Using a Video Recommendations Engine: How Publishers can Boost User Engagement

Apr 15, 2021


With more brands and publishers creating video content online than ever before, it’s become important for digital publishers to find ways to maximize viewer engagement in scalable, sustainable ways. As competition for audience attention becomes more challenging, every publisher is looking for ways to maximize reach and revenue.

In a survey of 221 companies conducted by JW Player in January 2021, over 51% of publishers considered increasing video engagement to be their top priority. Not only are digital publishers facing competition from other news and content publications, they’re also battling ever-changing platform algorithms, measurement challenges in light of a cookie-less future and user privacy concerns, and more.

How to keep your audience engaged and boost your ad revenue

Once viewers discover your site whether that’s through search or social media (two of the most common traffic sources for publishers), how do you compel them to stay for longer, to watch more content or become a loyal visitor?

The answer can be found by deepening audience engagement and implementing solutions that empower publishers to convert initial visits into incremental plays, a loyal audience, and maximized ad or subscription revenue.

Recommendations playlists leverage algorithms to present related content that a viewer is likely to be interested in watching next. By keeping audiences engaged longer, more videos are watched and more inventory becomes available for monetization.

By using data on similar videos watched and completed, the JW Player Recommendations engine delivers contextually relevant video suggestions personalized by your site’s viewing habits. The engine analyzes billions of signals including video metadata and viewer behavior to recommend the most relevant content.

When setting up Recommendations, a content editor simply associates a recommendations playlist to one of their JW players. Once a player is embedded on a site, any initial content played will automatically create a playlist of recommended videos based on the video currently being watched.

Recommendations can be displayed within the playlist as a shelf, shelf widget, or overlay. The related videos can also be set up to appear externally outside of the player.

Video Recommendations Engine - JW Player Benefits

5 Benefits of Using a Recommendations Playlist

1. Increase video views

Using a Recommendations playlist , publishers can expect to generate 88% follow-on plays per initial play, an increase of 30% over trending-now playlists. Recommendations encourage viewers to continue watching content, thereby increasing the number of videos watched and video completes.

2. Increase ad inventory

Over 50% of publishers report increasing ad revenue as their top goal this year. One of the biggest benefits for increasing video views is the corresponding increase in available ad inventory. Publishers generate 79% follow-on ad impressions per initial play. Capturing the interest of a video viewer can be challenging, but once the user is already interested, publishers are more likely to generate future interest.

Video Recommendations Playlist

3. Save time with operational efficiencies

JW Player’s Recommendations engine helps publishers save time by automating the generation of a playlist based on the video being currently watched. It simplifies the editorial process and creates time for editors to focus on high value tasks. Editors are simply responsible for curating the initial content, either a single media or playlist, and JW Player will automatically generate a unique recommendations playlist for all subsequent plays.

4. Save resources with automation

Curating playlists can be a labor intensive process for content editors. Building and maintaining in-house recommendation solutions requires significant data science, developer resources, and constant maintenance. Implementation consists of a few steps in the JW Player dashboard or Management API as part of the publisher workflow.

5. Utilize large video libraries

Publishers often have large libraries of content, and leveraging Recommendations helps utilize all available content in many places with ease. Maximize all the available videos in your library by including them in your recommendations playlist.

Boost audience engagement with video intelligence. With signals from billions of plays across the JW Player network, we surface the most relevant content to deepen engagement (and drive more plays).

Increasing video engagement doesn’t have to be hard when using features like the Recommendations from JW Player. Focus your efforts on creating more content for your audience and let your online video player work to increase engagement automatically.

Learn more about audience engagement here.