There is a lot of optimism around the potential for advertisers to achieve branding objectives using online video because it provides marketers with many of the things we love about television advertising, with the added benefit of online measurement. Online video ads deliver the sound and motion of a TV commercial in a lean-back setting that can elicit an emotional response from viewers. Display ads rarely achieve this, which is why there has been a rocky road to their acceptance as drivers of brand metrics – despite a growing body of evidence that shows they do move the needle on key brand indictors.
One of the primary impediments to greater advertiser adoption of online video has been a lack of premium content. Advertisers are often wary of inserting themselves into user-generated content (UGC). However, more premium content has been finding its way on line thanks to sites like Hulu and notable online projects like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog from writer/director Joss Whedon.
Now YouTube – the mother of UGC – is in the premium content game. This week, YouTube announced they are making a full commitment to long-form video in the form of shows and movies. As of today, visitors to YouTube will see a new tab called Shows. This tab appears at the top of the site, in the primary navigation, and YouTube will be also be promoting and driving traffic to this area via buttons on other pages throughout the site. Shows will come from a variety of partners including Sony, CBS and others. The shows will not be first run programs. Rather, they represent classic and recent (but not current) programs.
The ad units that will appear in and around this video content are similar to the standard video ad units currently available on most major video sites. YouTube currently offers 15- and 30-second spots and they expect to add 60-second spots in the near future, which is important for advertisers in industries such as pharmaceuticals where there is disclaimer information that needs to be communicated. YouTube plans to offer more traditional video ad units for shows — pre/mid/post roll units.
To maintain user friendliness, there will be a limited number of commercial breaks, with 7 minutes of programming before a commercial break. While there could be more than 1 ad or advertiser per program, there will only be 1 ad per pod.
Similar to other video ad networks, marketers cannot cherry-pick shows they want to run on, although they can opt out of specific shows. Most ad buys negotiated through YouTube will be available by genre or demographic interest — male, female, teens, family friendly — and sold on a CPM basis. However, advertisers can buy spots on specific shows by going directly to the network that created the programming.
YouTube has in its court an enormous user base that is already loyal and established. As YouTube increases its database of premium programming, it could become the platform for video viewing that is most accepted by viewers — and that means lots of eyeballs in one place for advertisers to buy.
- Laura Mete Frizzell, VP of Media Services, 360i