AdSense For Video Comes Out of Private Beta. Can We Kill the Pre-Roll Now?

google-adsense.pngNine months after launching its closed beta of AdSense for video, Google is finally opening up the advertising program to any publisher in the U.S. that serves one million or more video streams per month. (Perhaps the volume requirement is a concession to advertisers who want their ads shown only on mainstream sites—and porn sites need not apply, no matter how many videos they stream).

The ads come in two formats: video and text. Both appear as banners along the bottom of the video. When you click on the “InVideo” ad (isn’t AdBrite already using that name?), the video you are watching stops and a new smaller window opens up that plays a video commercial (you can close it at anytime to resume the original video you were watching). The text ad is also a banner with a regular contextual AdSense ad triggered by tags in the video or words on the page around it. When you click on that, it takes you to the advertiser’s Website. The InVideo ads are charged on a CPM (per-impression) basis, while the text ads are charged on a CPC (per click) basis. You can see demos here and in the two screen grabs below).

In addition to partner sites that are accepted into the AdSense video program, you also will be seeing these ads on YouTube videos, including those in the YouTube Partner program. And, as we’ve previously reported, these YouTube videos, with the accompanying ads, can be placed on any Website by publishers who don’t have videos of their own or would like to supplement what they have. In that scenario, the ad revenues get split three ways between the publisher site, the YouTube partner, and Google.

Thankfully, Google is staying away from pre-roll and post-roll video ads, the video ad format that still seems to dominate because it is most similar to what advertisers are used to buying on TV. Well, the Web is not TV. And Google realizes that. These formats are much less intrusive and more contextually relevant. Although overlays are nothing new (see VideoEgg, ScanScout, AdBrite, Blinkx, Cast.Tv, etc), Google’s heft in online advertising could easily make it the standard. I am still not a big fan of the text ads, though, because they send you away from the video in mid-stream, which does not provide the best viewing experience. But at least Google leaves it up to the viewers to decide for themselves whether or not they want to interrupt their videos by clicking on an ad. Anyway, either format is preferable to a pre-roll, which hopefully will now be taken out back and shot.