Blog Post

Google Finally Launches AdSense for Video

Remember back in the day when you gasped “$1.6 billion for YouTube!?!” “Where’s the AdSense of audio and video?” was what I wanted to know in October 2006, the week after Google bought YouTube. A year and a half later Google is taking the obvious and necessary step to profit from what it’s learned on YouTube: releasing contextual video ads for the entire web [that URL isn’t working yet, but it’s the one Google gave me].

Google will make the InVideo ad formats it developed for YouTube last year and extend them to its publishers and advertisers. The overlay ads will be targeted to both the content of the video and the site it’s displayed on.

Yes, video AdSense is late in coming — just like YouTube’s copyright protection scheme was last year. To be fair, figuring out what’s going on in a video, whether you want to monetize it or protect it, is hard — Google had to break a sweat on both these products. Till now the company had made oddly limited forays into web-wide video advertising: syndicating videos (including YouTube partner videos) within ad units.

Thursday Update: Lots of more info coming out on this story, so I started an addendum post.

Meanwhile, plenty of startups have emerged to fill the contextual video advertising void: ScanScout, Digitalsmiths,, EveryZing. But Google isn’t going at this alone. At launch, it has signed an impressive list of partners for its video ads, including UGC, professional, and enterprise portals and platforms, but most interestingly other video advertising companies such as YuMe and Tremor Media.

YuMe CEO Jayant Kadambi, whose company will throw Google into the mix with other pay-per-performance providers, called the video AdSense offering a “powerful new avenue” for revenue.

Other named launch partners are how-to video sites, eHow, ExpertVillage, as well as My Damn Channel, PinkBike, TheNewsRoom, Revver,, Brightcove, GodTube, and Eyespot Network. (Likely candidates that I was surprised not to see on the list Google provided are Ooyala and Howcast; the video platform and how-to site, respectively, were both founded by former Googlers.)

Paradoxically, while Google may be late to market, in the meantime it has done its part to make the market smaller. The company increases its share of the video market every month — at least in the U.S., where comScore reports Google sites (mostly YouTube) stream 32.6 of videos watched online, and host 43 percent of people who watch video online.

At the same time, while other generic video aggregators (e.g. Revver, Bolt) may be falling by the wayside, that doesn’t mean there’s any fewer new sources of video online. Legal streams of TV shows, for instance, are booming. Let’s see if Google can get a piece of that.

31 Responses to “Google Finally Launches AdSense for Video”

  1. Hi Liz- Great piece as usual. In case anyone else was curious as well, I figured I’d post a comment instead of dropping you an email directly.

    As an ad network in the program, Tremor Media offers our publishers the ability to select Google ads as an additional source of advertising and an additional format option. This enables them, for example, to generate additional revenue if a user has been frequency capped because they’ve already seen a particular ad, or where a pre-roll may not be appropriate (short form content.)

  2. I don’t think video overlay ads will be such a big hit for Google because they are particularly annoying. Watching a video is much different from scanning a website for information. I go into further detail on my blog ->

    I also thought about how Google could innovate in this space and monetize video the way the whole company got started: with search. Think about it if you refered videos to people at the end, what if you watched a video and at the end if you clicked through to an advertisers video and watched some way through then Google could charge for that referal and split it with the video producer of the previous video. Make sense?

  3. I don’t get the site. Looks like I’ll provide them my video and in return they provide a Flash video (with overlayed ad) that I broadcast through my own Flash video player. Am I understanding this correctly? If so… weak! Where’s the real YouTube integration?

  4. This is just awesome. But I have questions:

    1. Ads are only shown on videos by content providers who choose to display ads right?

    2. Any Youtube or Google Video content provider can activate showing the ads and immediately starts making a revenue based on amount of views and quality of the video (if people watch the videos till the end, and people come back for more, comment and all that, might bring more clicks on the ads)

    3. What is the expected revenue going to be per 1000 views?

    4. Will advertisers perhaps want to advertise on any videos, will advertisers be able to choose specific channels, tags, content providers to target their advertising on specifically, as well as which timecode to popup the textual advertising at?

    5. Does Google use voice-recognition to provide the best possible relevant advertising based on what is being said in the video? Voice-recognition would be awesome as well to automatically generate subtitles (also nice for people with bad hearing) and automatically provide the subtitles translated into all the different Google Translate languages. It would be fantastic to have the whole Chinese, French, Spanish audiences having suddently access to english speaking content. With possible collaborative manual editing of subtitles would be nice (pause the video, suggest a different way to subtitle/translate the text).