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.