YouTube Is Giving The 30-Second Unskippable Ad The Boot

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YouTube will quit supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018, it confirms today, and “focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers.”

Presumably, those acceptable compositions include the six-second unskippable bumper ad.

And according to 9to5Google, it will include the 20-second unskippable ad.

That severely dampens the enthusiasm about the relatively imminent demise of the longest unskippable version. To people in the ad business, that extra 10 seconds of sales floor is immense. To consumers, I have a feeling the announcement on ten fewer seconds is much ado about a piddly 10 seconds.

First reported by Campaign, this unmomentous announcement is a victory for brevity–specifically that six-second ad Google’s YouTube started showing last April. It’s also an unspoken acknowledgment these 30-second marketing imprisonments just aren’t cutting it with consumers or advertisers.

Skip, don’t skip, who knows? It seems like only two days ago that MediaPost was reporting that IPG research discovered that given the opportunity to skip, something like 66% will jump to do it.

But turned the other way–not being able to skip after being taught the custom by YouTube itself–is maddeningly annoying. I watch 30-second unskippable ads with a growing range, and the kind of twitching ex-smokers get when they see a smoker.

Those ads. I can’t get over not being able to get over them.

So as IPG finds, if I am given a chance, I’m going to skip. Hell, I’m only human.

The six-second version fits better with the length of most YouTube videos. It also provides with the shortened length of time people seems to be able to deal with anything. Maybe that’s not a good thing, but that’s the environment the Internet has built, and that mobile has reinforced.

Skippable ads are an ultimate acknowledgment that ads are annoying; every attempt to fix it just reinforces that. Marketers fight attempts to label or identify native advertising clearly. It’s not fair for them to not be able to fool people.

YouTube, of course, has to be looking over its shoulder to Facebook, which because of its social roots seems a more likely place for some people to spend time, and time is money. YouTube did all the hard work with advertising surrounding video, and still seems to be in that position.
As it’s attempted to improve the ad situation, it added another one–those annotations that have a 100% likelihood of ruining anything you’re watching.

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