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AdSense Video ads FAQ

Posted By Darren Rowse 27th of May 2006 Adsense 0 Comments

The AdSense team must have had a lot of questions sent to them about the new video ads that are appearing this week because their blog has a post titled Video ads: Your questions answered which – as the title suggestions tackles some of the many questions I’ve heard about them.

Here’s a summary of the answers –

  • Video ads don’t slow your site as Google hosts the ads
  • Video ads never start playing by themselves and need a click to get going
  • Publishers are paid for video ads in two ways depending upon the option the advertiser chooses. If they target your specific site you get paid per impression (every time the ad shows up) or if the ads are purely contextual you get paid per click (when your reader clicks through onto the landing page of the advertiser – ie NOT when they click to view the ad).
  • They don’t guarantee that video ads pay more than text/image ads. They compete with other ads in an auction style bidding and the ad with the highest projected earnings will be played.
  • Ads will be contextually relevant to your site only if the advertiser chooses ‘contextual’ mode. If they specifically target your site it may not be as relevant (although the advertiser would be stupid to target your site with an irrelevant ad)
  • Video ads can be up to two minutes in length.
  • You can watch ads on your own site by clicking the ‘play’ button. This is because clicking this button doesn’t pay you. However don’t click the ad itself or the advertisers URL as this is counted as a ‘click’.
  • Ads are screened by AdSense before they are approved to ensure they fit within AdSense guidelines for what is appropriate.
  • To have Video ads on your site you need to activate ‘image ads’ and use one of the rectangle or square formats

A few comments of mine:

  • I’m still disappointed that publishers have no way of opting out of video ads without also disabling image ads
  • I’m surprised that a ‘click’ (and therefore payment to publisher) is not counted when an advertisement is ‘played’. As a result we as publisher are providing space on our sites for advertisers to convey messages to our readers that we never get paid for. It would be like a TV station selling ads that they only get paid for when viewers actually go into a retail outlet. I can see the bind that AdSense are in but I can just imagine advertisers producing video ads that give all the information needed by readers without having to click and in effect getting free publicity.

What do you think about the Video ads from AdSense?

Thanks to iZachy for the tip off

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

  • I agree with your frustrations Darren and I have had similar concerns with Linkshare & Amazon ads. I only get paid when someone buys something from the advertiser even though they’re building their brand through my site at no cost.

    I constantly have to measure the validity of keeping an advertisement in front of my readers which receives clicks but I receive no remuneration. At least with these types of ads I can remove them and place something that creates income for clicks such as Adsense or Chitika.

    Not being able to opt out of video ads creates a more difficult scenario because, in effect, it removes (or at least reduces) a publishers advertising options.

  • To be fair – Linkshare is an affiliate program and is different to advertising. Affiliate programs are commission based and it’s why they generally pay more than advertising. As a publisher at least we know this going in and we can opt out or into it.

    I guess I’m just wondering what is fair here. I can see why they set it up this way but like you think that the ability not to opt out puts publishers into a difficult situation. These ads are different from image ads and to lump them in together is not good form.

    I have one blog that I just don’t want video on so I’ve had to take off image ads which is a pity both for me and advertisers as far as I can see.

  • From an advertiser’s point of view, as Video is such a highly responsive media, I welcome the excellent opportunity to generate targeted traffic.
    Let’s hope Google uses their vast resources to work around remuneration for publishers’ hosting ads in this new medium.

  • Hi Darren,
    yes, you’re right, but there is something in this thing of Adsense Videos that we must take in great account.
    First of all G., with its simple text banners, has shown to everybody that Internet advertising works. There was a time (just few years ago, I was a content editor in Tiscali) when nobody would have bet a cent on that.
    Second: G. is famous to be good in opening the door, to warm up the market. When G. moves lots of eyes (read companies with lots of $ to spend) suddenly look at that.
    Yes, you can get money with Adsense, Chitika, etc (it’s not easy expecially if yours is not an english language site). But that’s not big money compared to what you would get with high priced banners, rich media and, probably, videos.
    Look at the rate cards (CPM) that the big sites show now for those kind of ads: 100 $ CPM means that you can get (selling all of them) 100.000 $ /month having 1 million pageviews.
    Much is changing in Internet advertising world. G. is driving the car.
    Let’s see what happens.

  • I’m hoping Google can pay attention on what we concern above and make a “fair” amendment for publisher… …

  • I completely agree with Darren here. The main thing to remember is that the video ads ARE NOT paying you more or less just because they are video ads. It appears that they are being treated EXACTLY the same as regular image and text ads.

    This means that a full video ad can beat out an image ad for a single cent. Meaning they could get the adspace to place a 2 minute video for 10 cents if the highest previous bidder is 9 cents for an image ad.

    Does that make sense? Not to me, especially when, like Darren said, the advertisers can very easily promote their product, company, service, etc. with the 2 minute video without having the person go to their website, meaning they get free advertising and you get a worthless ad space.

