Will Skippable Ads Lead To More Compelling Advertising On YouTube?

YouTube LogoBaljeet Singh, senior product manager at YouTube, announced yesterday that the online video giant plans to introduce “skippable” pre-roll ads to the site later this year. Viewers will have the option to watch ads or click to skip them and go directly to the video. YouTube has been playing around with the idea of skippable ads for the last three quarters and, after seeing good results, they have decided to launch the new feature before the year’s end.

Skippable ads are a great plus for viewers, especially those who are annoyed with having to sit through pesky advertisements and wait to see the content they really want. The new skip feature also won’t have a negative effect on advertiser revenue, as Google won’t charge advertisers when viewers skip their pre-roll clips.

One of the most interesting points that Singh made at the press conference was that in tests the skip rates varied tremendously based upon the quality of the pre-roll ads. Singh said that viewers were far more likely to watch good advertisements in their entirety and skip over the rubbish. This is likely to encourage advertisers to invest more of their time, energy and money into producing compelling, creative ad content.

Singh made the announcement at a Google press conference yesterday, shortly after Hulu announced the launch of their new Hulu Plus service. YouTube is following Hulu with the idea of skippable ads and, while they have no concrete plans for adding a paid subscription service to the site at the moment they may follow Hulu with that in the future. Vice president of global media and platforms for Google, Henrique de Castro, said at the press conference that YouTube eventually will “cover the entire spectrum between subscriptions and advertising.”

It will be interesting to see if skippable ads will lead to more compelling YouTube advertising. Who knows, maybe ads will get good enough that users will hardly want to use the skip feature at all! What do you think of YouTube’s plans to implement skippable ads on their site?