According to Google’s own internal data, 75% of YouTube’s In-stream video ads are skippable. For advertisers, this is better than if the user hits the back button. But, it still doesn’t bode well for the final 25 seconds of that brilliantly choreographed 30-second video spot you labored on all quarter(s). From an end-user standpoint, if my primary interaction with your advertisement is impatiently hovering my mouse over the “Skip this ad in 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…” button (and clicking) then the cost of that impression/interaction is wasted.
This challenge is not exclusive to just video either. Last year, AdAge proclaimed that “nearly half of online ads are not viewed.” And yet we advertisers still have to pay for that missed target as most display pricing is on a CPM viewed basis. With all of the advancements we’ve seen integrating the right person on the right platform at the right time on the right device, we still struggle to captivate audiences with engaging content, stopping them in their tracks to view and interact with our brands.
Enter Google engagement ads. Served on the Google Display Network using Video Lightbox and Hover-to-Play technologies, these creative ad formats fit in standard display units so they can be incorporated into current placement strategies and scaled across the web. Engagement ads are tuned to user engagement, not clicks and/or impressions. They’re quite innovative and they work by expanding into a larger format after a two-second hover delay (which eliminates accidental expansions/costs). They are available on a cost-per-engagement basis so that advertisers only pay for user engagement, which adds a layer of accountability and efficiency to display campaigns. See them in action here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEnnyQiqZUw.
Recently, Google expanded their multi-screen capabilities adding mobile and shopping formats for truly integrated, cross-device engagement. For more detail and a couple quick examples of how engagement ads are already increasing consumer engagement, check out this info here from the AdWords Blog.
Overall, I’m extremely excited about this new feature. While it is not a new technology or idea by any means (Say Media has been doing it for a while), it’s great to see Google embracing ads that enrich the user experience by including useful content. The user interface is easy to navigate if you’re a hardened marketing pro, but might be frustrating for the small business owner with limited creative and graphics resources. Still, it’s a step in the right direction toward mass adoption.
For even more information, you can check out a quick Google PDF on the topic.