YouTube tests skippable pre-roll ads
Behavioral lab rats wanted
Google has begun testing pre-roll advertisements that users can freely skip in a select number of videos on YouTube.
For an indefinite period of time, a small sample of videos on the website will now include a "skip this ad" button that ditches the pre-roll pitch completely.
On the surface it seems a rather half-baked scheme on Google's part. After all, exactly who would choose to sit through a pre-roll ad when they could simply click through and get on with the show? Well, that's apparently exactly what the company is wondering too.
Google is using the test as an opportunity to gather user data that may lead to a new advertising model based on YouTube user behavior, similar to how pricing and placement is determined for search ads.
YouTube said past dabbling with in-stream ads as early as 2007 showed that as many as 70 per cent of viewers abandoned a video when confronted with long, non-skippable pre-roll commercials, according to the company biz blog.
Skip to my YouTube, my darlin'
However, additional research showed that a variety of factors could increase the number of those willing to see the ad through. If pre-rolls are kept down to only 15 seconds, for example, abandonment rates dropped down to as low as 15 per cent. YouTube said the quality and relevance of the ad also plays a major role in retaining viewers.
YouTube reckons that advertisers are often willing to pay more money for an "engaged" opt-in view, versus a forced view like an in-stream ad. Results of the test would be useful in launching a cost per action advertising scheme, where advertisers pay only for a completed view of the ad, but at an increased rate.
The data could also be used to establish a scaled pricing model based on whether Google thinks an ad is more likely to be viewed or skipped.
YouTube viewers, meanwhile, would have more control over what they watch. The plan is just crazy enough to work - but only assuming there's enough people out there who won't be temped to click "skip" every time. ®
Web advertising is irretrievably f**cked.
Since shortly after the birth of the World Wide Web, advertisers have been falling over themselves to shove the fruits of their labours in front of us by any and every means possible. In-page ads, irrespective of how "eye catching" they were, weren't doing the job, so they came up with the idea of pop-ups. Unsurprisingly (unsurprising, that is, for anyone who *isn't* an advertising executive) people found these intensely irritating and, unsurprisingly (again, if you aren't an ad exec) started to block them.
Did the ad muppets get the message? Did they think "If we stick to *subtle* advertising people won't mind"? Of course they didn't. They just upped the ante and devised more methods of ramming their crap in front of our eyeballs and ad-blockers became more sophisticated to deal with them.
The ad-blocker is a kind of advertising atom-bomb. It was born of an inconsiderate and irresponsible web advertising industry and has been used, successfully, to nuke adverts whenever and wherever they appear. Like other "weapons of mass destruction", once invented (out of necessity) , it cannot, and will not, be un-invented.
The ad-blocker is here to stay. It has killed web advertising, and the ad men only have themselves to blame.
Paris, she looks dumb enough to be an ad-exec.
Mute the sound...
... If there's a non-skippable ad on any content I want to watch, I'll just silence the annoying thing until it's over.
Make sense to me
If I see a "skip ad" button I will probably use it rather than kill the browser window. If I see something interesting* in that second of ad exposure, I might actually watch the ad and the content.
* norks, technology, !car