Google is testing skippable ads on YouTube, as the search giant looks to find new ways to monetise the video-sharing site. The concept of the ad unit is that while users are given the tools to skip the ads they don’t want to see, when they do in fact watch them, they will do so with more engagement.
Google is opting-in advertisers running video campaigns via AdWords for the test. It will display a small text option in the right-hand corner of the viewer, reading, “Skip this ad.” Clicking that text takes users directly to the videos they wish to play. YouTube is running the experiment on clips produced as part of its partner program with creators who have elected to include in-stream ads.
Aaron Zamost, a spokesperson for YouTube, said the growing popularity of ad-funded sites such as like Hulu and TV.com have made consumers used to watching long-form content online and more comfortable with ads.
“Advertisers are often willing to pay more for engaged views,” said Zamost. “Users that actually want to watch an ad are more engaged.”
YouTube began testing the units this week. The Google division will examine audience and content habits, with an overall goal of making the ads more effective for viewers and advertisers.
YouTube has found that when a pre-roll ad is only 15 seconds long, viewers complete it as much as 85% of the time.
In addition, YouTube found that high-quality and relevant ads have three times the influence on abandonment online as they do on TV.