One of the features advertisers love about Google's YouTube is its "TrueView" ad format.
Launched five years ago, the format allows viewers to skip an ad after five-seconds if they want to launch straight into a video, or stick around and watch the full ad if they prefer. Advertisers only pay if a user opts not to skip the ad and watches for at least 30-seconds or to the end of the video (whichever is less) or if a viewer actively chooses to watch an "in-display ad" that appears alongside other YouTube videos in search pages or on the Google Display Network.
But YouTube says one of the top pieces of feedback it has received from advertisers is that they want to make their ads more interactive.
In a blog post published Wednesday, YouTube announced it is expanding the capability of TrueView ads through "cards," which will allow advertisers to overlay more information about their brand, related videos, playlists, and links to their websites. These cards will work on desktop, mobile, and will eventually come to connected TVs, YouTube says.
For YouTube, it hopes that adding more functionality will encourage users to actually do something as a result of watching an ad. The more effective YouTube's ads are, the more advertisers will want to buy them, and the more it can charge them for its inventory.
Another change to the TrueView format, rolling out in May, will see YouTube counting a view when a user clicks on a card or other elements of their in-stream creative. It will then bill for the interaction, but it will only bill for either a full view, or a click, not both. YouTube says a click interaction is a strong indication that a viewer is interested and engaged.
To make sure that advertisers don't get billed for users' "fat fingers" if they accidentally click on the ad creative instead of the "Skip Ad" button, YouTube is changing where you can click on TrueView ads. Before, clicking anywhere on the player would register a click (and result in a billing,) but now only clicks to specific cards, calls to action, the header, banner, or a link will be registered.Here's what an expanded TrueView card panel looks like on desktop:
YouTube says it grew the number advertisers using TrueView by 45% year-on-year 2014. It has not revealed the total number of advertisers, but says all of the top 100 global brands have run TrueView video ads over the past year. Of all the advertisers using TrueView in 2014, 95% did so across mobile, YouTube says.
YouTube is facing increasing competition in the mobile video front from Facebook. Mobile devices account for 65% of Facebook's video views, whereas half of YouTube's video views come from mobile. Facebook's app accounted for more mobile data traffic than that of YouTube in the US, South Korea, and Spain, according to Ericsson.
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