In its relentless push to turn YouTube into a profit center, Google is trying anything it can to pump more advertising into the billions of videos people watch on the site. Now it is automating the way that Flash overlay ads can be created and displayed on YouTube videos. Through the self-serve Display Ad Builder in Google AdWords, mom-and-pop businesses can now create Flash overlay ads as easily as they can create display banner ads and place them in YouTube videos.
Overlay ads have been around for a long time on YouTube and other video networks. YouTube constantly refines the types of overlay ads it shows, but many of the small businesses which typically advertise on Google AdWords don't have the tools to create Flash overlay ads. Now Google is providing them with templates, much like it does already for banner ads.
As of last October, YouTube was showing ads on more than one billion videos a week, which was roughly one in seven videos. YouTube wants to open up all of its video inventory to advertisers large and small. Today's release is the latest move in that direction.
At what point will there be too many ads and will consumers ever backlash? Already I find those persistent pop-ups and overlays to get in the way of the videos I am trying to watch, and I don't find them particularly relevant. Flooding YouTube with even more of these ads may be good for its bottom line, but viewers are not going to like them.