News Highlights: YouTube vs Twitter And Another Ad Blocker Strategy

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We’re back with our News Highlights features after a little hiatus. Here are some of the more interesting stories we came across this week.

Google and YouTube take on Twitter with Real-Time Ads just in time for the Super Bowl

Google has announced a couple additions to YouTube’s ad products line-up including what it calls “Real-Time Ads” which are, well, pretty much what the name suggests: ads that can be disseminated in real-time to appeal to consumers at the perfect moment in the Super Bowl. This move is also another encroachment on Twitter’s historical dominance of real-time sharing, specially when it comes to major events like the Super Bowl.

To help brands be a part of these conversations in a way that’s timely and relevant, today we’re opening our Real-time ads beta to more brands including, and we plan to roll it out more broadly later this year. With Real-time ads, brands will be able to instantly run an ad across YouTube, hundreds of thousands of apps, and over 2 million sites in our Google Display Network with a message that ties directly to the big moment people just experienced live.

YouTube has also revamped YouTube AdBlitz which now includes Super Bowl ad teasers and is probably going to become one of the most popular sites for fans of those awesome Super Bowl ads so be sure to bookmark the site.

Further reading:

Canadian publisher asks to trade ads for personal data

Publishers are testing a number of strategies to address the ad blocker phenomenon and one Canadian publisher has an interesting proposition for its readers: if its readers log into the site with Facebook, they won’t see ads. What may sound like a Faustian Bargain makes sense, if you understand what the publisher needs the data for. According to Digiday:

Narcity Media, which runs a pair of city-focused sites aimed at Canadian millennials, last week started asking ad blockers to log in with their Facebook accounts if they wanted to read its sites ad-free. The 3-year-old Narcity Media, which has seen around 10 percent of its readers block its ads, hopes that the process is simple enough that its readers won’t balk at logging in.

For Narcity, the value in its anti-ad blocking scheme comes from the data it collects from the readers who sign in. Publishers that use Facebook’s sign-in feature get access to the names and basic demographic information of the readers who use it. Narcity aims to use that data to better personalize content for logged-in readers, giving them more relevant articles and, more importantly, sponsored content.

A more personalized experience adds more value to a consumer’s experience of a publisher’s content so this sort of trade makes sense and, although it seems to be working (Narcity reported that it sees around 1,500 new user registrations daily), the strategy still has to support your revenue model. One of the main reasons why publishers want more traffic to ad supported sites is to increase the value of those ads and what advertisers will pay to access the audience. If you remove the ads in exchange for personalized content, you give your consumers more value but you still have bills to pay so make sure you tie the strategy back into whatever pays those bills.

Further reading:

In the meantime, Twitter is offering 30 second, skippable pre-ads

Digiday reported (and Twitter later confirmed) that Twitter is probably going to start offering advertisers the option of 30 second, skippable pre-roll ads:

Twitter now has longer pre-roll video ads that can run for up to 30 seconds and longer, a big jump from the six-second standard it first adopted.

The longer ads also come with an immediate skip option so as to limit the potential fallout from haters of pre-roll video. They are shown ahead of videos that media partners post as part of the over two-year-old Amplify program, in which ad revenue is split between the content creators and Twitter.

Just as YouTube is moving into Twitter’s territory with YouTube’s Real-Time Ads (top of this post), it looks like Twitter is pretty keen to see what it can do with longer pre-roll ads that seem to characterize much of the YouTube advertising experience. This seems to tie in thematically with Twitter’s departure from its short format which has distinguished it from other services. Twitter is also testing expanded tweets which is a dramatic departure from its traditional 140 character tweet limit.

Twitter initially declined to comment on the story but Twitter’s COO, Adam Bain, confirmed the Digiday story in a tweet:

Further reading:

Other stories that caught our attention:

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