Discovery Communications is a global mass media and entertainment company with an astonishing portfolio of television and digital networks, including the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, the Oprah Winfrey Network, Science Channel, and TestTube. With more than 2.9 billion global subscribers, Discovery Communications has the potential to reach 2 in 5 people on the planet solely with its television and digital media networks.
Discovery Communications uses Optimizely to improve their online visitor experience and drive revenue in two major ways – by optimizing video engagement and improving ad viewability.
Jeffrey Douglas is the Director of Product at Discovery Digital Networks, the company’s original video programming channel. His team uses Optimizely to drive engagement with the site’s video content, measured in clicks and overall video views.
Douglas recently decided to run an experiment he dubbed the “Ken Burns Test.” Ken Burns is documentary filmmaker who often focuses on subject matter that pre-dates film. To make his films more engaging, he utilizes a style in which the camera pans across photos and still images, creating a sense of motion and bringing them to life.
I thought, ‘What would happen if we did the same effect when a user on a desktop hovers over a video still on our website?’— Jeffrey Douglas, Director of Product, Discovery Digital Networks
Douglas and his team tested a similar panning effect against their original video stills, running the experiment on approximately 20,000 visitors to Discovery’s website.
The “Ken Burns Effect” resulted in a 6% increase in click-throughs into the video content. Douglas and his team have since applied this learning to videos across the site to further overall engagement and produce a meaningful impact on Discovery Communication's business.
Discovery also uses optimization to drive another key business objective – ad viewability. Using Optimizely’s Moat integration, the team is able to see the direct impact of each Optimizely experiment on their ad metrics, including viewability and attention metrics for display, video, mobile, and content ads.
According to the Discovery team, the integration has had a tremendous impact in improving ad viewability across their digital properties – including their video page, games page, photo galleries, and more. They’re constantly testing the size, placement, and display of ads on each their most valuable pages and measuring the real-time performance of each variation.
Discovery Communications plans to continue to use Optimizely to drive toward its key business objectives and differentiate itself by providing the most engaging, relevant user experiences possible.
Next on the roadmap, the Discovery team will focus on page load performance and its impact on engagement, especially on mobile devices. They plan to use Optimizely to test out their core hypothesis: if pages load faster, especially on mobile, users engagement will increase.
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