If you run a website and you’re not using video, you could be missing out on a huge amount of traffic every month, not to mention on some pretty lucrative monetization options.
On YouTube alone, users view approximately four billion videos per day. Extend the time scale to one month and the total amount of time spent watching videos is more than six billion hours. Add Facebook into the equation and online video consumption becomes even bigger. More than 323 days worth of video content is viewed on Facebook every single minute, making it clear that users love watching videos online. I guess that means that there is an inherent irony in watching Zombie movies, then…
Know how your mobile traffic is producing much less ad revenue thank the desktop equivalent…Well, producing and distributing video content could be the solution. 59% of mobile users claim that watching videos on mobile devices is convenient and viewing video is, in fact, the most popular form of content consumption worldwide.
As expected, the share of video views on mobile devices has constantly and dramatically been increasing. The shift towards visual content has turned video content into a monetization cash cow!! Engaging videos can effectively reach large audiences, attracting video-based advertisers and earning lucrative video ad CPM rates. So, bottom line, if you want to make more money from your mobile traffic – introduce video content – and monetize it.
If you’re a publisher then, most likely, you’ve already done this math. Video content is not just about monetizing mobile content. It’s also a great asset for increasing engagement on your website, hitting higher monthly pageview figures, and retaining your audience for longer. Better yet, it’s super easy to add engaging video content. Below, we’ve listed seven Flash and HTML5 players that let you quickly and easily embed video content in your blog posts, add video to static HTML pages, and deliver digital video to users on desktop, tablet or mobile. If you’re searching for a stable, user-friendly video player for your website, keep reading as we compare the seven best Flash and HTML video players.
Important factors to look for in a Flash/HTML5 video player
Flash/HTML5 video players range from simple, minimalistic players designed to display short videos to powerful players aimed at long video content. On the backend, many players include features like usage reporting and integrations that make them ideal for web publishers.
To compile our list of the top video players, we looked at nine different factors:
- Price. Some video players are very costly, putting them out of reach of small to medium sized publishers and webmasters. We looked at value for money to determine which players deliver the best features at a fair price.
- Reporting. Usage statistics like the average amount of time watched, top countries and regions, play rate, and other metrics are important for publishers and marketers looking to optimize their online video content and optimize their advertising revenue and user experience. Great reporting tools are essential for success and growth.
- Speed. No one likes waiting for video to load. One of the most important factors in our list is the average load speed and performance of different video players, since speed has such a huge impact on user experience and on ad viewability.
- Integrations/API. Integrations with major ad networks make it easier to monetize your video content. Likewise, an API gives you more power to customize the experience of watching video on your website.
- Accessibility. Subtitles are becoming very popular. Some say search engines can read them better than FLASH content and they make certain NSFW videos safe for work. Not to mention that you should always attempt to make your content accessible to people with disabilities.
- Responsiveness. Today’s web users access your website using desktops, notebooks, tablets, smartphones and other devices. To work for everyone, a video player needs to be responsive and capable of looking great at any screen resolution.
- Customizable. Video works best when it can naturally integrate into the look and feel of your website. We checked that the players on our list are easy to customize to blend in with your website’s color scheme and design.
- Playlist Builder. Playlists are great tools for keeping users on your website longer and increasing ad unit inventory. They also enhance user experience, making them a useful feature for any HTML/Flash video player.
- Formats. Since digital video comes in a variety of formats, a good HTML/Flash player needs to have comprehensive compatibility. The players on our list all support the most widely used online video formats.
- VAST & VPAID Compatibility. If you’re a monetized publisher your video player needs to be compatible with the VAST and/or VPAID specifications. We’ve explained how this affects your ability to serve video ads, as well as its importance, in more detail below.
VAST & VPAID: What’s the difference and why does it matter?
VAST and VPAID are two different specifications used to serve video ads. Both specifications have some shared characteristics, but also have several differences:
- VAST (Video Ad Serving Template) is an IAB specification designed for displaying video ads to users. VAST supports simple in-stream video ad formats, but does not support ad interactivity.
- VPAID (Video Player Ad-Serving Interface Definition) is a specification that establishes a common interface between video player and ad. VPAID allows advertisers to serve video ads that are interactive, with ongoing communication between the ad and video player.
A simple comparison of VAST and VPAID is that VAST delivers simple ads with a limited range of interactions, whereas VPAID allows executable ads with a much greater range of responses based on user actions. This guide, from Know Online Advertising, compares VAST and VPAID in more detail but here’s the gist of it.
All of the HTML5/Flash video players listed below support both VAST and VPAID specifications, either natively or via an extension.
The top 7 Flash and HTML5 video players
- JW Player
- WP Ad Player
- Radiant Media Player
Cedato is a video player and automated advertising yield optimization platform in one. Cedato uses an algorithm to automatically place top-earning ads on each video your website displays, effectively optimizing your video ad earnings for you. Since everything is handled through Cedato, all of your ad reporting is in one place, with key metrics like impressions, RPM and fill rate displayed. It’s best to think of Cedato as the video advertising and display sides of your website, all rolled into one package.
The Cedato player operates using a JS or HTML tag, making it easy to place on your website. It also has a smart VAST tag, which lets you load existing configurations. You can use the Cedato player to display video content, or to deliver video ads inside standard desktop/mobile ad units. If you’d like to see the Cedato player in action, you can view a showcase of in-content, sidebar and masthead players here. Since Cedato is a player and yield optimization solution, adding it to your website means contacting Cedato to apply as a publisher.
