YouTube Unveils Tools to Make Mobile Ads More Interactive

Google Inc.’s YouTube video-sharing service is adding tools to make advertisements running on mobile devices more interactive, while cutting down on errant clicks.

YouTube’s TrueView ads, which give visitors the option of skipping promotional clips before they’re over, will add a feature called cards to let advertisers highlight related content during videos, YouTube said Wednesday in a blog post. The new tools will also allow direct links to outside websites on mobile devices or desktop computers. In the past, only ads on desktops showed links and annotations.

All YouTube video ads will also limit clickable links to boxes near the edge of the video player. In the past, viewers could click on any part of the display, making it more likely that they might accidentally engage with the video with a tap of a finger or mouse.

Google is investing in YouTube’s services as it seeks to attract marketers to its platform amid competition from rivals such as Hulu LLC and Facebook Inc. The number of advertisers using TrueView ads, which aim to give users more control over how they watch promotions, jumped 45 percent last year, the Mountain View, California-based company said.

The new tools aim to make it simpler for marketers to make their clips more engaging on any device, said Phil Farhi, the director of product for YouTube ads.

“It allows us to do interactivity in a cross-screen world,” Farhi said in an interview. “The advertiser doesn’t have to create new assets for every screen.”

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