About Tom Morrissy

Here are my most recent posts

Making More Donuts

Being a publisher is a tough gig these days.   It’s become a complex world for even the most sophisticated companies.  And the curve balls keep coming.  Consider just a few of the challenges that face your average publisher today:

  • Ad blocking.
  • Viewability and measurement.
  • Decreasing display rates married with audience migration to mobile with even lower CPMs.
  • Maturing traffic growth on O&O sites.
  • Pressure to build an audience on social platforms including adding headcount to do so (Snapchat) without any certainty that it will be sufficiently monetizable.
  • The sad realization that native ads—last year’s savior!–are inefficient to produce, difficult to scale and are not easily renewable with advertising partners.  

The list goes on…

The Challenge

Of course, the biggest opportunity—and challenge–for publishers is video.  Nothing shows more promise for publishers from both a user engagement and business perspective than (mobile) video. It’s a simple formula.  When users watch more video on a publisher’s site, they are, by definition, more engaged.  More video engagement drives better “time spent’ numbers and, of course,  higher CPMs.    

But the barrier to entry is high, particularly for legacy print publishers. They struggle to convert readers to viewers because creating a consistently high volume of quality video content is expensive and not necessarily a part of their core DNA.  Don’t get me InfiniGraph Video Machine Learning Challenge Opportunitywrong.  They are certainly creating compelling video, but they have not yet been able to produce it at enough scale to satisfy their audiences.  At the other end of the spectrum, video-centric publishers like TV networks that live and breathe video run out of inventory on a continuous basis.   

The combined result of publishers’ challenge of keeping up with the consumer demand for quality video is a collective dearth of quality video supply in the market.  To put it in culinary terms, premium publishers would sell more donuts if they could, but they just can’t bake enough to satisfy the demand.  

So how can you make more donuts?
Trust and empower the user! 

InfiniGraph Video Machine Learning Donuts

Rise of  Artificial Intelligence

The majority of the buzz at CES this year was about Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.  The potential for Amazon’s Alexa to enhance the home experience was the shining example of this.  In speaking with several seasoned media executives about the AI/machine learning phenomenon, however, I heard a common refrain:  “The stuff is cool, but I’m not seeing any real applications for my business yet.”  Everyone is pining to figure out a way to unlock user preferences through machine learning in practical ways that they can scale and monetize for their businesses.  It is truly the new Holy Grail.

The Solution

That’s why we at InfiniGraph are so excited about our product KRAKEN.  KRAKEN has an immediate and profound impact on video publishing.  KRAKEN lets users curate the thumbnails publishers serve and optimizes towards user preference through machine learning in real time. The result?:  KRAKEN increases click-to-play rates by 30% on average resulting in the corresponding additional inventory and revenues.     

It is a revolutionary application of machine learning that, in execution, makes a one-InfiniGraph Video Machine Learning Brain Machineway, dictatorial publishing style an instant relic. With KRAKEN, the users literally collaborate with the publisher on what images they find most engaging.  KRAKEN actually helps you, the publisher, become more responsive to your audience. It’s a better experience and outcome for everyone.  

The Future…Now!

In a world of cool gadgets and futuristic musings, KRAKEN works today in tangible and measurable ways to improve your engagement with your audience.  Most importantly, KRAKEN accomplishes this with your current video assets. No disruptive change to your publishing flow. No need to add resources to create more video. Just a machine learning tool that maximizes your video footprint.  

In essence, you don’t need to make more donuts.  You simply get to serve more of them to your audience.  And, KRAKEN does that for you!

 

For more information about InfiniGraph, you can contact me at tom.morrissy@infinigraph.com or read my last blog post  AdTech? Think “User Tech” For a Better Video Experience

 

AdTech? Think “User Tech” For a Better Video Experience

How and why did Ad Tech become a bad word?  Ad tech has become associated with, and blamed for, everything from damaging the user experience (slow load rates) to creating a series of tolls that the advertiser pays for but ultimately at the expense of margins for publishers.  Global warming has a better reputation. Even the VC’s are investing more in marketing tech than the ad tech space.

The Lumascape is denser than ever and, even with consolidation, it will take years before there is clarity.  And the newest, new threats to the ad ecosystem like visibility, bots, and ad blocking will continue to motivate scores of new “innovative” companies to help solve these issues. This is in spite of the anemic valuations ad tech companies are currently seeing from Wall Street and venture firms. The problem is that the genesis of almost all of these technologies begins with the race for the marketing dollar while the user experience remains an afterthought. A wise man once said, “Improve the user experience and the ad dollars will follow.” So few new companies are born out of this philosophy. The ones that are—Facebook, Google and Netflix (How Netflix does A/B testing) —are massively successful.

One of the initial promises for publishers to engage their readers on the web was to Panthers_Video_Machine_Learning_iPhoneKRAKEN (1)provide an “interactive” experience—a two-way conversation. The user would choose what they wanted to consume, and editors would serve up more of what they wanted resulting in a happier, more highly engaged user.   Service and respect the user and you—the publisher—will be rewarded.

This is what my company does.  We have been trying to understand why the vast majority of users don’t click on a video when, in fact, they are there to watch one!  How can publishers make the experience better?   Editors often take great care to select a thumbnail image that they believe their users will click on to start a video and then…nothing.  On average, 85% of videos on publishers’ sites do not get started.

We believe that giving the user control and choice is the answer to this dilemma.  So we developed a patented machine learning platform that responds to the wisdom of the crowds by serving up thumbnail images from publisher videos that the user—not the editor—determines are best. By respecting the user experience with our technology, users are 30% more likely to click on videos when the thumbnails are user-curated.

What does this mean for publishers?   Their users have a better experience because they are actually consuming the most compelling content on the site.  Nothing beats the sight, sound and motion of the video experience. Their users spend more time on the site and are more likely to return to the site in the future to consume video. Importantly from a monetization standpoint, InfiniGraph’s technology “KRAKEN” creates 30% more pre-roll revenue for the publisher.

We started our company with the goal of improving the user experience, and as a result, monetization has followed. This, by the way, enables publishers to create even more video for their users. There are no tricks.  No additional load times.  No videos that follow you down the page to satisfy the viewability requirements for proposals from the big holding companies. Just an incredibly sophisticated machine learning algorithm that helps consumers have a more enjoyable experience on their favorite sites. Our advice?   Forget about “ad tech” solutions.  Think about “User Tech”.   The “ad” part will come.

The live example above demonstrates KRAKEN in action on the movie trailer “Intersteller” achieving 16.8X improvement over the traditional static thumbnail image.