YouTube has introduced a number of new tools for creators to utilize. Not all have been met enthusiastically, but there are useful things to take advantage of. One is the ability to choose when ads play within your video. Despite having this option for a while now, too many creators don’t use the feature to build the adspace into their videos.
The concept of throwing to commercial may have been built within the traditional television platform, but utilizing it in your YouTube videos has plenty of benefits, and implementing isn’t difficult.
What’s the Point?
Planning out commercial breaks may not seem important; after all, YouTube’s ads have their own fade-in/out function, making it easy to ignore on your end. But the ads’ automatic function isn’t discerning in its placement. More often than not, advertisements start at inopportune times, frequently in the middle of sentences; completely disrupting the flow and immersion. This is the kind of continuing annoyance likely to cause viewers to click away and never return.
Planned commercial breaks add another level of professionalism to your channel.
Ads during videos are expected, but if they’re an impediment to the viewing experience, they’re going to feel intrusive. That means it’s time to use the tools at your disposal and change your content to make ads less of an interruption to your content. Aside from eliminating the annoyance factor, there are other benefits to integrating “throws to commercials” within your content.
• Better Flow — Building commercial breaks into your content ensures that you retain control over your video’s flow of information and overall pacing.
• Prevent Interruptions — Nothing destroys the flow of your videos, killing viewer engagement, more than an advertisement starting right in the middle of dialog. Whether your video is a scripted series, talk show, top list or news update, ads interrupting the action without forewarning is the quickest way to send viewers elsewhere.
• Dramatic Effect/Building Tension — Watch any reality show competition, or even soap operas, and you’ll see how cutting to commercial builds dramatic tension. Leaving audiences purposefully dangling keeps them sucked into the content despite the break.
• Professionalism — Planned commercial breaks add another level of professionalism to your channel. It shows the planning and attention to detail you’re willing to put in while also letting subscribers know you want to give them the best viewing experience possible.
Finding the Moment
Creators have the ability to place ads at specific points on the timeline, but mostly tend to spread them out evenly throughout the video. Logically it makes sense, but the timing almost never works in conjunction with the content and you end up with mid-sentence cutoffs or odd transitions.
Changing this up for your gaming videos isn’t difficult but requires a shift in every phase of your production. As you’re scripting shows out — even Let’s Play style videos should have some form of plan or layout to follow — figure out where the best breaks in your content come up. These tend to pop up naturally whenever you’re transitioning the conversation to a different topic.
For instance, if you’re doing a retrospective video on the history of a specific game, you’ll be talking about multiple different topics: early development, gameplay, reception, etc. When your narration moves to the next segment, that’s an excellent time to segue into commercial.
On countdown videos, ads can be easily inserted before you start talking about the next game on your top list. In a talk show format, take a break before a big interview or as you transition between subjects — where you’d typically throw it to the next presenter. Even a Let’s Play video can be broken up, since you’ll typically know when loading screens happen, or when you’re waiting in the lobby of multiplayer games.
Once you’ve found the ideal timing for your commercial breaks, it’s time to find good ways to put them in place. Simply having your host say “standby for a commercial break” won’t do you any favors. It gets the job done, but this standard phrase does little to engage your viewers. You want to give them a reason to stick around through the ad.
Placing the ads within your video is dependent on knowing the material inside and out.
Much boils down to the personality of the host and utilizing their voice to make these segues as smooth as possible. On a news show, use the transition to give viewers a taste of what’s to come; “After this commercial we’ll dive into this week’s latest news…” Build excitement towards your number one spot on a top list video, by throwing to a commercial just beforehand: “Which game landed our top spot? Find out after this break!” A similar technique would work equally well for gaming tournament or multiplayer battle videos.
Sometimes, a natural point within your content creates its own transition. This is how scripted television handles commercial breaks; dramatic pauses become elongated, eventually fading to black leading to commercial. This keeps audiences guessing as to what happens next.
Placing the ads within your video is dependent on knowing the material inside and out. Just as you mark it in your script from the outset and record them during production, it’s important to make sure your edited video still makes sense for those particular spots. Sometimes better options for ad placement pop up unexpectedly — another reason it’s crucial to watch and rewatch your videos before posting.
It may seem like extra work for no (immediate) gain, but using YouTube’s ad placement tool is a great way to show another level of professionalism and dedication. And it will eliminate a great deal of viewer frustration, preventing them from clicking away to another channel because of annoying video ads popping up in all the wrong places.