Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- The Introduction Of YouTube TrueView Ads
- How YouTube TrueView In-Stream Ads Changed The Movie Trailer Industry Forever
- Tips On How To Get The “Skip Generation” To Want To Watch Your Skippable YouTube Pre-Roll Ads
- Asking For Pre-Roll Ad Skips – A New Advertising Strategy
- Focusing On The First Five Seconds Of Your Video Ad
- How The Skip Button Has Changed Our Behaviors
If you’ve spent any time watching videos online, then you’ve probably noticed how fast-paced and exciting the first five seconds usually are, especially with movie trailers. Here’s why the first five seconds are so important to advertisers and how Google helped create that behavior with YouTube TrueView ads.
The Introduction Of YouTube TrueView Ads
In June 2016, Google introduced a new ad unit to its suite of Google Ads called YouTube TrueView. The innovation removed the time constraints for video pre-roll ads on YouTube and added a Skip button. Instead of being restricted to standard ad lengths, like 0:15 or 0:30-seconds, advertisers could now place YouTube videos of any duration in a YouTube pre-roll ad position. If consumers didn’t want to watch the ad, they no longer had to. They could just click on the Skip button after 5 seconds. Google also abandoned 30-second non-skippable ads to help improve user experience on YouTube.
YouTube TrueView was a win-win for everyone. Users no longer had to suffer through paid videos that they didn’t like. And brands could take advantage of longer videos, like viral content, in a pre-roll ad position. Plus, if the user skips the ad, the advertiser doesn’t have to pay a CPM or CPV rate for that ad campaign impression.
How YouTube TrueView In-Stream Ads Changed The Movie Trailer Industry Forever
One of the biggest impacts of YouTube TrueView ads was on the movie trailer industry. Before TrueView, the production houses producing movie trailers were accustomed to creating content for a captive audience. Their viewer was normally seated inside a dark movie theater and had to watch whatever was on the screen in front of them.
Before TrueView, movie trailers often began with 5-10 seconds of animated movie studio logos and maybe even a Don LaFontaine voice-over that included the predictable phrase “In a world...” The movie trailers for The Glass Shield (1994), Knights of Badassdom (2013), Goodfellas (1990), and BASEketball (1998) are just a few examples.
That slowly started to change after YouTube introduced TrueView. Viewers now had the ability to skip pre-roll ads and most traditional trailers weren’t exciting enough to hold an audience past the first five seconds. Since the debut of YouTube TrueView ads, movie studios have adapted their trailers to be Internet first with their new campaigns. Or sometimes, they will create separate trailers for both the theater and Internet audiences.
5 Movie Trailers That Were Made To Be Distributed As YouTube TrueView Ads
If you are using your long-form video content as a pre-roll ad on YouTube, then you need to immediately get your viewer’s attention. Advertisers using YouTube TrueView ads have five seconds to sell their ad to the viewer before the Skip button appears. People are busy. Why should they commit 1-3 minutes to watch a video? Here are some movie trailers that use their opening five seconds to hook the viewer.
Jason Bourne (2016)
One of the first movie trailers to really take advantage of the YouTube TrueView ad format was Jason Bourne (2016). The trailer opens with Matt Damon ripping off his jacket and landing a knockout punch to an adversary. These five seconds are essentially a mico ad for the Jason Bourne movie trailer and meant to convince you to keep watching.
James Bond: No Time To Die (2021)
In the opening moments of the trailer for Daniel Craig‘s 5th and final James Bond movie, No Time To Die (2021), he’s trapped on a bridge, being shot at with machine guns, a car tries to run him over and then he jumps off a bridge. There’s so much action in these first five seconds you probably won’t even notice the Skip button.
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
The trailer for Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) begins with a series of vague shots in motion before opening to a stadium full of Amazon female warriors and a young Wonder Woman. Strategically, the voiceover in the trailer doesn’t start until exactly the five-second mark. If you want to know what’s happening, then you’ll need to keep watching.
Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
Your teaser duration doesn’t have to be limited to just five seconds. The Skip button will appear after five seconds, but if you build enough excitement, maybe the user won’t notice. That’s the strategy with the movie trailer for Independence Day: Resurgence (2016). The trailer starts off with a contrasting series of high action clips mixed with shots of distraught looking cast members. Even with the audio muted, it’s still an exciting ten-second sequence.
