August 25, 2012

Skip Your Ads On YouTube Mobile

Call it a necessary evil. Call it a great, unending struggle. Call it a lose-lose situation. No matter how you slice it, as long as there is free web-based content and services, there will be ads. Sure, the advertising companies probably don’t hate serving up this promotional material as much as users and viewers hate seeing it, but it certainly can’t be easy, always having to find new ways to deliver these ads in a new way, circumventing all manner of ad blockers.

In order to maintain a “free” and open internet, web companies rely on the income they receive from these advertising companies, and as the world progressively moves to mobile, there is less space for these ads. What’s a company to do?

Today, YouTube has announced their solution to this problem in a way they think will be win-win for all involved. Using a technology called “TrueView,” YouTube will give users of their mobile site an option to view ads before they watch their selected video. If a user chooses to watch the commercial, YouTube sends the advertiser a bill. If the user instead opts to go straight to the content, the advertiser is left un-billed.

TrueView is really well-tuned toward small screens and the on-the-go user,” said Jason Spero, leader of global sales and strategy for mobile ads at Google, speaking to the New York Times.

While it seems surprising that anyone would choose to watch a commercial before checking out the latest Songify video, Spero says it happens more often than you might think.

These executives say users looking up funny videos on YouTube might stop to watch the latest comedy trailer before moving on to their selected content.

According to their numbers, somewhere between 15% and 45% of viewers choose to watch the delivered ads. While these may sound like promising numbers to potential advertisers, there is still a wide gap between 15 and 45 percent.

YouTube announced TrueView back in 2010, giving users the option to skip ads when viewing content on the desktop version of their site. Now, over 65% of the videos on YouTube use the TrueView technology.

“The broad goal here is around aligning user experience and advertiser goals in a way that delivers a more accountable advertising platform to advertisers and the brand, as well as a better user experience,” said Phil Farhi, group product manager at YouTube, in an interview with TechCrunch.

“That model, the concept of only paying for engaged viewers who have a choice in what they watch, really applies across screens.”

Though YouTube has been testing TrueView on mobile screens for a while, the company has announced today that they’ll be rolling it out to all TrueView enabled videos.

It’s important for Google to figure out this mobile ad delivery dilemma, as it’s been announced that YouTube will no longer arrive as a native app in Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 6. Though Google will continue to offer an iOS app available for download, they’ll now be able to completely control the experience. Therefore, rolling out these mobile ads is likely a good move for Google, a company which sustains itself primarily on selling ads.

Image Credit: Annette Shaff /

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