Would you stop using YouTube if they inserted ads in videos?

    by Mark Glaser
    April 27, 2007

    YouTube has been an Internet phenomenon because the site provides an easy, friction-less way to share your videos with the world. The site has also resisted the siren song of video advertising, a format that is poised to explode in revenues in the coming years. Many video ads are called “pre-roll” and play before you get to see the video content. The problem is that TV-style 30-second ads can be tedious online, especially if have to sit through one before watching a 20-second video clip of content.

    So it was a bit disconcerting to hear that Google was considering 30-second pre-roll ads on YouTube in response to requests from broadcasters. “We don’t want to rush in and throw in a bunch of ad formats that maximize revenue but destroy user experience,” Google’s Patrick Walker said at the MipTV conference. “We have an engagement model when it comes to advertising so we want to slowly introduce formats, test them and get user feedback.” So what’s your feedback on YouTube showing pre-roll ads? Would you stop using the site to view videos? What would work for you — ads after the content, ads around the content, ads for related videos to what you’re watching? Share your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll run the best ones in the next Your Take Roundup.

    Tagged: advertising comments video youtube
    • I wouldn’t stop using youtube, but I wouldn’t hesitate to start uploading my video to any competitor that didn’t put ads on my content.

    • Vlad Caragea

      I think if YouTube sayed they would put “pre-roll” ads i would only keep waching if the ads were at the end that way if you dont want to see that ad then you could just leave it alone.So that whay you dont mess up user experienc but still rais revenu.

    • I think pre-roll ads on YouTube are fine, but let’s keep them to 5 seconds or less. That would encourage companies to get very creative in how they deliver their messages. If companies want to deliver 10 second ads, that would be fine, too, so long as that is clearly indicated on the video before people start watching.

      In terms of sharing ad revenue with YouTube producers, it makes sense that the revenue share formula is proportional to the number of videos uploaded, the number of views of such videos, the number of subscribers a producer has, the number of other producers a subscriber subscribes to. That is to say, the greater the community involvement a producer in YouTube has, the greater his or her cut of the ad revenue, all the way from 20 percent of ad revenue to 50 percent.

      If you had 20 different levels of involvement, then YouTube video producers would relish the challenge of moving up the pay scale, so to speak.

      Now here’s the kicker. YouTube producers can also move up slowly through the 20 different levels of involvement via the number of videos they view. Do you see the magic happening here? Producers would get some compensation, however fractionally small, for watching videos.


    • Dustin LindenSmith

      I would tolerate pre-roll ads up to 15 seconds in length, but not longer. I’d also tolerate links to related ads, although I’d probably never click on them.

      For the sake of advertising effectiveness, I’d also incorporate some sort of viral rating scheme for the ads themselves. This could become a means to promote the development of truly creative, interesting, or entertaining ads that people might actually watch on their own merit. Just imagine: ads that percolated to the top of the YouTube consciousness not by virtue of how much money the sponosrs paid to Google for the best placement, but rather by virtue of how many people had favourited the ad or rated it highly.

      The little Seth Godin voice in my head says that THAT would be a powerful marketing tool.

    • I think Google will start with closer to 5 seconds (pre or post), and only on videos from their content partners. For UGC, there is too much risk of discouraging us from browsing through unknown clips, therefore limiting the potential of clips going viral, and increasing the chances that other sites get our browsing traffic. An interesting strategy could be to wait until a video goes viral, and then inject ~5 second ads.

    • Jackie Denton

      YouTube could face some backlash is they started advertising on their site, but eventually this negativity will end. People will continue using the site just like they continue using other sites who advertise. Advertising is a big part of the media and its something that should be expected. When websites first start off they typically dont have advertisers, but as their popularity grows it seems that the upkeep of the site grows. Once the website becomes sticky it seems that advertising is the best way to generate revenue in order to keep the site functioning. Since YouTube has a limited of 10 minute video uploads people are not going to want an advertisement on a 20 second video. They could either increase the video lengths and this way it would be like watching an advertisement on a television show or not have advertisements on videos that are short. Ads that related to the video would probably not upset users as much since they would be more interested in the advertisement. They will be more likely to watch the ad and this helps the users and advertisers.

