Google is set to ditch 30-second ads on YouTube next year as it refocuses on content that can be consumed more readily by users on the platform. This long-ad format is not popular, with surveys showing that around 90 per cent of people would skip the ads entirely if possible.
While these clips will be disappearing some time in 2018, the video-sharing site will continue to show 15-second and 20-second ads, and users won’t be able to bypass these by pressing a skip button.
The decision by Google to get rid of longer ads is no surprise, as it is facing increasing competition from Facebook, which is eager to create more snackable content for users on mobile devices. Google rolled out its own ultra-compact “bumper ads” last year. These ads last just six seconds, and it appears that they are effectively meeting the needs of both advertisers and consumers.
Google’s latest move also dovetails with its desire to deliver a more user-friendly experience, as ads are often considered a nuisance by regular viewers. “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,” a Google spokesperson said in an official statement.
A number of ad experts have claimed that the “bumper” format is great for delivering on expectations, end-user experiences and ad revenue, as unskippable ads have traditionally had very high abandonment rates. Keeping users engaged is now much more important due to the sheer volume of video content and growing consumption habits.
“The 30-second ad is a legacy from TV times,” Will Smyth, Head of Media at Agenda21, said. “It’s a standard TV unit which has been put online, but it’s not the most effective way to advertise. This will encourage advertisers to be more creative about the way they use the platform.”
He added: “Demand from advertisers for video content is high, but there’s a shortage of quality content. It’s good business for everyone to focus on ‘skippables’ — people aren’t forced to sit through ads, and advertisers don’t need to pay if their ad is skipped.”