October 9, 2007 / 4:37 AM / 12 years ago

Google affiliate network to run ad-backed videos

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc is expanding the market for ad-supported online video beyond its own YouTube site by letting the many Web site publishers it already counts as clients run such videos on their own sites.

A Google video ad is seen in this undated handout image. Google Inc is expanding the market for ad-supported online video beyond its own YouTube site by letting the many Web site publishers it already counts as clients run such videos on their own sites.REUTERS/ Handout/Google Inc.

The online search and advertising leader said late on Monday it is linking affiliated Web sites in its Google AdSense network with YouTube video creators to offer an alternative to current ways of supporting online video through advertising.

Google refers to the new ad-supported video service as “video units”, which are designed to be plugged into Web sites with no special changes to existing text or graphic ad formats Google already supplies.

Video unit ads dedicate a small companion banner at the top of the screen to run graphical banner ads, taking up around 20 percent of the small rectangular box in which the video runs. A text ad appears on the bottom portion of the video once a user clicks the play button and the video begins showing.

“We absolutely think this is the least disruptive ad format that we have worked with from a video standpoint,” Christian Oestlien, business product manager for the ad-supported video service, said in a phone interview.

Emily Riley, an advertising analyst with media research firm Jupiter Research, agreed Google’s new ad-supported video format offered a more engaging way of reaching consumers. In surveys of online advertising by Jupiter, consumers single out the volume and repetition of ads as their top complaint.

By running relevant banners along the top of the video and text ads along the bottom, Google is delivering a less invasive way of letting the user’s eye wander onto an ad instead of pushing it in front of the video they want to watch, she said.

“You at least see something of the advertisement without interrupting the video,” Riley said.

The push to offer ad-supported videos outside of YouTube presents Web site owners with an alternative to current popular Web video ad techniques such as so-called pre-roll, which force users to watch ads upfront before they see a selected video. Pre-roll ads let advertisers use TV video ads online.

The ads run a customized YouTube video player embedded within a Web page. The format relies on the vast existing inventory of text or banner ads Google already serves up as standalone ads on its vast network of affiliated Web sites.

The ads within the video unit are targeted based on a combination of the video content and the publisher’s site content. YouTube video creators who take part in the program and AdSense publisher sites share the ad revenue with Google.

Advertisers are charged on a cost-per-click or cost-per-impression basis, the most common methods of billing for online text or display advertising, respectively.

Oestlien said online advertisers can use standard keyword or banner advertising. “From an advertising perspective, this is something where the advertiser doesn’t have to do anything different from what they do today,” he said.

Google is working with YouTube video content partners including TV Guide Broadband, Expert Village, Mondo Media, Extreme Elements, and Ford Models to supply the video content. TV Guide is a unit of Gemstar TV Guide International.

Around 100 YouTube video content partners are taking part in all, representing thousands of video clips, Oestlien said.

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