As reported by TechCrunch, YouTube will begin adding Call-To-Action Overlays today, which will allow video publishers to direct YouTube viewers away from YouTube.com to an external website.
This is a noteworthy addition since it allows marketers a greater opportunity to move viewers to a targeted website and/or message pertinent to the video (or not).
Although such YouTube overlay ads existed before, they were limited to only select partners, specific content and video genre.
By using these customized, semi-transparent pop-ups in their videos, YouTube advertisers can refer viewers back to their product sites.
Of course, you already need to be actively promoting (paid service) a video in order to use Call-to-Action Overlay ads.
Consider this as an important step for Google (owner of YouTube) towards monetizing their very popular video site by laying the groundwork for additional advertising revenues. Depending upon how this pans out, YouTube (and other video hosting sites) may be a very different viewing experience in the future. (Think of more routine ad-supported videos coming to your favorite YouTube selections….)