    The counter to this is that text links and image ads to the same thing, with companies able to describe their product and/or service with text and/or images. Though this is true to an extent, the key is that a single image or text ad is usually limited in information that it peeks the interest of the reader and therefore compells them to click on the ad to find out more. If the ad is a 2 minute long video telling the person everything they need to know, there is less of a reason for the reader to click the ad since all the information has been given.

    Think of big companies and their TV ads, like soda or car commercials. They don’t use their video ads to get people to get up and go buy something right away; they are building brand awareness and trying to convince their potential customers that their company and/or product is something to consider NEXT time they are interested in it.

    These video ads are a VERY bad idea in my opinion, giving a free outlet for these companies to just do free branding and not paying to attempt to sell. Google’s secret algorithms will probably take care of some of this, since their ads do take into consideration CTR (from what I understand), so video ads that don’t produce any clicks shouldn’t get anywhere… in theory.

    As such, I’m probably going to disable all my image ads on all my sites if I see a single video ad on one of them that seems to just be PR and not asking for a click through.

    Sorry about the long winded post… guess this video thing got me all riled up :)

  • I’m absolutely not okay with visitors playing videos without me earning a cent. CPC ads are fine, I run lots of those, but having a banner or a text link sitting there unpaid until someone clicks is different. Video advertising is all about branding, NOT transactions, and 90% of the value of video is going unpaid.

    First of all G., with its simple text banners, has shown to everybody that Internet advertising works. There was a time (just few years ago, I was a content editor in Tiscali) when nobody would have bet a cent on that. on that.

    Sure, there was a time when nobody would have bet on internet advertising, but shortly thereafter I was making my living from it using networks like Burst and Fastclick. Google was a latecomer to the game, despite the publicity that makes them seem like a leader.

    Don’t get me wrong, they are a leader in a few categories (text, contextual, etc.) but they’re not the only game in town, and with the video ads it looks like they’re trying to get away with something none of the other ad networks would dare try.

  • Heh, with my long drawn out post, I forgot to give a specific example of my concerns, so here goes one:

    Let’s consider a common video type ad that we see on websites… the movie ad. When a new movie is coming out soon there are usually a bunch of flash and video ads to go along with it. These ads may play a clip, a sound byte, or it may just be a slideshow of screenshots. The big thing on all of them is when it’s going to be released stamped big at the end.

    Now, why would anybody ever click on those ads? They aren’t meant to be clicked on, because they aren’t promoting a website (though it may link to a website with a bit more information). What they are really doing is pumping up the people and getting them excited for a new release and reminding them when it’ll be out in theaters. They are saying “Hey you. This weekend when you’re thinking of something to do, consider this new movie because it’s really cool!” They aren’t saying “Hey you. If your interested in this movie you should click on this ad and check out what we have to say about it.”

    Like I mentioned in my previous comment, advertisers can already to this a little bit with their image ads, but they are limited in what they can do. A single image isn’t going to motivate a moviegoer to go see a movie, it’ll more likely motivate them to click on the image to see if there is a clip on the site, perhaps see who’s in it and what the plot is. Unfortunately, with a video ad, all this information is already given to them and they don’t need to click… thus leaving us publishers out in the cold.

  • I think Video will be next big leap on the Internet, more than the web 2.0 stuff being flaunted at the moment. It is the next driver for people to watch tv on their PC rather than the usual television programming.

    Production companies will be able to upload the programs to google and let google intersperse the program with ads it sells.

    For all of the people that see problems with this, remember google first needs to attract advertisers to the new service. Initially publishers won’t benefit, but if it the new medium takes off google will then need to make it attractive for publishers to display the ads.

    Instead of looking at the negative points, look for ways you can make money from it.

  • Initially I thought that I get paid when someone viewed a Video Ad on my blog, But I was wrong, Thanks for Clarifiying my doubts Darren.

    But will Video Ads appear if I select Text / Images while creating Adsense code ?

    Since their is no option to opt out of Video Ads, They must have created a seperate catagory for Video ads instead of merging it with Image ad.

  • i have yet to see proof that advertisers can make classy looking video that i would want on my site, and video that i would want to associate with my site. at least with adsense it’s not so flagrantly ugly (like most of these ads will be).

  • Putting an extra click between the visitor and the advertiser is probably going to lower CTR compared to text ads. But the visitor might be more qualified so I predict the conversion rate will increase. The real test of video ads will be ROI.

    Also, you’ll have to convince Adsense publishers that it’s a worthwhile switch from text to video ads.

  • Squirrelinabox: Now, why would anybody ever click on those ads?

    Exactly. That’s what I was saying about branding… It’s like Coke commercials on TV. They’re not trying to make you drive to the store right away for a Coke, they’re trying to make you aware of how wonderful their beverage is so you’ll think of it when you’re thirsty. (And it works. I’m going to get one now.)

    You’ll be able to tell when the video ads come out which ones are for branding and which ones really want clicks. If the video ends with the words “CLICK NOW” or “BUY NOW” or “JOIN NOW” or “APPLY NOW”, it’s a clickable ad that will make you money. If it ends with a big Coke logo or with “Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You”, it’s just a branding ad and won’t make you a cent. I predict the second category will be much, much larger.

