Google ‘Click to Play’ Video Ads

Today Google is launching "click-to-play" video ads that will appear in its AdSense network. The ads will be part of the same auction as text and graphical ads and feature the same targeting capabilities. It's a fascinating development that starts to bring the promise of the Internet's precision targeting capabilities to TV advertising. And, in a way, this is Google's first step into TV.

All the AdSense targeting capabilities (context, geo, site/demo) are also available to these ads. Here are the official details.

This will likely give a much-needed boost to Google's contextual network, which has been assailed by competitors and is generally regarded as less effective than its search network. It’s also seen as the locus of more click fraud.

In addition, it suddenly gives Google a real product for brand marketers, something the company has wanted but hasn't really had until now. Yahoo! has had much more to offer brands. It will be interesting to see how many of them will try this out. Google indicated there are a number of advertisers already signed up. They have the same control in terms of where the ads appear as they would with “traditional” ads in the content network.

The videos themselves, from what I understand, are "opt-in." Consumers will see a graphical ad and then a video player within the ad. The video doesn’t automatically roll. The creative, which the marketer is responsible for, will presumably prompt the user to play the video. Google is apparently accepting all video formats and the duration of the commercials may be up to two minutes in length. (The Online Publishers Assn. found in March that most users would watch pre-roll ads of up to 10 seconds, but almost an equal number were willing to watch ads of more than a minute in length.)

There are lots if interesting potential uses, applications and implications. Video ads are obviously not new online. But the novel twists here are the reach of AdSense and its related targeting capabilities.

One use of this system (and presumably others that will develop shortly) is to "A/B test" creative before launching a campaign on TV. This is sort of like what's being done by some marketers who get users to vote on several different versions of the same campaign online. Another likely outcome is the acceleration of online video advertising in general and the creation of video ad networks in particular to rival Google. This will touch off the development and introduction of competitive offerings from the major portals and networks. And brand marketers will welcome the opportunity to combine the reach of TV (across networks) with the targeting and payment structure of PPClick.

TV has felt the sting this year of an uncertain upfront and some advertiser defections to the Internet. Brands will likely be eager to test the effectiveness of this program. And that might ultimately cause more TV ad dollars to move online. That’s a fairly safe prediction, but the percentages are too early too tell.

Broadcast and cable TV advertising in the US will be worth approximately $38 billion this year according to Universal McCann.

In terms of local targeting, an airline could, for example, create a discount fares campaign for certain cities and through Google's content network relatively efficiently reach those selected markets (at comparatively little cost vs. TV). But as the demographic targeting capabilities of the Google content network improve over time (as they will because of pressure from Microsoft) one could have "layered" targeting — e.g., 18-34 year old males in the Pacific Northwest, etc. There are lots of interesting possibilities along these lines.

One of the challenges of online advertising for publishers is getting traditional media revenues from performance-based products. Video may well be a breakout category. The reach + targeting capability could command a premium from advertisers — eventually — and generate significant revenue for online networks.

_________

Additional thoughts: Brand marketers are drawn to video obviously but the lack of full control over where/when those ads appear in the content network and on particular sites, and the fact that users must initiate the streams by clicking them may inhibit some advertisers from trying this. It's not TV advertising and will require different thinking and a somewhat different approach. But I do believe that agencies will pitch and test this on behalf of their clients.

Michael Arrington on TechCrunch dismisses Click to Play and predicts it will fail.  

About these ads

18 Responses to “Google ‘Click to Play’ Video Ads”

  1. Search Engine Journal » Google Click-To-Play Video Ads for AdWords Says:

    [...] Local & New Media Analyst Greg Sterling adds: This will likely give a much-needed boost to Google’s contextual network, which has been assailed by competitors and is generally regarded as less effective than its search network. It’s also seen as the locus of more click fraud. [...]

  2. Google Announces ‘Click to Play’ Video Ads: ProBlogger Blog Tips Says:

    [...] Screenwerk If you enjoyed this post Subscribe to the Free ProBlogger Newsletter [...]

  3. Loren Baker Says:

    I’m awaiting the cost comparison model between Google Video Ads (given the average CTR%) and TV ads.

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    Yes, that will be interesting to see. To some degree it depends on how costly those video ads become given that it’s an auction.

  5. » Google Rolling Out Flash Ads » InsideGoogle » part of the Blog News Channel Says:

    [...] Greg Sterling: In addition, it suddenly gives Google a real product for brand marketers, something the company has wanted but hasn’t really had until now. Yahoo! has had much more to offer brands. It will be interesting to see how many of them will try this out. [...]

