Google is announcing AdWords for Video in beta this morning, which radically simplifies the process of creating and running video ad campaigns that reach Google/YouTube's vast audiences. The new initiative also bolsters YouTube's "True View" performance-based approach as Google tries to move the market away from the traditional impressions-based spending.
AdWords for Video creates a dedicated video campaign management capability in the standard AdWords dashboard so that advertisers can efficiently allocate their spending and monitor results. AdWords for Video will benefit from YouTube's status as the biggest video destination, and Google's as the number 1 search engine.
In a demo, Lane Shackleton, part of the AdWords for Video product management team, showed me how creating a video campaign has been reduced to just 2 pages of work flow down from approximately 30 in the past. The key change is that advertisers upload a video ad and then in one step choose which units they want to allocate budget to. All units now fall under the True View brand: in-stream (pre, mid or post-roll where user gets a choice to continue after 5 seconds), in-search (against search results, the successor to the "Promoted Videos" unit), in-display (against related content) and in-slate (user chooses which ad to view that runs against longer-form content) for placement on either YouTube or the Google Display Network.
With True View, the advertiser only pays when an ad has been watched to completion. As I wrote a few months ago, this puts the emphasis on great creative (that impacts branding) and engagement, rather than the customary impressions delivered. So just like AdWords, True View is a much more efficient buy for advertisers. One difference though is that with AdWords advertisers pay per click-through whereas True View doesn't focus on whether the user clicks or not and there's no extra charge if they do (the only nod to click-throughs is an optional overlay option for in-search and in-display units for advertisers trying to incent clicking as well).
Advertisers can also leverage AdWords targeting options such as keywords, topics, interest categories and demographics for video ads. And they can get an integrated view of how video ads are performing relative to other AdWords elements of their campaign, but with more video-centric customized data such as views, view rate and cost-per-view. When an advertiser links their YouTube account they get optimized reporting for all units.
For now AdWords for Video is in a "public beta" which means advertisers can express interest in participating and Google will allow a rolling amount of them in as it continues tweaking the system.
AdWords for Video is an important initiative for the larger video advertising ecosystem because like AdWords itself originally did, it creates a risk-free path to trial plus offers a performance-based approach where spending is tied to results. This greases the path for the long-tail of smaller advertisers in particular to pursue video ads while also giving larger brands another tool to reach targeted audiences. In addition, as AdWords for Video gains traction, its emphasis on performance will pressure other publishers, ad networks and exchanges to also offer more performance-based options, therefore creating a lot more buying efficiency, which should fuel further spending.
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