YouTube's Home Page Masthead Ad A Hit With Studios, Networks

YouTube/movie ads Lionsgate Pictures is using the YouTube home page masthead banner ad to promote the March 27 release of "The Haunting In Connecticut." The placement is part of a growing trend by studios and networks to take advantage of the site's 30 million daily views of the home page.

With all the ad options, there's no silver bullet to build buzz for a movie opening, but Google has seen "incredible interaction rates with the ad unit," said Adam Stewart, industry director for media and entertainment at Google, declining to share numbers. "It's a high-reach, high-impact ad unit that can deliver results," he said.

Many people come to YouTube without having a particular video in mind to view. They land on the home page to search through the site for videos that grab and pull them in.

On Friday, Google expanded the home page ad to what Stewart calls a "crosstalk ad unit." The masthead ads, along with another on the page, work collectively to entertain the viewer.

A feature in an ad for the movie "The Haunting In Connecticut" lets viewers type in their ZIP code to find the nearest haunted building or area. Stewart plugged in the ZIP code 90403. A Google map with search results returned the nearest haunted location--the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. It's not clear whether the crosstalk ad will create a higher click rate for studios, but he said "we are encouraged by what we're seeing."

Google has been experimenting with various ways to promote and advertise movies and television shows on the YouTube home page. For instance, Showtime tapped the page Jan. 12, to premiere the show "United States of Tara," a comedy about a housewife with multiple personalities. The premiere received about 500,000 views on YouTube in one day in the United States and about 880,000 views on TV, Stewart said. The episode ran in a standard 300 x 250 YouTube video ad unit.

The free video analytics tool called YouTube Insight revealed that people were pausing in specific areas during the program. The tools gathered information that would let Showtime expand marketing efforts down the road.

YouTube Insight allows anyone who uploads videos to measure how they are viewed and by whom. It breaks it down by state, country and continent. The tool also analyzes the popularity of the video-- comparing it with others, along with age and gender, based on the information given by users when logged in.

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