For OTT, Machine Learning Image is Worth More Than a Thousand Words

So, you’ve developed an OTT app and you’ve marketed it to your viewers.  Now your focus is on keeping your viewers watching.  How can machine learning drive more engagement? Let’s face it—they may have a favorite show or two, but to keep them engaged for the long term, they need to be able to discover new shows. Discovery InfiniGraph KRAKEN Video Machine LearningBecause OTT is watched on TVs, you have a lot of real estate to engage with your viewers.  A video’s thumbnail has more of an impact on OTT than any other platform, so choose your thumbnails carefully!

Discovery is different on different platforms

On desktop, most videos start with either a search (e.g. Google) or via a social share (e.g. Facebook).  Headlines and articles provide additional info to get a viewer to cognitively commit to watching a video.  Autoplay runs rampant removing the decision to press “play” from the user.

TVs have a lot more real estate than smartphones

TVs have a lot more real estate than smartphones

On a smartphone, small screen size is an issue.  InfiniGraph’s machine learning data shows that more than three objects in a thumbnail will cause a reduction in play rates.  Again, social plays a huge role in the discovery of new content, with some publishers reporting that almost half of their mobile traffic originates from Facebook.

OTT Discovery is Unique

The discovery process on OTT is unique because the OTT experience is unique.  Most viewers already have something in mind when they turn on their OTT device.  In fact, Hulu claims that they can predict with a 70% accuracy the top three shows each of their users is tuning in to see.  But what about the other 30%?  What about the discovery of new shows?

Netflix AB Test Example

Netflix AB Test Example

Netflix has said that if a user can’t find something to watch in 30 seconds, they’ll leave the platform.  They decided to start A/B testing their thumbnails to see what impact it would have, and discovered that different audiences engage with different images.  They were able to increase view rates by 20-30% for some videos by using better images!  In the on-demand world of OTT, the right image is the difference between a satisfied viewer and a user who abandons your platform. If you’re interested in increasing engagement on your OTT app, reach out to us at InfiniGraph to learn more about our machine learning technology named KRAKEN that chooses the best images for the right audience, every single time.  Also, check out our post about increasing your video ad inventory!

More on machine learning powered image selection and driving more video views.

Think You’ve Picked the Best Video Thumbnail? Think Again — 52 Videos that Prove Video Machine Learning can Double Play Rates

I’ve never met anyone who intentionally picked a bad video thumbnail—but they’re everywhere.

To be clear, bad ≠ ugly. Bad thumbnails are sometimes beautiful. Bad means that people don’t WANT to click on them. After all, the point of a thumbnail is to get people to click “play” or “stop scrolling” long enough for the video to start to playing.

KRAKEN Video Machine Learning Rikers Original ThumbnailEditors and content creators with years of experience spend a lot of time picking “best” thumbnails.  And publishers posting hundreds of videos daily rely on content management systems (CMS) that suggest or auto-pick thumbnails.

Guess what? They’re usually wrong.

Almost always, there is a better thumbnail for any given video or set of thumbnails.

How? Why?

Because “best” is defined by your audience, not you. You bring your experience and baggage with you every time you pick a thumbnail—and you are different from your audience.  Why not take the guess work out of the equation and use data, not opinion, to choose the right thumbnails every time?

Real Example

KRAKEN Video Machine Learning Teacher Original Thumbnail Let’s say you’re an editor in LA and pick a thumbnail for a video about the latest breaking news topic. You might choose this image to the right:

Now what if your viewer is from Texas? What if that image doesn’t speak to them at all? That doesn’t mean they’re not interested in the topic or wouldn’t want to see the video content, it means that the thumbnail doesn’t make them WANT to click “play.”

KRAKEN Video Machine Learning Teacher
If you had asked your viewers, they would have told you that they preferred seeing the images on the left—all taken from the very same video.

 

 

Our recent post “The Force Awakens” shows another great example and the science behind data-chosen thumbnails.

Your audience isn’t one-size-fits-all. Your thumbnails shouldn’t be either.

Here are 52 videos from last month that prove intelligent selection of images can greatly improve video play rates.  Each has an optimized set of thumbnails that performed 101%–425% BETTER than the original thumbnail.

KRAKEN Video Machine Learning Rikers

Quickly though—what is an optimized thumbnail?

