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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Google AdSense Video Units

Google released a new type of ad/ content channel: “video units.” Basically you get the chance to embed certain YouTube videos into your website via some snippet, either by picking from an available channel (or feeding Google your preferred categories and keywords), or by allowing Google to automatically target the content to your site. Then, above the video there will be a graphic AdSense banner ad, and in the video itself, different text banners will be displayed during playback. The so-called “companion ad” on top is always displaying, whereas the “text overlay ad” in the video appears right from the beginning but can be closed via an X button.

The official Google AdSense blog shows off an example unit for this. Note that at the moment, the video content is restricted to just those who decided to partner with this program, so not any video from YouTube is available for this.

Right now, Google says video units are only available for the US. Check your Google AdSense -> AdSense Setup tab to see if they’re included for you. The embeddable players come in different color schemes and sizes. If you decide to include video units on your site and visitors click on the ads in them, 3 parties make money: 1) you as webmaster who provides the channel space, 2) the video creator, 3) Google.

I’m not sure what you think, but while this may start to be a nice way to embed videos and earn some spare change, it looks like Google went a little overboard with the ad design. Ads are best when they’re not annoying, yet the video is wrapped in two big ad areas fighting for attention, both using transitionals to show different ad segments; this is a far step from the minimalist ad approaches of Google’s past, and the much less obtrusive old, more tasteful YouTube ads we saw (which were only showing one ad into the 15th second of the video). Then again, the way this is set up it’s almost like the video content itself is only intended as a carrier of revenue-bringing ads. Not sure if it’s true, but I once read to my surprise (I think it was in book by or about Noam Chomsky) that TV execs sometimes refer to “content” and “fill”... only that they consider the commercials in-between shows “content,” and the news, series, movies and so on “fill”!


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