    • yolanda

      I do not think adding pre-roll ads would turn away users of YouTube. Some may not people thrilled about the idea, but if YouTube carefully implements the ads it could be very profitable and if the ads are interesting and relevent is could just add to the experience of visiting the site.I do not personally visit the site often, but I think it is good place to have advertisements because so many people use the site to upload videos, or view different videos. There is definately potential major revenue there; however, I think having ads before the video is shown could be a bit tedious especially if they are longer than 15 seconds. I think it would be best to place them at the end. People are impatient and if the ad isn`t interesting, creative, or relevent to the viewer it could be ineffective.

    • Ged

      The question about YouTube is more about their ability to put highly relevant ads into videos of college students doing sub-Jackass stunts.

      How with YouTube share revenues with the content creators? How will brands feel about being associated with a lot of the content on YouTube?

      The lack of quality content on YouTube is more of an issue to me, which is the reason why I use the likes of Veoh, MetaCafe and Daily Motion more than YouTube.

    • Will I stop using youtube? No, not at all. Will other users stop using it? Maybe some but I think the average user will continue to upload and view youtube videos.

      There is a problem though, Jackie just mentioned that “as a site grow the upkeep grows”. This will call for more servers, more staff, more development and in the end more required revenue. Remember how deep Google’s pockets are…they do have alot of money to spend but some good money can be made. I think a 5 second pre-roll advertisement would be ok but i would visit the site less often. When i want to watch a youtube video, i want it now!

      One of Google’s options could be working advertising into the “related” video feed. This is the bar on the right or the videos that fade in and out when you’re done viewing a video. They can be produced very low budget but creatively. They can advertise to the users and the users have no idea.

    • Jessica

      I understand the value of putting the ads in the videos. Of course most websites do want and need to make money, but you tube needs to make sure they won’t loose viewers because of it. I feel the only way to keep everyone happy would be having the ads, but not having them be 30 seconds. 30 seconds is just entirely too long for an ad, when most videos aren’t much longer than that. Lots of other sites already use ads before videos, so this isnt something new. Their sites still do well, and because you tube is so successful, I dont think it will make a difference. No matter what, people are going to watch the funny and interesting videos on the site, but it may hurt viewing a little if there is a long wait for the actual video.

    • I can’t see this being successful if the ads run longer than 10 seconds. They’ll also have to be contextual as well. The YouTube generation (which is practically everyone at this point) won’t have the patience to see the same ad over and over again for some type of product that they have no possible interest in. That’s often the situation now on news sites.

    • Carrie

      A 15 second “pre-roll” video would not make me stop using YouTube.

      Anymore than 30 seconds would be highly annoying to me though. The way we get our information is changing so rapidly these days. I think that there has to be a little give and take with the situation.

      Google has more money than they know what to do with. If they were able to get more from the advertisments and use that money to make improvements, then why not?

      I watch my favorite ABC shows online the day after they air on TV. Of course I could live without seeing the couple 20 second ads placed throughout the episodes, but I really enjoy being able to watch my shows online if I missed it the night before on TV.

      I think that the ads placed on the videos should be varied based on the length of the video. For example, I don’t think a 1 minute video should have a 20 second “pre-roll”. Maybe just a 5 second ad for something that short. I also think that the ads should coordinate with the videos they are placed with.

      Like I said, it’s a little give and take. It would be kind of annoying, but I suppose that’s all part of the growth that technology has taken.

    • Brittany

      I would not be turned away from using YouTube if a pre-roll advertising video was added onto the beginning of each video. I feel that advertising has always and will always play a role in our media lives and adding a little more online isnt going to kill us. I believe strongly that the advertising before a video should not reach longer than a 15 second period because to many this will ruin the immediacy aspect that the web offers. The web is supposed to be a place we come to for quick and easy information that are looking to find more about, and by adding long advertisements to websites that people access for fun or information could definitely take away from that fast, easy access. One way that Google can make this change run smoothly is to start it out only in a few videos and make sure that the advertisement is somehow related to the video content. I know that if Im watching a video about cooking then I most likely I am not looking to buy anything that is sports related. In doing this Google will be able to help out their advertisers by selling to people who are looking for those products and at the same time not step on their viewers toes by advertising things that they are not interested in.