Price: CPM model.
2. JW Player
JW player is one of the most popular video players in use today, boasting an impressive range of clients including the Washington Post and Vice. From a technology perspective, JW Player is very impressive. It delivers high quality video with little to no buffering, has a responsive design that looks great at any resolution and on any type of device, and supports almost any widely used video format.
From a monetization perspective, JW Player supports popular ad platforms like Google IMA, as well as a variety of other networks. It’s also possible to use JW Ads — an integrated advertising solution — to integrate with almost any ad network, server or exchange.
As an all-round video player, JW Player is a great choice. It performs well, supports any device and screen resolution, and offers simple integration with all of the most widely used ad servers, networks and exchanges.
Price: Subscription model – from Free (up yo 25GB streaming through $299 a month (for 250GB) to custom pricing.
Video.js is a popular HTML5/Flash video player that’s used by brands like IGN, Funny or Die and TheGuardian. Unlike many of the other players on our list, Video.js is 100% open source and can be downloaded and used without any purchase costs or ongoing fees. Video.js supports all standard HTML5 video formats; browser specific compatibility can vary based on the browser, device and version.
Custom skins are supported via HTML and CSS, even when using Flash. Although Video.js itself is lightweight and only includes the bare necessities, numerous third party plugins add support for chapter thumbnails, ASS/SSA subtitle overlay, playlists, resolution switching and other useful features. There are also VAST and VPAID plugins (available here and here) for publishers that want to monetize their video content using Video.js.
As a simple, free lightweight video player, Video.js is a great choice. Since it’s an open source application, it can require some tinkering and customization before it works well. However, it’s widely used and performs very well, making it a great choice for most websites.
Price: Free and open source.
Radiant Media Player is an HTML5/Flash video player that supports a variety of modern mobile and desktop browsers. One of Radiant’s best features is that it provides support for Apple’s HLS format, which it can convert to HTML5 to play in desktop and mobile browsers. Fully responsive, Radiant Media Player looks and functions great on desktop, notebook, tablet and smartphone hardware. The player has a built-in Flash fallback for browsers that don’t offer full support for HTML5 video, as well as support for 4K/UHD video.
Radiant Media Player supports VAST, VPAID and VMAP video ads, and is designed to function with any VAST-compliant ad server, such as DoubleClick or AdSEnse. Using the ad scheduler, you can insert pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll ads into video at any specific timestamp. There’s also full support for WebVTT and multi-language subtitles. Radiant Media Player can be customized using four HTML5/Flash skins or CSS for the HTML5 video player.
The player offers full support for Google Analytics, making it easy to keep track of your video KPIs. Finally, Radiant Media Player includes adblock detection technology, letting you bypass most ad blockers and display HTML5 and Flash video ads to users who have software such as AdBlock Plus installed. Radiant Media Player packs a lot of features into an affordable HTML5 and Flash video platform.
Price: 0 – $99 monthly.
Ooyala, now part of Dalet, is a video publishing and advertising platform aimed at medium to large publishers that want to host and monetize online video. The Ooyala platform includes an HTML5/Flash player, a variety of monetization solutions, and detailed video analytics for publishers.
The Ooyala Player itself is a broadly compatible HTML5-first video player that supports formats such as DASH and HLS. The player is responsive and works well on desktop and mobile, with a highly customizable, intuitive user interface. The analytics side of Ooyala is Ooyala IQ — a multi-dimensional analysis tool that lets you find your most effective video syndication partners and view geographic, device, traffic source and engagement data on a granular basis for all of your hosted videos.
The move by Dalet means that Ooyala likely doesn’t specialize in monetization anymore. Instead, they focus on orchestration and providing a single asset management hub and data warehouse for media brands.
Price: The Ooyala Standard Package starts at $500/month but the extent of the bandwidth, storage, and content upload is not made public.
FreeWheel.tv is a Comcast company. Their video platform is aimed at large video publishers such as Discovery Communications, AOL and NBC Universal. FreeWheel offers video player and ad management technology and services for its publishers.
FreeWheel is designed for large-scale publishers with direct advertiser relationships. Publishers can manage partnership contracts using FreeWheel, view audience insights and data, plan and strategize using inventory forecasts and carry out monetization A/B tests.
Like Ooyala, FreeWheel is aimed at large publishers with significant amounts of video content and a broad, diverse audience. Its advertiser base is largely made up of US brands, making it a great monetization option for large publishers with lots of US-based traffic.
Price: Unstated but likely to be revenue sharing especially if you join their marketplace.
Video content monetization is the present and future
Video has been a big thing for ad monetization for some time now. It’s been years since we heard Mark Zuckerberg double down on video content. Now, with the proliferation of OTT channels OTT monetization is quickly becoming one hottest talking points in digital publishing.
If we consider traffic volumes and engagement to be our metric of choice then video content is the new king of internetia. But like monarchs of past, it’s time for this king to develop a better business sense and provide his subjects with the spoils of war. Otherwise, he will see himself dethroned quickly.
Eyal Katz is head of marketing at Pangeo. Eyal also likes long walks on the beach at sunset, having a cocktail with friends, and listening to Swedish Death Metal