Hi everyone. I'm Brandon from Fandom's Community Support team. Starting today, we are running a test for 4-5 weeks on Harry Potter Wiki about video engagement on wiki articles. Thank you to admins Seth Cooper, ProfessorTofty, and Cavalier One for being so helpful as we got this test up and running!
You may have read our Community Central blog series last week about ads on Fandom (if not, check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). In that series, we talked about how we want to start removing a lot of the ads that you see on every page. The way to do that is to replace them with more high quality and "high impact" ads, which means we could have fewer ads as long as the ads that we do have are more visible (you can read more about that in our ad blog series). We believe that having more video content on the site, with ads that play in front of the videos (like how it works on YouTube), is one of the ways we can do that, but first we need to see how many people would actually watch highly-visible videos on wikis.
This is the first wiki where we have run this test, and we're thrilled to be able to work with you as we begin to learn more about how we can clean up ads on Fandom.
Why is video content a good idea?
The internet is constantly evolving, and so are its users and their needs. Research shows that a lot of people prefer watching a short video over just reading a long article, or even to get additional information from videos while reading a page's text. We think that having video content in addition to the great textual content already available on Fandom will attract even more readers, and that the ads in front of those videos will help us clean up the overall ad experience on the site.
How will this test work?
Our X-Wing Team, the Fandom Product team working on this project, will place a video on 4 pages, and each page will have its own video about the subject of the page. The video will be at the top of the page so it's visible when the page loads. The placement of the video will change throughout the test so we can see what part of the page helps the video get the most amount of views.
Starting today, we are running the first test on the Gellert Grindelwald page. We have embedded a video from YouTube to get some initial data about which video placement works best. That will affect the look of the page as we change the placement throughout the test.
Next week, we are going to begin an expanded test using videos created by our own video team. We will be doing a character profile on the Newton Scamander page, a Top 5 Best Spells video on List of spells, and then a video on either Horcrux or Hogwarts Houses. These are all in the Top 10 pages on the wiki, and each one represents a different type of page that may give us unique data about video engagement.
Now that the test is live, we want to hear from you too. What do you think the best placement is for a video on the page? Do you like the idea of having video on pages, including to help remove other ads? Tell us your thoughts! - Brandon Rhea(talk) 17:02, January 28, 2017 (UTC)
While I can understand the draw of video content, I am concerned about placing these videos inline with the article text. In reviewing the current Gellert Grindelwald video, there are several factual mistakes stated that run contrary to the article text itself. As we cannot correct the video information, the video actually undermines, instead of enhances, the article by presenting conflicting (and incorrect) info. If these videos were placed in a separate section (like other videos), and given a quicklink or other highlighting text at the top of the article, this at least would make it clearly separate source of info and not a presumed summary of the article itself. As it is now, the video is an externally inserted source of flawed information that cannot be corrected by the many editors that work hard to ensure the article's content is factual and well referenced. --Ironyak1 (talk) 06:33, January 30, 2017 (UTC)
- Good feedback about the video's content. Accuracy is one of the reasons we want to use custom, Fandom-made video as much as possible, so we can ensure its accuracy. We're also talking about how we can give wikis the tools to create their own videos, which goes even further to ensure accuracy since you all are the experts on the Wizarding World. If we had those types of tools, ones that anyone could use without needing a background in video production or editing, is that something you think would be interesting for you or for the rest of the community?
- In regards to the idea of placing videos in their own section, that's definitely something that could be done when there are many videos about one particular subject. But, having a video "above the fold" that appears when the user first looks at a page is what would enable us to put a "premium ad" (aka one that we can charge a lot for) in front of the video and use that to offset the revenue impact of removing a lot of the ad clutter on the page. That said, we want to ensure that the videos are also worth putting above the fold, so we wouldn't just slap any random video on there. It has to be the right video, per your feedback about accuracy. - Brandon Rhea(talk) 20:46, February 1, 2017 (UTC)
- Thanks for the reply. If the video needs to be above the fold then I would suggest it sits as a banner above the article entirely (above tophats, infoboxes etc). Unless the video is a summary built from the article text, and is going to be updated to reflect changes, it should not be in-line with the article text to prevent conflicting sources of information IMHO.
- For my part, I have no interest in being a Youtuber, but if there were easy tools for making video clips it would lower the barrier of entry for others and allow for more rapidly creating and updating video content. (I'm thinking more of text and image collages with voice overs / music than full Youtube presenters). Cheers --Ironyak1 (talk) 15:24, February 8, 2017 (UTC)
- Hey, sorry it took me awhile to reply. We're actually testing out a platform that basically does what you described—text and images collages with music, with the ability to add in video and voice overs if we want. The video that will go on Hogwarts Houses will be made in the image, music, and text style. I'm actually making that and I have zero video skills, yet the platform makes the video look really sleek and polished.
- As for video placement, we're putting v1 of our video placement product onto List of spells on Tuesday, with a custom video made by our video team. I'm assuming that, when you say above the tophat, you mean the page title and Edit button? For this v1, it will be above the infobox area (though List of spells doesn't have an infobox), but below the page title and Edit button. When we ran the A-E tests on Gellert Grindelwald, that placement was the most successful. When a user scrolls down, the video will move into the right-hand side of the page (outside of the content area) in a smaller video player. That way they can continue watching the video as they browse the page. This is of course a v1 and is subject to change as we continue studying engagement data and collecting community feedback.
- For your concerns about conflicting sources of information, since this one is made in-house we were able to ensure its accuracy (as opposed to Grindelwald, which was a YouTube embed). It's a subjective video in that it's about the Top 5 Best Spells in the Harry Potter Universe, but—beyond the ranking—the factual information presented in it is factual. - Brandon Rhea(talk) 20:51, February 16, 2017 (UTC)