The Polar Report

The Polar Report: Industry Insights #17

April 5, 2023

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 publishers under utilising social media's growth, publishers adapting to the changing digital video landscape, AI-powered shorts, and research on OTT viewing.


Publishers Underutilised Growing Social Media Audience

The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and social media is now at the forefront of this evolution. However, recent reports suggest that publishers are not taking full advantage of this opportunity. Instead, competitors are leading the way in utilising social media to drive traffic and increase revenue.

According to a new study by Echobox, which analysed social shares from the world's biggest apps, publishers can benefit greatly from benchmarking information to compare their reach on social media with other industry leaders. With nearly 4.5 billion people using social media platforms, publishers have access to approximately 60% of the world's population. Additionally, social media growth has averaged 3% this year, presenting even greater chances to reach wider audiences.

The report provides key statistics for popular apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Echobox, which serves 1500 global brands, shares data based on its analysis of social shares. The authors of the report aim to motivate readers to use benchmarking information to understand how different apps perform in driving traffic back to their websites. By optimising their strategies and targeting activity more effectively, publishers can enhance user engagement and click-through rates, and attract new audiences.

Echobox reports Facebook as the top social resource for driving click-through traffic, reaching over 30% of the world's population. In six months, 3% of all referral traffic was driven by over 3000 analysed pages on Facebook. Instagram has 2 billion monthly users, driving 3.8% of referral traffic. Twitter has 240 million monetizing users, with an average referral traffic of 6.7%. LinkedIn has 1 billion users, with publishers gaining 1.5% of social traffic from nearly 100 analysed pages.

In summary, publishers must analyse the value of their content, including social media reach, website traffic, and advertising revenue, to achieve success. Planning, producing, and publishing data that support brand goals is crucial in today's digital age.

Full Article on Digital Information World

Adapting to the Changing Digital Video Landscape

As we enter 2023, the digital video landscape is undergoing significant changes that publishers and advertisers must navigate to ensure success. With total digital ad spending projected to grow by 10.5% this year, publishers need to balance quality content and viewability to maximise revenue.

However, video inventory is not growing at the same rate as ad spending, leaving some publishers missing out on potential revenue. To overcome this challenge, publishers must prioritise both monetization and user experience by matching ad monetization with native content. Finding the right combination between the two is essential, and partnering with a reliable ad tech company that can deliver accurate and consistent reports will help publishers achieve the greatest overall yield.

Another challenge is the shifting classifications and strategies for in-stream videos. The IAB Tech Lab's new definitions have significantly impacted the video revenue of every publisher. When the previous definitions were established in August 2022, the criteria for what constituted in-stream was narrowed, resulting in about 90% of the video supply that would have otherwise been considered in-stream video being categorised as out-stream inventory. To address this challenge, ad tech companies like Primis have developed video discovery technologies like Primis Next that serve relevant content to users but are labelled as out-stream by the IAB definitions.

Supply path optimisation (SPO) is another critical approach for publishers to drive efficiency and value. Companies that evaluate their needs and adjust their strategies accordingly are the ones that will thrive. The challenge for publishers is evaluating the value of intermediaries in their supply chain. While working with intermediaries may not be the most direct route, if they optimise processes, add valuable services or products, or maximise potential revenue, adding a few more links to a path is better than sacrificing them for a shortcut. Publishers must aim for the most direct path while ensuring every member of the supply path brings value.

In conclusion, publishers must navigate the changing landscape of digital video with careful consideration and strategic optimization. By balancing quality content and viewability, addressing shifting classifications, and driving efficiency and value through SPO, publishers can maximise their revenue and thrive in the ever-evolving world of digital video.

Full Article on Digiday

Audience Development

AI-powered shorts and video tool boost brand and creator revenue

BENlabs, an entertainment company utilising AI to build tools for content creators, has recently launched a new tool called Suggested Shorts, aiming to increase audience engagement through short-form videos for the more than 13 million YouTube creators it works with. This tool identifies the short-form videos of a creator's most engaging moments from their long-form videos, with AI-based insights using audience engagement and retention to identify which newly created short-form videos are likely to drive the most views and engagement, ultimately increasing a creator's ability to monetise their videos.

The short-form video has grown in popularity among social media platforms such as TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts. BENlabs CEO Ricky Ray Butler says that data shows that creators often grow and discover new audiences through short-form videos, which led to the creation of the Suggested Shorts tool. "Our mission and vision are to empower creators and brands, helping them create content that can grow their audiences and revenue," he says. "There was a natural organic opportunity for us to provide tools in this space."

BENlabs developers began testing the concept for the tool in October 2022 after learning that YouTube would monetize Shorts, with development beginning in November. Multiple concepts were created by the company's data scientists based on the ability to detect content that would make an interesting short. After refining the algorithm focused on creator audience behaviour, the company started a beta program to understand how creators used the feature. The tool identified overall patterns of audience engagement, giving creators insight into how to focus their long and short-form efforts.

After a month of testing and beta feedback, BENlabs released the feature on March 29. When asked about the average percentage of revenue increase creators see, Butler stated that it depends on each creator's unique content and audience. Revenue is distributed to monetize creators based on their share of total views from monetising YouTube Shorts in each country.

The launch of Suggested Shorts underscores the importance of AI-powered tools in content creation and monetisation. With the increasing popularity of short-form videos across multiple social media platforms, creators need all the help they can get to identify the most engaging content and grow their audiences. BENlabs' new tool is a step in the right direction, and it will be interesting to see how it evolves in the coming months and years.

Full Article on Media Post


Research shows that Smart TVs account for 50% of OTT TV viewing

According to recent research from Aluma Insights, adults who watch subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) services spend almost half of their streaming TV time watching apps on smart TVs. This is up from 31% in 2015 and is more than 2.5 times the contribution of streaming media players, which have decreased from 27% in 2015 to 21% currently.

In the early days of connected TV, consumers used various bridge devices to connect high-speed internet services to their televisions, including digital media adapters, game consoles, and Blu-ray players. However, as time went on, TV manufacturers incorporated smart functionality into their televisions. As the cost of smart TVs decreased, their penetration increased, and now 64% of broadband households in the US have a smart TV in their living room.

Aluma's research also revealed that 39% of broadband households have a smart TV in their primary bedroom, and 22% have one in a second bedroom. Founder of Aluma Insights, Michael Greeson, notes that this is "an example of a well-worn migratory pattern." The newest, most feature-laden television is placed in the living room, and the previous set is moved to the primary bedroom, then to the second bedroom, and so on. As a result, the use of bridge devices to watch streaming video in all rooms of the home is reduced.

The research also highlights the role age plays in SVoD users' streaming habits. For example, smart TVs account for 53% of TV streaming among adults aged 45 and above, but only 39% among those aged 18-24. Meanwhile, game consoles contribute the most to TV streaming among 18-34-year-olds (15%), and the least among those aged 65 and over (1%). Pay-TV set-top boxes are most popular among SVoD users aged 65 and over (15%), and least so among those aged 18-35 (3%). Lastly, PCs and mobile TV connections account for 17% of TV streaming among 18-24-year-olds, and 6% among those aged 45 and over.

Full Article on Advanced Television