News: Google went live with its new “Video units”–they are basically video players that you embed on other websites, with ads both at the top of the player and internally at the bottom of the video. If you click on the ad, you will be redirected to the website for the advertiser. It looks something like this:
So far, the videos are limited to certain Partners of YouTube, such as Smosh and Val’s Art Diary. I think the ads come from Google’s advertisers in the AdSense program (either all of them or some subset of them). If you scroll down to the player on this link, you can see a video unit in action.
Analysis: The embeddable video unit is a logical extension of the InVideo ads YouTube experimented with back in March on YouTube’s website. The InVideo ads were on YouTube, the video units will be embedded on other sites. The video units are a little less slick, though, than the InVideo ads, since the units don’t have internal video ads to watch within another video like the InVideo ads–they simply redirect to another website. (By the way, I can’t find any more of the slick InVideo ads on YouTube. I wonder when they will be deployed again.)
Here’s my biggest question about the video units: are they too big in size to really catch on? I’m having a hard time imagining how a website will fit the video unit on its site. It occupies a lot of space, so you have to devote a good chunk of your site to the video unit. Sure, some sites can easily do so, but other sites probably won’t want to sacrifice so much space to a video unit. YouTube and Google should consider a smaller video unit, kind of like the size of the “vod pod” I have on this site — look on the right hand column.
The video unit could easily fit within a blog post. But the downside of relying on blogs for the Video Units is that the best blogs are constantly changing, so the Video Units will not remain at the top of the webpage (unless constantly used as the lead post). Moreover, some bloggers might not rely on the Video Units (over the regular embedding of YouTube videos), since you can’t embed every YouTube video within the video unit–only the videos of the few special Partners in the revenue-sharing program. As these video units are deployed, I will follow up with some more reaction.