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Google is mercifully killing YouTube’s unskippable 30-second ads

Published Feb 17th, 2017 12:38PM EST
YouTube Video
Image: Getty Images

As Google continues to explore ways to monetize YouTube without frustrating users with overbearing ads, the search giant earlier today confirmed that YouTube videos, beginning in 2018, will no longer be saddled with 30-second pre-roll unskippable ads.

In a statement originally provided to Campaign, Google explained: “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.”

Curiously, the driving force behind Google’s decision remains somewhat hazy. Were advertisers finding that users were simply skipping past videos with pricey unskippable ads, thereby rendering expensive ad spends useless? Or, perhaps, did enough users voice frustration about the user experience that the move was intended to appease viewers? Either way, I think we can all agree that Google’s decision to axe relatively long 30-second ads is a welcome change.

Of course, other forms of unskippable ads on YouTube aren’t going anywhere. On the contrary, Google is simply getting more creative and experimental about how it chooses to implement them. Just this past April, for example, YouTube began rolling out 6-second bumper ads which are far less intrusive and arguably more engaging than its 30-second counterpart.

Additionally, unskippable 15 and 20-second video ads will remain an option that advertisers on YouTube can take advantage of.

All in all, it’s been interesting and impressive to see how Google has slowly but surely been able to monetize YouTube with increased efficiency. Still, YouTube is far from being a big moneymaker for the search giant. This past October, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said that the video site was “still in investment mode” and that there is still no timetable for when the site might become profitable.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.