YouTube has launched a new advertising option for its partners, called First Watch. The option lets advertisers purchase pre-rolls on users’ first view of a YouTube video each day.
A report from the New York Times says:
If the sponsorship of a commercial on the home page catches computer users when they are going in the YouTube front door, so to speak, First Watch is to intercept them when they are going in the YouTube side door — for instance, if they click on a link to YouTube video that a friend sends, or if they type youtube.com/theonion into their browser rather than youtube.com and then search for videos from The Onion.
The part about links that friends send sounds fantastic for video views. There’s nothing a friend wants to do more when wading through content and links than sit through an ad before they get to the video that they don’t even know for sure will be worth their time in the first place.
Still, the ads should be pretty valuable for advertisers. According to the report, YouTube’s senior product manager for video monetization says they ads have been “highly successful” in testing, and have had “high click-through rates to adcvertisers’ web sites.” The report says they’re around 1%.
It’s worth noting that the ads will only appear on YouTube partner videos, and not user-generated content.
So far, the First Watch ads have only been shown to 15 million viewers a day in the U.S.
These ads come at a time as YouTube is greatly working to expand its presence in the living room. They recently made a big upgrade to their movie offering, with rentals of new releases. They also launched YouTube Live, which will see more live events being shown on the site.