And why this is good news for advertisers
From 2018 onwards, advertisers will no longer be able to prevent users from skipping 30-second ads they place at the beginning of videos on YouTube.
Shorter videos (up to 20 seconds) will still be able to be made non-skippable.
The decision was made in the name of making advertising work better for more people; ensuring that advertisers can get their point across while users do not feel disadvantaged or inconvenienced.
A Google spokesperson said: “We’re committed to providing a better ads experience for users online. As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second un-skippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers.”
The idea is that Google wants advertisers to focus more on shorter video ad formats (such as short, 6 second Bumper Ads) – something will force them to be rather more creative with what they produce.
This is a smart move for YouTube/Google for various reasons.
Good for Users
Users don’t like being forced to watch adverts – this is no surprise. And with YouTube’s position as the internet’s primary source of video content being ever more threatened by the likes of Facebook, they need to do all they can to please users.
Success in the battle between the two platforms is a tricky one to measure for advertisers, with viewing statistics skewed quite significantly by Facebook’s autoplay feature. A ‘view’ for Facebook is logged once a user spends 3 seconds watching a video, which can easily happen during an absent minded scroll through a news feed. A view on YouTube requires 30 seconds of a user’s attention.
It’s in terms of softer powers though, that YouTube could be be said to be waning. There’s little doubt that with Facebook, Snapchat, and now Instagram all offering different avenues for viewing different types video content, YouTube is slowly but surely having their work cut out for them in terms of working out the niche that they can hold on to. This being said, for the time being at least, YouTube remains the place to go for longer form video content. And while shorter, more easily digestible is often the order of the day, it is unlikely that people’s appetite for longer content will completely disappear.
Let’s hope not anyway; for every ten listicles read, let there be at least one half hour TED talk consumed. And for every thousand, maybe someone might read a book.
Good for Advertisers
In forcing advertisers to focus on different video formats (whether that’s shorter bumper ads or enticing TrueView content) what Google is doing is ultimately good for the advertising industry. It reinforces the difference between video advertising online and on television, forcing advertisers to be more creative and to develop content that better suits the online medium specifically.
Online, the user has a lot more power than on television. TrueView (where the user is given the option to view an ad of unrestricted length based on a small, few-second long snippet) is a great example of this. Creating enticing TrueView content takes skill, and is far more rewarding than forcing a user to sit through a 30 second ad, resulting in more (and better) customer engagement. This means that a customer has actively decided to view your advert, rather than resenting it interrupting their show.
In fact, this is where YouTube can come into its own as a platform. YouTube tends to foster more engagement than something like Facebook, which works largely on passive consumption of content on a newsfeed.
Advertisers may well, at first, resent the decision to scrap un-skippable 30 second ads on YouTube. But really, they should thank Google for forcing them to start producing more creative content that’s likely to result in far more conversions down the line.
Sometimes what’s good for the hunted is good for the hunter too