At the time of putting these words into Word I can’t help thinking to myself that there doesn’t seem to have been much opinion buzzing around the blogosphere about YouTube’s recent decision to officially launch TrueView - which not only gives users the option to skip pre-roll advertising after five seconds but also allows advertisers to not pay if the user decides to plump for this alternative.
OK, the story that YouTube was thinking about testing the initiative broke last year, pre-roll is still only one of a myriad of advertising options (overlay, post-roll, banners) and it’s only being used by a small number of advertisers so far - but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a hugely significant development for the industry.
At least the speakers at the Online Video Summit at the British Library in December not only realised its importance, but revelled in it.
The discussion turned out to be an interesting debate, including our own chief executive Rene Rechtman, and YouTube’s Dara Nasr, who explained that not only did the initiative appeal to both the consumer and the advertiser (apparently the testing shows through-rates of up to 70% when consumers decided to watch the whole ad) but that it opened up a whole new world of research for them on consumer viewing habits of branded content.
Some may see YouTube’s decision as a risk, but I see this push towards better, more incisive research (and especially technology - at the end of the day we’re all technology providers) as an enviable position to be in and an intelligent and prescient move.
As we all know, effective research in this area (and the development of the technology to analyse it) is going to be the battleground where the struggle for dominance in the sector will be fought - and the ability to effectively measure creativity in video advertising will open up a whole new world of opportunities for the market.
The content in branded content has to be more intelligent, creative and engaging and this type of research helps us all achieve this.
However, more people than the few intelligent and informed people at the Online Video Summit need to come around to realising this if we’re going to continue to convince people to stay away from the five second click-off time and watch the whole ad.
Jimmy Maymann, co-founder and chairman, GoViral