Google Expands YouTube Ad Partner Program

Based on the early success of an ad revenue sharing program aimed at YouTube’s most prolific uploaders, Google has decided to offer a great many more YouTubers the ability to carry its fledgling overlay ad format and to share in revenue.

YouTube’s ad partners are now monetizing “millions of video views each week,” according to a spokesperson, and the company said in a statement that prolific partners whose videos routinely score over a million views are earning several thousand dollars a month.

The early success of the program, launched back in May, suggests marketers are willing to set aside their concerns about running ads adjacent to amateur content when the site hosting the content engages in a vetting process.

“Advertisers have run, and continue to run, large campaigns on both the videos from our professional content partners as well as our user partners,” the spokesperson said. Early advertisers using the InVideo overlay ad format have included Universal Studios’ “Evan Almighty;” Twentieth Century Fox’s “The Simpsons Movie;” BMW’s 3 Series convertible; NewLine’s “Hairspray,” and approximately 15 others.

A likely challenge going forward may be to accurately predict ad inventory for the user-created media vehicles. YouTube declined to quantify its ad avails or to discuss inventory forecasting, saying only that the partner program is responsible for a “significant percentage” of YouTube’s traffic.

To facilitate its goal of growing the partner program to several hundred video uploaders, the site has created an application process by which individuals can nominate themselves. Not surprisingly, YouTube said it will favor the popular and prolific, attributes it defines by looking at subscriber counts, video views and engagement with community. A person’s track record of compliance with the site’s terms of services will also factor into the decision.

The new application process was already opened to numerous creators who had previously expressed an interest in the partner program, and YouTube said over 100 have recently joined as a result. These include “Chocolate Rain” sensation Tay Zonday, who also appeared this week in a video ad for Dr. Pepper.

On being admitted, individuals must complete an online tutorial and accept a partnership agreement. They then choose which of their videos they want YouTube to drop ads into.

Response rates for the InVideo ad format have been impressive, even when you take into consideration the fact new ad formats tend to perform better than familiar ones. Less than 10 percent of viewers closed the ad when it appeared, and click through rates have been five to 10 times those of standard display ads, YouTube said.

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