Business Insider and LittleThings Share 3 Tips on Becoming Video-First Publishers

Getting rid of pop-up ads is a start

Digital video producers have to keep audiences in mind while working with platforms. Insider
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These days, nearly every digital publication is concerned about how to do video correctly online.

During an Advertising Week panel titled “How to Become a Video First Business,” lifestyle site LittleThings, which creates over 1,600 pieces of digital and video content each month and Business Insider, which sees over 2.8 billion monthly video views, shared what they’ve learned in this ever-changing ecosystem.

1. Less is better

In reference to busy mobile websites that hit readers with multiple pop-ups before allowing them to reach the content, Justin Festa, the chief digital officer at LittleThings, declared: “Less is better.”

“If you create content of a high enough value, you don’t need all those other ads,” he said. “You’ll get more plays and views without it.”

Festa’s team thinks of users and readers first when designing their desktop, mobile and social layouts; if an audience becomes frustrated with spam-y pop-ups, “they’re not going back to that site.”

2. Think in “breakouts”

Both LittleThings and Business Insider shoot long-form videos with the intent of turning them into shorter, digestable clips.

“We kind of borrowed from late-night shows,” said Festa, “with a longer format setup that breaks into shorter clips for Facebook and YouTube. We think in terms of ‘How would that cut into segments for different platforms?'”

By repurposing content into platform-specific videos, publishers have a chance at cross-platform promotion and growing their audience organically.

“Even for longer interviews we do, we’re able to break those into smaller pieces for both our site and across the web,” said Jana Meron, Business Insider’s vp of programmatic and data strategy. “Facebook and Twitter are driving incremental video views for us which ends up driving additional traffic.”

3. Keep your friends close, and platforms closer

Publishers of all shapes and sizes are at the mercy of platforms and algorithms, as Meron and Festa noted during the panel. But at the end of the day, they’re all still partners. Working within the limitations, instead of against them, is more beneficial in the long run.

“You have to consider what your audience is looking for on a particular platform,” said Festa. “You could have an enormous audience across everything, but are you giving them what they want?”

Meron, too, urged publishers to keep their audience in mind and “get to the consumer wherever they are.”

“We want to deliver the right message for each environment,” said Meron. “We’re always thinking of how long content should be, how to present it to get people to continue to watch, and how long people typically engage for per platform.”

@samimain Sami Main is social editor for Adweek, where she posts Adweek content onto social platforms and looks for creative ways to communicate what's new.