    • Ads are dead (mostly). Welcome to the post-advertising age. YouTube is rapidly losing its uniqueness anyway. But ads will accelerate that loss. Also, ads on user-generated videos will spur great creativity around skipping/blocking ads (pre-, post-, or mid-roll) on videos. And they will send traffic fleeing to sites with no ads because people want stories, not ads. Bottomline: The ads won’t serve the needs of the advertisers because they will be avoided; and they will interfere with the needs of the audience and generate hatred — a double failure. The smart ploy is for brands to produce video so cool that people will WANT to watch it. Stories; not ads. That’s the answer.

    • Dunham Swift

      Yes I would stop using You Tube if they integrated ads with the video. However I would not object to a separate prerequisite ad.

    • Julie Abraham

      I would have to stop watching You-Tube if advertisements are inserted, and stop my children too. It would be a great loss for us, because we’ve loved the innovative,spontaneous quality of You-Tube. I can’t submit to yet another advertising stream coursing through our lives. As a parent I’m already battling the fact that the average kid sees 350,000 ads by the time they’re out of High School. My family is bombarded with ads during news programs, (some of the news itself is advertising), phone calls,door-to-door solicitors, pop-ups and junk mail (even though I’ve installed blockers and subscribed to the Direct Mailing list). This has to represent the biggest stalking case in U.S. history: all of us are shadowed and accosted every waking moment by marketing companies. For pity’s sake, take the high road and let us have one avenue of pure unadulterated street creativity. Please find some other way to boost revenue.

    • Sherry McElmurray

      No thanks to the ads….takes too much time. I would stop watching YouTube which would be frustrating because I look at things on a regular basis now.

    • Unless it was something I especially needed to see and couldn’t find elsewhere, yes, I would stop watching YouTube with ads in the videos. I would be sorry to be without it, but would go instead to other sources.

    • This is a very tricky thing. Don Imus was fired because he said something really not very unusual on his show. His story is, actually, “the killing of messenger”, nothing else. But, on the other hand, I-personally, without any reason suffered and suffer fully improper censorship of my comments, and I have undoubtful reasons to suspect that this illegal and fully improper censorship is originated and/or supported by editors of http://www.ucimc.org with support, I think, of other UICU media channels. We have, as usually, two sets of justice, two sets of rules, and even two sets of constitution, don’t we? What I am trying to say here is following: people are free to choose whether they are interested to watch YouTube or not, however, nobody IS ALLOWED TO BLOCK THEM from watching it. Nobody also should be allowed to block some videos from YouTube only because some politicians and/or other people with power DON’T LIKE WHAT these videos are saying about them. And that is exactly what is happening now, and I have serious proofs to everything I am stating herewith.

    • Sean

      Ads on YouTube? I say no. These days, popular culture is defined as something that’s made very popular by a small group or interest, and as it becomes increasingly popular, big business finds a way to package it and sell it back to those who made it popular in the first place. This is a prime example. What began as a small, user friendly web site got very big and popular. Google saw the potential for ad revenue because of it’s immense popularity. So, they bought the site. Good way to reach millions of potential customers. Just jam them with advertisements in front of the video they want to watch. What an original idea. Gee, we never saw this coming…

    • I would definitely continue to use YouTube with no problems. I don’t think pre/post rolls will be specific to YouTube only — the rest of the video sharing sites will be very happy to follow suit. It’s going to happen across the board in the immediate future, so it’s inevitable regardless.

    • Coldmeister

      I’d just find another similar site. Advertising is far too widespread in other media; considering that we pay for the net access, it should be ad-free. No matter where we go, we are bombarded with noise and images for products we either don’t want or can never hope to own, as well as disclaimers, sound bites, and other intrusive bits of non-programming. We need a refuge!

