How about that time you played a video on Youtube and you saw an ad instead? You thought of automatically skipping it after 5 seconds of waiting, right? Much to your “luck”, 10 seconds passed and it was still running. If you are still wondering, you did not encounter a spam. It’s just Youtube rolling out ads more aggressive than before. Advertising revenue is the main source of cash flow for this site, and it’s easy to see why. Youtube is the second-most visited website, boasting a billion visits and has 4 billion hours worth of videos watched every month. The statistics invites manufacturers to present their products in this large pool of audience. Youtube has also forged partnerships with Vevo and other industry moguls, to present their videos on the site.
How effective are Youtube Ads?
Google claims the success of Youtube advertisements surpassed the ones we see on television. Although that is still contested, we cannot deny that more people are switching to smartphones to watch shows. The online juggernaut also stated that these ads provide better brand recall, even if users just hear them. Youtube also boasts high ad viewership, at 91% for PC users. The figures get higher for smartphone users, with 94%. Average viewership across the internet stands way below, at 54% and 83%, for PC and smartphones users, respectively. Well, that’s what Google says in its study, anyway.
However, it should also be noted that click-through rates are just 0.01%. Four out of five users (80%) don’t buy a product just because they saw it on Facebook. Lastly, viewers are fed up with advertising that doesn’t pique their interest, according to Forbes. Youtube video ads are kind of unique, though. These mostly appear before a video plays and you cannot fully escape them. You can skip the whole video only after seeing the first five seconds. Some are even from Youtube’s key partners, so you have to sit all the way through these. Ads also appear in the middle of the video, although you can close them without affecting your viewing experience.
Blocking Ads – Is it Good or Bad?
Honestly, Youtube advertisements pop at the most unexpected times, with no discerning pattern. You cannot even skip sponsored ads, which may ran up to 30 seconds. If you really want to block Youtube ads, you could use either of these methods.
First, you can do this with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. In your browser’s settings, look for Extensions (or Add-On for Firefox users). Then you add Adblock Extension to watch ad-free Youtube videos.
The second method applies per video you watch. You have to open the development console of the browser you use to watch Youtube videos. You do this by pressing these keys:
- Chrome: Ctrl-Shift-J in Windows or Command-Option-J on Mac
- Firefox: Ctrl-Shift-K in Windows or Command-Option-K on Mac
- Internet Explorer: Press F12 and click Console
A sub-window will appear in right side of the screen. Make sure you selected Console, then copy and paste this code.
document.cookie=”VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=oKckVSqvaGw; path=/; domain=.youtube.com”;window.location.reload();
Press enter after you have pasted the code. The page will refresh and you can watch the specific video without ads. It should be noted that the second option is more bothersome than waiting for the ad to end.
On the other hand, blocking ads may induce more harm than good, in the long run. Youtube has a business model and it will seek other ways to earn income from user views, if everyone starts to use Adblockers. It may resort to subscription based viewership, where everyone has to pay monthly fees just to watch videos. Youtube started this last February 2016, to align itself with similar sites. A substantial number of channels remains free to access, yet we fear that, if we shun its main source of income, the site might close its free version.
Google and Youtube thrive on advertising revenue, after all. Server costs amount to $5 million – $6 million monthly, exclusive of personnel expenses. Creators also earn a portion from these advertisements. We are enjoying their services for free, partly due to these sometimes annoying ads. However, it is also understandable that a user becomes dissatisfied with Youtube’s current strategy. Forcing you to watch (or listen) to a video you never cared about isn’t a pleasant experience, after all.
Let’s put this premise into another perspective. These ads will not disappear, as long as Youtube is free. You will encounter these whenever you watch videos. Hence, why not devise ways to escape irritating ones, instead? You may hit refresh and you will be given another ad. You may see it again and again, so search for “i” in the lower left side of the video. Then select the option stating to skip the ad. That does not appear in every video you watch, though. You may also click on Ad Settings, to stop Google from giving you ads that are of no interest to you, but based on your search history. You will still see commercials based on your locations. Nonetheless, it will be less weird to see the site trying to feed your preferences.
The Future of Youtube Ads
Youtube may have to rethink their advertising strategy, if the vast majority of users are not happy with their current method. And they seem to be on the way of changing their plans, much to our irk. They recently introduced bumper ads, which run for six second and cannot be skipped. Youtube already has sponsored videos in which skipping is also not possible. Bumper ads are created to cater smartphone users. Youtube discovered that most of us skip advertisements the moment the site allows us to. In order for us to watch the whole spectacle, they compressed an ad in six seconds. If viewed positively, users might be more welcoming to a six-second advertisement, than to waiting impatiently for the five-second mark, just to press skip. Note that bumper ads are not meant to replace existing other Youtube ads. These are recent additions to their business model.
Do you want to avoid commercials while using the site? Youtube is eyeing subscription services, so you’ll be able to do just that. A test version of Music Key has been released by Youtube, so you can stream music without ads, for a monthly fee of $9.99.
The site is also facing tough competition from other streaming sites, like Netflix. The latter has become more innovative in terms of gaining subscribers. It is reported that Netflix will begin to air original contents and is about to seal movie partnerships with Hollywood stars. Traditional stations like HBO and CBS plan to follow suit, targeting Youtube users. Perhaps both traditional media outlets and Youtube are chasing each other in the end, and it’s up to us to keep our favorite running.
What is your opinion about Youtube Ads? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!