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Skip Ad? | YouTube Advertising – The AdBlock Strikes Back

By Rory Witt    |    December 8, 2015

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It’s becoming increasingly clear YouTube Advertising needs to graduate from being a minor annoyance to a legitimate advertising source. Today we look at what’s not working, why it needs to change, how we can fix it and make it work for us. But has it already fallen to the Dark Side?

In order understand how to fix something, we need to understand why it’s broken. Advertising campaigns are no exception. We have explored a method for troubleshooting advertising campaigns using the following steps: know how to Hold an audience’s attention, when to Fold a campaign that isn’t effective and examine how to make it Run properly. This is what we at DigiMar like to call The Kenny Rogers Gambit.

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Help me Obi Wan Kenny Rogers, you are my only hope!

Firstly and most importantly the goal is to Hold viewers’ attention. You would hope using Google Display Network for YouTube Advertising would be a slam dunk. Delivering personalized advertising content related to every video I watch, it’s bound to at least give me content I might check out later right?

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Err… A Galaxy Bar, far away? At least you tried…

But sadly YouTube Advertising has fallen into the television model of advertising, which clearly doesn’t work for YouTube. Did they really think we should be used to that approach by now? It barely works for television. Don’t agree? Well imagine advertising being injected every 15 minutes into your next shameful Netflix binge. Empires have fallen over less.

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Keep your exhaust port covered from open flames. Always.

Very rarely does YouTube Advertising give me something that even vaguely resembles my interests, browsing habits or any connection to the YouTube content I’m watching. More often it seems like the tiny man that lives in my YouTube says “Hey, someone paid for an ad to play, uhh, ok, let’s just schedule it to everyone in this region over and over until someone gives us another ad.” That tiny YouTube guy obviously hates me.

The only 7 seconds of that movie you need to concern yourself with.

Much of the resulting YouTube Advertising content is repetitive and unfocused. But the tiny YouTube dweller is oblivious. If he wasn’t, he might notice the first dozen times I skipped the ad and that maybe there is a pattern emerging here. So failing the tiny YouTube man noticing, you think Google’s inbuilt analytics would kick in and switch up the content automatically or at least have an A & B test of ads? If they do, I’ve never noticed. The entire idea of online advertising is to put relevant content in front of the right audience. Why is this so hard to do with YouTube Advertising?

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So, if a campaign isn’t working for that audience, elements of it need to Fold.

A major obstacle is that the content is not targeted properly, just like StormTroopers, YouTube’s targeting is nonexistent. Like popup ads trying to sell me plastic lightsabers (instead of real ones, *Sigh*) not just on Star Wars videos but almost every other video too. If Google must insist on being the benevolent stalker of our online lives there is no reason it can’t be a little more personalized on the Google Display Network.

Recently I was bombarded by an unskippable YouTube Ad over the course of a month. This caused controversy, the ad was pulled but not just because it was lame and unskippable.

It was inviting me to #TasteTheBush. Something I put on record as being within my interests. Imagine my dismay that it was actually about an Australian wine. I am ashamed to admit I didn’t even get the joke the first half dozen times even though I have a rude and warped sense of humor already. So I can’t say the advert offended anything but my sense of good taste. Yakkity Sax playing in the background would have brought some much needed class to the advert.

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You already had my curiosity

Was it unfunny? Sure. Annoying? Certainly. A sexist plot however? Well, just like the kid running round the house with a pot on its head hitting it with a wooden spoon, it just wanted attention.

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Now you have my attention

So with all this nitpicking you might be thinking “ well how would you make YouTube Advertising Run properly then, smartass?”.

Great I’m so glad you asked! Well it’s clear the current generation of YouTube Advertising content is not engaging enough or targeting the right audience. Serving the same advert that has no relevance to someone over and over is not going to win them over. If the goal is just Brand Impressions there are better ways of gaining them. Check out Red Bull’s activities for example, when they aren’t too busy being awesome they sell a sugary energy drink too. Their Brand is impressed on me. I am therefore impressed.

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SOLD!

Show me something fresh, interesting and relevant and I will want to check out the metaphorical “trailers” before the “movie”. It doesn’t even have to be an advert. Think of a YouTube version of Spotify for your viewing interests with a sprinkle of curated relevant advertising content before the YouTube clip you want. Give the user some control over when and where they get this content and the ability to shuffle or suppress it if they have urgent cat videos to view. Hell, some people charge good money for those kinds of features! Because lets face the alternative.

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Is it too late? Has the well already been poisoned? With the rise of Ad Blocking software which will skip some of the Display Network advertising content, there is uncertainty if YouTube Advertising will survive long enough to mature as a medium as it currently stands. The more it’s forced, the more people will resent it. YouTube is not TV, therefore Advertisers can’t expect people to endure TV style advertising. If there are tools available to better target a segment then why waste time and money infuriating people that aren’t interested in the message? Also if there must be advertising played before the content the user actually wants to see, it must be relevant at least. Anything else is only going to antagonize the user make them rebel and raise their force shields.

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