      Besides, 30 seconds is excessive when the average clip is shorter than that. Youtube, you will be missed.

    • Joseph Scneider

      I would stop using YouTube. I hate ads. They are destroying the internet. 30 second ads? I usually watch about 20 videos a day! So, if you add it up its a huge waste of time. Besides, if youtube starts putting ads on my videos, i might start suing because i never signed for any ads on my videos. Or… they’d better share their profit.

    • There all ready turning up these video sites. There ok once a twice but after that it just becomes irritating.

      Lets just hope it doesen’t become reality for Youtube

    • Hi,

      I guess they will do this sooner or later anyway.

      I mean youtube has to make revenue somehow. But maybe they should share the revenue with their users.

      Revver does this.


    • HI

      for some reason my post i just make disapeared.
      I guess i would still keep using youtube. And they have to earn revenue somehow. Maybe they should share the revenue with their user base.

      I mean revver does this.


    • HI

      for some reason my post i just make disapeared.
      I guess i would still keep using youtube. And they have to earn revenue somehow. Maybe they should share the revenue with their user base.

      I mean revver does this.


    • HI

      for some reason my post i just make disapeared.
      I guess i would still keep using youtube. And they have to earn revenue somehow. Maybe they should share the revenue with their user base.

      I mean revver does this.


    • Umbra75

      Guess I’m a little late for this, but…

      I just started watching videos on Youtube a few months ago, and it seems a lot of the videos I pick to watch have these ads. It’s extremely annoying.
      The in-video ads are for the same item that already has an advertisement on the side of the page-if I didn’t click on it when it’s right there next to the video, I’m not going to click on it if it pops up on the video.
      Also, at least for some of the advertisements, both the in-video ad, and the ad next to the video, slow the video istelf down so much that I completely lose interrest, and stop watching. I’ve noticed this with a few ads for companies – the toyota ads seem to be the worst, but not the only ones. If the ad slows my video to a point that I can’t watch, the only thing I remember about it is how aggrivating it was, not how great the product might be that’s being advertised.
      And, finally, I can’t tell which videos have the ads, and which don’t. Youtube should at least give a warning to let us know, before jsut springing them onto us. “This video contains advertisements,” or something like that would be nice, so I can choose whether or not watching the video is worth my having to see an ad.
      I thought I would be watching videos on Youtube a lot, but the ads just make me avoid it unless there’s something I truly want to see. Even then, I have to think about it.

    • Robert

      It’s very simple… Ads before or after content are fine, but there must be a way to forward it to the end quickly or stop it by the user’s request. Most of the time, the transport buttons are disabled when the ads run. They need to give the user the ability to stop the ad and play the content that they want to see. That’s all.

    • Steve

      I would stop using Youtube. I moved to primarily using my PC for entertainment needs in part because I am absolutely fed up of 5 minute ad breaks on TV!.

      ADVERTISEMENTS ARE ANNOYING. Your the leading brand. If I want your goddamn product I’ll probably end up buying it regardless so stop bombarding the human race with pointless money wasting dross advertisements for products the vast bulk of humanity neither needs nor wants.

    • I personally think TV has been destroyed by advertising I cant stand to watch anything on TV any more because of 4 mins of content followed by 10 mins of advertising…and most news sites on the internet suck really bad now because of repetitive adds, just to watch their short news videos you have to watch the same dam add over each time..and as for you tube Ill drop it like the plague once it becomes another medium for repetitive advertising..and google has made so much money on regular advertising why would they even need to bombard the populace with slimy video adds they dont need the money that bad…come on now really all you people here who say its ok for some adds you got to be kidding advertising “sucks” period and no one wants it and those who say its ok have got do be NUTS…

    • james taylor

      This is unacceptable behaviour from youtube. This relentless drive to turn the internet into nothing more than a marketing tool is destroying the content. Youtube is now flooded with ‘promotional’ garbage and finding the videos you actually want to see is becoming increasingly had as google attempts cater your searches and views in line with some advertising demographic.

      Youtube/google will destroy itself with its own greed. It is just a matter of time.

    • ham


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