Video ads appear on YouTube videos either at the start (pre-roll), in between (mid-roll), or at the end (post-roll). Mid-roll ads can appear on videos that are over 8 minutes long.
Like TV commercials, YouTube ads are spaced within the video. The ads are offered as either skippable or non-skippable. In a skippable video ad, viewers are given the choice to skip the ad after the initial 5 seconds.
The components of a typical YouTube video ad are shown in Exhibit 16.3. They include the skip countdown/skip button, link to the advertiser’s website, share button, and a channel engagement panel.
The channel engagement panel displays information such as channel name, channel icon, and name of the video. This information appears only if the video creative is YouTube-hosted.
The most common type of video ads on YouTube are skippable ads that advertisers pay for only when viewers watch at least 30 seconds of the ad or the entire ad, whichever is shorter, or when they interact by clicking on a call-to-action (e.g. the link to advertiser’s website).
Skippable ads are referred to as TrueView, so called because users choose to view them on their own volition.
The video ads typically interrupt viewing experiences, and viewers are unlikely to click links to go to the advertiser’s landing page. The ads must therefore work standalone, achieving objectives without relying on any user behavioural/social engagement at the time the ad is aired.
Moreover, since the majority of ads on YouTube are skippable, they need to resonate within the first 5 seconds. Unlike advertisements on TV, YouTube video ads are most effective if they can communicate the essence of their message within those initial seconds. This marks a fundamental shift in the way ads are crafted.
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