  6. AdMoolah News and Views » Google to Launch Video Blogs Says:

    [...] Update: Some interesting commentary on the new video ads: Greg Sterling sees this as a move for Google towards TV, Michael Arrington at TechCrunch is not optimistic about the new format. [...]

  7. DMA Search Engine Marketing Council Blog Says:

    Google Video Ads…

    According to the Google AdWords blog, Google will be offering click-to-play video ads to the available formats on the Google content network. These video ads will only be available to AdWords advertisers in the US, Canada and Japan with a…

  8. Gib Olander Says:

    I just don’t see the draw of the video ad, in a reading enviornment. As a sports fan I visit ESPN.com and am really annoyed when the ESPN Motion player launches. Even though it’s targeted, relevant content I find it disruptive. This is an interesting step in getting closer to a TV on demand enviorment or pay as you watch TV using a search engine as a defacto TV Guide.

  9. Greg Sterling Says:

    This isn’t as disruptive as those ads that simply start to play when you land on the site. The “reading environment” will eventually give way to more and more visual information/video. The Internet ultimately becomes more like the vision for interactive TV. Of course it depends on the content and the site.

    The advertisers’ challenge with this is to make the creative/copy compelling enough to get the consumer to launch the video. This challenge is precisely why some analysts (Jupiter in particular) have argued that advertisers won’t like this — they want “involuntary” prerolls. But the model online is search/”opt-in.” The ads that simply appear or that you’re forced to watch (unless the back-end targeting gets really sophisticated) won’t be as effective (think consumer engagement) as those that consumers search for (TiVo AdSearch) or click to play.

  10. Screenwerk » Blog Archive » Google Premium Video Offers Free Video Test Says:

    [...] If the program broadens, as with "click to play," it offers potentially very targeted TV advertising opportunities for marketers.  [...]

  11. Search Engine Journal » Google Premium Video Offers Free Test Says:

    [...] Quick thoughts: * This is partly a response to the fact that users aren’t watching the paid streams in anywhere near the volume as the free streams on Google Video * Google says this is also a response to advertiser demand * Generally it’s a good move for Google to broaden Google Video’s overall appeal at a time of intensifying competition * This starts to turn Google into something like an on-demand TV network with traditional, TV-style ads. How will Google navigate these waters with traditional TV content producers? This may be challenging if the program is permanently adopted and broadens * If the program does go on, it offers potentially very targeted TV advertising opportunities, as with “click to play,” for marketers * Will users click on/watch the ads? My guess is that they will when they have a choice [...]

  12. Google ups the Ante in the YouTube Bid War at awetistic.com - Extreme Technology Says:

    [...] (Previous) YouTube has emerged as the dominant player (so to speak) in online video. This makes the site an almost immediate candidate to be acquired. Yahoo! or Fox (MySpace’s parent) are the logical acquirers. But in the second group would be everyone else: TW/AOL, MSN and Google whose own video site has failed to gain the kind of momentum the company hoped it would. Yet imagine the combination of YouTube video monetized with Google’s Click to Play video ads. [...]

  13. INTERNET MARKETING BLOG » Google AdWords Click-To-Play Video Ads Says:

    [...] Local & New Media Analyst Greg Sterling adds: [...]

  14. GooglePowerSearch - Steve Says:

    Check this out http://www.googlepowersearch.com.
    I created GooglePowerSearch so you can power search for Video, News, Maps, Images and more…
    Google Power Search helps to unleash the built in power of Googles special features.
    Using Google Power Search you are able to get better-targeted results.
    Check out Google Power Search and let me know what you think.
    Thanks
    Steve

  15. The Revolution Will Be Televised, Details After These Ads by Google | StepForth Web Marketing Inc. Says:

    [...] his Screenwerk blog, Greg Stirling notes that the number of targeting options, combined with the ability to track click [...]

  16. Rhett Eurbin Says:

    Your internet site came up in my research and I’m smitten by what you have composed on this issue. I am currently extending my enquiry and thus cannot contribute further, yet, I have bookmarked your website and will be returning to keep up with any future updates. Just love it and gives thanks for allowing my remark.

  17. TV Says:

    Even though it’s targeted, relevant content I find it disruptive. This is an interesting step in getting closer to a TV on demand enviorment or pay as you watch TV using a search engine as a defacto TV Guide.

  18. estetik Says:

    I’m awaiting the cost comparison model between Google Video Ads (given the average CTR%) and TV ads.3
    tr

Comments are closed.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 120 other followers

%d bloggers like this: