NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — YouTube’s first serious attempt to monetise web video — text overlays — is still the most effective, with click-through rates that are eight to 10 times higher than other ad formats, according to the company. Get ready for more of them.
That’s because Google is making the overlays self-serve, meaning any advertiser can create and place overlay advertising on video, much as they might place their own display or search campaigns.
Overlays will now be part of Google’s self-service advertising tool, Display Ad Builder, which has 40,000 advertisers. Most of those advertiser are small and 80% entirely new to the online display market.
This won’t get more brand advertising on YouTube, but Google’s hope is it will create more of a long-tail market for video advertising, just as there is for search. Small advertisers can currently buy promoted videos, YouTube’s equivalent of a search ad. At the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, YouTube announced it is opening up its partner program to indie musicians, giving them an entirely new way to sell-out by accepting advertising on YouTube as well as third-party sites.
“The big thing here is we’re trying to make display advertising as simple as search advertising, especially for the small advertiser,” said Brad Bender, product management director for display at Google.
The humble overlay, the most ubiquitous in-video ad on YouTube, is its most effective unit, from a click-through perspective. Mr. Bender said Display Ad Builder includes templates to help small advertises create their own ad units. Overlays can be bought on a per-click or cost-per-thousand-impressions basis; advertisers can target a specific video, a genre or other demographic criteria provided by YouTube.
The challenge for YouTube — by far Google’s largest display property — is to open up the system to the long tail while maintaining a premium environment for brand advertisers, the kind which place 15- and 30-second spots as well as the splashy home-page ads, which increasingly pay the bills.
The fundamental belief at Google, however, is that more advertisers is better, no matter how small they happen to be. “It is generally beneficial to open up the ecosystem,” Mr. Bender said. “Finding the perfect ad for everyone is going to vary on the person and on the context.”