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Google’s struggle to monetise YouTube on the same scale as it has monetised search has been well documented. They recently announced a new ad format, called TrueView Video Ads, which could be the answer they’ve been looking for all along.

TrueView ads will allow viewers to not only choose whether or not they want to watch an ad, but also when they want to watch it.

The best part of this format, for advertisers is that they will be charged only when the viewer chooses to actually see the ad, and not when the ad impression is served. This cost-per-video-view ad model is good for advertisers as they will reach their target audience and only pay when their ad is watched.

Users will also benefit from the new format as it allows them to skip through ads that don’t interest them.

Just Like TV, But Better

Traditional television advertising works in the same way – users view ads before and during the content they’re interested in. However, unlike traditional TV ads, which must be endured by all viewers or can be walked (or channel surfed) away from,  TrueView ads will be skippable and will be priced per actual view only.

With the TrueView Video Ads – In Stream, which play as a pre roll or post roll ad along with a video, the viewer can select or skip a video ad after watching it for 5 seconds, and the advertiser is charged only if the ad has been watched fully or for 30 seconds whichever is shorter.

YouTube has already been experimenting with this ad format in their Promoted Videos advertising service too. They have found that users choose to see those ads that are relevant and interesting to them.

TrueView ad playing on YouTube

Advertisers will be able to collect data about the type of audience that shows interest in their ads. This will help them not only target future ad campaigns better, but also to align products to their target audience.

Google has also tested this system over a large audience and the results indicate a view-through rate between 20-70%. This means that between 20-70% of users have chosen to view the ad during the trial stages, which is an adequate response. This ad format was also tried during the recent U.S. mid term elections and the campaigns were fairly successful.

Hulu also offers viewers a similar choice – to watch or skip an ad. offers it in an InSlate format where users can watch one ad out of several or take a regular commercial break.

At present this ad format is available only in the U.S. and Canada and for limited testing in the U.K.