Bridging the Marketing Gap: Turning Attention into Action

Bridging the Marketing Gap: Turning Attention into Action

by Dan Karlin,  Last updated: July 4, 2018 at 6:46 am 

One of the challenges facing companies today is reaching prospects and customers that are being inundated with information all day every day.  No longer content with a single screen, approximately 70% of adults in the U.S. will also use a phone or tablet regularly while watching TV.  Traditional advertising in a TV show works on the assumption that a viewer’s attention is maintained during commercial breaks.  In reality, many viewers are simply focusing on their second screen content and those TV ads that used to work so well become woefully ineffective.

This is one example, but for marketers of all stripes this is a growing problem.  In physical store environments, watching streaming media, or simply walking in a public space, there is no longer any way to ensure engagement with your content when everyone has a smartphone.  You can’t have a captive audience for any message if everyone can retreat to their own digital world at a moment’s notice.

Given this environment, if you’re a marketer working in 2018 there are two major concerns that must be addressed:

1.)    How can I capture the attention of enough potential customers?
2.)    Once I have someone’s attention (however brief), how can I make the most of it?

One option is to concentrate on embedded advertisements and product placement within the content of the show itself.  With inserted ad breaks users have a clear indicator of when they can tune out, but with product placement the content of the show and your product are much more closely aligned and harder to separate.  This certainly isn’t the only option, but it is a way to cut down on the fragmentation of your audience’s attention.

Now let’s say you’ve gone down the product placement path or jumped through another hoop to get your message in front of a viewer, the second step is getting those viewers to translate their attention to an action.  This action could be as simple as getting that viewer to look up the product on an ecommerce site and make a purchase, or if it’s a brick and mortar experience you may be trying to deliver a coupon as a reminder or incentive for your audience to visit at a later date.  If your marketing goal is to drive audience engagement, maybe the “action” you want your audience to take is to post something on social media.  In any case, a marketer’s ultimate goal is to get their audience to take an action of some sort, and that action could take a number of forms.

This is where Onwards Bridge comes in.

Introducing Onwards Bridge

Onwards Bridge is a new tool that marketers can use to turn a viewer’s attention into action.  This is done by giving your audience the ability to sync their phone with your content through the touch of a button.  Whether it’s making a purchase, delivering a coupon, or starting a conversation on social media, the smartphones that could be taking attention away from your product can now be used to increase engagement.

How does this work?  Onwards Bridge works by using ACR, or audio content recognition.  This provides a seamless way for your mobile app to sync with what your viewers are seeing on-screen.  Onwards Bridge allows fast, accurate identification of your content wherever it is being shown, and then sends the viewer to the content you’ve specified.

The marketing landscape is constantly shifting, with media consumption habits changing radically from what they were just a few years ago.  Onwards Bridge is a new tool in the marketer’s toolbox to make the most out of their viewer’s interaction with your content.  Interested in learning more?  Check out the links below.

Further Reading:
Onwards Bridge
Second-screen experiences: The future of media consumption
EMarketer: 70% of US adults 'second-screen' while watching TV

Onwards Media Group

Why Not Youtube?

Why Not YouTube?

by Dan Karlin,  Last updated: May 30, 2018 at 9:21 am 

For anyone trying to build an audience for their video content, YouTube and other free video hosting sites are an easy way to get started.  YouTube is the biggest player in the free hosting space, but there are plenty of other options out there.  In the U.S., DailyMotion, Facebook, Vimeo, and Wistia are all major players, and pretty much anywhere on the planet there is a free video hosting service of some sort available.

These sites all have a few things in common that make them attractive to individuals or companies that want to make their content available, but I’ll use YouTube as an example.  First off, it’s completely free to get started.  You can upload your videos, do some light editing, and get your content out immediately.  You don’t have to worry about paying for servers, bandwidth, or data delivery.  YouTube has hundreds of millions of unique visitors every month, giving you a gigantic potential audience and a revenue stream through advertising.

With all these benefits, why would anyone want to host their own video solution?

Ultimately, these “free” video solutions have a few hidden costs, to both your direct revenue stream and to your branding.  Essentially, the more successful your content becomes, the more money you’re leaving on the table.  YouTube doesn’t publish detailed revenue-sharing information, but according to several sources they average somewhere around $1,000 paid to the content creator for every 1,000,000 views.  Looked at from another angle, Facebook publishes their revenue-sharing rate and they keep a full 45% of all ad revenue with the rest going to the content owner.  In either case even a very popular video or stream doesn’t guarantee a giant payday from these industry giants.

Beyond the direct revenue impact, there are marketing and branding opportunities that are lost when you go with “free” video hosting.  First, you don’t get to pick what ads are displayed to your viewers or how those ads are delivered.  Viewers may be getting unwanted pop-ups, in-video displays that may obscure your content while it’s played, and the ads themselves may be for companies you don’t want associated with your brand.  Secondly, with any free hosting solution, you’re buying into that company’s revenue model.

With your own solution you get to decide how the video player operates, total control on viewing experience, and what you want your revenue model to be.  With your own solution you set the relationship between you and your viewers.  Want to sell your own ads or sponsorships?  Want no ads at all and to charge for a subscription?  Moving away from free hosting gives you new options.

