YouTube’s text overlay ads have long been ‘skippable’ with the ‘x’ button top right allowing you to minimise the ad and view the content. Pre-roll ads, however, have not been.

YouTube is now testing expanding the concept to pre-roll videos. On certain pre-rolls, in certain regions, including the UK, users will be presented with a ‘skip this ad’ option which closes the ad and takes you straight to the content.

Site users will benefit from skipping the ads they don’t want to watch, but at least as much value will be derived by YouTube who will be gaining valuable data on which ads people skip and all importantly which ads they do watch and respond to thereby improving their ad targeting. A familiar concept to the optimisation of Adwords.

An important point to note is that apparently this is only being trialled with opted-in content partners.