“Unskippable” ads will be ditched on YouTube – great for viewers but not so good for YouTubers!

We all want something for nothing, and in the case of online video content, the trade off is typically annoying popup offers or irritating video ads that play before the desired content. Advertising, after all, is what keeps the internet largely free and accessible, or so we keep being told. But a new announcement from YouTube is about to change its ad structure, ideally to improve the viewer experience.

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Right now, YouTube supports a few different ad styles. There are the “skip this ad” model, the five-seconds-til-you-can-skip-this-ad model, and then the dreaded “unskippable” ad, ones that can play in their entirety before you’re able to see the desired content. It’s this version that YouTube is taking aim at, reporting that in 2018 there will be no such thing as unskippable ads that run for thirty seconds.

That’s a scary proposition for YouTubers who rely on advertising revenue to support their channels, but it’s a long-awaited change for fans of online video. In fact, viewers are already asking why the significant delay in implementing this change, which most likely has to do with contractual agreements that are already in place with advertisers. After all, creating video content isn’t free, but neither is creating a full-length internet ad.

Some news outlets have speculated that this move is in direct correlation to competition from sites like Facebook, who are launching and testing video-based capabilities in their platforms. Others have questioned how this ties in to YouTube Red, the subscription-based ad-free channel. One thing this might do is cause advertisers to make sure their full-length ads are engaging and actually tailored in some way to the video the viewer is trying to watch. YouTube is only stripping away the capability to force the viewer to sit through the commercial, not removing the ability to offer it. Given the revenue associated with humorous or thought-provoking ads for the Super Bowl, for example, there’s no reason this has to harm advertisers or YouTubers who put forth the effort to actually connect with the viewer rather than hold their attention span hostage for thirty seconds.