The Polar Report

The Polar Report: Industry Insights #11

August 31, 2022

Welcome to The Polar Report, a curated view of what’s happening in the world of Digital Monetisation, Audience Development and Measurement. This week we dive into YouTube’s updates for Shorts on CTV, Google creating a dedicated podcast site on YouTube, YouTube implementing automatic watermarks for Shorts, Twitch updating its rules on exclusive partners and mobile ads effectiveness at grabbing our attention.


YouTube is Working on an Updated Shorts Player for CTV

YouTube shorts have been a big success for the platform, with the short-form video feed driving 30 billion daily views within the app. Following this progress, YouTube is now looking to expand their viewing options by integrating Shorts into their CTV capabilities. Development is currently underway, and the display on connected TV devices will feature the frame of the short-form video in the middle of the big screen.

YouTube is not the only ones trying to implement something like this, with other platforms such as TikTok also working on getting its short-form content on the big screen. A move like this from YouTube could aid in reaching a new audience for YouTube Shorts. It has been reported that 75% of YouTube users engage with Shorts in some way, and a new format like this could be the way to get the number closer to 100%.

Although this benefits audience development, there is also much to be said on the positive repercussions a move like this has on monetisation. We know that people pay more attention to advertisements when they view them on CTV and we also know that the short-form video market is huge right now. Therefore, we will be able to see what happens when these two things come together. While advertisers can’t benefit much directly from the Shorts themselves (since you can’t run ads on them), they can however be a good way of driving traffic to channels, where long-form content is there waiting to be watched, and this is the valuable content for monetisation.

Full Article on Social Media Today

Audience Development

Google Creates a YouTube Site Dedicated to Podcasts

Podcasts have skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by social platforms. Podcasts have been available on YouTube as videos, however, Google has been working on making podcasts even easier to access by creating a YouTube site specifically dedicated to them.

A recent survey of 3,000 consumers ranging from 13 years old and up found that YouTube was the most used platform to listen to podcasts. To some extent, this is a surprising discovery, given that podcasts are primarily an audio format and YouTube’s focus is video. And so it seems that video is YouTube’s golden ticket in the podcasting sphere.

Watching a podcast opens up the doors for greater engagement with the creators and their conversations. Images and videos that are being spoken about can be flashed up on the screen making it easier to understand for those watching. Plus, experiencing the laughs and facial expressions of a podcast through a video provides a much more immersive experience. Let’s not forget the opportunity that video podcasts have for advertisers and creators. These are long-form video pieces, and the longer the content, the more ad slots available, in addition to any sponsorship slots the podcast host reads out directly in the body of the video. This also provides a big opportunity for brand marketers to get their foot in the door just as it opens. Podcast creators and influencers alike will undoubtedly be looking to expand their content range, and YouTube will be eager to fill its platform with quality content.

A move like this from YouTube shows that although their position in the podcast market has so far been passive on their side, they are now embracing the numbers and taking steps to  ensure their platform is as efficient as possible.

Full Article on Media Post

YouTube Implements Automatic Watermarks for Short Content

YouTube has announced that Shorts will feature a watermark when downloaded, a move that begs the question: is this a positive thing? Does this imply that YouTube is a platform that is opposed to the sharing of content? But people are always going to share content across platforms. No, what this says is that YouTube wants its name to appear on competitor platforms. They want for you to be scrolling TikTok and see the YouTube watermark.

YouTube are not the only ones going down this path with Meta and TikTok also featuring watermarks across downloaded content. This seems to be an interesting move, when in the same week Twitch (Amazon) actively changed their rules with the goal seeming to encourage the sharing of content between platforms.

By watermarking content, YouTube is still allowing it to be shared, it is just ensuring that when it is, consumers of the content are aware that it came from YouTube. If they like what they see, they will know exactly where to find more of it. From a creator’s point of view, it does not have that large of an impact if they operate across multiple platforms anyway. If they do post content across multiple platforms, then they will have the original files without the watermark to then upload them. Watermarks will hopefully provide some protection for creators if they are unwilling to have their content shared across platforms, while also providing a way for the creator’s official profile to be found once their video is out spreading across the internet.

Full Article on Digital Information World

Exclusive Twitch Partners Can Now Stream on Other Platforms

Previously, streamers that had a Twitch Partnership were required to exclusively stream on the Twitch Platform. However, in a bizarre twist of events Twitch has now revealed that they are no longer enforcing this. This means that exclusive Twitch Partners now have the option to stream on rival platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. A move like this from Twitch appears to be providing its creators with more flexibility and freedom, and places the focus on getting the content out in the world rather than just on Twitch. Previously, if a streamer tied in to a Twitch contract broke this agreement, they would be met with severe fines and potentially suspensions. This places a lot of pressure on the streamers and grants the platform a lot of control. Streaming could be the prime source of income for these creators and a suspension could spell trouble. Therefore, by Twitch taking a step back and putting the needs of their creators first, they are essentially providing them with the facilities they need to perform their job better. A somewhat comparable example could be that of a work environment. If your work environment is positive and your boss rewards you and helps you, then you are more likely to perform your tasks to a better standard and want to stick around. There are clear lessons to be learnt from the effort platforms put in to ensure their creators are looked after.

This is especially relevant when looking at the recent issues creators are having with TikTok. The platform received backlash from its creators over flawed payment models and difficulties in actually receiving income. One thing social platforms that rely on creators must understand is that there will most likely always be other platforms for creators to use, but there may not always be creators willing to actually create on a platform. So what may seem like a mad move by Twitch is essentially a textbook example of how to treat your creators well.

Subsequently, there will undoubtedly be consumers of content that specifically watch livestreams on YouTube or Facebook. They may not like Twitch, or prefer a rival platform. By allowing streamers to provide their content on these other platforms they are being given the opportunity to reach new audiences. YouTube is a relatively popular platform for streaming as the live streams can be converted into YouTube videos very easily. Therefore, if streamers migrate from Twitch to YouTube, the large audience already present on YouTube will be exposed to new content, along with the audience that comes over from Twitch to YouTube. This kind of audience migration is likely to prove to be a positive thing for other platforms with an influx of creators, audiences and monetisable content, although only time will tell if this is a smart move for Twitch.

Full Article on Tech Times


Are Mobile Ads Effective at Driving Attention?

Breaking through in the current digital age gets increasingly harder everyday, with some reports suggesting that the average consumer needs to be exposed to an ad around 7 times before it actually sinks in. If the cards are already stacked against you, it makes sense to do everything you can to start in a good position. That is why measurement reports are so vital in advertising campaigns.

A recent report by OMD Worldwide, Yahoo and Amplified Intelligence has found that video ranks as the most attention-grabbing format for advertising on mobile. The study displayed ads to over 128,000 volunteers across the UK, US and Australia. All in all, ads that utilised video such as interscroller ad formats and native pre-roll ads, drove an average of 2.73 seconds of active attention. When this is compared to mid-page unit and native image ads at 1.5 seconds of attention, and mobile banner ads at 0.6 seconds, it becomes increasingly clear that video is the way forward.

Although a lot of this measurement takes place using eye-tracking software, Dr. Alastair Goode, a cognitive scientist working at a research company, expressed concerns. The consensus was that although human view takes up a large chunk of our attention span, it is not the source of all our attention. This could partly explain why video ads are so effective, especially if they implement an auditory element to them. The results from this study also provide reassurance that advertising within short-form content platforms such as TikTok and YouTube Shorts is still effective.

Full Article on Video Week