Universal Player: One Video Solution to Rule Them All

PERSON holding a phone at their desk

It’s no secret that we are huge proponents of video at Mediavine.

Publishers who embrace video can earn much higher advertising revenue, reap the SEO benefits and even offer a great experience for users if they take the right steps.

However, we’re also aware that video presents challenges.

Creating videos worth watching requires time and resources, and as a result, only a small percentage of Mediavine publishers are currently well optimized for video ads.

That’s what makes today’s announcement so exciting.

Mediavine has come up with a solution that we hope will bring video to 100% of publishers while also improving experiences and enhancing revenue for publishers already running video.

How can we do all of that simultaneously?

Meet the Universal Player.

Leif Lessons

  • The Decade of Video has now become the Century of Video at Mediavine.
  • Publishers who embrace video earn much higher advertising revenue than those who don’t, but we understand that creating video content takes time and resources.
  • That’s why we’re excited to announce the launch of the Universal Player, a video player designed to optimize any web page without video for video revenue.
  • When the Universal Player setting is enabled in your Mediavine Dashboard, the Player will run an outstream ad on any page on your website that does not contain a video, maximizing your revenue opportunities.
  • The Universal Player can offer a better user experience than Featured Videos — and potentially make you more money if your featured playlist isn’t well optimized.
  • The Universal Player does not replace the Mediavine Video Player, but it does replace the Outstream Video Adhesion Unit.
  • Publishers without video saw an average 34.3% increase in their RPM after enabling the Universal Player for Mobile and Desktop. Those formerly running the Outstream Adhesion unit saw a 12.9% increase and those formerly running Featured Video saw 8.9% increase in their RPM.
  • Find the Universal Player settings at the top of the Video section in your Dashboard. Recommended settings are outlined below in this post, so please keep reading!

What is the Universal Player?

We’re calling it Universal because this Player does it all.

You can think of it as the following:

  • A backup for pages without any video
  • A way to optimize pages with video even further
  • A way to make video revenue for publishers without video content

Yup, all of that. It’s a universal solution.

When you turn the player on — Mediavine’s new recommended setting — it will automatically optimize any web page, with or without a content video, for video revenue.

How? The Universal Player will instead run an outstream video ad — video advertisements that run without accompanying video content in a fixed position in the viewport.

Basically, it’s an ad solution that allows you to make video revenue without your own video playing after it.

What Does it Look Like?

The Universal Player is similar to our Video Player when in its “sticky” or fixed position. The main difference is that there’s no actual video content and only the ad; the video title bar is gone.

Additionally, since Google is not competing for this ad space (more on this later), we aren’t restricted by Google Ad Policy, and the Universal Player is a bit smaller on mobile than the Video Player as a result.

Really, the biggest difference is that there’s no video inside the content.

Think of the Universal Player as a smaller, cleaner version of the Mediavine Video Player when it’s in its stuck mode.

Hopefully the demo below better explains it:

Example of the Universal Player on a desktop

Should I Run This? How Do I Opt In?

Yes. Everyone should turn this on immediately, if not sooner. If you’re not running any video now, your RPM will thank you as it skyrockets by 34%.

Suddenly you’ll go from zero pages eligible for video to all of them being eligible — including your homepage.

But, even if you’re already running videos with Mediavine, you should still enable this.

The Universal Player will only increase your revenue as it will never stop your videos from playing — it will only add to them.

You can find the Universal Player settings in your Mediavine Dashboard at the top of the Video section under Settings.

If you’ve not been running any videos through your Dashboard, simply toggle both Universal Player on Mobile and Desktop settings to “Enable.”

We also recommend that you position the Universal Player in the bottom left of the viewport. Go to the Advanced Settings section and choose “Bottom Left” from the dropdown for Mobile Sticky Player Location. Don’t forget to Save your changes!

