26 June 2017

YouTube to Scrap 30-Second Unskippable Ads

  • Man watching television in the dark
James Ashe, Managing Partner

YouTube recently announced that it would be removing 30-second unskippable ads from its videos, forcing advertisers to create more meaningful messages if they want to take advantage of the world’s biggest video platform.

Okay, so YouTube’s plan to remove 30-second unskippable ads won’t actually happen until 2018, but it’s still worth thinking about now – especially if your brand is a frequent advertiser on the platform. YouTube claims that by removing the option for advertisers, they’re improving the user experience.

The 30-second rule seems to be an arbitrary hangover from television and radio advertising, where ads are often sold in 30-second slots. On these traditional platforms, it tends to work – viewers or listeners are often more invested in the programmes that they’re tuning into and are therefore less likely to switch channel. However, on YouTube, the ads play at the start of the video – and if a user is feeling particularly frustrated, it’s much easier to flick to a different video, or block the ad entirely with an ad-blocker.

YouTube isn’t ditching unskippable ads completely – there will still be the option to use a 20-second ad. While this means a tighter timeframe for advertisers, we think this is a positive step. It means that advertisers need to tighten up their message, rather than rely on tired, overdone concepts. If you can’t win someone over in 20 seconds, you probably can’t in 30 seconds either. Hopefully, we’ll see some show-stopping ideas springing forth in 2018!

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