Daily Dot sees revenue potential in bringing SkyMall products to video

If you’re the kind of person who’s in the market for a coffee table that will charge your phone and chill your drinks at the same time, or a pizza oven that attaches to your stove’s gas range, or a dog-washing vacuum cleaner, you are truly living in a golden age.

The Daily Dot backed into commerce-focused videos almost by accident. But today, it’s a primary source of revenue, and their videos have driven sales of everything from flux capacitor phone chargers to aquariums. Today, a team of editors hunts for products that can grab a viewer’s attention in less than two seconds, because that’s how long video posts take to travel from the bottom to the top of a Facebook user’s feed on mobile.

These videos for products out of a SkyMall category are not only a cost-effective way to drive views on platforms, but also an easy path to multiple sources of revenue: A popular, effective video will drive not only affiliate revenue from the sale of those products, but will allow publishers to build Facebook audience segments they can offer to advertisers for a premium price.

“It’s become another lever we can pull,” said Brian Dresher, vp of business development at the Daily Dot. “After 200 of these [product videos], we’ve figured out a lot.”

If it’s something that their readers are inclined to buy, great. But even the weirder products — the kind that you can scarcely imagine existing, let alone purchasing — serve a strategic purpose too.

For example, a person might not want a two-way camera that allows them to talk to their dog. But the 60 million people who watched the video the Daily Dot made about that product, called PetChatz, were a valuable audience segment to Bissell, a vacuum cleaner company that wanted to target Facebook users interested in pet gadgets.

The Daily Dot made Bissell a custom video, and targeted the Facebook audience that watched its PetChatz video. Those targeting capabilities, along with several other factors, factor into the price brands pay for custom content, Dresher said. In some cases, Daily Dot will charge a premium to target those audiences too, though it didn’t in Bissell’s case.

Since publishing that video earlier this year, the Daily Dot’s done four other branded videos for companies selling pet-focused gadgets, and more are in the pipes.

At this point, product-focused videos drive a “large majority” of Daily Dot’s Facebook video views, and most of the company’s video resources are focused on them. The reason for the balance is purely economic. “It just allows us to create more economic opportunities,” Dresher said.

Update: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Daily Dot charged Bissell a premium for targeting its PetChatz audience. 


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