Google believes it finally has found the formula to cash in on YouTube’s potential as a magnet for online video advertising and keep its audience loyal at the same time. The company announced that after months of testing various video ad models, it was ready to introduce a new type of video ad, which it said was unobtrusive and kept users in control of what they saw.
The ads, which appear 15 seconds after a user begins watching a video clip, take the form of an overlay on the bottom fifth of the screen, not unlike the tickers that display headlines during television news programs.
The ad disappears after about 10 seconds if the viewer does nothing; the featured clip automatically pauses if the viewer clicks on the overlay to launch the full pitch. If the user clicks on it, the video they were watching will stop and a video ad will begin playing. Once the ad is over, or if a user clicks on a box to close it, the original video will resume playing from the point where it was stopped.
"What we have come up with is a user-controlled ad format that is engaging," said Eileen Naughton, Google’s director for media platforms, told the NY Times. "We want our users to be able to accept and choose what type of advertising they engage in."
"For now, Google will place the ads only on video clips of its content partners – the more than 1,000 small and large media companies that have licensed their videos to YouTube. By doing so, YouTube will avoid the potential liability of having ads appear on copyrighted clips it is not authorized to display. And it will also prevent ads from playing on clips generated by users whose message may not be to the liking of advertisers," the Times story said.
Naughton said Google would charge advertisers only 20 bucks for every 1,000 times the ads were displayed. The ads began appearing yesterday throughout the site. Advertisers would be able to take aim at specific channels and genres, as well as demographic profiles, geography and hour of the day.