YouTube Testing ‘Ad Pods’, Rolls out TV-Screen Ad Formats

March 21, 2019
Samantha Brachat

Advertisers running ads on YouTube have a little more to think about.


Less Breaks, More Engagement

In a recent blog post published by Google, the company reiterated its commitment to evolving its ad program to align with current viewing trends. Its most recent focus appears to be the number of times ad breaks are occurring – particularly during long video viewing sessions.

In short, Google’s research determined that – perhaps unsurprisingly - the fewer ad interruptions that take place after a user starts watching a video, the stronger the user engagement is in both the content of the video itself and ads that are served. As a result of this, YouTube will be softly testing ‘ad pods’ – which are essentially two back-to-back skippable ads before a piece of video content is displayed.


Image Source: Google


The Logic Behind the Change

As these pods start to become more commonplace, they will likely start to phase out ads that are served after a video has begun to stream, although that hasn’t officially been confirmed by Google yet. It also hasn’t been confirmed if one advertiser will be able to utilize both pod spaces. Not every video that currently displays ads will have this format apply to it for now, rather it will be based on a video’s length, with longer videos being more likely to present users with pods.

From an awareness perspective, it seems like this change will be a nice benefit for advertisers. Google claims that early results show that both the reach and frequency of a brand ad served in a pod format increased by up to 11% and 10% respectively.

Additionally, a Marketing Land news post on this topic claims that YouTube videos who are served with two ads at the beginning of a video as opposed to two ads spread throughout a video are 40% more likely to stay engaged in the video instead of bouncing.

For now, this change is expected to only apply to desktop ads for the remainder of 2018, but they will likely make their way to mobile and its brand new TV-screen ad format in the not-so-distant future.


TV-Screen Digital Formats

Google’s blog article went on to reveal some interesting findings about how people are consuming YouTube content. In particular, more and more users are opting to peruse YouTube feeds (as opposed to just watching individual links from provided URLS), and they are doing so via smart TV screens. On average, over 180 million hours of YouTube content is consumed via a TV screen on a daily basis. To that end, the company announced that a new targeting type is now available in the Google Ads advertising platform: Connected TV devices.


Image Source: Google


A Quick & Large Impression

While the pod format and a new screen device targeting method may not be the most significant of YouTube’s changes this year, advertisers should still consider the state of online video. A report published earlier this year by PwC revealed that online video consumption jumped 33% from 2016 to 2017, and will likely achieve similar – if not stronger growth this year. With that in mind, it would be prudent to leap on any opportunity that may result in your video ads getting more viewership.

If you’re looking to rehash a video campaign that may have not performed quite as well as your expectations, the implementation of these ad pods might give it the boost you need to get more eyes on it. And if the ad pods themselves aren’t enough to make you want to test more video ads, the TV-screen device target type certainly should.

With the rise of new streaming services like Amazon and Disney, there’s a lot of growing competition in the online streaming realm right now. Even though it’s very early to make any kind of assumptions, it wouldn’t be far off to assume Google is going to try and make its video-viewing platform as lucrative as possible for both its viewers and its advertisers.

Don’t be surprised to see YouTube making a lot of tweaks and new implementations for advertisers over the next year.


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