For the Sony and Marvel collaboration film Morbius (2020), the studios added a countdown to the front of the trailer. It’s hokey, but it works. The trailer opens with a series of graphics that say “Trailer In… 3…. 2… 1….” But the countdown isn’t really three seconds long, it’s five seconds. They intercut several shots from the movie to fill up the remaining two seconds and get you past the Skip button.
Tips On How To Get The “Skip Generation” To Want To Watch Your Skippable YouTube Pre-Roll Ads
Getting someone to ignore the Skip button isn’t easy. It requires production teams to plan their projects in advance and be strategic in their creation of engaging content that the “skip generation” won’t want to miss. Here are some simple YouTube video ad tips.
- No Logos Until The End: The next time someone in marketing insists on putting the company logo at the very top of your video, tell them to shut up and punch them in the face. Multiple studies have proven that the audience will skip your content if they see an animated logo, especially at the very beginning of your video. Save your branding opportunities for other locations in your video.
- Set The Tone Immediately: The movie trailers highlighted in this article all immediately make a point and set the expectations for the viewer in the first five seconds. Give the viewer a reason to commit to watching your content. Drama and suspense work great for movie trailers but commercials might have better results using humor.
- Remember Your Medium: The Internet is different than TV or film. Theater audiences are trapped. They paid for a ticket and aren’t going to leave because of a boring movie trailer. But your Internet audience is going to have more distractions. Things like open browser tabs and push alerts will be competing for their attention. You need to grab your audience’s attention and hold it.
- Target Your Ads Properly: Unlike traditional mediums, the digital space offers advanced audience targeting and optimization capabilities. One of the biggest advantages of using YouTube ads in your marketing campaigns is their connection to both the user’s Google Search and YouTube search results. For example, if a user is searching Google for “James Bond” or “Wonder Woman,” then the movie trailers for these films can be displayed to this target audience as YouTube pre-roll ads. Mining targeting data from a user’s organic search history is a great remarketing strategy.
Asking For Pre-Roll Ad Skips – A New Advertising Strategy
If you’re advertising on a budget, then you might want to encourage viewers to press the Skip button. That’s right, some advertisers want you to skip their YouTube video ad. Here’s why.
When metrics like brand awareness, and reach and frequency matter more to you than clicks or completion rates, then you should encourage viewers to skip your YouTube TrueView stream video ads. If the viewer clicks on the Skip button right away, then the advertiser doesn’t have to pay for that ad impression. As long as an advertiser communicates its core message in those first five seconds, how long the viewer watches doesn’t matter. They don’t care if the user skips the ad. Why? They just got five seconds of free advertising.
That’s the YouTube advertising strategy for companies like Wix. They know their ads are annoying and over-saturated with their target demographics. Encouraging viewers to skip their ads is a cost-effective way for Wix to get free ad impressions. GEICO has a similar goal, but they usually use short bumper ads instead of YouTube TureView In-Stream Ads.
Focusing On The First Five Seconds Of Your Video Ad
Although the movie industry has gotten very good at making exciting five-second intros to their movie trailers, they aren’t alone. Savvy advertisers and content producers are also using clever video editing and storytelling to get viewers to ignore the Skip button. For example, look at how this ad for BYU Idaho uses the first five seconds of their video to capture your attention.
The practice has been so successful that it’s spread beyond YouTube and become almost a standard within the digital video advertising industry.
How The Skip Button Has Changed Our Behaviors
As soon as an ad appears on YouTube, do you immediately move your mouse to the bottom right corner and wait for the Skip button to appear after five seconds? It’s a trained reflex when we see YouTube TrueView ads, and a lot of us have developed this habit.
But you don’t always skip, the ad, do you?
Even with the Skip button, millions of TrueView video ads are watched every day on various YouTube channels. Why? Savvy marketers and digital advertisers know that they only have five seconds to win you over, get you to watch, and maybe even respond to a call to action (CTA) and go to their homepage or landing page.
From AdWords and display ads to companion banners and social media ads, there are a lot of different ad types that digital marketing teams can use to reach their desired target audiences. As with all types of advertising, first impressions matter, especially when it comes to video campaigns. Consumers are bombarded with thousands of advertising messages every day. But if you give the viewer a good reason to watch your content, they usually will.
Frank Wilson is a retired teacher with over 30 years of combined experience in the education, small business technology, and real estate business. He now blogs as a hobby and spends most days tinkering with old computers. Wilson is passionate about tech, enjoys fishing, and loves drinking beer.