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Get your business advert seen on YouTube…. If you pay, of course.

It seems that there’s no end to the amount of ways Google can make money from our internet browsing habits. From traditional pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to targeted adverts on our emails, the internet giant is nothing but resourceful.

So it was with great fanfare when Google announced earlier this week that it has rolled out adwords for video on YouTube. Basically this means that businesses can now get their video advert to appear during relevant video searches. Although they will only pay for adverts that people actually view, Google says it will help businesses more effectively target their adverts to people they actually want to speak to.

Say you search for ‘Best football goals’ (being a Norwich fan it’s a favourite pastime of mine as we don’t score many good ones!), companies that sell aftershave, deodorant, razors or shaving cream will be able to bid to have their advert appear before the video starts. Providing their bid is the highest for this term, those businesses will be given information about how, when and where their adverts were viewed.

But say you’re a small business which sells referees’ whistles for example? You will want to be featured on this video, but you only have a limited spend. Can you really afford to compete with the big boys like the Gillettes and Calvin Kleins of this world?

According to Google, they sure can. However, I’m not so sure.

It says that small businesses will be able to use ‘a new way of targeting’ which allows them to see an estimate of how much traffic they’ll receive when someone inputs their targeting parameters, with their budget and their bid price. Businesses will only pay if the advert is viewed to the end, not if it is skipped – and therein lies the problem.

When was the last time you visited YouTube and watched an advert right to the end? I don’t know about you, but as soon as I see ‘skip’ I click it instantly. I want to view the video, I don’t want to watch your advert. It’s the same with Sky+ – one of the reasons it’s so popular is because you can fast forward the adverts.

We get bombarded with adverts left, right and centre. While I agree that targeted adverts and PPC advertising can play a really big part in online marketing (studies have shown as much), video ads however are relatively unproven.

Maybe it will take time. Maybe we’ll learn to love the YouTube ad. In the meantime, what is clear is that if small businesses want to get their advert seen they will have to target more unpopular terms – and in today’s tough economic climate can you really see that happening? I can’t.


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  • Mike / 6 years ago

    yes, we actually do sell referees whistles.

    I agree I doubt we will be able to compete. Certainly PPC is saturated. I think in the early days of video advertising there may be opportunities but before long it will get saturated and Amazon will be out bidding everyone to destroy the competition.

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