IAB standardized auto-start embedding is an important tool for growing video views and revenue, but it’s been highly debated in newsrooms about the “politeness” to users and the impact to the viewing experience.
However, with unprecedented demand for video from premium advertisers, and video frequently becoming a critical element to storytelling, we are witnessing a move to auto-start video across many major news organizations.
More recently, auto-start has come under scrutiny for the impact to viewability, a key metric for advertisers. Despite being front and center on many story pages — embedded at the top of the content well, for example — auto-start by itself has traditionally performed poorly on viewability reports. But that’s no longer the case. With a simple change to player behavior, publishers are now scoring better than ever on viewability and other marketer KPIs.
Two years ago, our partners at Journal Broadcast Group (now part of EW Scripps) created an innovative enhancement to the Inform player to make autostart more polite and solve the viewabilty issue.
First, they offered users a toggle. Want to turn off autostart? No problem. They presented a choice under the player and remembered the user’s preference.
And to solve for viewability, they created a “floating player.” As the viewer scrolls down the page, and the margins of the player move out of view, a smaller version of the player snaps to side of the browser and stays with the user as they continue to scroll.
In April, Inform was fortunate to welcome Michael Gay from Journal Broadcast to the team as a Vice President overseeing our local broadcast and content strategy. Earlier this year, Michael won an Edward R Murrow award for best large market television website (TMJ4.com – Journal’s marquee property). The presentation of video and the floating player was among the winning distinctions.
Journal’s floating player concept was quickly adapted by Inform and now we’re rolling it out platform-wide as an available feature for publishers.
As we look around the industry, we’re seeing many of our peers develop a similar tool. Go to story pages at CNN, ABC News, and CBS News, and you’ll watch the player float as you move it out of view.
Our early results show a 2x-3x improvement to viewability. Concerned about the impact to user experience? Our version of the floating player gives users a choice about autostart, and allows them to move the floating unit around their screen or close it altogether.
Embedding single videos inside highly trafficked story pages is the single most critical element to growing viewership. Auto-starting those videos with a floating player will take viewership and revenue to the next level.
Check out an example of the floating player here. Interested in trying it out? Contact your account manager or firstname.lastname@example.org.