USA TODAY’s Top 5 Tips for Media Sellers



How do digital media publishers assure advertisers and types video views?

“It’s impossible,” stated Ilana Levin, Executive Director for Sales Strategy and Development at USA TODAY, in a current Tubular webinar. Therein lies the wrestle for so many media sellers at this time.

“Advertisers want metrics that we can’t necessarily deliver and guaranteed views that we cannot necessarily promise.”

To overcome this, publishers should construct confidence amongst potential advertisers. Gannett & Co.’s USA TODAY video property is approaching this with gusto.

The media arm is main video progress throughout the premium advert enterprise, because of a daring model identification and a classy video narrative they ship to media consumers.

It’s about figuring out “what is valuable to our readers and intersecting that with what brands and advertisers find valuable and creating this really great marriage,” added Russ Torres, VP of Digital Video Content and Strategy at USA TODAY.

To obtain this, USA TODAY routinely harnesses Tubular information to fulfill the wants of their bread-and-butter audiences and, importantly, to distinguish themselves to advertisers.

Tubular hosted a webinar with Levin and Torres to unpack USA TODAY’s profitable digital video technique. We’ve consolidated these into 5 actionable tips about easy methods to increase your media promoting:

  • Identify your wow issue 
  • Ask your self powerful questions
  • Solidify your KPI technique
  • Uncover white area you may enter with model companions 
  • Adapt shortly to evolving viewers preferences

Read on as we unpack them.

Watch the complete webinar right here

1. Identify Your Wow Factor

Digital publishing at this time is overwhelming. There is an oversaturation of content material to compete with. And there are countless methods viewers can eat movies, from platform (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook), to cellular versus desktop, to CTV (Roku, Fire, Apple TV) and OTT (Netflix, Amazon, iTunes).

One month’s price of social video information alone is really an ocean: 2 trillion views. 40 billion engagements. Almost 100 million movies uploaded.

To stand out, media publishers should differentiate themselves to potential advertisers by producing participating content material verticals that draw constant audiences.

“Identifying those strengths and those differentiating factors is paramount in order to survive and thrive today,” Levin stated. It begins by “capitalizing on our franchise that performs well.”

One such franchise is USA TODAY’s profitable Humankind manufacturers. Launched in 2015, it contains “Humankind,” “Militarykind,” and “Animalkind.” And in 2019, “we launched ‘KidKind’ thanks to Tubular’s insights about a good area to expand into,” Levin stated.

These verticals inform tales about extraordinary ordinaries, folks and animals participating in acts of compassion and social uplift. These are tales that throttle your coronary heart, from troopers reuniting with their younger kids to kangaroo rescues in the course of the current Australia wildfire.

The Humankind franchise garners about 5B cross-platform views in a yr, and a constant 35-40M views on Facebook in a single month, in response to Tubular information.

USA TODAY additionally has reside information video choices and video franchises based mostly after the newspaper’s iconic sections (from the green-collared cash part to the purple-tinted life part).

When it involves populating these feeds with high quality content material, USA TODAY’s dad or mum firm Gannett & Co., which just lately merged with Gatehouse Media, has greater than 260 U.S. information operations, starting from small gamers just like the Columbus Dispatch in Ohio, to the Detroit Free Press and the aforementioned USA Today. All of them are “thinking as one newsroom,” defined Levin.

Finally, the media entity has a studio construction referred to as Bluepoint Originals, which is “premium, high-quality, serial, custom-content around passion points,” defined Levin. This can be the point of interest for the corporate’s branded inventive content material staff, which presents a direct in-house income portal.

2. Ask Tough Questions

To finest drive income, Torres routinely grapples with massive questions when green-lighting video campaigns.

  • Is a video industrial sufficient for a selected sponsor or model?
  • What does that appear to be in a constant, scalable, and repeatable manner?
  • What is the best frequency of a video marketing campaign?
  • What platform do you give attention to?
  • Do you publish sure loss leaders although the platform doesn’t supply relative compensation, however could supply advertising and marketing and attain?

“There are just these strands of unknowns and it certainly does take a little bit of crystal ball reading,” stated Torres.

But asking these inquiries to then set particular person KPIs for your totally different properties may also help you gauge success.

three. Solidify Your Strategy and Benchmarks

Before approaching media consumers, it’s vital to make clear your gross sales technique and particular person KPIs. “Are you revenue-based, are you content consumption-based?” Levin stated. In the case of USA TODAY, “we want people to consume our content and we want to make money from it.”

The USA TODAY staff consists of hundreds of media sellers. The majority of these are on the native staff representing greater than 100 native properties. They even have a 20-person nationwide gross sales staff that focuses on monetizing nationwide campaigns.

USA TODAY’s aim is to maintain viewers on the web page. When it involves inner video metrics, the gross sales and content material groups look to video completion charges as a key metric of success.

The staff watches “to see if the user gets past the first video into what we’re calling continuous play,” Levin stated. Entering steady play means extra advert begins and thereby larger monetization.

