How Axel Springer’s Welt gets people to watch video on its own site

Developing video strategies for their own platforms is more important than ever for publishers in the wake of Facebook’s latest news-feed algorithm purge. Welt is testing new video features and products designed to keep people on site. In the past few weeks, the publisher made the link to its live stream more visible and placed it at the top of its web page.

Welt said that the number of people accessing the live stream has doubled since the change. People are averaging 18 percent more time on article pages with video in them than article pages without video, although the publisher wouldn’t share absolute numbers.

“Audiences are spending longer on the page viewing the video, but also engaging with other things,” said Niddal Salah-Eldin, director of digital innovation at Welt. “We’re thinking hard about loyalty and creating deep relationships, with more relevant content so people stay longer on the page.”

“Rather than a pivot to video, it’s a pivot to relevance and user experience,” Salah-Eldin said. “We always ask the question: Do we create an added value when we show video? It’s not to fulfill KPIs.”

In September 2016, Welt switched from a metered to a freemium paywall model, where 15 percent of content requires a digital subscription. Editors judge which content is premium based on intuition and a calculated article score based on metrics like pageviews, time spent and social shares. For video, this includes views, completion rate, referral origin and bounce rate.

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