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Industry Trends

First Watch Advertising On YouTube

By May 26, 2011July 30th, 2023No Comments

YouTube has set up a new service to get more users to watch their ads. The service is called ‘First Watch’.

As the name suggests, the service gets activated when any user decides to watch a video on YouTube for the first time on any given day. In other words, this is a new kind of pre-roll ad.

In the past, ads in the header would start playing as soon as the YouTube homepage was opened. According to Baljeet Singh, Senior Product Manger at YouTube, the ads on the homepage were highly successful and were “Starting to sell out.” Hence they felt the need to try a new form of pre-roll advertising.

First Watch ads are an extension of the ads that are visible on the top of the YouTube homepage. These ad units will be visible to users who avoided watching the ad on the homepage and instead directly reached an inner page on YouTube by clicking on a link or when they visit a channel directly.


YouTube has been trialling this new facility. They have already rolled out such First Watch ads to about 15 million users and have received click-through rates around 1%, which is pretty good.

An advertiser interested in this service would need to buy a spot on the first video view by users on a given day.

First Watch ads will be applicable only to professional content partners such as The Onion, Tommy Hilfiger, Macy’s Inc and other similar brands. It will not be applicable to regular user-generated videos.

It is not yet known what YouTube will charge advertisers for this new service. However, Baljeet Singh said that it was “comparable” to what they charged for videos on “but less expensive”.