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.

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Companies: google, youtube

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Comments on “Are Video Ad Overlays The AdWords Of YouTube?”

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Shohat says:

Youtube will be 20% of its size in 3 years

Mark my words.
Youtube (and digg for that matter) are not about user generated content, but commercial content, selected by users. The most watched videos on youtube daily, are pretty much “The best things on tv today were…”
Soon, Joost (or similar services) will provide real commercial-grade content over the Web, and youtube will be a niche vbloggin platform.

Anthon-Pieter Wink (user link) says:

How YouTube will make money with (off?) their publ

Good format I think.

Youtube splits the ad revenue with the publishers (according to NYT). Seems they will want to use the publishers to select the ads for their content, that will save Google a lot of manual work. This also rewards entertaining ads and reduces irritation among users. Read (a bit) more about this at

Overcast says:

The most watched videos on youtube daily, are pretty much “The best things on tv today were…”

But it’s many times because people like new and different stuff – not so much the particular content.

Watch a video or two, get bored, move onto something else.

But the entertainment industry is too narrow minded and shallow to see that. They don’t want to have to work for their money, they just want to run the same thing over and over and have people watch it.

Fast forward past our ads??? NEVER!!! YOU MUST WATCH PLEBS!!

If they could have their way, they would re-run baywatch and Magnum PI 24/7 – with 5 minutes of show and a half hour of commercials.

Harrison Wise (user link) says:

Advertisings evolution, it's about time

I was glad to read of this news, everyone was sitting around trying to figure out what Google was going to do to (finally) monetize its $BN investment in YouTube. And, I agree that it was good to see Google not go the route of the ineffective Pre/Post Roll model and look at the issues facing the advertising industry today and why consumers are skipping ads, etc.

The day has finally come where we need to partner with the consumer in the advertising process and not just ram our messages down their throats when and where we feel like it. We’re seeing a trickle of awareness in this area.

At BrightSpot Media, our core focus is creating a permission-based advertising environment that puts the consumer in control of their advertsing experience and offers advertisers a complementary ad platform that eliminates the waste associated with CPM models and traditional advertising, a platform where advertisers only pay for an engaged and involved consumer, no more and no less. We’re seeing great results, because it addresses several key issues of advertising: disruption, irrelevance, over-saturation. those can call go away in this brave new world of advertising.

And as Eileen Naughton, Google’s director of media platforms, told Reuters, “In the history of Google, there has never been one ‘answer’. It’s not the end-all, but it’s a very promising format that we are ready to bring to the market.” I couldn’t agree more and look forward to seeing new and innovative ways to engage the consumer and involve them in the advertising process. Today more than ever it’s possible to have a win-win situation where both the consumer and advertiser benefit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Widespread Adoption in Youtube

It could happen if youtube asks it’s users to tag the new video uploads and opt into the ad overlay. In return the user gets a % of the ad revenue from the video.

The tags would be used to help make the ads relevant, and if you expect to be paid by youtube, then you would have to provide sufficient information to be paid, and therefore sued if you upload copyright infringing content.

This way the legitimate uploader is happy to submit to ads because they get paid, and big content is happy because they could then can sue the actual copyright infringer much more easily and have a stronger case because they are attempting to profit off the video.


1 – Big content could sue anyone they believe should pay them a royalty even if it is fair use. Google SHOULD require a subpoena before handing over information, but i don’t know what they would actually do.

2 – There would be even more 15 year old girls trying to make a killing by dancing in their underwear and asking people to click on the ads in return for more video postings. this could be stopped by censor, but probably wouldn’t be.

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