YouTube remains a free service for all (well, as long as you aren’t a subscriber to YouTube Red), so we have to put up with ads from a time to time to enjoy our daily allotment of cat videos and other time wasters. However, Google has finally gotten the hint that one particular format for its video advertising may be annoying viewers a bit too much.
The company announced this week that it will no longer bombard YouTube visitors with TV-style 30-second ads. "We're committed to providing a better ads experience for users online,” said a YouTube spokesperson in an interview. “As part of that, we've decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers."
These unskippable, long-format ads may have more closely aligned the YouTube viewing experience to that of traditional television advertising, but both mobile and desktop users clearly would rather get straight to the action rather than having cold water thrown on them at random times. While most will be definitely happy with the change, it’s unfortunate that it won’t come until next year at the earliest (as long as advertisers don’t revolt).
However, we should warn you that video ads aren’t completely going away. Instead, you’ll still see a mixture of much shorter (and hence, more tolerable) 6-second “bumper ads” along with 15- and 20-second video ads. And ads that pop-up while you’re viewing long videos will still be presented.
While the move at face value seems aimed at keeping customers engaged and happy with the service that YouTube provides, Born Social strategy director Callum McCahon says that this might be a preemptive strike against Facebook, which is greatly expanding its empire to highlight videos at every turn.
"We know that video is right at the very core of Facebook’s roadmap,” said McCahon. “Their video offering is becoming ever more attractive to brands by the day, and YouTube is panicking."