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YouTube's Super-Sized Ad Unit Rocks

As you probably know, one of the most perplexing things about the online ad market is the inability of some very popular sites, such as YouTube to monetize themselves. Well, look out. Went on that site today and found something I hadn't seen before -- a super-sized Mustang ad running across the entire top of the home page, making it more or less impossible to miss. Adding to its prominence is the fact that it plays without users having to click; it's the definition of eye-catching. Here are two screen grabs: of how it looks when playing at top, and after it stops playing, at bottom.

As bigger, splashier ad units are about to populate many more sites -- some prominent members of the Online Publishers Association are to start debuting big ads soon -- now we'll get to see if users rebel when confronted with the same in-your-face ad tactics long used in other media. As I'm a supporter of advertisers rights to get their ads noticed, and of sites like YouTube to make money, I think this is great. Also, in this particular ad's case, since it offers a rich video experience, and is almost movie-like in presentation, it fits in with the general vibe of YouTube. I've no idea what such an ad would cost, but in terms of the real estate it takes up on the home page, I'd say it's probably about three times the size of the usual front-page ad placement on YouTube, which appears in the right hand corner, and is somewhat harder to notice, since we are trained, as readers, to look to the left first. It has to have cost a lot more than the conventional YouTube ad unit. Nice job, YouTube.

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