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BBC eyes vertical ads to boost mobile monetization

November 30, 2016
Aaron Polmeer

By Jessica Davies

The BBC became the latest publisher to introduce vertical video to its news apps this week, both domestic and international. Already, the overseas version carries vertical advertising. For now, that consists of static ad interstitials between videos, but in the next few weeks vertical video ads will be introduced — but the format is not without its own challenges.

The broadcaster has an ocean of video assets at its fingertips, so for now the app will feature videos reformatted to vertical. In time, however, more videos will be shot originally in vertical format.

More than 60 per cent of BBC News’ digital traffic now comes via mobile devices. A team of 20 people from the London newsroom will be involved with creating, sourcing and formatting video for the domestic and international apps. They will curate material that suits the mentality of viewers at the BBC’s peak viewing times of day: 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., regardless of time zone. That means videos available in the morning will give an overview of what big news stories are coming up, while those published in the app at the end of the day will be more like round-ups of the biggest daily news.

Users can view the videos within the “videos of the day” section of the app, and all will have subtitles, given people tend to watch mobile videos without the sound on. The goal is for the videos to feel like a finite package, rather than an endless scrolling feed.

“Internationally, improving mobile advertising is something we’re very focused on,” said James Montgomery, BBC News digital development director. “We recognize that taking 30-second TV pre-roll ads isn’t a great user experience and doesn’t monetize well. So we’ve tried to re-imagine the editorial experience in vertical for mobile, and have also challenged ourselves to make mobile advertising more vertical and native,” he added.

Agencies certainly welcome it. Some believe that vertical ads could be just what mobile advertising has been missing. James Connelly, co-founder and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network’s mobile agency Fetch, said vertical ad uptake remains small among advertisers but is gathering pace, especially among those incentivized by campaign performance (rather than brand advertisers) like the big gaming companies. and Expedia are among those who regularly run vertical advertising, according to Connelly.

He added that vertical videos could help raise publishers mobile yields in some cases. “Because it works, it will be in more demand from advertisers which means they will pay more for it. Although that’s possibly something that the performance brands would be more willing to do than the brand advertisers, who already pay premiums,” he added.

Vertical ads have been on the rise due to the popularity of Snapchat. But publishers are just now starting to want in on the action. In the U.S. The Washington Post and Hearst have all run vertical ads on their mobile apps, while in the U.K., The Sun and Mail Online are also prolific vertical video publishers.

News Corps’ video ad tech firm Unruly, which supplies video …read more

Source:: Digiday