YouTube wants to show you less but longer ads

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 7, 2023

Google is changing how it serves advertisement to YouTube viewers who watch the streaming service on TV. Many smart TVs come with YouTube's app installed by default or an option to install it. While experienced users may prefer third-party apps, e.g. SmartTubeNext, which promise an ad-free experience, most are using the official YouTube apps (provided that the YouTube app is working).

One of the main points of criticism leveled against Google and YouTube is that advertisement interrupts the experience. Ads on YouTube may play at the beginning, but also in mid-content. Some videos are interrupted multiple times to show ads to the viewer, even if the overall video playtime is not that long.

Google plans to improve this by changing the way advertisement is shown to TV users. Instead of just showing users shorter but more frequent ads, Google plans to show fewer ads that play longer. Google promises that this will lead to fewer interruptions for viewers. To emphasize this change, Google is citing a survey in which 79% of viewers stated that they prefer "video ads that are grouped together instead of distributed throughout a video".

Fewer, but longer ad breaks, is one of the options that Google is evaluating currently to improve the viewing experience on televisions. Other options were not mentioned in the announcement on Google's Ads & Commerce blog. While users will likely see a change in the coming months, shorter ads won't vanish from the service altogether it appears.

youtube tv new ad timer

The way advertisement is presented on the screen may also change. The traditional white text in gray box in the top left corner, which displays the number of ads and the playtime of the current ad, is replaced by a yellow timer in the lower right corner of the screen. The timer won't display the number of ads anymore that will be shown to the user during the break, but it will show the total playtime of all the ads.

YouTube starts to test this new ad-break design "soon" to find out how well it does. It may then switch to the new design permanently at one point.

Google has been testing unskippable ads on YouTube TV and anti-ad-blocking options on YouTube recently.

Closing Words

There are lots of ads on YouTube. Users with content blockers may not notice this, but those who use the official YouTube apps on TV or the YouTube website in a browser without content blocker, may notice lots of interruptions while watching content on the site.

The only official option to get rid of ads is to subscribe to YouTube Premium, a paid subscription service.

Now You: do you watch content on YouTube?

YouTube wants to show you less but longer ads
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YouTube wants to show you less but longer ads
Google is changing how it serves advertisement to YouTube viewers who watch the streaming service on TV.
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