Hosting your content on your own site means all the traffic you generate is going to your site and you can help guide your viewers to the next thing (video, product, article, etc.)  Audience attention can drive a business, and keeping your audience on your site can have a direct impact on your bottom line.  In contrast, YouTube recommendations are setup to maximize YouTube’s brand and increase the time spent on YouTube.

With all these factors, why don’t more companies host their own solutions?  There are a few reasons for this, but in many cases companies don’t have the expertise to know what they can do given their scale and how to get up and running.  Onwards Media Group talks to companies in this situation all the time.  With Onwards Pro you can get your own branded video platform up and running very quickly at low start up cost.  If you’re interested in finding out more let us know

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Announcing Multiplier

Announcing Onwards Multiplier – OTT Video Delivery Evolved

by Dan Karlin,  Last updated: May 24, 2018 at 9:18 am 

Over the last decade, we’ve seen a huge shift in the media landscape towards streaming services and away from traditional TV and cable subscriptions.  Cord-cutters and cord-nevers are on the rise, and consumers don’t want to pay for a bloated cable package or sit through commercials on a live TV station.  Cheap streaming boxes like the Amazon Fire, Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, and others, together with content providers and aggregators such as Hulu, Netflix, iQiyi and others, have made it easy for consumers to pick their content and choose the services they want à la carte without committing to a large cable bundle.  In terms of devices, in addition to streaming boxes and smart TVs, mobile video is on the rise, but for HD content and any group viewing experience the large-screen TV isn’t going away anytime soon.

This tectonic shift in the media space means that more and more video content is being delivered through the internet instead of the closed systems used with cable and satellite systems.  Cisco, which sells networking hardware, released a study predicting that video will account for about 82% of all internet traffic by 2020, and that total demand for network bandwidth will increase by 185% compared to 2017.  Part of this is due to increased demand for 4K, 5K, and VR content, all of which require a higher bitrate for streaming solutions to work properly.  Higher definition content combined with consumers moving away from cable and satellite means there will be more network congestion, heavier load on traditional CDNs and higher costs for data delivery.

For OTT solutions to survive in this new environment, it’s going to be more and more important for companies to review their whole video processing workflow and how they can deliver video in the most efficient way possible.

Traditional CDN model

Today, many OTT solutions use a content delivery network (CDN) to help deliver video to their users.  Akamai, Amazon CloudFront, Microsoft Azure, and many other CDNs are available to deliver content, and in every case their business model is built around the idea of charging for every byte of data sent to your users.

For example, let’s say you have a 4K video you’re streaming to your users through a traditional CDN.  To watch a 4K stream requires somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 Mbps (depending on the codec, framerate, streaming protocol, etc.)  If you have 100 users all watching that same 4K video stream, every user is being sent their own copy of every byte of that stream and your CDN is charging you for the 5,000 Mbps that your users are eating up.

Traditional CDN: every user gets their own stream

This works out great for the CDN, because they are charging you for every byte that’s being sent, and they aren’t concerned if it’s causing greater network congestion or delivering the data in an inefficient way.  This is where Onwards Multiplier comes in.

Onwards Multiplier

Onwards Multiplier is designed to deliver your video content in a new way.  Instead of every user acting as their own isolated island, your users now become a mesh network.  Once your video player is configured to use Onwards Multiplier, your users can source the video from multiple locations outside of the CDN’s edge network, including from other users who are watching the same content.  You can still use the same CDN and keep doing everything you’ve been doing in your current OTT solution, but now with a less expensive CDN bill.

Onwards Multiplier: users can share content

With this new model, viewers watching the same content can share with each other.  For my example earlier, we had 100 people watching a 4K video stream at 50 Mbps each.  Using Onwards Multiplier, when the video stream can be sourced from multiple locations.  This gives more redundancy to your network, reduces network congestion to your CDN’s edge servers, and can substantially reduce the data that needs to be delivered by your CDN.  Even with a conservative estimate of something like a 50% CDN data reduction, that means your CDN can deliver the same high-quality 4K video to your 100 users with a 2,500 Mbps stream of data instead of 5,000 Mbps.  That can have a huge impact of your CDN bill, and in turn on your operating expenses.  For streaming services to compete in this new environment, this type of advancement is going to be necessary to stay ahead of your competition.

What about security?

Whenever any company brings up anything involving users sharing data or any sort of P2P technology, there is still a shadow cast by the days of Napster and when P2P technology was primarily used for piracy and other illegal activities.  Today many of those fears have been addressed, but there are still lingering fears out there that any sort of user sharing is going to be associated with piracy or content being stolen.

Onwards Multiplier was built with security in mind, including an extra layer of encryption on top of any security mechanisms you have in place with your current OTT platform.  Even if data is somehow intercepted when being sent from one user to another, that data will not be usable.  Also the video data stored in each viewing device is only temporarily and not directly accessible by the user, hence there is no way for user to extract and keep the data.

What’s not to like?

Onwards Multiplier gives your OTT solution a boost.  Your users get a more reliable connection to your video content, higher bitrate video content, and all with a reduced CDN bill.  Onwards Multipier version 3.0 was just released, and integrating your solution is as easy as using our SDK with your player.  It works with iOS, Android, web, and even set-top boxes.  Interested?  We’d love to talk to you.

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Onwards Media Group