It’s been rumored for a few months ever since GoogleRumors found one such AdSense video on the entertainment site The Superficial. This morning the New York Times reported that Google is taking steps to place video advertising on on it’s AdSense network. Google isn’t currently adding the video, but says it is considering doing so in the future.
The technology for the ads seem destined to come from Lighteningcast which was purchased recently by AOL. Lighteningcast has developed technology to enable mobile video advertisers to insert contextual advertising into both real-time and on-demand video content. Seems right up Google’s alley.
The video ads will not play automatically, but will require the play button be pushed before the video starts. I wonder how well this will work for advertisers, both those creating the video commercials and those displaying them on their websites. Will people click the play button to watch a video? Will site owners want video incorporated into their sites?
There will most likely be a certain amount of clicking out of curiosity when the ads first appear, but will those clicks last. Will you click to start a commercial you don’t have to? You might if the initial image you see looks interesting enough. It’s not like you couldn’t stop the ad once it started. At least I assume there will be a stop button. Something tells me that even if not right away advertisers will find a way to get us to click. If you’re on a web page about Nikon digital cameras you might click on an image showing one of those cameras to get a better look at one or just for more information.
What about site owners? Would you want to have commercials running on your site. It’s one thing to place a few links on each of your pages. They can easily be made to blend into the site and don’t have to take up too much real estate depending on the ad format you choose. It will be harder to blend a video into your site. I have a hunch it will come down to how much site owners can make from the video ads. If you’re finding those videos are bringing in twice the revenue of the text links ads which one will you most likely include on your next page?
It’s certainly an interesting idea and as someone who does have AdSense on my site I would be willing to at least see how one of the ads looks on my site and give it a chance to see if it works. I’m not overly excited about them though.
In a similar vein Jensense reported back in January that Google had begun testing rich media ads on part of it’s advertising network. The rich media ad tests were site targeted as opposed to contextual so perhaps it’s likely that’s how the video ads will used as well. By the way I hate the rich media ads as much as Jen does.
I’ll reserve judgment on video advertising until I’ve seen more examples and how they integrate into sites. One thing that has been clear for some time is that Google does seem to have a pretty good handle on making advertising work online. Before AdWords and AdSense was anyone really having success with online advertising. Sure, it existed and it’s not like Google created contextual advertising, but had you ever heard of a click through prior to Google.
I do have mixed feelings about video advertising, but I am willing to see what becomes of them. For me it will come down to some of the details of how it all ends up working. How much control will I have over the ads I place on my site and how well the videos themselves are made? Will the payout come as soon as the play button is clicked or will the entire video need to be watched? Will there be embedded links with in the videos that will count as the clicks? It is hard though to imagine that the future of the web won’t include more video than we see now.
Have some thoughts of your own?