    Graham: The real test of video ads will be ROI.

    Very true. I treat all CPC ads that way—if they make me a good average CPM, they stay, otherwise, they go. If I try video, I’ll do the same.

    Also, you’ll have to convince Adsense publishers that it’s a worthwhile switch from text to video ads.

    And an expensive one. Not all small-time advertisers are ready to produce a 30-second professional video spot. The one potential positive here is that maybe companies that already have commercials made (like Coke) will spend more money on the web.

  • I don’t like it one bit, it could of been good, but not the way google is running it.

    Firstly, yes an option to opt out would be nice. And at the end of the day, it’s like a visitor has to click TWICE before we get the money, first to play the video, could be a 2min, and then again to go to the site. Exactly right Darren, like a free advert on tv, tv stations don’t only get the money if the tv viewer then goes into the store / shop the advert was for.

  • i think the video is irritating and clicking twice to get paid is a no no. People usually just play the video and then ignore it. i doubt they will click again to follow up.

  • Must say that from a site publisher’s standpoint I think this is a big mistake by Google. If a publisher attracts a visitor to his/her site, and the visitor leaves via a Google click, the publisher has provided a service to Google and thus deserves remuneration. This is the whole principle behind the Adwords/Adsense model.

    If a visitor leaves via a Google text link the text link advertiser owes Google money for the service performed … regardless of what action the visitor takes with the info s/he has seen from the advertiser’s landing page. Again, this is proper in my view, because the Google/site publisher “team” has delivered a ‘service’ to the advertiser .. a set of eyeballs.

    If the link is to a video, the Google/publisher team has also delivered, in my view. Many people click on a text ad and ignore it for some reason or another. Many may get to a video ‘start page’ and decide not to click … that’s not as controllable function. The point still is that if Google and I delivered the potential viewer to to the advertiser’s gateway, so to speak, we both deserve payment. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him watch the commercial.

  • It would be nice to explicitly set video as an option; I can imagine that this will be released later, but that Google have decided to hold back for the moment so that they have a large sample to push video ads out to.

    I don’t really agree with the concerns about video ads being primarily branding and the lack of payment for a first click. At the moment if you’ve opted to serve image ads on your site, your visitors are likely seeing animated image advertisments anyway. Image ads are more purely ‘branding’ ads than the video ads will be, because they don’t require a click to activate them. As far as payment goes, if you expect payment because someone has watched a video ad, then you must also expect payment for image ads which have been seen but not clicked on; the two aren’t any different. In fact the video ads are likely to have better click through rates because Google will be able to correlate the number of watched to clicked videos. Video ads which perform poorly will be served out less often than those which perform well.

    From the advertiser’s perspective, video ads will cost substantially more than text or image ads to produce. Given this extra expense and the fact that the view to click-thru ratio will (likely) be made available to them, it’s not in their interest to produce an expensive ad which doesn’t actually deliver viewers to their site. Producing an expensive video ad which markets my brand but which isn’t actually effective enough to get people to my door isn’t really a viable marketing strategy.

  • People usually just play the video and then ignore it.

    Do you have stats on this?

    Phil: if you expect payment because someone has watched a video ad, then you must also expect payment for image ads which have been seen but not clicked on; the two aren’t any different.

    The two are different. Becuase they’ve already clicked to play the video. Visitors don’t have to click twice on an image ad.

    Has anyone seen a video ad yet? If so, where? Because I have yet to see one.

  • The two are different. Becuase they’ve already clicked to play the video. Visitors don’t have to click twice on an image ad.

    No they don’t have to click twice on an image ad, but they have to look at an image ad first and be enticed enough by it to click through. The first click on a video ad is simply a way to register an intention to watch it. If a visitor clicks to view a video and doesn’t click through on the ad a second time, you haven’t lost anything; they’re still on your site. It would be nice to get paid based on the fact that an ad had been viewed, but to me it’s no different from google sometimes serving image ads based on impression vs those based on click-throughs. I don’t see what the fuss is about.

    Initially too I would expect that there will be a lot of video ads viewed but not clicked-through on just because they’re a novelty. I suspect that eventually google will have a dual click-through / impression model for video the same way they do for image ads.

  • Um, anybody else noticing that the ad after the 2nd post here is a video ad that is playing WITHOUT having to click? Uh, isn’t it supposed to require a click to play?

    What I’m seeing is a Maza car ad that plays without clicking and that changes based on hovering over it. If this is a normal Google ad (it has a Google watermark bottom right), then I’m going to be VERY pissed if I can’t opt out of this.

  • Tom

    I just got my first video ad, and to be honest I was not pleased. It was for another service that could be considered a competitor to me and the video did not say, click here to follow to my site, but instead type in this url to visit us.

    Kind of dirty if they can put up a free ad on the site and then dissuade a person from clicking on it.

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