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Google’s YouTube In-Video Advertising

Yesterday, YouTube announced that they would experiment and launch a new kind of video ad format on their website in an attempt to start generating money from its huge user base. Having taken over YouTube, Google has found a way to capitalize on advertisers by offering an advertising scheme that benefits, well, no one.

Over-video, not in-video advertising

Google knew that placing advertising around videos was not enough, as users do not focus on them. therefore, they could not promote any other advertising benefits than the popularity of the website itself. They therefore decided to place the advertising message in the video, as an ‘animated overlay’, basically another layer of image taking 20% of the video’s size. YouTube explains that their “presentation of advertising [...] brings you creative, compelling content and should also increase revenue flow to artists and content owners”

[...]

No benefits for viewers

YouTube, one of the bastions of internet media sharing and publishing, has traditionally taken the side of its users by allowing them to upload illimited amounts of content, leave feedback, rate videos, and even place them onyour webpage. However this new advertising is already infuriating users, who have slated YouTube’s official statement and included many suggestions such as:

Tupisuis (posted Wed 22 Aug 2007 06:27:12 PDT)

Ads at the begining of the video, at the end, around the player but not on the video please. This is the end of youtube

Viewers will therefore see less of the YouTube video content they searched for, be distracted from it, and feel frustrated at the advertising in a way that could lead them to closing their browser window altogether. Furthermore, most of the video content being comedy, users are not in a purchasing frame of mind. This type of advertising is a return to the traditional marketing technique of push advertising and must have been designed at Google by a old fashioned marketing executive due to its lack of relevance with viewer’s desires.

No benefits for advertisers

If there are no benefits for users, there will certainly be no benefits for advertisers and their brands: the amount of backlash by Youtube users proves this. A typical YouTube viewer is there for a reason, that is for entertainment. When users go through the processes of searching, finding, loading and viewing a video of their choice, disturbance will only create irritation -with the advertising itself-, therefore with the brand. Irritation and frustration are not something you want to connote your brand to.

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16 Comments
  • nalts on August 23, 2007

    So I’ll play counter point. First a disclaimer. I’m a marketer by day, and I’m in the partners program on YouTube. But here’s my two cents. It’s far from the end of YouTube whether people like the ads or not. The end of YouTube would be when Google couldn’t figure out a way to monetize it, and this is a step in the right direction. Will they be effective? I think so. Especially for brands looking to increase awareness. They’re not as targeted as paid search (ultimate in relevance) but they’re much, much better than banner that are ignored on eye tracker studies. So I like ‘em as a viewer (non obstrusive), as a creator (I can make money without prerolls- ugh), and a marketer (engaging and not lost in left field…

  • nalts on August 23, 2007

    So I’ll play counter point. First a disclaimer. I’m a marketer by day, and I’m in the partners program on YouTube. But here’s my two cents. It’s far from the end of YouTube whether people like the ads or not. The end of YouTube would be when Google couldn’t figure out a way to monetize it, and this is a step in the right direction. Will they be effective? I think so. Especially for brands looking to increase awareness. They’re not as targeted as paid search (ultimate in relevance) but they’re much, much better than banner that are ignored on eye tracker studies. So I like ‘em as a viewer (non obstrusive), as a creator (I can make money without prerolls- ugh), and a marketer (engaging and not lost in left field…

  • TET on August 29, 2007

    For the most part I disagree with your argument because whilst YouTube viewers do visit the site to be entertained, relevant advertising will pique their interest if positioned where they can’t help but notice it. ‘Relevant’ being the key word.

    No one likes sitting through ads that they have no interest in but throw up an ad about something you have a slight interest in and you may be tempted to find out more. Google is the master of relevant advertising. I’ve visited forums where I’ve gone for discussion and found myself itching to click on half a dozen text ads by google that look even slightly interesting to me because they were relevant to my interests.

    It’s also a poor assumption that the majority of YT’s content is comedy and therefore people aren’t in a purchasing frame of mind. How many people used YT to find out about the Nintendo Wii, the Apple iphone etc. etc. There is a lot of comedy on YT but there’s also a lot that isn’t.

