Google Introduces New Lightbox Ads Which Are Free Unless Expanded

Google has been experimenting with this type of ads on YouTube

By on October 2nd, 2012 20:21 GMT

Skippable ads have been very popular on YouTube with everyone involved. Users can avoid the annoying ads after the first five seconds, advertisers only pay if people watch beyond the first five seconds and YouTube can charge more for this type of ads.

Now, Google is applying the same idea to a new ad format, the Lightbox ad. As the name suggests, Lightbox ads pop up to take over the page when users hover over it, but otherwise function like a normal display ad.

The beauty of them, as far as advertisers are concerned, is that Google only charges for them if viewers hover to see the full screen ad.

Having an ad expand to take over the page when you hover over it sounds really annoying, but Google only enlarges the ad after you've rested your mouse over it for two seconds, making it a lot less likely that you accidentally trip it open.

The ads can be anything the advertiser wants, display ads though, things like banners, YouTube videos, even games or built-in apps.

"In internal tests, we’ve seen that this smart hover feature eliminates nearly 100% of accidental expansions and increases engagement by 6-8X over standard click-to-expand ads. The result: users only engage with the ads they really want to see and brand marketers only pay for truly engaged views," Google explained.

It's this focus on engagement that made the YouTube ads so popular and it's not hard to guess that the same will be true for these ads. Google promises that this is just the first in the series and that more ads units like this are coming.

"We also have some new insights on how our existing engagement-driven formats on YouTube and the Google Display Network, such as the TrueView family of video ads, have effectively helped brands reach their audience online," Google explained.

"We looked at the sales impact during and two weeks after 92 different ad campaigns, and found that on average every $1 invested in YouTube delivered a $1.70 return in sales--2.4x more efficient than the television spend for these campaigns," it said.

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