YouTube’s Overlay Display Ad Builder Is Big News for Small Businesses

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YouTube is opening up display overlay ads to more customers, giving them the ability to create their own in-video overlay and companion display ads for YouTube videos via the AdWords system.

For quite some time now, advertisers big and small have been able to allow their ads to run on the Google Content Network, which includes YouTube. Since 2008, that has included the Display Ad Builder system—a sort of bare bones graphic design tool for people who are graphic-design impaired.  In fact, YouTube says that over 20,000 companies have used the application to build their own ads—claiming that more than 80% of those advertisers had never run a display ad before.

Impressive.  When you make something complicated into something easy, it tends to get a lot of attention.

Now they’re doing it again, with a new feature they’re adding to Display Ad Builder that allows customers to build their own InVideo overlay ad (like the kind in the photo).  Overlay ads show up near the bottom of the video screen and are usually partly transparent.  YouTube is quick to point out that these overlay ads have been proven to be among the most effective ad formats the company has tried.

Previously, the overlay ads were the domain of larger advertisers who had the time and expertise to create the graphics or the budget large enough to hire a designer.  There wasn’t an easy way for the typical small business to even get started in the realm of overlay ads.

Here’s Product Manager Christian Oestlien on the new features:

“With this new format, Display Ad Builder will enable more advertisers to run display advertising campaigns on YouTube.  For example, if you’re a small business that sells beauty products, you can quickly use a template in Display Ad Builder in AdWords to create an overlay ad and then run it on popular fashion and beauty videos.”

Adding that type of ad to the Display Ad Builder throws open the floodgates for millions of companies to immediately start advertising on YouTube videos and totally levels the playing field.  Advertisers can choose the standard cost-per-click (CPC) format for their spots, or go with a cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) system of payment.  Additionally, these advertisers can filter the audience for their ads by content topic or viewer demographic data.

This is a brave new world for the small business that wants to jump into online advertising—and they should all be seeking ways to jump into online advertising.  A service on one of the most popular websites in the world that was previously locked out for them is now wide open.  This gives them instant access to the kind of customization, power, and reach that they simply aren’t accustomed to.


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