4 Ways to Make More Money Through Online Video

In October 2012, Americans watched around 11 billion video ads, which added up to 3.8 billion minutes of ad time. Video ads reached over half the US population an average of 68 times just during that one month. Television may still be the main medium by which people access video, but the habits of selecting and viewing videos are changing noticeably.

If there's a screen, people will watch video on it.
If there’s a screen, people will watch video on it.

In homes with high-speed internet, one-quarter of all video is viewed on screens other than television screens, including laptops, tablets, and phones. The changes in video viewing habits may provide a great opportunity for publishers of online newspapers, magazines, and trade publications to develop a new revenue stream in addition to site ads, subscriptions, e-commerce, and custom job boards. Following are 4 ways you could make more money with online video.

1. Long-Form Video Ads

In the fourth quarter of 2012, long-form videos (at least 20 minutes long) loaded 9.4 video ads, on average, the highest of any quarter since statistics were collected. By contrast, advertising levels dropped in mid-form (5 to 20 minute) and short-form (less than 5 minute) videos. Furthermore, ad completion rates were highest for long-form videos compared with mid-form and short-form videos. To succeed with long-form, you need a strong built-in audience, and more ”evergreen” rather than topical content. CollegeHumor released a long-form movie titled ”Coffee Town” straight to the internet and became a top-10 download on iTunes.

In an interview with the LA Times, Ricky Van Veen, CollegeHumor co-founder, said, ”We think that there are some movies that need to buy a lot of TV ads and be in 3,000 theaters to be successful, but something like ‘Coffee Town’ we believe can find an audience without those bells and whistles.” The success of this long-form piece appears to prove Van Veen right. Here’s the trailer for ”Coffee Town.”

2. Training and Educational Videos

When was the last time you were excited about statistics? While an actuary or bookmaker may find the topic engrossing, the average person does not. But have a look at Professor Hans Rosling, a 65-year-old Swedish statistician, discussing population stats of 200 countries over a 200 year period. First showcased at TED in 2006, the video shows the rather ordinary-looking Rosling captivating an audience to the point where he had to repeatedly wait for laughter or applause to die down to continue. When presented in a captivating manner, with a logical progression, even the driest topics can become riveting educational or training videos.

3. How-To Videos

Learning everything from car maintenance to hair styling to cooking via online video is now mainstream.
Learning everything from car maintenance to hair styling to cooking via online video is now mainstream.

Increasingly, when people want to learn how to change the air filter on their car, light the pilot light on their water heater, or decorate a cake, they turn to YouTube to find the appropriate how-to video. Would you believe that a how-to video on how to tie a necktie has had more than 13 million views since 2008? That’s right: necktie retailer MyNiceTie is committed to helping people look great and make the most of their ties by showing them how to tie their neckties properly. In fact, MyNiceTie has an entire YouTube channel devoted to tying ties – something that many young men today grow up without learning how to do.

4. Virtual Tours

Virtual tours are frequently used by real estate companies to help home buyers save time by viewing the interiors and exteriors of homes they’re interested in online. However, virtual tours can be used in countless ways. For example, Popular Science published a virtual tour of the proposed Poseidon Undersea Resort back in 2006 that’s been viewed nearly 1.6 million times. Under two minutes long, the concept video features lush colors and dreamy music. But here’s the kicker: the Poseidon Undersea Resort hasn’t even been built yet! That’s right: a virtual tour video has been viewed nearly 1.6 million times, and there’s nothing to actually tour yet. That’s enough to make you consider doing a virtual tour of a new venue in your coverage area or a home you’re featuring in your online magazine.

Long-form videos, educational videos, how-tos, and virtual tours are all popular video formats that can work for the publishers of online newspapers, magazines, and trade journals. Sponsorship opportunities and in-video ads can earn you money, and the videos themselves can drive traffic to your site.

Production companies can help with some or all of your video production needs, from planning to shooting, to editing. Costs of creating compelling videos are dropping as equipment becomes more sophisticated and widely available. If you haven’t considered adding online video to your advertising, subscription, e-commerce, and job board revenue streams, perhaps it’s time to reconsider. With US viewers watching nearly 40 billion online videos in a month’s time, perhaps this enormous audience could help you develop traffic for your website.

Photo Credits: adamr / freedigitalphotos.net, -Marcus- / freedigitalphotos.net

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