YouTube: Choose Your Own Adventure, Emphasis On "Ad"

user-choice-screenshotAs we all know, advertising has been a tough nut for YouTube to crack. While a lot of videos feature overlaid ads at the bottom, some have been testing in-stream video ads that run before, during and after videos. Today, YouTube is starting to test a new way for users to interact with those ads.

On a “small percentage of videos,” you will now have the option of watching one “Promoted Video” (a video someone is paying for YouTube to promote, so yes, an ad) at the beginning of the clip, or choose to see a few different in-stream ads throughout the clip. And if you choose the one long clip beforehand, you will get to choose which clip you watch. Unfortunately, “none” is not an option.

Joking aside, this is sort of an interesting way to do advertising. I can’t imagine that many people will have the preference to watch one pre-roll ad over another, but the option to do either a pre-roll or mid-stream ad is a nice one. Hulu has been testing a similar option, though I have yet to see it. I would definitely opt to sit through a long ad before a show or movie plays rather than having the interruptions throughout.

Of course, as we all know, most people would choose this pre-roll option and proceed to completely ignore the ad, so it will be interesting to see if YouTube sees that happen as well with this option. It seems smart that YouTube is including the pre-roll video ratings when you’re making your selection of which one to watch, so perhaps a high rating will entice some to watch it. And at least these promoted videos aren’t always just straight-up ads, and instead are sometimes people who really, really want their videos to go viral and are willing to pay for it.