Google has apparently decided that they need to put adbreaks around video clips (see http://www.youtube.com/advertise#invideoads) to start clawing back some of the $1.65bn they spent on buying YouTube. My concern for them is that will users of youtube simply avoid this ads (as users of PVRs do – see some research from IBM on this here) or even more worrying, they go elsewhere with their 30 second MMS clips? The price that Google paid for YouTube equates to something like $29 for each unique user per month at current rates ($1.6bn / 55m). Assuming payback over five years, discount rates and strong growth in unique users – say 25% - I think they need to get each user to click through on about 4 ads a month to break even. If growth stalls then the price Google paid for YouTube will look painfully high. However since they paid in stock and not cash, maybe things aren’t that bad.
Anyway, where does that leave the advertisers themselves. Well UGC has some well documented issues and advertisers need to be careful about how they embrace it. There are some great examples out there of advertisers turning UGC to their advantage (e.g. Coke eventually) whilst some big brands have really struggled. UGC enables brands to join in converstaions with customers but ultimately the power stays with the consumer and not the brand. Advertisers and site owners need to remember this. Look at how quickly the “community” abandoned MySpace. Is there any reason why something else won’t come along and replace the current raft of network sites? Wasn’t Netscape replaced quite quickly. Didn’t Lycos and Yahoo look like the early winners of the Internet search engine crown.