When it comes to creating video for social platforms like YouTube and Facebook, publishers feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. These platforms want premium-like quality video content, but audiences just aren’t looking for that kind of content in those environments, publishers have argued.
This was one of the many topics discussed by over 100 publishers and broadcasters who gathered at the Digiday Video Summit Europe in Dublin, Ireland, this week to discuss their evolving digital video strategies. Topics also included the fight for transparency in ad tech and how to create video content people will pay for.
During working groups and publisher-only town hall sessions, which operate under Chatham House Rule, delegates debated their core concerns. Here are some of the comments that got our attention.
Figuring out platform hurdles
“The ever-changing algorithms of the platforms remains an issue we’re constantly fighting.”
“Navigating a world in which social platforms want to act like broadcasters is really tough.”
“We’re fighting this weird ecosystem with platforms because they’re pushing us to create a certain kind of content that actually jars with the audiences that are used to the more raw, authentic feel of video on platforms.”
“We try to push clients away from measuring views. We prefer a smaller pool of meaningfully engaged viewers than a massive pool of totally meaningless views on the platforms.”
“Facebook is trying to be a video intent platform but no one uses it like that. YouTube doesn’t have that problem.”
“We end up creating more cheap video [which performs well on platforms ] but it looks cheap, and that’s damaging for the brand.”
“Facebook’s team is not focused on publishers at all, they’re just there to sell their own inventory. So we’re not investing anything in publishing on Facebook, especially now that it’s not growing that much.”
“There’s a bigger gap between the partner manager relationship and the engineers at Facebook than there is at YouTube. The new Facebook algorithm change, that happened on our pages in the last two weeks, has grown significantly and dropped off this week, and they [Facebook] don’t know why. Engineers make massive changes at the platform level and they don’t feed through. It’s incumbent for publishers to understand their own data.”
Video content worth paying for
“It’s hard to create that value proposition with AVOD to then level up to SVOD. You can’t give away content for free and then say you have to pay for it, that changes the perception of value.”
“YouGov research showed that an individual would pay for between three and five subscription services, so that could be two mass market services and a couple of smaller more niche services.”
“Ninety-nine percent of people will want something for free with ads. You have to juggle free-to-air and paid. People are prepared to pay for passions or niche verticals. We’re in the attention business.”
“From a generation perspective, AVOD is more ingrained. It’s gamified. Kids watch three ads to then get a free life.”
“YouTube Red [now YouTube Premium] has not really worked. Kids are adept at finding it for free. They don’t feel the need to pay. Cord cutting is happening faster than anyone thought it would, 15% a year.”
“YouTube claims it’s too big to manage all the [brand unsafe] content. When you have an SVOD platform that’s not really a good enough excuse.”
“All kids know is YouTube. We need to be worried about the three to 10-year-olds. Nine out of 10 times they want to watch the phone rather than the TV.”
“I have an issue with viewability and viewability companies. The vendors tell [agency and advertiser] clients they can solve all their problems and that they’re integrated [with publishers] but they don’t even talk to the publishers. They say they’re integrated when they’re not and it’s causing us real issues in lost revenue.”
“More brands and agencies want to do programmatic VOD, the challenge is they’re hosting on their site and between the ad calls the ads are being lost. The agency is sending the wrong ad file or uploading the wrong specs. With programmatic, there’s this acceptance on the brand side that these things are all going to work. We’re all losing revenue.”
“One of the major providers said ‘80% of the video that you send is in-app’. We said we don’t have an in-app player. It turns out they can’t read it when it’s inside the Facebook browser, they think it’s in-app and they can’t measure it. They said if we integrated with them they might be able to fix it. It’s a bit strong but it feels like a protection racket because if you’re not part of it then the results are less favorable.”
“On the buy side, the frustration is people not knowing what the error codes are. You have to educate them on what a 901 is, a 401, a 303. People are so used to having a tick box in the DSP on the operations side, they haven’t had to put a click tag in. With video specifically, it’s more complicated and pipes break down when it’s relatively simple, like hosting a video off-site.”