Google sees the value of Free Customers

This is fascinating:

Google has an ad program on YouTube that let’s users skip ads and they are now extending it to other ad formats.

Even though it is the same old advertising game–something that could use some fixing–what’s impressive is that with the ad-skipping feature¬†Google saw “a 40 percent reduction in the number of people who click away from a video when shown a pre-roll” ad.

It’s real-world proof that a free customer is more valuable than a captive one. Give people the freedom to leave and more will stay than if you had forced the issue.

I’ve done this myself. Initially, I was ready to leave the page because the content didn’t seem worth the extra delay of the ad. But then I see that if I wait just a few seconds, I can click past it. Not only does the ability to click past keep me from just abandoning the video altogether, but in a few instances the opening bit was funny or intriguing or just interesting enough for me to want to see the rest of the ad.

It’s a brilliant example of how giving people the freedom to leave can actually keep them around more.

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