Advertisers can now allow users to skip pre-roll ads, or to choose which ad they would prefer to watch.
YouTube has made available of two new video ad formats, dubbed TrueView InStream and TrueView InSlate. The former requires users to watch the first five seconds of an ad, after which they can skip it and progress to the video they selected. The InSlate unit meanwhile presents users with two or three ad choices, one of which they must watch prior to consuming content on the site.
Advertisers are only charged for ads viewed in their entirety, benefiting advertisers by presenting a more qualified audience, YouTube says. Advertisers can choose whether to use the new formats, or to make use of the existing pre-roll offerings the site currently offers.
A YouTube spokesperson said the formats have been in beta testing "for several months," but were officially out of beta yesterday. Advertisers involved in the tests included a range of political advertisers, and extreme sports camera brand GoPro.
According to GoPro, its trials with the skippable InStream format resulted in a view-through rate of around 40 percent, suggesting users chose to skip its ads around 60 percent of the time. Lee Topar, the firm's director of online marketing said the fact that it only had to pay for the ads that were actually watched gave it more control over its budget. Meanwhile Robert Wray, who served as director of technology for Governor Martin O'Malley's re-election campaign in Maryland reported similar view-through rates of 45 percent.
The InSlate format is based on research conducted by Publicis-owned VivaKi, which found that allowing users to choose which ads they are served resulted in metrics such as "top of mind awareness" being lifted by over 400 percent in some instances, compared with traditional pre-roll ads. Google executives first demoed the format on the YouTube site during a keynote address at the IAB MIXX conference in New York City in September.
VivaKi says other major publishers have agreed to implement similar user-selected video ad functionality, including Hulu, AOL, and Yahoo. Other publishers and networks involved in the research and testing of the units include Comcast, CBS, Discovery, BBE, YuMe, Warner Bros., Microsoft Advertising, and Tremor Media. The 13 advertisers trialing it included Bank of America, BlackBerry, Kraft Foods, Procter & Gamble, and Mars.
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Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011.
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