Externally, Levin stated she will get a number of questions from media consumers about “which video lengths get more views. I’ll just rationalize that these metrics are not truly indicative of our performance and our success.”

“Video views are vanity,” added Torres. The actual focus is time spent. “We use not only the duration (audiences) watched but where they dropped off. That just helps you tighten up the creative and make the content more meaningful to users.”

For those that don’t have recent metrics when selling a brand new enterprise, one other tact is to give attention to model affinity. “When I don’t have the numbers, I just talk about the value of the USA Today Brand. We’re a household name. We reach one in two Americans. That stands for something,” Levin stated.

four. Uncover White Space

Explore High-Performing Video Categories

Almost 100 million movies are uploaded to social video platforms every month. These movies vary from user-generated content material (assume: a canine chasing a cat up a tree) to publishers who’re creating dynamic way of life content material at scale.

With such scope and selection, how do digital media publishers hold tabs on new tendencies and growth alternatives?

“One of the tools we use is Tubular to really help us identify white space. Particularly in social, where there are so many publishers,” Torres stated.

Tubular helps us to grasp who the leaders are particularly classes and that’s the manner we get at the kind of movies that we predict our readers will wish to watch and eat.

Consider journey. After seeing nice traction in its text-based journey content material, USA TODAY is creating a video franchise. They got here to this path by “leveraging the data” to see what they had been robust at and “comparing that to what’s not being represented well in our channel,” Levin stated.

“We went to Tubular and stated now that we’ve recognized journey as our white area, what particularly about journey? Is it meals, is it journey hacks and suggestions, is it trend in different international locations, is it sports activities in different international locations? What aspect of journey goes to work finest?” Levin stated.

Taking on Levin’s course of, let’s drill down on Tubular’s Travel & Destinations class. It’s clearly sizzling. In 2019 the style earned 15.8B views and 225M engagements on YouTube for 89Okay movies, and 20.9B views and 559M engagements on Facebook for 99.8K movies.

Among these, experiential journey movies are clearly successful out. We’re speaking bucket-list, daredevil journey content material. Extra factors in the event that they incorporate aerial magnificence photographs!

The prime 5 most-viewed journey movies in 2019 embody going up a slim set of stairs in Sri Lanka (in freaking flip flops), turning your self right into a human slingshot in New Zealand (ouch), and shedding your lunch on the mindblowing 2019 Coachella Ferris Wheel.

Approach Advertisers With Early, Actionable Insights

For USA TODAY, uncovering white area helps higher cement their relationship with advertisers.

For instance, the media model’s inner reporting found a lift in residence renovation curiosity and spending.

The video sellers took this information and stratevideogized easy methods to talk this to advertisers in order that they “get forward of what they-don’t-know-they-don’t-know,” stated Torres. “That there is this expenditure coming and actually we can get you in front of people who have a curiosity about buying their first home.”

They then follow-up with a robust case for video. “Video is really helpful for that because it is a demonstrative medium. It shows you the hit of the hammer on the nail. It debriefs with construction and carpentry experts,” stated Torres.

Methods like this permit USA TODAY to benefit from a rising pattern in addition to give advertisers an early buy-in.

5. Adapt Quickly to Evolving Audience Preferences

Audiences are fickle. It’s vital to adapt to altering preferences swiftly. Torres has a mantra to this finish: Fail quick. Iterate. If one thing isn’t working, cease.

“You iterate, you study the insights, you make changes based on insights provided and if it’s still a clunker, it’s time to move on.”

Advertisers construct belief in your model in the event that they know you might be fearlessly adapting to higher meet your audiences’ wants. Torres cites Brighthouse Financial’s current sponsorship of their World Series Coverage.

“We’re two pieces in and our programming team, which operates with real-time analysis, noticed we weren’t given the expected completion rate.” His staff used on-the-ground insights and adjusted their content material immediately to hook audiences longer.

Ensuring excessive content material efficiency, and a willingness to change issues up midstream, is a giant a part of long-term shopper relationships.

“It’s helpful that Brighthouse wrote a check to help us sponsor that content, but if people are not watching it, shame on us,” Torres stated. “We want to make sure Brighthouse will come back because they know when they come to us, we convert people.”

Activating USA TODAY’s Video Playbook

USA TODAY’s method to media promoting is seeing repeatable success. Media sellers, if you happen to’re struggling to make headway with consumers, you need to hold USA TODAY’s data-informed method in thoughts.

USA TODAY’s remaining takeaway: The information is obvious. “If your story can offer elements of inspiration, you got it,” Torres stated. This methodology resonates with each viewers and advertisers (who’ve aspirational messaging of their DNA).

Acting on this recommendation is easy:

  • Use video to inform folks one thing they don’t know.
  • Offer components of inspiration, adopted by sensible tips about easy methods to turn out to be higher.

Want to be taught much more methods to match USA TODAY’s success by information?

Watch the free webinar right here



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