YouTube intros skippable pre-roll adverts

YouTube has begun a "small test" of a new kind of advertising on the site, in an attempt to finally meaningfully monetise the billion videos it serves on a daily basis.

While initial testing for pre-roll adverts on the world's most popular video site did not go well with "abandonment" rates said to be as high as 70%, the site is now going at it again with skippable pre-roll advertising.

"We are constantly working to find the right ads for the right content on YouTube, so as to create an experience that works for our users, partners, and advertisers", says YouTube in a blog post.

YouTube has tried various ways to make big money from advertising. InVideo "overlay" adverts have been live on the site since 2007, much to the disgust of many users when they were introduced, while last year YouTube began a click-to-buy scheme.

"We know what you're thinking", says YouTube, "Who would choose to watch an ad when they can skip it?"

The answer, it seems, might not inspire confidence: "Well, that's what we're trying to find out".

YouTube suggests short (say, 15 second) pre-rolls have seen success as have particularly creative efforts - the "quality and relevance" of an ad making users want to see it play out.

"Skippable pre-rolls [can] create a win-win-win for everyone on YouTube. For users, this format gives them more control over their experience. For advertisers, we're working toward a solution where they pay for ads that users actually watch and engage with".

What are your thoughts on pre-roll ads? Does a "your video will start in 10 seconds" message drive you mad? Have your say in the comments box below.