guidelines, advertisers will need to diversify their strategies and include other content types including the new category – accompanying content – to reach audiences and hit their KPIs. Accompanying content gives publishers an opportunity to surface new videos for readers, keeping them engaged and on-site longer, which boosts ad revenue.

So as readers look for new content to engage with, the publishers that leverage contextual alignment to match recommendations with the topics their readers have already shown an interest in will be even more likely to find success. To break it down with an example, if after an article about making homemade pasta, a reader is met with recommended videos about pasta sauce and the best pasta/wine pairings, they will be more likely to get excited about those new videos and spend more time consuming that content. Furthermore, the ability of a food and beverage brand to target this audience makes it a perfect match for all involved.

Incorporate More Video Content to Boost Engagement

This year, the number of digital video viewers worldwide is expected to reach 3.5 billion, and the best way to engage as many of those viewers as possible is to give them something to watch. Not to mention, video yields higher CPMs from advertisers, so adding video to pages that didn't previously have it can have a major impact on a publisher's bottom line.

For evergreen topics that are constantly changing, think about dynamic content that updates with timely info and stats like sports scores and stock market trends. Or for more narrative-focused pieces, try a companion video that narrates an article and pairs it with imagery for a unique audio-visual experience.

Prioritize Partners with the Most Direct Path to the Page

Supply and demand path optimization are not only key for sustainability, but they are also incredibly important to maximizing revenue. The more hops an ad must jump through to get on a page, the less revenue a publisher will see since most middlemen create unnecessary costs and inefficiencies for all parties. This is why it's key to work with partners that have direct integrations with leading DSPs, which can boost ad spend by letting advertisers discover and target publisher inventory easily and with fewer hops.

While advertisers are less likely to spend during a recession, they still have the budget to invest in high-quality inventory that helps them reach their target audience and achieve brand goals. Even brands like Airbnb have shifted spend away from performance marketing to increase brand marketing investments and have seen it pay dividends. During it all, brands will take all measures necessary to reach their target audiences, and publishers can leverage video to help.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.


Anthony Gonsalves is SVP of global business development at Connatix.