    I think advertisers will benefit greatly and the research on inline advertising shows it. I’m willing to bet the the people complaining about the ads are in the minority. This is one for the silent majority to decide.

  • TET on August 29, 2007

    For the most part I disagree with your argument because whilst YouTube viewers do visit the site to be entertained, relevant advertising will pique their interest if positioned where they can’t help but notice it. ‘Relevant’ being the key word.

    No one likes sitting through ads that they have no interest in but throw up an ad about something you have a slight interest in and you may be tempted to find out more. Google is the master of relevant advertising. I’ve visited forums where I’ve gone for discussion and found myself itching to click on half a dozen text ads by google that look even slightly interesting to me because they were relevant to my interests.

    It’s also a poor assumption that the majority of YT’s content is comedy and therefore people aren’t in a purchasing frame of mind. How many people used YT to find out about the Nintendo Wii, the Apple iphone etc. etc. There is a lot of comedy on YT but there’s also a lot that isn’t.

    I think advertisers will benefit greatly and the research on inline advertising shows it. I’m willing to bet the the people complaining about the ads are in the minority. This is one for the silent majority to decide.

  • Eloi on August 29, 2007

    I can see your point on advertising being relevant TET.
    However, most of the user feedback (either in YT itself, or in YT user forums) indicates that the audiences are angry at this development.
    Audiences have no problem voicing their opinion on the internet, so how come we are not hearing the voice of this “silent majority”? The only constructive positive comments I have heard about this advertising scheme come from advertisers and marketers who will benefit from in video advertising.
    My point being that relevant advertising must not frustrate the user, and for the moment it seems that the in-video advertising scheme is causing more discontent than satisfaction

  • Eloi on August 29, 2007

    I can see your point on advertising being relevant TET.
    However, most of the user feedback (either in YT itself, or in YT user forums) indicates that the audiences are angry at this development.
    Audiences have no problem voicing their opinion on the internet, so how come we are not hearing the voice of this “silent majority”? The only constructive positive comments I have heard about this advertising scheme come from advertisers and marketers who will benefit from in video advertising.
    My point being that relevant advertising must not frustrate the user, and for the moment it seems that the in-video advertising scheme is causing more discontent than satisfaction

  • TET on August 29, 2007

    You won’t hear the voice of the ‘silent majority’ because they are all the people who just don’t care to have an opinion. They’re quite happy to be spoon fed whatever YouTube serves up or they are just not interested in being involved in the discussion.

    These are the people who vote for what they like simply by their reactions to change. They are ‘the market’. If YT’s research is wrong then the market will show a decrease in click throughs. If it’s right then this will be reflected also.

    Some of the market is very vocal. My observation is that the vocal section is mostly YT content creators, mostly not in YT’s partnership program.

    I read somewhere that less than 1% of people actually create content for sites like YT (I can’t remember the exact figure but certainly less than 10%). Either way the vocal minority is largely out numbered by the size of the total market.

    For the record, I’m a YT content creator, not in YT’s partnership program and I’m happy to see YT finally moving on monetizing their content. Long overdue in my opinion.

  • TET on August 29, 2007

    You won’t hear the voice of the ‘silent majority’ because they are all the people who just don’t care to have an opinion. They’re quite happy to be spoon fed whatever YouTube serves up or they are just not interested in being involved in the discussion.

    These are the people who vote for what they like simply by their reactions to change. They are ‘the market’. If YT’s research is wrong then the market will show a decrease in click throughs. If it’s right then this will be reflected also.

    Some of the market is very vocal. My observation is that the vocal section is mostly YT content creators, mostly not in YT’s partnership program.

    I read somewhere that less than 1% of people actually create content for sites like YT (I can’t remember the exact figure but certainly less than 10%). Either way the vocal minority is largely out numbered by the size of the total market.

    For the record, I’m a YT content creator, not in YT’s partnership program and I’m happy to see YT finally moving on monetizing their content. Long overdue in my opinion.

