Five Years of TrueView: How User Choice is Ushering in the Next Golden Age of Video Advertising

April 2015

"Focus on the user and all else will follow." Those words have guided Google from the days working out of a garage in Menlo Park. While advertising may not often be seen as a user-first industry, we believe focusing on the user applies as much to ads as it does to any other product at Google. When we launched search ads, we put the user first by matching consumer intent with ads — people chose to click an ad, and advertisers paid nothing if they didn't.

Five years ago, we took that same concept and brought it to video with the introduction of TrueView. At the time, people thought we were crazy: "who would choose to watch an ad? But it turns out, people do choose to watch ads... more than 100 million times in some cases. Video advertising in general is moving toward user choice — as people can fast forward, skip, close the screen. But with choice comes opportunity, and we're seeing more creative, engaging and entertaining ads now than ever before. In fact, last year the top 10 ads on YouTube collectively amassed 424 million views.

This year marks the fifth anniversary since we first began testing TrueView as a video ad format on YouTube. We've come a long way, and to see how video ads have evolved over the past five years, we took a quick trip down memory lane...