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Over half (55%) of Vice Media’s global referral traffic comes via social networks Twitter and Facebook, rather than search engines, according to the publisher.
The publisher, which hit 9.2m monthly unique views in October, 1m of which was in the UK, is also seeing mobile account for an increasingly large percentage of traffic. Nearly a third (27%) of Vice traffic now comes via mobile devices, marking a 75% surge since Vice relaunched its mobile-optimised site this July.
Dan’l Hewitt (pictured), general manager of AdVice Europe at Vice Media told new media age part of its focus over the coming months will be on quantifying the value of traffic that comes via social recommendations and how its ad model should adapt accordingly.
The publisher is ramping up its ad network business AdVice, placing increased focus on integrating creative brand experiences within its own editorial content.
Traditional display and pre-roll ad formats do not deliver value for the “three main stakeholders” in the ad-funded creative process - the viewer, advertiser or media owner, according to Hewitt.
“They don’t work for the audience because they are intrusive and ugly. Therefore if consumers are ignoring the ads and not engaging with them, they aren’t worth that much so marketers won’t pay. Therefore for us as a media company, it’s a race to the bottom. We either have to create bigger, uglier ads because they are more expensive or we have to create more inventory for these other ads that are diminishing in value,” he said.
Pre-roll ads are particularly challenging to monetise, according to Hewitt. Even if it was to do 10m streams per month and monetise every one with premium video pre rolls at £25 CPM, it costs significantly more to create original video content, according to Hewitt. The economics are completely unsustainable as it stands,” he said.
The publisher plans to look beyond running pre-roll and display ads alone, to creating more integrated, brand experiences around its own editorial output.
Earlier this month Vice revealed its first feature-length branded content tie-up with Grolsch Film Works. The film, called The Fourth Dimension, starred actor Val Kilmer, and launched on YouTube (see video below).
Three different independent film directors: Harmony Korine from the US, Russia’s Alexsei Fedorchenko and Polish-born Jan Kwiecinski each created a 30-minute film based on their take on a “fourth dimension”. Vice will aim to form similar tie-ups further down the line.
“In this digital, delinear media world, democratised content experience you need to tell a story and engage and capture the audience’s attention and you do that through authentic and credible content. So we take the brands on these journeys, whether it be for a music or science-dedicated series,” he said.
It will also work with the smaller, independent publishers in its global AdVice network to help them monetise their own sites and build their international content.
Vice Media is working towards the launch of a suite of digital content verticals including news, sport and fashion, revealed earlier this year (nma.co.uk 10 May 2012).