Letting users skip: Quantifying the relative effectiveness of skippable and non-skippable video ads on YouTube

Max Pashkevich, Sundar Dorai-Raj and Dan Zigmond
Google, Inc


In 2010, YouTube introduced TrueView in-stream ads, video ads that allow the user to skip directly to the desired video content after 5 seconds of viewing. We compared these skippable in-stream ads to the conventional (non-skippable) in-stream video ad formats at YouTube, using a new ad effectiveness metric based on the propensity to search for terms related to ad content after seeing the video ad. Our findings indicate that skippable video ads may be just as effective on a per-impression basis as traditional non-skippable video ads. Given the strong viewer preference for skippable ads, this suggests that formats like TrueView in-stream ads can improve the online video viewing experience for users without sacrificing advertising value for advertisers or content owners.