How Much Is a View Worth?: 3 New Media Insiders Discuss the Value of Online Video Views with NMR

A question that provokes much debate from many in the YouTube community is “How much is a video view worth?” The short and simple answer is “It depends.”

NMR talked to three new media professionals: Ben Smith of Blayze, Rob Gabel of TubularLabs and Brendan Gahan of Mekanism, about the value of video content and how creators can understand the value of each video view.

What is the actual worth of a video view?

Ben Smith: The amount of money you’re making on AdSense on YouTube, it would go up and down monthly. Some people think that Google and YouTube are deciding that on their own, but it’s really a lot of variables when they’re selling these ads across their network.

Rob Gabel: A similar question would be “What’s an impression worth?” An ad impression is an interesting thing. It really depends — average is important but it’s tough. A view or an impression on a video is worth nearly zero unless it creates an impact or an effect on the viewer psychologically or even transactionally. Does the video they watch make them feel better about the content creator and more interested in watching and does it help lead to a loyal audience? A video that just entertains you and you don’t remember anything about it, and it was kind of fluffy has less of an impact or meaning to — as opposed to something like Levi’s — a video that can put Levi’s in a good place that might impact people more.

Brendan Gahan: It’s worth as much as people are willing to pay. If you think about YouTube — they implement a bidding system which takes into account supply and demand. Depending on who you’re targeting and the type of content you want to advertise against, your ads will be more or less expensive based on who else is bidding against the same parameters.

How can creators understand the value of their content?

Smith: Blayze works with content creators to gain audience and new viewers. We want to increase the size of the pie. We find like-minded viewers that you might not have yet and introduce them to your content. If you have a sports channel, we’ll find sports fans, show them your content and get them to subscribe and watch your stuff, therefore increasing the size of your audience.

Gabel: A video that has a strong impact is worth more to an advertiser or someone who’s willing to pay for it. It gets down to the content. If you got some videos that have an impact on an audience and they really think this is an amazing person — to me that might be a little bit of value because it might become a loyal audience that you might run advertising with. If it’s [someone like] Steven Spielberg or a talent agent or someone who watches a video and goes, “Wow, that’s interesting. I like this person,” that could launch their career and be worth millions and millions of dollars. It’s really important who’s watching. That affects dramatically the impact of the view and the impact that the view had.

Gahan: For brand campaigns we typically try to provide value in the form of content and/or experiences offline or online. We call this the candy with the medicine. We want to create an awesome experience while simultaneously educating the consumer. We’ve done this in the past with exclusives to be shared with fans, VIP experiences, online/immersive content, etc.

While actual numbers are scarce, it is clear from the people we’ve interviewed that engaging viewers and creating content that is powerful increases the value of each video view. However, value can mean a lot of different things depending on who you ask, so it’s important for content creators to balance their content to reflect their own needs, what their viewers want and what advertisers are looking for.

If you think this discussion is fascinating, read about YouTube’s interface update and whether paid subscriptions will help YouTube in the future.

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