If you HAVE been running some video with Mediavine, follow these steps:

Under Ad Settings > Adhesions Units:
* Disable (turn off) Outstream Mobile Adhesion

Under Video Settings:
* Enable (turn on) Universal Player for both desktop & mobile
* Disable (turn off) Autoplay First Mobile Video
* Enable (turn on) Autoplay First Desktop Video
* Set Featured Video to “none” (very top option in dropdown)

Important caveat for publishers who were running our Outstream Video Adhesion unit and had Mobile Autoplay turned off: When turning on the Universal Player, make sure you also turn on Autoplay for desktop.

Now, let the video dollars flow.

Publishers who are already optimized for video at Mediavine are likely familiar with Featured Video and Category Playlists and thinking … isn’t this the same?

Featured Video has a similar mechanism in which the Script Wrapper will insert a featured video or playlist into any page without a video.

While that’s great for websites with multiple videos, and publishers who are able to create videos that apply to all pages (or at least their specific categories, in the case of category playlists), it’s labor-intensive.

Most sites don’t have that kind of video library and often end up running a single video as their Featured Video. The Universal Player offers an alternative to that one video that may not be the best site-wide fit.

The Universal Player can offer a better user experience than Featured Videos — and potentially make you more money if your Featured Playlist isn’t well optimized. (More on this later.)

When Should I Run the Regular Video Player Instead of the Universal Player?

There is no replacement for true video content created by the publisher that matches the page. That is the best user experience — and revenue — a publisher can create.

If you have a specific video or playlist created for a post, then we recommend embedding that on the page.

That kind of video is incredibly valuable for SEO, and you’ll want to make sure you’re embedding that video, outputting JSON-LD Schema (our default) and running a video sitemap.

The Universal Player isn’t meant to replace the Mediavine Video Player. It’s merely meant to supplement it.

The only exception to replacement is that the Universal Player allows you to opt to stop featuring videos and perhaps some category playlists that are only tangentially related and not adding much in terms of UX while still earning video revenue.

Example of the Universal Player on a mobile device

How is This Different From the Outstream Mobile Adhesion?

The launch of this solution is meant to replace the Outstream Mobile Adhesion. We are confident that the Universal Player’s performance and revenue gains will win you over.

However, like all important decisions at Mediavine, we’re leaving it up to our publishers. If you prefer to continue running the Outstream Video Adhesion unit, that’s your choice.

However, if you choose to run the Universal Player rather than the Outstream Mobile Adhesion, you will need to disable the Outstream Mobile Adhesion.

We do strongly encourage you to give the Universal Player a chance. Your RPM will thank you for it!

How Does Google Feel About the Universal Player?

Like the Outstream Mobile Adhesion, this is a sticky outstream player. Therefore, it is not currently eligible for Google Ad Exchange.

Google will not be competing in this auction for this unit, so the use of the Universal Player will not be dictated by Google Ad Policy.

Translation: No Google ads. But this will not cause your website to have problems with Google Ad Exchange, Google AdSense or even Google Search.

We will be working with Google to hopefully get their demand included in the future.

Please Enable the Universal Player ASAP

Everyone should enable the Universal Player on Desktop and Mobile right away.

Don’t do it for me. Do it for your earnings. (You can also do it for me, if you like, but the numbers below should be more persuasive.)

If you aren’t currently running video or our Outstream Video Adhesion, your RPM should increase by an average of 34% through the Universal Player.

If you’re running the Outstream Video Adhesion, you should disable that and run Universal Player on Desktop and Mobile instead. Your RPM should increase by an average of 13%.

If you’re running a featured video or playlist, you should still enable Universal Player. If you disable the Featured Video, you’ll likely see a nice increase in your RPM (9%) after a short ramp-up period.

What About My Other Video settings?

For now, our main recommendation for all Mediavine publishers is to enable Universal Player on both Desktop and Mobile.

You may want to experiment with turning off your Featured Video to see how it impacts your revenue. In our limited beta testing, Mediavine found that replacing Featured Videos with the Universal Player boosted revenue overall, but as with any site-to-site comparison, your results may vary.

Over time, we expect to change our recommended settings depending on the Universal Player’s performance, especially as we add new features. So, stay tuned for future Universal Player updates.

In Summation

The Universal Player is a rare win-win-win solution for your advertising revenue, user experiences and even SEO performance. Don’t let it go by the wayside!

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