YouTube ads tend to be the most annoying part of the experience for many regular viewers, hence the rise of ad blockers. These browser plug-ins, though the bane of online commerce, often make ads generally non-existent. They also cut into revenue for many sites, and many news sites have been updating their code to make articles inaccessible until you disable it.
Google’s acquired video mega-site (they bought YouTube early on) knows this, and they have been noticing a decline in views as a result of pushing those 30-second unskippable ads. These ads can be a nuisance, especially when they appear before a video that only takes maybe 15 seconds to watch. They also add to the data you consume, making them not so friendly when you’re using Verizon or other expensive mobile plans on the go.
Sadly, advertising is also necessary, as most websites can’t afford to exist without it. If you don’t advertise, nobody knows your product exists. Effective advertising costs quite a lot if you’re not already popular enough to just use word of mouth.
The existence of ad blockers also likely contributed to the existence of YouTube Red, a subscription-based version of the video-hosting website which removes the ads from popular channels. While it saves time to skip ads, the revenue tends to be more static that way. Greater income potential still lies in the bumper ads you see before videos.
In 2018, according to Campaign, YouTube is planning to do away with the most annoying part of the viewers’ experience. The 30-second unskippable ads will be history, though viewers will most likely see them replaced with unskippable shorter ones. Their statement was a short but direct one.
“We’re committed to providing a better [ad] experience for users online. 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.”
Something else YouTube might want to consider, for people who watch it through their gaming consoles for the sheer convenience, is keeping tabs on what console the viewer is using. All too often, they advertise Xbox One games, making PS4 owners wonder if YouTube is even paying attention, and vice versa.
It’s apparent that YouTube knows the 30-second mandatory ads are an annoyance, and they’ve also realized a disturbing trend on other social media sites not named Vine or Snapchat. Many of them, such as Facebook and Twitter, have started enabling the hosting of video as well. The latter of these is mostly used for political activist purposes, of course, and much like the character limit of 140, the videos tend to be short and direct. They are also a common method for news sites to show snippets or live feed.
Facebook is the site by which YouTube feels the most threatened since videos uploaded to it often get seen more by followers. Your YouTube subscriptions often don’t appear in your feed due to the site’s algorithms preferring that you watch Smosh, iJustine, or Black Nerd Comedy, as well as the myriad of top 10 list channels like Screw Attack and Screen Junkies.
Of course, as the Verge says, it won’t mean there won’t be unskippable ads on YouTube. It just means they won’t be as long, and it’s possible that every video you see will start having a six-second ad that runs no matter what.
Many viewers might still keep ad blockers enabled on YouTube unless it takes the same route as many news sites today and keeps you from seeing anything until you turn them off.
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