YouTube to Nix Unskippable 30-Second Ads

Starting next year, YouTube will no longer allow 30-second advertisements that cannot be skipped to play before videos start. Instead, the Google-owned online video platform will focus on shorter ad formats.

Unpopular with video watchers, the 30-second unskippable ads are being sent to the scrap heap as Google tries to improve the overall YouTube experience. “As part of that,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement, “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.”

While 30-second ads that can’t be skipped are slated to disappear, advertisers will still be able to have unskippable shorter advertisements, including ones lasting 20 seconds. Going forward, analysts expect YouTube to more aggressively market its six-second bumper ads. TrueView advertisements, which are longer form but can be skipped after five seconds, are likely to continue figuring prominently in the platform’s advertising mix.

YouTube launched the 30-second unskippable format, in part, to attract traditional television advertising budgets, but the ads have proved irksome to viewers. As competition for web video watchers intensifies with Facebook making a greater push into video, YouTube is keen to enhance the watching experience to keep people on its platform, some analysts say. “I’m reading this as a signal that YouTube is very worried about Facebook,” Callum McCahon, strategy director for Born Social, told Campaign recently. “We know that video is right at the very core of Facebook’s roadmap. Their video offering is becoming ever more attractive to brands by the day, and YouTube is panicking.”