YouTube knows that its mid-roll ads can be annoying, but ads are also how the platform makes money. So now it's looking to make something of a compromise - you watch two ads before your video plays, and you can avoid being disrupted later.
As explained by YouTube:
"Our recent user experience research suggests that in addition to factors such as the length of ads, viewers are quite sensitive to the frequency of ad breaks, especially during longer viewing sessions. Through this research, we also learned that fewer interruptions is correlated with better user metrics, including less abandonment of content and higher rates of ad viewing. To respond to this, we will begin testing ad pods - two ads stacked back to back, where viewers have the option to skip directly to the content if it’s not the right ad for them."
That's interesting, right? Certainly, you would think that more viewers would be willing to watch a couple of ads to completion in order to avoid being hit with a mid-roll ad later on in the playback.
It's similar to the incentive program in mobile games, where users can earn more in-game credits by sitting through an ad. I guess, the question then is whether those users will actually be paying attention - you could switch on the two ads, knowing that you'll have a couple of minutes before the actual video starts, and go get a drink or whatever. But then again, having them play at all is surely better than users skipping them entirely.
The announcement comes as part of a post which looks at evolving YouTube usage trends, and how those are being reflected in the platform's ad options.
Among the other notes:
- YouTube says that watch time of content which users discover on the YouTube homepage has grown 10x over the past three years as it's recommendation algorithms have evolved. That's lead to the platform adding TrueView video discovery ads to the YouTube home feed, along with the Masthead and Universal App campaign ads.
- YouTube also notes that watch time of its content on TV sets has doubled year-over-year, which is why they recently introduced TV-viewer specific ad targeting - essentially, traditional TV ads for YouTube.
YouTube notes that it will continue to offer new ad formats and options in line with usage trends, which should help marketers generate better results from the online video leader.
If YouTube is not yet part of your 2019 planning, maybe it should be.