  • Geertje on December 9, 2008

    Well, well, well, what have we here?! Some marketing man, who thinks he knows it all. Well, you are so wrong TET! As it seems to be Google has chosen to infiltrate slowly. I just was facing the ad-problem today, and I can tell you: it’s VERY IRRITATING!
    Don’t expect every “client” or should I say “target” to put an effort in giving feedback. That does not mean that people do not have an opinion, not at all.
    Most of the time people will not click on an ad, true, very true. May I ad the word impossible? People have to screen the loads of information that are fired at them each day. If they wouldn’t they would be doing nothing but absorbing information! So, what to do as a marketeer then, trying to make money out of these video-postings (which YouTube can ad to their portfolio for free, let’s not forget about that!). The way of putting up ads as is done at this point is lazy, superlazy work. There even might be an increase in clicks, but you can not conclude out of that that this way of marketing is working! For one thing, people might click on those ads by accident, because people are trying to get rid of it, and are trying to click it away.
    Sometimes people also accidently click on junkmail that got through in their emailbox. That doesn’t mean that it’s a cool way of advertising!

    An example of good marketing skills in this field? Try contacting Bacardi, they have succeeded in good advertising on Hyves, a Dutch online social network.
    And other agencies surely can be as creative, if not, they should consider getting another job.
    Ignoring comments from users which visit YouTube almost everyday, is like putting yourself on a pedestal where you don’t belong.

    Nalts, I’m convinced that Google can find a trillion other ways to monetize YouTube. But! There’s some work to do, I’m afraid! It won’t happen while you’re sleeping. One day you might wake up, and find that there’s another smart group of people, who DID succeed to merge both user-interest and marketing-goals together in a more creative and – more important – acceptable way.

    YouTube is visited everyday by looooots of people! Company’s marketing teams will accept it if YouTube/Google demands higher standards of marketing. Why not set up a contest on YouTube itself? That’s acknowledging your users, that’s making marketing social, as it should be. Because YouTube IS a social network. A place where “buzz” is created! By all the much more creative YouTube-users.

    You might want to think this over…. and over….. until you reach a statement, which you might have learned in marketing-school: a win win situation!

    :-)

    I rest my case.

  • Geertje on December 9, 2008

    Well, well, well, what have we here?! Some marketing man, who thinks he knows it all. Well, you are so wrong TET! As it seems to be Google has chosen to infiltrate slowly. I just was facing the ad-problem today, and I can tell you: it’s VERY IRRITATING!
    Don’t expect every “client” or should I say “target” to put an effort in giving feedback. That does not mean that people do not have an opinion, not at all.
    Most of the time people will not click on an ad, true, very true. May I ad the word impossible? People have to screen the loads of information that are fired at them each day. If they wouldn’t they would be doing nothing but absorbing information! So, what to do as a marketeer then, trying to make money out of these video-postings (which YouTube can ad to their portfolio for free, let’s not forget about that!). The way of putting up ads as is done at this point is lazy, superlazy work. There even might be an increase in clicks, but you can not conclude out of that that this way of marketing is working! For one thing, people might click on those ads by accident, because people are trying to get rid of it, and are trying to click it away.
    Sometimes people also accidently click on junkmail that got through in their emailbox. That doesn’t mean that it’s a cool way of advertising!

    An example of good marketing skills in this field? Try contacting Bacardi, they have succeeded in good advertising on Hyves, a Dutch online social network.
    And other agencies surely can be as creative, if not, they should consider getting another job.
    Ignoring comments from users which visit YouTube almost everyday, is like putting yourself on a pedestal where you don’t belong.

    Nalts, I’m convinced that Google can find a trillion other ways to monetize YouTube. But! There’s some work to do, I’m afraid! It won’t happen while you’re sleeping. One day you might wake up, and find that there’s another smart group of people, who DID succeed to merge both user-interest and marketing-goals together in a more creative and – more important – acceptable way.

