Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

YouTube’s Ad Push Creeps Forward

How are Google’s efforts to turn YouTube from a money pit into a profit center coming along?

Google (GOOG) continues to insist that it will start making money from its Web video site soon. But for now, YouTube’s finances are a black box. From the outside, though, we can see indications that the site is at least becoming more serious about getting more ad dollars out of more videos.

Take this new study from TubeMogul, the Web video-tracking service. It says that 44.7 percent of YouTube’s most viewed videos are professionally produced and/or products of YouTube’s “partner” program, meaning that YouTube has the ability to shove ads on them. That’s up from 36.3 percent six months ago.

Here’s the full breakdown:

TubeMogul YouTube

And for comparison, here’s what that looked like six months ago:

These charts don’t break it out, but TubeMogul reports that 41.93 percent of the 100 most popular videos on YouTube on a given day actually carry some kind of advertising, up from 36.72 percent.

If you want to be glass-half-empty about it, you could argue that six out of 10 of YouTube’s most popular clips still don’t carry ads, which is a problem. But that would be grouchy of you! Progress is still progress.

No comment from YouTube. But I imagine that if executives there did have something to say, they’d argue that 1) outsiders like TubeMogul really don’t have a good grip on their metrics, and that 2) focusing on the top videos at the site is misleading, since the site has been working hard to monetize the mid- and long “tail” of its clips.

Of course, the best way to respond to this sort of educated guessing would be to open YouTube’s books. But I’m not holding my breath on that one.

Meanwhile, here’s an ad-free clip YouTube recommended that I watch: