Video Essentials

Planning Online Video Ad Strategy with CBSSports.com


How to monetize online video is always one of the most popular topics at any online video conference. Once you’ve got videos that people want to see, you’re going to explore ways to make money from them.

To answer the question, Tony Fernandez sat down for a red carpet interview at the recent Streaming Media West conference in Los Angeles, California. Fernandez is the vice president of technology for CBSSports.com.

Content Is Key
The first step in selling advertising is having something that advertisers want to be a part of. Create content that’s original, creative, and brand-friendly. The big companies want to be associated with content that puts their brand in a good light.

“Keep producing good content and we know dollars will follow,” said Fernandez.

Know Your Ad Formats
While advertisers have been experimenting with online video ad formats, there are only a few that are widely used, including pre-roll, mid-roll, and overlay.

“The pre-roll is still going to be the heavyweight, simply because most of the video that’s out there is short form,” said Fernandez.

Don’t overwhelm your viewers with too long an ad. If the video is 2 minutes long, said Fernandez, a 15 second pre-roll would be appropriate. “The ratio has to be positive for the user,” he said. Viewers want to know that they’re getting something of value for their time.

If you’re streaming longer work, mid-roll ads are appropriate. These work like standard TV commercials, so viewers have been conditioned to accept them.

Overlay ads are gaining in popularity. They go beyond the traditional ad impression and let the advertiser build an experience on the page.

Be Careful with Ad Networks
While many content providers are happy to work with ad networks to monetize their pages, Fernandez cautions about growing dependent on them.

“Don’t rely on ad networks,” he advised.

It’s difficult to control the ads they bring to your site, he said. Plus, if a valuable advertiser comes to you directly and tries to buy premium space on your site, you might find yourself unable to fulfill the request because of a previous ad network commitment.

There’s a place for ad networks, but Fernandez advised using them intelligently. Don’t simply rely on them to meet end-of-quarter revenue numbers, for example.

You can view the entire interview here:

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