For five years, YouTube's skippable TrueView ads have let people push past an advertiser's spot to get to the videos they want to watch without brands being charged for the slight. Now the Google-owned video service has come up with a new way for advertisers to keep viewers' attention -- and for YouTube to keep advertisers' money.
YouTube is adding interactive cards to its TrueView video ads, so that marketers have the option to include more information as overlays atop their in-stream spots. These cards also give YouTube another way to make money from the ads even if people skip the full spot.
"We're trying to make TrueView an even better creative canvas for brands. Video has always had sight, sound and motion…. We're taking the next step and going deeper into interactivity," said Phil Farhi, director-product management for YouTube Ads.
Advertisers' TrueView cards can contain information about the brand or its products, a list of related videos or playlists from the advertiser and -- sometime in the next several weeks -- links to the advertiser's website.
YouTube has let advertisers append extra information atop their video ads before. However those so-called "annotations" only worked when watching YouTube on a desktop computer or laptop and were limited to text. TrueView cards work on tablets and smartphones and eventually internet-connected TV devices like Apple TV and Google's Chromecast. And they appear to be more visually appealing than annotations because they can contain images and resemble the informational cards that are part of the Google Now virtual assistant service.