Weekly Digital News Roundup: Nov 28 – Dec 4
YouTube Redesigns Its Web Site to Promote Personalized Video Channels
- Thursday marked one of the biggest-ever revamps of YouTube. The redesign is part of an effort by Google to create an Internet alternative to cable with multiple channels accessible by both phones and computers.
- The new YouTube will allow people to select their top YouTube channels, which the company likens to programming a digital video recorder. Every time a user visits YouTube, they will see a feed of their channel’s most recent videos. Aesthetic changes come in the form of a gray background instead of the site’s traditional white, a modernized logo, and a new layout to accommodate for the latest updates from specific channels.
- From my perspective, the layout change has its pros and cons. The update allows for better integration with Google+ because users can now share videos with the +1 option, which is a solid move to bring more users to the developing social network. However, the new YouTube homepage isn’t an aesthetic upgrade in my book. The new vertical format is too cluttered and compact, and the color scheme reminds me far too much of MySpace. The actual video page layout remains largely unchanged, so the homepage is my only complaint.
Video Ad Are Increasing and So Are the Views
- Commercial breaks on online videos are still new territory, and much speculation remains about how much a user will respond to watching an ad before they get to watch the latest viral cat video or TV episode. YouTube largely carved new paths for online advertising by putting an Adsense banner at the bottom of their videos, largely because people weren’t willing to watch a 30-second commercial before watching a 10-second video.
- Times are changing, though, with recent numbers from FreeWheel revealing for the first time that video ad viewing growth is greater than video viewing growth. The average number of ads in long-form video rose from 3.1 in Q1 2011 to 5.02 in Q3. Completion rates have remained steady over the year, with long-form video bringing in the best completion rate at 82%. Mid-form had 70% while short-form had 56%.
- FreeWheel says these numbers are due to an increase in long-form video, and I couldn’t agree more. Short-form videos used to dominate the Internet scene (“Dramatic Squirrel”, anyone?), but now users are able to watch TV shows, sporting events, and even movies on their computers or mobile devices. We expect to see commercials when we’re watching things on TV, so ads in long-form videos online have become more of an acceptable thing because, well, we’re used to it.
Twitter Quietly (Finally) Launches Self-Serve Ads
- Twitter finally launched self-serve ads, though it’s currently in test mode and only open to a handful of advertisers. But it allows for ads to be bought directly via Twitter via a credit card and a Web browser. Currently, buyers can only purchase promoted accounts and promoted tweets, but Twitter says its ad products will expand over time.
- Twitter has been talking about this for a while, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. PR rep Matt Grave says, “Our Promoted Products can help small and medium-sized businesses build their audience on Twitter and better engage with the people they want to reach. As with all of our advertising efforts, we’re starting small, testing carefully an dmaking improvements as we learn what works.”
- This movement marks a huge milestone for Twitter because, as Graves writes, it opens up the possibility for large volumes of small and medium-sized businesses to easily advertise on Twitter. This possibility is huge if Twitter ever expects to grow in valuation, particularly since promoted accounts and tweets are hugely appealing for many businesses.