Thanks to the prevalence of skippable video ads on YouTube, our publishers that use the Mediavine video player to monetize their videos often ask us why only some of our video ads are skippable.
Because we’re not YouTube and we actually want you to make money.
Let’s dive in!
First, let’s discuss the YouTube model of skippable ads.
On YouTube, generally they require you watch a pre-roll advertisement for at least 5 seconds before you’re able press the skip button and move on to the content.
From a user perspective, they’re great. You likely skip pretty much 99% of them and are only stuck watching 5 seconds before getting to the video you’re REALLY looking to watch. Not too painful.
From an advertiser perspective, they’re fantastic on YouTube. Advertisers only pay for their advertisement if the user watches ALL 30 seconds of your video. Perfect. You’re only paying for engaged eyeballs.
Wait, it’s great for advertisers AND users? Sounds perfect for everyone right?
Well, there is definitely one person missing in that equation – the creator.
The bad news is, if an advertiser is only paying when someone watches the full video ad – that means the creator is only being paid if the end user watches the full video ad.
Ever wonder why you’re making so little money at YouTube despite all those views you’re getting? A lot of that has to do with skippable ads.
How do skippable video ads work with Mediavine?
Our custom-built video player uses the official Google IMA HTML5 SDK Version 3. All those words and acronyms mean we run the official Google solution for our ads and as such, we play by the rules.
Those rules state that you can only make an ad skippable if an advertiser opts in to having their ad skippable via their VAST3 response.
So in the Mediavine world, only some ads are skippable – those that opted into being skippable when they sent their bid to win the ad spot before your video.
Although advertisers can specify how long of a duration users are required to watch, they’re typically the same as YouTube – 5 seconds.
That’s where the similarity ends. With Mediavine’s ad partners, you’re paid whether a user watches that video or not.
So why would an advertisers ever opt in to a skippable ad?
As an advertiser, wouldn’t you like to only show your advertisement and brand to a user that actually WANTS to watch your message?
With non-skippable ads, the user is stuck watching your video no matter what. The only metric you’ll have is whether the ad is “viewable”, i.e. if they watched the whole ad – but nothing tells you if the user actually wanted to watch it — or even truly watched it without tabbing away.
A user can easily switch tabs while they wait for your video to complete or put down their phone. With a skippable ad, you know what percentage of users skipped and the rest you know actually wanted to see your video.
Additionally, most site owners, or in our case, Mediavine on behalf of the publisher, sets a limit the length of the advertisements that are allowed to serve; to 0:15, 0:30, etc.
With a skippable video ad, your video can be nearly anything length, because site owners tend to be more generous on total video ad length when you’ve given the skippable option.
We get paid the same, advertisers can measure which people are actually watching their ads, and users get a better experience.
So why don’t we allow ONLY skippable ads?
Unfortunately, not all advertisers are so forward-thinking. They must be willing to revamp their ads to make sure those first 5 seconds are eye-catching.
As a result, a large majority of advertisements still run as traditional non-skippable ads. There’s also the issue that the current iOS (for iPhone and iPad) native player does not support skippable-ads.
We think long term, VAST3 skippable ads will definitely become future if we want advertisers, users, and publishers to all win.
For now, our player will continue to support both and we’ll keep working with our ad partners to either shorten the length of their non-skippable ads, or make the plunge into skippable video ads.
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