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YouTube unveils option to skip past video ads

Site's new TrueView video ads will give YouTube users the option to skip past an ad after the first few seconds or choose which ads they want to see while watching certain videos.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

YouTube has launched a new format that lets people bypass ads or pick which ones they are willing to view.

In an attempt to benefit both consumers and advertisers, the new TrueView video ads will give viewers the option of skipping an ad after the first five seconds and will only charge advertisers if their ads play for their entirety or 30 seconds, whichever is shorter.


Further, viewers can select which ads they want to see, giving them the option to choose ones that might be more relevant to their interests. YouTube is promoting the format as a boon for advertisers. In early results, the company said that view-through rates, which measure how many people opt to watch the full ad, ranged from 20 percent to 70 percent.

Viewers will typically find the ad format on movies and other full-length commercial content. YouTube, which once thought it could turn a profit solely by showing amateur, user-generated videos, started adding professional Hollywood films to its repetoire a couple of years ago. Around the same time, the company rolled out its Promoted Videos feature, which gave everyone from politicians to corporations a platform to spread their message through short videos.

GoPro, a maker of wearable, high-definition cameras, offered an advertiser's point of view about the new format.

"We like how TrueView Video Ads give us the ability to target our audience, and gives viewers the choice to opt-in to watch our ads," Lee Topar, GoPro's director of online marketing, said in a statement in YouTube's blog. "Thus far, we've seen about a 40 percent view-through rate--and since we only pay when potential customers actually watch a video, we have more control over our budget."

The new ad format has been launched in the U.S. and Canada and is being tested in the U.K., according to YouTube. The company plans to launch it in other countries as well.