Voicepost: YouTube (and Google’s) Approach to Video Ads, Thinking Out Loud

Thanks, JG, for getting me thinking about this. I appreciate it when readers push me. This is the first voice post where I really Think Out Loud on a topic – it's like a first draft of a post, a real post where I take the time to write. I…

Thanks, JG, for getting me thinking about this. I appreciate it when readers push me. This is the first voice post where I really Think Out Loud on a topic – it’s like a first draft of a post, a real post where I take the time to write. I wish I had more time like that, but I am very pleased to have this place to sketch – using voice. It felt a bit like conversing with someone who asked me an interesting question.

I have to just call out to HP, and say thanks for making this possible. It’s a really cool way to market, by adding value to the conversation in a very real way.

Previous coverage of YouTube’s new ad unit.

My main point: Innovative in execution: Yes, but like AdWords was – lots of stuff that already existed, but packaged and moved forward. Innovative in the business model? No. And for now, that’s the right thing to do.

Have a listen:


4 thoughts on “Voicepost: YouTube (and Google’s) Approach to Video Ads, Thinking Out Loud”

  1. I think Google could use speech recognition technology to better target the ads, and they should provide all content providers to enable the ads on their videos both viewed at youtube.com and viewed when embedded on any website, this way content providers could earn a large share of the ad revenue. And content providers should be all and everyone who currently can have a Google AdSense or Google Checkout account and not be just to a limited group.

  2. Hearing your kids in the background, I just have to say one thing… Turn off your cell, ipod, blackberry, blueberry, rasberry and whatever else syncs up with your life! Maybe even watch this movie.

  3. John, you are right; it’s not really a victory for old media so much as it is a victory for old advertisers / old advertising techniques. I was conflating the two, in that I just meant that it was a victory for the way old-style business gets done, the way information (video content) and ads get wed. No new user experience has been initiated with this approach. An old technique gains in strength (demographically-focused mass market advertising), instead of the newer technique (relevance-based targeting).

    And therein lies the foundation of most of the comments I leave on your blog. To me, it’s all about the user information needs and relevance. Classic information organization issues. Designing systems to meet user information needs is my passion, and when Google came around, it was exciting to see a company that (on the surface) also cared, just as passionately if not moreso, about everything being driven by user information needs and the related concept of relevance. They even work those passions, multiple times, into their whole corporate mission statement.

    So to see YouTube ads like this that fly in the face of everything “relevance” based is a complete reversal of everything they ever stood for. A non-relevance-based graphical video overlay? How is that not just a banner ad? And wasn’t the whole fire and fury behind Google’s rise, Google’s takeover of the net, founded on a rejection of the “banner”, the DoubleClickian “gaudy and irrelevant”, approach to web advertising?

    When I mentioned the pay-per-thousand vs. click-based it wasn’t even the issue, really. The issue was “do these ads help organize the world information, by (as in accordance with the Google mission statement) only showing the user information that is relevant”. That, in my mind, is more important than business model innovation or even the execution innovation. That’s the real sea change at Google right now, the fact that the focus is no longer on relevance, no matter what the business model.

    Maybe I am wrong or too idealistic when I try to hold Google to its core principles. Maybe you are correct in that this is the right approach to take, right now. Google has desperately needed, for many years, a revenue stream beyond relevance-based advertising. Maybe irrelevance-based advertising is the way to go in order to insure the long-term health of the company.

    But if that is the case, then I would like to (respectfully) ask for the right to make more “hold Google to its principles” comments like this on your blog, and hopefully do so in a way that adds value to the overall conversation. (That is, I hope your other readers will get into the discussion with me from time to time; I am far from the belief that I hold the final opinion on any of this.) Because frankly, with the exception of some hidden search quality team, making “constant improvements” to the algorithm, things that we never really see or understand, externally, Google as a whole seems to be losing its focus on relevance. It is creating a whole suite of applications, on the one hand (basically turning itself into a regular, Microsoft-like software company) and a growing suite of irrelevance-based banner and overlay YouTube ads on the other hand (basically turning itself into an ad agency).

    Software applications and irrelevance advertising? Huh? Where is the “organize the world’s information” in all that? Especially when there are so many fantastic domains left to be tapped! I was just thinking the other day: I would love to have a food ingredient search engine, so that when I examine an item in the grocery store and use my cellphone camera to do image recognition on its bar code or label, I could have a list of states and countries from which the ingredients were imported, and an automatic tally of the total mileage all the ingredients are likely to have traveled. This would give me an “oil footprint” of the food, if you will, and would help me obtain the knowledge I need to make decisions about eating locally. Why isn’t Google more aggressively going after things like this, things that actually make a difference, and instead blowing resources on…GTalk? Goobuntu? GooDocs & GooSpreadsheets? I already have talk clients, operating systems, and office software. Linux-based, even. I don’t need more. I need something completely new, better, different. Oil-footprint food search, for example. Something to help me be a better consumer and citizen. Something where the world’s information (global food trade routes) is truly being organized!

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