Optimized thumbnails are dynamic and rely on machine learning and audience feedback. Our product called KRAKEN does this all in real-time

So, what the heck does that mean in english???

It means that our computers examine a video and pick a bunch of ‘best possible’ thumbnails, then A/B tests them to determine what ones people actually click on. It will serve different images to different people depending on a variety of factors, including device and placement. Hey, it’s a patented process!

Said another way, we crowdsource what thumbnails people actually engage with, then show them to future visitors.

Results – Before & After

Think sports fans will click on any video related to their team? Think again. Optimized thumbnails performed 198% better than the original:
KRAKEN Video Machine Learning NY Giants Original Thumbnail KRAKEN Video Machine Learning NY Giants
                    Original Thumbnail                                 KRAKEN Optimized Visuals

Optimized thumbnails work for ‘hard’ news videos, too. This video about Enrique Marquez’s ties to the San Bernardino gunmen had a 205% lift:
KRAKEN Video Machine Learning Enrique Original Thumbnail KRAKEN Video Machine Learning Enrique
                    Original Thumbnail                                 KRAKEN Optimized Visuals

Kardashians—love them or hate them, right? It turns out that optimized thumbnails can produce a 128% lift in video play rates:
KRAKEN Video Machine Learning Kardashian Original Thumbnail KRAKEN Video Machine Learning Kardashian
                    Original Thumbnail                                 KRAKEN Optimized Visuals

From earlier in the article: the Rikers Island Guard video saw a 157% lift, while the video of a Teacher under fire for her lesson on Islam saw a 127% lift.

Our top performing video of December saw a 425% lift.  Here’s an overview of all 52:
KRAKEN Video Machine Learning Graph Videos with 100 lift Dec 2015

 

What could you do with double the video plays (or 3X or 4X)?

Would it double your video revenue? Satisfy your audience because more of them are seeing your awesome video content (after all, that’s why they’re on your site in the first place)?

The good news is your “best” thumbnails already exist and are buried in your existing videos. You just need to release the KRAKEN and get them to the surface.

Leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts. If you are interested in links to all 52 top performing videos, send me an email at ryan.shane@infinigraph.com—I like talking with new people.

5 Electrifying content marketing methods via native advertising [Webinar]

static-electricity-hair-stand-on-end1All brands must have content amplification, both mobile and native advertising, in their content marketing arsenal. Beyond the hype, native advertising is one method showing great success at scale and it’s here to stay. Regardless of how amazing your content is or who created it, if you don’t have a clear amplification and execution plan in place, getting above the noise is near impossible. In this webinar we’ll dive into the 5 ways to electrify your content marketing, using data and reviewing effective native advertising methods. Brands have to wake up and focus their content to achieve higher engagement throughout the consumer’s path to purchase or risk losing TOP OF MIND to competitors that are capturing greater market share.

What am I going to get out of this?thinking-web-pic

  • Learn how to amplify your content all the time.
  • On and off domain content amplification.
  • What’s native advertising? Scale in context.
  • How to mobilize your content marketing.

Are you reaching your customer? 4 Barriers to consider:

1. We’re in a content deluge.

ContentandMediaSurplus

We’re in an era where the volume of content creation and dissemination is at an all time high with no signs of stopping. The old saying “drinking from a fire hydrant” is an understatement. The sheer volume from so many channels is creating a media surplus. This mountain of consumer engagement insight is where lots of the buzz comes from regarding big data. The brands that harness this data will dominate pure and simple. Content is omnipresent. There are no shortages of devices either. Everyone is a content creator, which adds to the noise.

AttentionDefficetDisorder2. There is an attention deficit.

Your customers are very distracted and most are multitasking over many apps and receiving content notifications frequently. Both on and off domain distractions complicate your ability to increase time with your customers. Consumers are mobile and vying for their attention in this digital ADD world pushes some brands to extreme content marketing. Brands must stay relevant and create compelling, share worthy content at a clip like never before or risk becoming irrelevant.

TunnelVisionRequired3. Tunnel vision is a requirement.

Consumers are looking for or engaging on specific content and brands must have some tunnel vision too. People can barely consume, much less comprehend, 285 pieces of content in a day. Multitasking and multiple devices is a cultural norm requiring a higher degree of content stickiness. We only want to consume content relevant to us at a very specific moment in time. Tunnel vision helps us do that.

