YouTube Adds 'Skip' Button to Pre-Roll Ads

  |  November 11, 2009   |  Comments

Move is a step toward performance-based pricing for pre-roll.

In a test it hopes will improve user experience and lead to better ad creative, YouTube added a "skip" button to some pre-roll ads. The ultimate goal, says YouTube, is to create a scenario where advertisers pay only for ads users watch in full or engage with some other way.

It's a minor development to be sure. Skip buttons for video and interstitial ads have been around as long as the ad messages they help users circumvent. But the move suggests Google is not satisfied with the quality or performance of pre-roll inventory on YouTube.

"We want to learn who skips, which ads they skip, when do they get skipped, and how can we use that skip as a quality signal," said Phil Farhi, YouTube Product Manager.

YouTube has always had a queasy relationship with pre-roll advertising, which it began testing back in 2007 and formally rolled out last year. After those early tests, YouTube all but dismissed the format, stating users abandoned video clips at a rate of more than 50 percent. At one point, average abandonment rate climbed to as high as 70 percent.

Instead it began pushing its InVideo format, an overlay ad type that mimicked the clickable ad overlays pioneered by video ad networks like VideoEgg and YuMe. Yet large brand advertisers continued to request in-stream ad units, and YouTube capitulated -- offering 15- and 30-second pre-roll ads alongside video content from premium partners such as MGM and Sony.

Over time the performance of the ads has improved -- especially when they're short. Average completion rates for 15-second ads now average about 85 percent, YouTube says.

Initially, the "skip," button will appear only on an undisclosed percentage of video content that already carries pre-roll ads.

If a primary goal of ad skipping is to force ads to improve, how long does YouTube expect that process to take?

"I think that's unlikely to happen in the time frame of the next few months of this test," Farhi said. "But that's a goal -- to educate advertisers about what makes a high quality engaging ads and think about tailoring creatives to the online experience."

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Lead Generation Specialist
      Lead Generation Specialist (The Oxford Club) - BaltimoreThe Oxford Club is seeking a talented writer/marketer to join our growing email lead-generation...
    • Health Marketing Editor
      Health Marketing Editor (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreCome flex your intellectual muscle as part of Agora, Inc’s (http://agora-inc.com/) legal team...
    • Technical Business Analyst
      Technical Business Analyst (OmniVista Health) - BaltimoreOmniVista Health is looking to add a Technical Business Analyst to our expanding team...