Yep, you read that right. Today, YouTube is officially launching TrueView, a new ad format that lets users skip over ads they aren’t interested in — and advertisers are actually okay with it.
It’s a new format that YouTube has been testing for a while now, and it’s a bit different than what you’re probably used to. When a TrueView ad unit begins playing, you’ll notice a five second countdown timer — as soon as that’s up, you’ll see an arrow that will let you skip the remainder of the ad and get back to the content you wanted to see, or you can choose to keep on watching the ad. No kidding.
It’s a bit counterintuitive (advertisers are constantly looking for ways to force you to watch an ad, after all), but YouTube says that the results have been promising so far. Advertisers like it because they only pay if the user doesn’t hit the ‘skip’ button, which means, at least in theory, that the people who do watch their ads are more interested in whatever they’re selling.
Of course, given how different this is from what most consumers are used to, it may be a bit too early to gauge how well these ads are actually working — users may be skeptical of hitting the skip button at all because they’ve never seen it before.
TrueView has another component that you may be more familiar with — for some videos it will lets users choose between three different pre-roll ads. Note that unlike the ‘skippable’ ads, this is very similar to what Hulu has offered for a couple years now.
Note that not all ads will be in the TrueView format — it’s still up to the advertisers to decide if they want to use it or a more traditional format.