CustomerJourneyUnpredictable4. The customer journey is unpredictable.

It’s complicated to say the least. Consumers are being influenced and the path to purchase is based on many online and offline factors. Most of us embark on an open-ended purchase path and our content consumption patterns change daily.

The above was inspired by a Michael Brito slideshare.

The $110 Billion Big Problem

Brands spent $110 Billion on Content Marketing in the last 3 years, yet the interactions by consumers on that content is low. Content is stuck in silos across the web / mobile / social / blog channels and lacks context over all consumer touch points.  Is your content disconnected?

Above is a great example of a top content creator’s precipitous decline in social engagement. Disney continues an exponential increase in it’s content creation and post rate as seen in the graph above, however, the two graphs on the right prove engagement   has leveled off and that social shares have declined over the past 3 years. The data demonstrates consumers haven’t stopped engaging but there are so many other avenues to choose from. What’s exciting is that all this content and the data from social channels sets up a data bonanza for the brands to harness.

Interest Graph Actions on Content

Data on your customer content and consumer behavior is not a nice to have but a must have for any modern digital marketing effort. You must have a clear understanding of your audience and what’s relevant to them or your marketing message will fall flat. Consumers have many interest graphs across many networks today. For marketing automation and personalization, graph data is paramount for relevant content personalization.

The_GraphBetter engagement through better content marketing insights is the focus. Brands have to look across their paid, owned and earned channels and understand the underlying interest graph of interconnections.  Anyone of these channels can go viral. The facts are most all content now has a social share function integrated with delivery or as part of the content itself. Hard actions on content can now be measured vs. social mentions or the amount of views/traffic a property obtains. Using engagement performance and applying scores on content now enables content marketers to benchmark over many sites/channels within the same content category. What’s unique? All content has gone social enabling interest graphs to be created on your customers. This data provides deep insights into what’s resonating and shared based on type, source and brand identity.

Integrated Content Experience

Brands require an innovative approach when creating and distributing their visual content, especially on mobile. Pinterest style layouts are proven to be highly effective in increasing consumer engagement and discovery. Smart brands are combining these vector scaling adaptive layouts and harnessing the consumer behavior to their advantage. By surfacing real-IntegratedContentExperencetime trends to induce higher engagement wherever the consumer is, targeting and personalization are no longer nice to haves but the key to customer retention and conversion.

Different brands and businesses have different content needs and preferred methods of engagement. Identifying your content mojo is a big part of an amplification strategy.  Brands with clear understanding of how their prospects, customers, and advocates interact across these media elements have an opportunity to retain or gain market share.

Here are the three:

  • EARNED MEDIA – Media relations, Influencer engagement , Word-of-mouth
  • SHARED MEDIA  - Social media channel strategy, Community management, Social content creation
  • OWNED MEDIA – Brand website/newsroom , Campaign microsite , Mobile apps

OmniChannelSlideWe’re now in an omni-channel world and have to look at the customer in a new way over all brand touch points. Using omni-channel retailing while working with the “Connected Consumer“, all shopping channels work from the same database of products, prices, promotions, etc. Instead of perceiving a variety of touch-points as part of the same brand, omni-channel retailers let consumers experience the brand, not a channel within a brand. Merchandise and promotions are not channel specific, but rather consistent across all retail channels.

ContentSlide

Content

If you want to be in the game you must have GREAT content – to start with – not a product promotion but a real story around client success.  The best content is that being created and re-purposed over many channels over and over.  Be realistic on the volume of content you need to create.  Insights on what your industry is creating and the volume to stay relevant is readily available over every industry.  Don’t complicate you content marketing creation process there are ample examples of what’s effective and what consumers are willing to share.

The content marketing cycle.
ContentMarketingCircleSlideEvery part of your content marketing cycle has great importance.  For this post we’ll focus on the promotion side of content marketing. A big step is defining your objectives and data you want to obtain ongoing.  Not just reporting but a plan of action over each promotional channel. Next, must have a rock solid monitoring strategy and a plan to use the data to drive your decision process.  Without these you’re just guessing and wasting time.

