We are still waiting for the mind-blowing YouTube money-making idea that Eric Schmidt promised earlier this year. But what we’ve been getting this fall are a series of common sense steps: Adding post-roll ads, adding affiliate buttons for iTunes and Amazon, adding full-length TV shows (with pre- and mid-roll ads, a la Hulu and everyone else). Next up: Selling AdWords-like ads along side YouTube search results. AdAge:
The paid-search results appear on the right side of YouTube’s search-results pages under the heading “promoted videos.” The ads have a thumbnail image and a title and brief text, like AdWords, Google’s ad marketplace that also matches keyword-targeted ads against search queries. The ads link to an advertiser’s YouTube channel and, also like AdWords, are sold on a cost-per-click basis. The ads are not, however, bought through the AdWords system.
…If YouTube can make search ads work, it could be huge for the site, which has massive amounts of video search traffic. According to ComScore’s Extended Search Query Report, which breaks U.S. search data down into sub-domains of the top search engines, in August (the most recent figures publicly available) “YouTube/other” accounted for almost 2.6 billion searches — trumping Yahoo.com’s 2.4 billion. (Google.com had 7.6 billion search queries.) YouTube’s figures dwarfed MySpace’s 585 million searches and Facebook’s 186 million searches.
We respectfully disagree with AdAge here: Like the other YouTube revenue tweaks Google has rolled out in recent weeks, this one isn’t a bad idea, but it’s not a game-changer, either.
Yes, there are a lot of people searching for things on YouTube. But those searches aren’t worth nearly as much as conventional searches can be: A search for Google can lead to lead generation or even an actual purchase. So advertisers are willing to pay Google a huge premium to bring those Web surfers to their doors. But a search on YouTube is only going to lead to… another YouTube video. And until the Web video market grows up — a lot — those eyeballs won’t be worth a huge premium.
See Also: CBS Bringing TV To YouTube
YouTube’s Newest Revenue Scheme: Affiliate Fees
Eric Schmidt’s Secret YouTube Plan Unveiled? YouTube Launches Post-Roll Video Ads
YouTube’s Seth MacFarlane Channel Looking Like A Hit
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