Shorter, skippable ads will be coming to YouTube

YouTube today is introducing a new way for advertisers to maximize reach from their shorter ads. The change arrives around two years after YouTube’s introduction of the six-second bumper, which the company says advertisers have learned how to best use to raise brand awareness, despite having only a few seconds to tell their story. Now, advertisers will have the benefit of building bumper-like or longer ads to gain broader reach, while still allowing the ads to be skipped after 5 seconds like all TrueView ads.

With the existing TrueView in-stream ads, which air before or during a video, advertisers only pay when the viewer watches at least 30 seconds or to the end of the video, or they take action by clicking on a card or other elements of the creative to learn more.

TrueView for Reach is meant to combine the best of two worlds – short-form bumper ads, and the user choice offered through the TrueView in-stream format.

The company says the addition will expand advertisers’ options with TrueView ads. Depending on campaign objectives, advertisers can opt for TrueView for Views (standard) ads, TrueView for Action, or TrueView for Reach – all of which are skippable after 5 seconds.

“TrueView for reach brings our popular in-stream format built on user choice together with the simplicity of CPM buying,” says YouTube, in an announcement. “Optimized for efficient reach, this format can help you to raise awareness among a broad set of customers — and do so within our 95% viewable and 95% audible environment.”

The company says that during beta testing the format across 84 campaigns, 9 out of 10 drove a significant lift in ad recall, with average lift of nearly 20 percent.

Samsung Electronics America said it was able to reach 50+ percent more people at half the CPM with TrueView for Reach, when it tested the format, while Pepsi France said that format helped deliver high reach, but also high completion rates for its 10-second video.

“Moreover, CPMs proved to be more competitive: we saw 30% lower CPMs on average compared to previous campaigns. This ultimately drove lower average costs on incremental reach points: -46% versus TV on specific target audiences,” explained Vanessa Tsangaratos, Digital Marketing Manager at Pepsi France.

The expansion of ad format options for YouTube is becoming even more critical to brands and advertisers, given the continued rise in cord cutting and adoption of subscription video on demand services, like Netflix, which are ad-free.

As YouTube notes in a blog post, advertising was simpler in the TV era – you’d just find the most popular shows, and place your brand there in the commercial breaks. Now advertisers are trying to find a place to gain attention for their brand in a far more complex landscape – there are video ads not only on streaming services like Hulu, but also on live TV services, on YouTube and even on social media, like Facebook and Instagram.

The goal is to now find a place to advertise where you can actually capture users’ attention.

YouTube claims it’s that place, of course. It cites a recent Ipsos study that found people are 3 times more likely to pay attention to online video ads compared with TV ads.

TrueView for reach is not the only TrueView option for YouTube advertisers. The newer TrueView for action is also available for those advertisers who want to customize a call-to-action that’s important to their business, like leads or referrals.