YouTube launched mobile ads in November 2010, but today has flipped the switch on its TrueView equivalents that allow users to skip the ad after five seconds.
According to Google, allowing users to proactively decide to skip an ad increases click-throughs and engenders loyalty among the viewers to specific brands. It also saves the advertisers money as they don’t pay Google unless a viewer watches the entire ad. According to Google, click-through rates increased 4% since the launch of TrueView on the desktop.
Google is launching TrueView ads just as Apple has removed the dedicated YouTube app from iOS6, allowing Google to launch its own app in the App Store. For years the experience of watching YouTube content on the native iPhone app was inferior to going to the company’s mobile site. It also prevented ads from being shown. Google’s YouTube app on Android is far more versatile and usable and has higher levels of engagement as a result.
Google, like Facebook and Twitter, has struggled to turn increased mobile views into more ad dollars. Users do not engage with ads on mobile in the same way as they do on the desktop, and this leads to fewer click-throughs in the longrun. While no one is a fan of overly-aggressive advertising, the addition of skippable ads on mobile YouTube is a good compromise.