5 Ways to Amplify Your Content Marketing & What’s Native Advertising

EbookSlide1. Amplification Comes From Who You’re Working with

We found partnering on the eBooks creation process to be highly effective for thought leadership, lead generation and very lucrative. Who is part of your content and the quality are critical factors. Here are a few eBooks we created with top content marketers.

All our eBooks have blog posts associated with them as well as paid amplification program. Beyond our co authors tweets and reach, we leveraged native ads and found them to be highly effective in reaching our intended audience.  eBook also provided us with big rock content we used to repackaged and amplified over many channels.  For more on this topic get Jason Miller’s “Welcome to the Funnel” he is the god on content re-purposing and big rock content. 

NotNativeJustPaidPlacement2. Amplification – Paid Placement

Paid content amplification is a must have to reach a broader audience. Content jammed at the bottom of publications is one method of expanding reach -  but people call this type of amplification “recommendation” like Outbrain, Yahoo, Taboola, Gravity etc.

It’s a lower cost method to push content on top publications, however, the performance is on par with standard ad hole insertion or less. This type of content amplification  doesn’t constitute in context content marketing, however, some publishers have seen successful cross promoting content and others have not using these method.

NativeAdvertisingSldieWhat’s Native Advertising and Types of Native Ads?
What ever you call it “sponsored content,” “advertorial,”  “promoted post” or “branded content” native advertising is here to stay.  In a recent post we highlighted the fusion of content marketing and native advertising describing the native advertising matrix consists of;

  • Effective contextual advertising,
  • Branded content,
  • Advertorial and
  • Sponsored Text.Here we break them down into their visual components.

TextNativeTextSlide

Google was the first to introduce native at scale with the insertion of text ad in the search stream. Now text ad can be found on most publications. For publishers looking to get some montization and Google AdSence like placement this method will be around for some time.

SponsoredNativeSponsoredSlide

Sponsored or advertorial content is the most expensive to deploy and time consuming. Many brands have achieved success with this type of native advertising, however, for smaller brands this native method is cost prohibited. Smaller brands can achieve sponsored content like the “In Post” method below.

In StreamNativeInStreamSlide

In Stream or promoted post is the most popular form of native advertising, unfortunately, most is out of context and doesn’t enhance the consumer experience vs just clogging up one’s feed. On mobile you’re forced to interface with this type of in feed sponsored content hence why mobile video and in stream ads obtain some of the highest CTRs in the business.

In PostNativeInPostSlide

This is the newest form of Native advertising whereby the native unit is in context to the content around it. Native ads done well create a more reliable experience for the consumer than an obtrusive, in-stream ad that isn’t in context. Brands are seeing higher CTR (1 to 3%) on both desktop and mobile due to relevance. A great example is a publisher creating content on the latest refreshment ideas for summer with a Starbucks native ad unit about their latest refreshments, changing in real-time.

The in context native ad provides value to the content around it and it is an overall better experience.  No wonder these real-time native advertising units get more engagement. Content amplification doesn’t have to be hard just smart.  For more depth on native advertising see our latest post on SEJ.

3. Amplification – OwnedSephora2XGreaterEngagement

On domain visual content marketing is very effective. You have a captive audience on your website or mobile application, however many brands fail to surface the right content throughout the consumer engagement path.
Here DGDG, a large automotive dealership in the bay area, powers their thank you pages and main content HUBs from their 14 auto brands top content. DGDG Content HUBMost brand’s thank you pages, purchase exit pages, etc. are dead and they are missing a big opportunity to re-engage with their customers with fresh content and Close the Social Loop. You have their attention so put your best foot forwards.

Brands require an innovative approach to the way they display visual content and accessibility especially on mobile extending the discovery process and site stickiness. Pinterest style layouts are proven visual interfaces to increase consumer engagement and share rates. Smart brands are combining data intelligence and visual content based on consumer behavior to their advantage surfacing real-time trends to induce higher engagement wherever the consumer is at.

4. Native – Amplification

PrincessNativeInContext2Many publishers create sponsored content for brands, however, this type of publishing can be expensive.  The unique element on the right created by SocialMoms was including a real-time native ad for Princess Cruises.  The unit is leveraging trending content from Princess and distributed in a native unit over the SocialMom’s network. Content is created as part of the native unit to increase greater context.   Princess Cruises native units achieve 20X great CTR than industry averages due to dynamic images based on consumer data and smart placement.

