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Jordan HoffnerCEOSalon Media Group
While the written word will always pull in audiences, Salon Media Group conceded that the market for video advertising was growing and decided to enter the fray. eMarketer’s Sean Creamer spoke with Jordan Hoffner, Salon’s CEO, about how the publisher developed its video strategy, and how its audience consumes video content.
eMarketer: What prompted Salon to dedicate more resources to producing video content?
Jordan Hoffner: There was an effort in the middle of 2015 to do more videos because there was an opportunity for higher [cost per thousand] CPMs, and now the video advertising ecosystem is maturing. While it still has a way to go before it catches up to display, it shows a lot of promise with tools like video header bidding.
eMarketer: How did Salon develop its video content strategy?
Hoffner: Salon is a place for conversation, so we decided that the best and easiest way to make content was to do interviews on video. We started Salon Talks, our long-form video effort distributed across the Salon website, Facebook, Twitter, the Tout network and YouTube. We’ve also expanded Salon Talks into Salon Stage, where we invite musicians to do interviews and perform.
eMarketer: What had to be done for Salon to become a full-fledged video producer?
Hoffner: We upgraded our technology so we could report the news through video. We can create firsthand reporting by conducting Skype interviews with people who can’t make it to the studio.
For example, our new London Bureau was able to do Skype interviews with people on the ground just minutes after the recent London Tube bombing. And during the [August 2017 lunar] eclipse, we had a prominent astronomer come on and answer questions. We also wrote stories about these events and melded all of the content together.
eMarketer: How has Salon raised awareness for its video content?
Hoffner: We actively market content on social platforms in order to distribute directly to our user base and create organic traffic. We also buy social advertising to hit target audiences and bring them back to our site. Though it’s a relatively new area for us, we’ve already had success from our trials. We’ll continue to do this and scale it.
eMarketer: How do audiences consume your video content?
Hoffner: Going forward, consumption will grow on devices, whether it’s tablets, phones or OTT devices. Consumption on desktops will grow much less. We’re evolving our strategy based on the assumption that it’s mobile-first.
Our audiences spend a lot of time on our site, and [the number of] pages viewed per session is increasing. These two key elements show us that our audience is engaged and they consume our expanded video content.
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