YouTube Putting Commercials in Videos

    October 2, 2008
    Chris Crum

The other day, YouTube released its "HotSpots" feature as part of YouTube Insight. It is an analytics feature that allows users to pinpoint the moments in their videos that are the most popular.

Now, coincidentally (?), YouTube is running commercials in their videos. Ok, to be fair, not all videos have them, and technically only a small percentage of partner-sponsored videos play them. The ads are post-roll, and only play if you don’t click on the accompanying overlay ad.

YouTube had previously been toying with the idea of including pre-roll ads as well, but have probably considered that this would turn users off in a big way. Google had apparently thought they could do something better than pre-roll and even post-roll ads, but has since changed its mind.

"Just this summer Google CEO Eric Schmidt touted the effectiveness of embedded ads versus pre- and post-rolls," notes Liz Gannes at "And earlier in the year he promised forthcoming ad products that would be ‘much more participative, much more creative, much more — much more interesting in and of themselves’ than in-line ads."

"Enough is enough" seems to be the mentality here from Google’s standpoint. They’ve had YouTube for two years now, and have yet to really capitalize on it monetarily. It’s not clear if more creative strategies have been abandoned, but they probably see it as losing a ton of money if they don’t get something in there, so for now this is what they’ve come up with.

Post-roll ads won’t annoy nearly as many people as pre-roll ads, so this shouldn’t be too big a deal from the user’s standpoint, but you have to wonder if this will materialize into something more intrusive in the future.