MobileIsLackingOnMostBrands5. Mobile Mobile Mobile

Mobile content display is lacking on most brands and the use of data on consumers to create a better user experience is almost non existent.  A great example is the mobile interface on Disney.  Here we have a static layout, content change is infrequent vs user engagement driving content changes based on trends or past behavior used in an Instagram layout structure. Brands that integrate Infinite scrolling, simple sharing and adaptive interface increase time on site.

InfiniGraph’s vector scaling and adaptive content design for any content type provides flexibility to content published by the brands in a robust mobile interface. You followers are coming to you site on mobile devices especially if your amplifying content over native networks like Facebook etc.  Here are a few tip to consider when developing a strong mobile strategy.

Customer Experience ImagesmPut the user first

  • Observe what users are trying to accomplish.
  • Derive patterns from their behavior.
  • Create the content Features (infinite scrolling, swiping, touching) that they do on other apps.

 

SimplicityRocksFocus on simplicity

  • Both design and user experience are critical.
  • Smaller screens require simplicity is crucial.
  • Remove everything superfluous from the UI.
  • Only show elements to the best advantage.

Context-is-kingsmContext is king:

  • Mobile is personal.
  • Devices keep getting smarter.
  • Information can be personalized.
  • Content is delivered to the right user at the right time and place.

 

Want to download the slides?  Tell us what you think, what content marketing and amplification techniques are working for you.

Native Content Amplification Achieves 16.5 Percent CTR

Val Kuncheff at DGDG

Val Kuncheff Del Grande Dealer Group eCommerce / Digital Marketing Director

Content amplification is a must have for any brand looking to maximize their content assets and increase their content effectiveness. DGDG is the largest automotive dealership in the San Francisco bay area with 13 locations representing 14 auto brands. “With InfiniGraph’s native content amplification we increased our content exposure over our websites boosting greater time on site” - Val Kuncheff Del Grande Dealer Group eCommerce / Digital Marketing Director

The challenge
DGDG wanted to increase their customer time on site and achieve greater interaction with their content. Each of DGDG’s dealerships are creating outbound content yet there wasn’t a central area to discover all of the content unless you found each new post on each individual site manually. They also needed a way to cross promote their content in real-time based on the most engaged content greatly increasing their total content exposure. Would you like to see how they launched their native content amplification? Registration is free.

DGDG Native Amplification Content HUB

DGDG, the largest family owned automotive group serving the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Click through to see Native content amplification over all dealerships in action.

The solution
Leveraging InfiniGraph’s real-time native advertising solution they were provided with content recommendation and content amplification over all of the DGDG sites. All content is analyzed to obtain a Trend score based on engagement which is then packaged within a native insertion unit used to visually surface their trending content. DGDG placed these units in strategic areas on their site.

The results
DGDG was able to achieve:

  • 16.5% CTR back to the site’s content
  • 100% increase of time on site
  • 60% decrease in bounce rates

Consumers are most engaged when they are given engaging content. This sounds intuitive yet most brands have static text, dead visuals, and bland thank you pages after a customer performs some action.

These actions include:

  • simple email opt-in
  • filling out a form
  • requesting a meeting
  • making a purchase, etc.
DGDG Native Content Insertion thank you page.   Smart use of tending content to bring customer back into a website.

DGDG Native Content Insertion thank you page. Smart use of tending content to bring customers back into a website.

DGDG did it right and directed all entries and requests back to highly interactive, native content insertion pages with amazing trending visuals achieving 16.5% CTR back into their site.  Every location has its own native content amplification HUB providing their customers with quick access to the latest automotive trends. DGDG took advantage of this turn key native content experience providing ongoing and consistent real-time content recommendations.

DGDG Mobile Native HUB

Mobile optimized native insertion on DGDG mobile content. Screen shots from an iPhone 5s. All actions regardless of web or mobile created a slick user experience.  Above is the mobile rendering of DGDG trending content.

Would you like to see how to launch your very own native content amplification? Registration is free.

 

The Brand Manager’s Guide To Social Content Marketing

“A Brand Manager’s Guide To Content Marketing In Social Media: 20 Areas of Excellence To Ensure ROI” Get this free 72-page ebook written by Brian Carter and 25 other thought leaders today. Enter your contact info to begin the download.

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