Google Adsense for Video, Google Health

Google is the big news today with two major product initiatives.    The first is Google’s entry into the health records management business with trial recordkeeping at a Cleveland hospital.   AP reports

The second Google development is adsense for video, yet another attempt to monetize video.   I tested the last attempt, using YouTube advertising embeds, here at Funniest Online Videos.    The results were abysmal in terms of monetization although I didn’t push a lot of traffic through the site and used cheap low quality traffic.  However notable about the YouTube problems was Perez Hilton’s huge celebrity site with millions of visitors which only had something like $5000 in revenues despite many millions of clip views.    Perez has switched to different advertising approaches.

However I’m guessing Google’s been learning from the poor YouTube system and that the adsense will involve better targeting and probably better returns.    That said, I remain very skeptical that video can monetize well.   As with social networking or a TV show, a person’s relationship to the medium is very important in these money relationships.   Searching offers the potential for good monetization of a person’s natural behavior and relationship to the media – often it’s a “win win” where your search for camera information and camera deals also presents you with advertising you *want to see* because it’s relevant to your needs.    It is very hard to make that happen with video or social networking, which remain pretty barren environments for advertisers. 

…. and in the “old news” department Blodget suggests that the fat lady is singing in the Yahoo Microsoft deal and it’ll go down this way.    This scenario – minor jousting by MS followed by a small increase in the offer followed by Yahoo aquiescence – sounds very reasonable to me.

YouTube + You = cash? Not much!

YouTube’s starting to experiment with revenue sharing for video producers, though it is not clear yet how the details of the program will shake out.   Marshall at ReadWriteWeb   suggests this action might “put to rest” the notion that YouTube cannot monetize content, but I think it will actually show how difficult it is to monetize even popular content.     Unlike targeted pay per click advertising it’s hard to “hit” a customer with a relevant ad when they are simply surfing aimlessly for clips or watching a funny clip.    True, you get some vague targeting information such as a possible few interest areas, but this is nothing like running a per click ad during a search for “Buy a sony digital camera”.   The latter is a golden opportunity to strike at the point of purchasing decision, and it’s why PPC, especially at the brilliantly matched Google PPC adwords environment, works so very well.

About a month back, when YouTube started allowing you to embed videos in a web page and use adsense to monetize them I tried a small experiment setting up a new website called “Funniest Online Videos“,     There are adsense ads embedded around the funny clips that Google pulls from their YouTube comedy section.    

After sending a few thousand people to the site using some untargeted advertising I think I made something like 35 cents from a handful of clicks.     Sure, I could work hard and target better and get some organic (free) traffic to that site, but as they are starting to find in many other venues video clip advertising does not pay well at all.    I’m very skeptical of this model for ads, and given the deluge of clips I think advertisers will soon see this type of advertising as a waste of money, even at the low end of the scale.