    YouTube is visited everyday by looooots of people! Company’s marketing teams will accept it if YouTube/Google demands higher standards of marketing. Why not set up a contest on YouTube itself? That’s acknowledging your users, that’s making marketing social, as it should be. Because YouTube IS a social network. A place where “buzz” is created! By all the much more creative YouTube-users.

    You might want to think this over…. and over….. until you reach a statement, which you might have learned in marketing-school: a win win situation!

    :-)

    I rest my case.

  • TET on December 13, 2008

    Given that the original post was published over a year ago Geertje and my opinions are from over a year ago, I think the jury has reached a verdict.

    The overlay ads are still used by YouTube Partners and Youtube didn’t die. It still is the leader in its field.

    I’m not a marketer but I think the reason these kind of overlay ads are preferred by Google is largely because they, along with adsense/adwords are very lucrative passive income streams.

    They work best when placed where users have no choice but to at least glance at them. Once you catch the viewers eye, they then see a word/headline that interests them… and so it goes.

    One or two of the top YouTube partners have been able to quit their day jobs due to earning enough from Ad Revenue and sponsorships. Tell me how it’s not working for Google again?

    I rarely ‘accidently’ click on ads. It’s when the ad that I do click on doesn’t deliver that I get annoyed.

  • TET on December 13, 2008

    Given that the original post was published over a year ago Geertje and my opinions are from over a year ago, I think the jury has reached a verdict.

    The overlay ads are still used by YouTube Partners and Youtube didn’t die. It still is the leader in its field.

    I’m not a marketer but I think the reason these kind of overlay ads are preferred by Google is largely because they, along with adsense/adwords are very lucrative passive income streams.

    They work best when placed where users have no choice but to at least glance at them. Once you catch the viewers eye, they then see a word/headline that interests them… and so it goes.

    One or two of the top YouTube partners have been able to quit their day jobs due to earning enough from Ad Revenue and sponsorships. Tell me how it’s not working for Google again?

    I rarely ‘accidently’ click on ads. It’s when the ad that I do click on doesn’t deliver that I get annoyed.

  • Geertje on December 22, 2008

    That YouTube still exists doesn’t mean that this is cool. Because it’s not.

    As I see it: YouTube is suffering from a disease, but is is a strong network still, so it will take a while before the disease is flowing through all the veines. (as I mentioned: the new way of advertising is entering the network slowly, I was just experiencing this new way of advertising on the 9th of December this year)

    If you think this is working really well, then I’ll just say: keep on dreaming. I hope Google is really prowd of themselves. If you ever see them, drinking a Martini in Miami Beach or wherever they are celebrating their so-called marketing success, as you like to refer to their way of rubbing products in your face in a noncharming matter, well if you ever do, tell them I said “hi”.

    Maybe we can meet again on this blog in, say, another 10 years. Hopefully things have changed for the better then!

    Yours truly,

    “The silent majority”

  • Geertje on December 22, 2008

    That YouTube still exists doesn’t mean that this is cool. Because it’s not.

    As I see it: YouTube is suffering from a disease, but is is a strong network still, so it will take a while before the disease is flowing through all the veines. (as I mentioned: the new way of advertising is entering the network slowly, I was just experiencing this new way of advertising on the 9th of December this year)

    If you think this is working really well, then I’ll just say: keep on dreaming. I hope Google is really prowd of themselves. If you ever see them, drinking a Martini in Miami Beach or wherever they are celebrating their so-called marketing success, as you like to refer to their way of rubbing products in your face in a noncharming matter, well if you ever do, tell them I said “hi”.

    Maybe we can meet again on this blog in, say, another 10 years. Hopefully things have changed for the better then!

    Yours truly,

    “The silent majority”

  • Bryce on December 25, 2008

    I submit videos daily, and I for one do not like ads put on or over my content, I dont even recive any money from this, This is like stealing, free advertising for Google, adsense is being put on my content but I am not being compensated for it, how is this a legitimate business….

  • Bryce on December 25, 2008

    I submit videos daily, and I for one do not like ads put on or over my content, I dont even recive any money from this, This is like stealing, free advertising for Google, adsense is being put on my content but I am not being compensated for it, how is this a legitimate business….

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