Co-Founder & CEO
For those of us not familiar with TeacherTube, please tell us a little more about your property and core audience.
Our goal is to provide an online community for sharing instructional videos and media. We seek to fill a need for a more educationally focused, safe venue for teachers, schools, and home learners. It is a site to provide anytime, anywhere professional development with teachers teaching teachers. As well, it is a site where teachers can post videos designed for students to view in order to learn a concept or skill.
You reach over 40M students just in America, and your branded videos are used by students and teachers alike for their school work and presentations. What type of clients do you typically work with – is it mostly advertisers in the educational space?
If we partner with a large brand who has content, we make sure that it will be a benefit to the teacher, student in the classroom or parent. Larger brands have difficult to reach the classroom due to the fact that some school networks block media sites such as YouTube because of related inappropriate unfiltered content. We take pride in being that safe environment for IT Directors, teachers, students and parents to watch our uploaded content. We review every video manually or algorithmically and have features for our community to flag content as a secondary layer to allow the safe content to be viewed.
Not only we are a safe environment for brands to reach the classroom, but our TeacherTube team of educators help the brand or client organize their content. This saves time especially for teachers who have enough on their plate already, to go to a branded channel and search content, view playlist that we helped organize and also we organize collections. Collections allow users or brands to not only incorporate video, but add support files such as PDFs, Word Docs, PowerPoints or text files that associate with the video on a single page. Not only this saves teachers time, but saves brands and clients time as well.
How do your advertisers typically find you? Or how do you find them?
Brands and Advertisers find us through word of mouth or by visiting our site. We internally are always seeking brands and advertisers that would mutually benefit their clients and our community.
What types of custom ad units do you offer? Have there been any that have worked well for specific advertiser verticals?
We offer Native Advertising and allow clients to create an on-demand Video Wall (partner channel) to house content and tutorials related their product or brand. Tutorials via our On-Demand section is where we showcase our Partners work the best for our clients. For instance, Texas Instruments has over 400 videos that show you how to use their products and add-ons for Ti Calculators. This is greatly beneficial for math teachers or science teachers who need on-demand instruction on their products. Now they can pause, rewind, fast-forward at their own pace to learn. Likewise with students and parents. :) And who has never used a TI Calculator?
What has been your experience so far offering native ad units, or branded videos? Do you think this is the future for all publishers due to the higher CPMs they yield? How has your audience reacted to these branded content videos?
We are in a niche market, education. Teachers, for example, they already have 25+ different products they are using in the classroom. If we can help save a teacher 5 minutes by showing a video tutorial on a product they are using in the classroom, that’s 5 more minutes they can spend teaching students. Branded videos or tutorials for instance, provides mutual benefit for both client and teacher. That is key. The teacher is able to understand or learn more about a brand they are using and the brand is able to service their customers at no additional support via content they upload to TeacherTube.
Native Ad Units and Branded Videos in my opinion are the future. Take a look at BuzzFeed or pull up top YouTube channels. Brands have found a way to reach a new audience through these methods.
Great example of this was through my own experience. Granted I am from Texas, and if you have lived in Texas in the summer…it’s hot! 100+ degrees hot for months. My air conditioner went out on my truck. I am cheap, yes I still have a 2006 Silverado that has over 200,000 miles and don’t plan on a new one any time soon. Nothing flashy, but I take care of it and do all the regular scheduled maintenance. It’s a great truck. This AC issue was the first malfunction that it ever had. So I took it to the local dealership and told them my issue. They gave me a quote and my jaw dropped. $3000 bucks to replace this? So, I like many, searched Google to find if anyone was talking about this or if there was a recall on my particular model. I found a video by a mechanic at O’Reilly’s. It was gold! He essentially gave video step by step instruction on what to do and what part to purchase to fix this issue. So, for $50 bucks I put my gloves on and 30 minutes later…boom! Air Condition!
This is the power of video and branded video. They helped me save $2950 and I just spent $50 bucks at their store. Granted this is a personal event, but this happens in our niche of education as well. Brands on TeacherTube who provide support and instruction to teachers, students and parents…the brand attract loyal customers. Just like I am now a loyal customer of O’Reilly’s.
No doubt direct sold advertising percentage is much higher than network or exchanges. But it’s only fair. Our team closes a direct sold advertiser who did all the work should be compensated more. However, network and exchanges may pay a lower percentage, but they take advantage of our un-filled inventory. So both of these methods working simultaneously works best for all and eliminates fill issues that some may face.
What do you think is the biggest challenges for publishers today?
Ad blocking and mobile advertising. Both of these items are so new, all businesses are faced with going outside of the traditional box to continue to monetize.
Ad blocking is at its all time high. And for businesses like us who depend on ads to allow our site for free, it hurts. But that is challenge of business. You have to adapt to change and if you don’t, you are left out.
Same with mobile advertising. Our mobile traffic has steadily increased over 10% each year since 2013. We have to continue to test and a/b test and test again to ultimately find a mutual benefit for monetization strategy outcome and our users.
How has ad blocking affected TeacherTube?
It is definitely on the rise. As mentioned previously, we have to adapt to change to support ad-blocking users as well as non ad-blocking users.
Can you share some of the most critical tools you use at TeacherTube, when it comes to advertising / ad ops / analytics / measurement? (eg. Doubleclick for Publishers, Google Analytics, comScore, Quantcast, Salesforce, Sellercrowd, etc)
We use Google Analytics and DFP. I use them in the same sentence because you have to have one to measure the other.
GA is the most critical tool. For instance, in 2014 our analytics showed that a single user was only spending about 1min on our site and then exiting. This equated to about 1 video per visit. So in 2015 we started “Project Engagement”. Our goal was to have visitors stay longer, watch more videos, get involved, upload more content, etc… Become more engaged with our site. So we added new engagement features, created how to videos, provided easier support, easier ways to watch related videos, etc… At the end of 2015 our users where staying on our site more that 7 minutes. This was huge for us and to this day we are still enhancing engagement and making it easier to find what the visitors are looking for in faster ways than ever.
Not only can you help your UX experience through GA, but you can geo-target your audience. This helps in organizing DFP by geo-targeting certain campaigns. If a car dealership that is located in Georgia who wants to promote a content or discount for educators, we are able to provide needed analytics through both platforms to examine a campaign goal and strategy.
What are your thoughts on programmatic buying for advertisers?
Programmatic buying is the way to go and the future. If you know any advertising platform, most of the time spent is changing rates or impressions manually. Especially like us, we have a dozen networks that we run for our unfilled inventory. Programmatic buying eliminates the manual work and maximizes monetization automatically.
Lastly, what is your take on the future of media selling for independent publishers?
I maybe a little biased, but most will agree that video is the new bridge. It’s no different if you look at the history of communication starting with the railroad or morse code, it was a faster way to travel and communicate. With video being the medium, just like the any other older inventions, it’s only going to get better.
I will say content will be king in this movement. Sites with more content to offer, the more users will watch and essentially binge watch. Netflix style. For independent publishers who can not only sale branded content to sites that allow such media, it is also going to be important that they will also be able to create the content or find content creators as well. This is the exciting part, because that means that you and me could be the creators of that content for brands. Just like I found the mechanic from O’Reilly’s, that was not some paid actor, I was getting the real thing. That’s what I want, and I could poll 100 people off the street and they would say the same thing.
Our goal is to provide an online community for sharing instructional videos. We seek to fill a need for a more educationally focused, safe venue for teachers, schools, and home learners. It is a site to provide anytime, anywhere professional development with teachers teaching teachers. As well, it is a site where teachers can post videos designed for students to view in order to learn a concept or skill.