YouTube Advertisers Will Soon Have a Partner Program of Their Own

By Devon Glenn 

YouTube today announced its plans to extend its partnership program to advertisers. Rather than asking viewers to sit through another pre-roll ad just to watch a commercial, YouTube aims to help brands create the kinds of videos that go viral and to find more innovative ways to collaborate with top video creators.

Starting in September, YouTube will bring brands and their agencies to the YouTube space in Los Angeles to attend a week-long creative workshop led by in-house YouTube experts from the Next Lab. During that week and going forward, partners will have access to a number of resources and a dedicated partner manager who will work with them on their content strategy and audience-building techniques.

American Express, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo and their agencies will be the first to test out the program this fall. YouTube plans to have 100 partners by 2014.

Commercials lead a double life on YouTube. While some brands place their ads in other videos, others create stand-alone videos in the hope that viewers will watch them voluntarily. In fact, 1 percent of the top 100 most viral videos are actually ads.

By extending its partner program to advertisers, YouTube hopes to foster strategic alliances between brands and some of YouTube’s top creators. This could lead to more creative campaigns and shake up the types of ads that are going into videos.

But yes, ads within ads are allowed.

“As for all content creators, monetization is optional,” a Google spokesperson said. “You can choose to activate ads on your content should you wish.”