We all watch YouTube videos, and some of us watch a lot more than we’re aware of. That said, nobody likes to watch the ads that come with the free tier. You can usually skip the ones at the front of the videos after 5 seconds, but not the mid-roll ones. That’s bad enough, but what if you had to watch as many as 10 unskippable YouTube ads in a row?
Here Come The Pods
According to 9To5 Google, YouTube has been experimenting with these long “ad pods,” with each ad lasting from as little as a few seconds or as long as a few minutes. And you can’t skip them! This is not something that the average user is going to be happy about.
So the question is, why do this if viewers clearly hate it? For one thing, it’s a way to force users to sign up for the premium tier, where you spend $11.99 to get rid of those distractions. Also, it’s another way to better compensate creators, as unskippable ads mean more guaranteed royalties. And finally, more ads in a single pod mean that there won’t be as many interruptions during a long video.
It turns out that this was just an experiment by YouTube, however. The long ad pod was added to only a small percentage of videos and only available to a small number of unsuspecting viewers. It also seems that for most people the total time of an ad pod was around 60 seconds, so each ad was 5 or 6 seconds each. Doesn’t matter – still distracting.
YouTube issued the following statement stating that the experiment was now concluded:
At YouTube, we’re focused on helping brands connect with audiences around the world, and we’re always testing new ways to surface ads that enhance the viewer experience. We ran a small experiment globally that served multiple ads in an ad pod when viewers watched longer videos on connected TVs. The goal is to build a better experience for viewers by reducing ad breaks. We have concluded this small experiment.
Despite the unskippable YouTube ads experiment ending, many users are now reporting seeing the number of YouTube ads have seemingly increased. Again, this is generally a good thing for creators, but not going to win any friends from users.
I’m not so sure that adding more ads is a great way to get users to sign up for a paid tier, and maybe YouTube has come to same conclusion. It could be a good excuse for many to check out an alternative platform though, which might not be a bad idea anyway.