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NEW YORK - Video advertising is coming to YouTube, but it won't be the type common at sites elsewhere.

Starting today, the popular video-sharing site plans to feature semitransparent "overlay" ads at the bottom of selected video clips. The ad disappears after about 10 seconds if the viewer does nothing; the featured clip automatically pauses if the viewer clicks on the overlay to launch the full pitch.

YouTube said it was trying to avoid pre-rolls that precede the main feature at sites like Microsoft Corp.'s MSN.

Shiva Rajaraman, product manager for YouTube, said internal tests show more than 70 percent of people give up when they see a pre-roll. By contrast, fewer than 10 percent decide to close an overlay, which they can exit by clicking on an "X" in a corner.

The overlay format also gives advertisers more flexibility, he said, because they aren't constrained to keeping a video ad at 15 or 30 seconds to avoid defection. Because a viewer chooses to watch, a video ad can run much longer.
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