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It’s the bane of any YouTube viewer’s existence: you click on a link to that new viral video your friend sent, only to be served with a nonskippable ad that you’re forced to watch.

Enter TrueView: an ad format that allows viewers to choose to skip the ad after five seconds. Advertisers pay for this view only when the viewer clicks the ad or watches 30 seconds or more—a “true” view. In the age of on-demand and DVR, forcing ads on viewers is no longer in vogue. And that’s where TrueView comes in.

Have you seen the viral “First Kiss” video? Of course you have—and maybe you also saw one of the many parodies released in its aftermath. “First Kiss” is actually an ad for a clothing company. Likewise, the viral hit “Test Drive with Jeff Gordon” is an ad for Pepsi MAX (albeit a more heavily branded and obvious ad than “First Kiss”). The commonality among these videos and other ads that go viral is that viewers watch these videos because they want to, not because they’re forced to.

YouTube has recently released highly compelling data about TrueView’s power to drive search, web traffic, and organic views. Many of the most successful brand videos were first served as TrueView ads and then went viral because viewers enjoyed them, shared them, and talked about them. These videos aren’t simply repurposed TV ads; they’re longer, highly targeted, and extremely shareable. The main takeaway is that buying TrueView is a smart move for your brand—and the more time and energy you put into creating an engaging video, the more return you’ll get on your spend.

 

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