The New York Times is reporting that YouTube is testing a new ad delivery system it calls First Watch. With this system in place and ad would be run ‘pre-roll’, that’s before the video plays, on a user’s first visit to the site on any given day.
If a user had been to YouTube before that day, they would see whatever ad is normally scheduled to be show on that video.
This means that YouTube gets a guaranteed ad view from every visitor to its site on any day. This has the potential to greatly magnify the amount of ad views that YouTube receives monthly although there are some limitations to the new ad delivery system. For one, these commercials would only be shown in front of ‘partner’ content. Baljeet Singh, Senior Product Manager for Video Monetization, told the NYT, “There will not be preroll commercials when people watch user-generated video clips.”
This would eliminate the fear that you would try to view a 10 second clip that you clicked through to YouTube to watch from Twitter and get stuck watching a 20 second commercial.
Singh says that the performance of their tests is working well so far with click-through rates nearing 1 percent. He also says that the First Watch content is priced comparably to what YouTube charges normally, but ‘less expensive’. Once the ad has been seen once, it will not be shown to the user on that or any subsequent videos.
This marks a shift for YouTube, which has focused mostly on banner or overlay ads. There still are many pre-roll commercials aired on videos shared by regular YouTube users that have opted into the profit sharing affiliate program tied in with Google’s Adsense.