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In a bid to enhance the user experience, Google has announced that it will be removing 30 second unskippable adverts from YouTube at the end of 2017.
While this decision might sound like bad news for advertisers - forcing them to win over consumers within a shorter time frame - it could in fact be a positive.
Here are a few reasons why.
Taking context into consideration
YouTube’s 30 second ads have become a go-to option for brands, with many simply transferring their television ads online.
However, this means that many fail to take into consideration the differences between the mediums of TV and online video, as well as what users have come to expect from both.
While an unskippable ad can be frustrating at the best of times, this is bound to become heightened when the user is watching on-the-go or on a small screen.
With more than half of YouTube’s views reportedly coming from mobile, a 30 second ad could naturally result in people abandoning their activity, and even lead to negative perceptions about the brand who created it.
By scrapping the format, the move will force marketers to consider the digital context, in turn leading to more creative and original content.
Greater impact on consumers
As a result of this focus on quality, ads are much more likely to have a positive impact on consumers.
Though YouTube will continue to promote its new six-second format and 20 second ads (both unskippable), it’s likely to be more beneficial for brands to create ads with the skip button still in mind.
Google suggests that brands who already do this see better results, with tone being one of the most effective tools for grabbing the viewers’ attention.
Specifically, Google’s study found that humour generates greater ad recall, brand awareness, and time spent watching. If the comedy factor is inappropriate, suspense or emotion is said to be similarly effective.
It’s also useful to note that while the 20 second ad is likely to remain popular in the wake of a longer alternative, skippable ads also enable brands to measure success much more easily (the percentage of viewers who choose not to skip after 5 seconds).
Increasing competition from Facebook
It’s not just YouTube that has made recent changes to video ads. It comes on the back of Facebook’s announcement that it is to allow publishers to insert an ad 20 seconds into a video clip.
While Facebook’s update presents its own challenges for marketers – namely how to create ads that don’t entirely disrupt the user experience – it also means increasing competition for YouTube.
This means that instead of merely adapting to the changes, brands need to take advantage of them, particularly when it comes to the six second ad format.
With Google suggesting that 80% of YouTube ads are far more effective than TV ads for driving sales – it’s a medium that's clearly worth investing in.
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