Are Video Ad Overlays The AdWords Of YouTube?
from the something-different... dept
Many people have been wondering how Google would better monetize YouTube — as there was a lot of concern that pre-roll or post-roll advertising wasn’t particularly effective. The company, instead, has announced an “overlay” offering, where certain videos will contain a small, semi-transparent overlay across the bottom of the screen, similar to what you’ll often see during TV shows. The ads show up 15 seconds into the videos they’re on and only last for 10 seconds. Viewers can click to close the ads, or they can click on them, at which point they stop the video in the background and open up a “player within the player” that can include more advertising content. After the viewer is done with the ad, they can close it, and the original video picks up where it left off.
Most of the press reports say that the ad is a video within a video, but the one ad I saw was a lot more interactive. The ads are only showing up on the videos of YouTube’s “media partners” and the revenue from the ads gets split between the media partner and Google. While plenty of people will talk about how innovative this is on Google’s part, others, like VideoEgg have been offering something similar for quite some time. However, obviously, Google can help make it the standard type of video ad out there. Expect to see many others shift to this model pretty quickly. Of course, Google is hyping up how much higher the clickthroughs are on these types of ads — but it’s tough to tell if that will last. You can expect higher clickthroughs initially simply because it’s different and viewers aren’t used to seeing it. But, over time, ad blindness is likely to creep back in.
In the meantime, though, it’s nice to see that Google didn’t just default to the easy (and most likely ineffective) route of going pre/post-roll. One of the key reasons for the success of Google’s AdWords advertising was that it recognized that ads were a lot more effective if they were both relevant and non-intrusive. It’s not clear if these new video ads qualify completely on both accounts, but it’s better than just assuming you had to force people to sit through something else before they could see the content they want to get to. The other question, however, is how widely this will be spread within YouTube. The other key reason for AdWords’ success was that it was incredibly easy for anyone to start advertising quickly and have their ads appear in relevant spots. That might not be true in this case if ads will only show up on “partner” videos. My guess is that they’ll have to open the program up to others relatively quickly — though not force it on people who just want to upload videos for fun.