Google didn’t pay $1.6 billion for nothing. From USA Today:
Here’s how it works: Sponsors and video publishers apply to participate at youtube.com/advertiser. Ad sponsors design a campaign that will appear on certain YouTube clips. The ads appear not as traditional 30-second “pre-rolls” but as “overlays” — which look a lot like the little messages that run at the bottom of TV screens.
Fifteen seconds into a video, viewers are invited to click on the ad. If they choose to do so, the clip is paused and the ad is shown in the video window.
Giving viewers a choice about viewing an ad appealed to automaker BMW. “This is much less disruptive,” says Rinku Mahbubani, interactive media supervisor for ad agency GSD&M, which handles advertising for BMW.
Google is being selective about homegrown videos it lets into the program. “We’re not going to put ads on every user-generated clip,” says Eileen Naughton, Google’s director of media platforms. To participate, users must “have a following” on YouTube.
Your average YouTube clip, shown at their designated size, is pretty small. Will the “overlays” look tiny? Will people click off the site altogether after 15 seconds? It’ll be interesting to see how this works out. But still, $1.6 billion–and somebody’s gotta pay for it.