Believe it or not, this is the fifth anniversary of YouTube’s initial tests of the TrueView family of cost-per-view (CPV) video ad formats. I know, it seems like skippable video ads have been around for 35 years, but that’s because the online video and internet marketing industries appear to measure time in dog years. Nevertheless, YouTube is celebrating TrueView’s fifth birthday by sharing some product news, business metrics, and some of the most iconic video ads of all time.

New! YouTube TrueView Interactive Cards for Advertisers

When YouTube first launched TrueView five years ago, it was taking a leap of faith. YouTube believed that viewers would choose to watch ads on YouTube if these ads were interesting, relevant, and engaging. Since then, YouTube has come a long way, bringing TrueView to mobile, introducing new features like Brand Lift measurement, and creating the ability to drive app downloads seamlessly within your ad.

Today, YouTube is bringing more innovation to its TrueView format to make it an even better creative canvas for brands with greater interactivity and more accurate accounting of audience engagement.

One of the top requests that YouTube has been getting from brands was to make videos more interactive, particularly on mobile. So, YouTube is introducing Cards for TrueView in-stream ads, a new feature which will make video ads on YouTube a more engaging, interactive experience for viewers across all screens. They will look like this:

Expanded Card panel on desktop

Interactive Cards launched on YouTube videos last month. An evolution of YouTube’s annotations feature, a Card provides video marketers with a more attractive and seamless way to inform viewers about other videos, playlists, and more. Now with Cards coming to TrueView in-stream ads, video marketers can share more information about their brand, related videos, and playlists, and soon link to their website directly from their TrueView video ad. For information about how to enable cards in your campaigns, visit YouTube’s Help Center.

Unlike free-form annotations on ads, Cards work seamlessly on mobile and will eventually come to connected TVs, so you can create one ad and run it across all YouTube’s platforms. A consistent Card experience will mean viewers will always know how to get more info about video ads, regardless of how they’re watching YouTube.

Cards also provide a platform to bring video marketers additional features that make TrueView a more actionable format. Throughout this year, YouTube will roll out specialized Cards that cater to specific use cases, a process it started with TrueView for app promotion last year.

YouTube TrueView: Optimizing for Viewer Actions

TrueView is built on the notion that it’s more valuable when someone chooses to watch your video. For that reason, YouTube only counts a view when someone shows some “intent” to watch. Now with greater interactivity signals, YouTube can go a step further and enable video marketers to optimize for viewer actions.

In addition to counting a view when someone watches an ad, YouTube will also count a view when viewers click on a Card or other elements of your in-stream creative, since YouTube believes this is a strong indication that a viewer is interested and engaged. YouTube will bill for these click interactions, similar to what it currently does for TrueView app promotion campaigns.

As always, YouTube will only charge when a view is counted and will bill for either the full view or click (but not both). This change will roll out to all TrueView in-stream ads in May.

TrueView Ads: New Click Behavior for In-stream

To ensure that video marketers only pay for deliberate clicks on their video ads, YouTube is also changing where users can click on in-stream ads. Before, clicking anywhere on the player would register a click; now, only clicks to Cards or Call-to-Actions (CTAs), the video header, a companion banner, or a link at the bottom of the player will count as a click.

YouTube is also celebrating the fifth anniversary of TrueView by releasing new momentum stats:

  • YouTube is seeing strong growth in new advertisers adopting video ads on YouTube – the number of advertisers using TrueView grew 45% in 2014.
  • All of the top 100 global brands have run TrueView video ads over the past year.
  • Advertisers are embracing mobile – 95% of TrueView advertisers have run campaigns across screens.

A Look Back at the Last Five Years of Video Ads on YouTube

Finally, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of its skippable TrueView ads, YouTube is bringing us back to 2010, with a look at the top five trending ads on YouTube from five years ago. Do you remember them all?

1) DC Shoes: “Ken Block’s Gymkhana THREE, Part 2; Ultimate Playground

DC Shoes took us behind the wheel with Ken Block on a track with banks as steep as 51 degrees—more than double the incline of most racecar tracks!

2) Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

In 2010, Old Spice took the web by storm with their “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign. Even funnier were the resulting real-time conversations that ensued with celebrities like Alyssa Milano.

3) Red Bull: Danny MacAskill – Way Back Home

Two years before Felix Baumgartner jumped from the stratosphere, Red Bull was still leading the charge on creating breathtaking HD ads.

4) Old Spice: Questions

The “Old Spice Man” became so popular that two of his videos were among the five most popular of the year – totaling nearly 75 million views of both ads combined.

5) Tippex: NSFW. A hunter shoots a bear.

YouTube also gave a shout-out to Tippex, who made white-out, of all products, a hit with their incredibly clever play on “choose your own adventure, YouTube style” in this ad.

But 2010 was just a starting point for great videos from brands. So, YouTube has created a playlist of some of the most iconic ads on YouTube of all time. Check it out.