It’s only been a month since we blogged about YouTube’s attempts at monetization—so it’s about time for them to try something new, isn’t it? paidContent reports that YouTube is testing a choose-your-own-ad feature to give us all what we really want: the choice between instant and delayed gratification.
I know when you read “choose your own ad,” you were hoping you’d be given the choice between commercials for Swiffer and Burn Notice. (What? You don’t stop whatever you’re doing to watch Michael Westen or join in with “Baby Come Back”?)
Falling short of that, YouTube’s test feature is still okay, I guess. YouTube’s new test lets users choose between one single pre-roll ad (usually 30+ seconds) or four 15-second commercial breaks dispersed throughout the clip. But will there be any choice? Back in December, Hulu reported that 88% of its users chose a two-minute pre-roll instead of 30-second ads interspersed throughout a half-hour (23-minute) program.
The test will only show up for selected users viewing long-form professional content. YouTube will also be asking its users what they think:
YouTube product manager Phil Farhi said that soliciting viewers’ opinions would help the company “find the right advertising formats”; the brands themselves would also benefit if YouTube ends up providing real-time data on which ads most users were volunteering to watch.
YouTube has long been searching for those “right” advertising formats: first it was the InVideo ad layovers, then it was AdSense-monetized video players. Then the real genius began, with Click-to-Buy and Sponsored Videos. But it’s still coming, including post-rolls and a branded homepage.
Anybody else reminded of the Edison quotation? You know:
I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.
So what do you think—how many attempts is it going to take? Or will this one be the winner?