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What’s With All Of These YouTube Ads?

You know what I miss? The good ‘ole days when you could pay a couple bucks for an app, and then you got the whole app, not just 15% of the features and the rest you have to pay for. I remember when you could see everything that your friends posted on Facebook, not just what Facebook thought I wanted to see. Most importantly, I remember a time when YouTube was a place for silly videos, not a mega-marketing tool that shoves 19 million ads into a 3 minute video. What happened to the good ole’ days? I’ll tell you… online traffic happened.

As you would expect, in terms of marketing, the only thing that TRULY matters is eyes on the product. Billboards are more expensive in busy areas, commercials are more expensive during the Superbowl, and obviously rent is more expensive for stores on bigger intersections. Putting your product in front of the most consumers possible is the name of the game in advertising, and especially in this new age of digital marketing, and YouTube is a prime place for exactly that.

With the gazillion people that watch YouTube every single day for hours on end, it was a waste to not show them products that relate to the video they are watching. While YouTube as a video platform has existed for many years, the advent of YouTube ads is a bit more recent. First, we were only confronted with a single ad here and there, but this didn’t last long and it quickly transformed into what we have today. Once YouTube became a place for advertisers to meet their consumers, YouTube had an easy stream of revenue they could capitalize on by selling the ad time or offering users a subscription system where you could get rid of the ads. Isn’t that crazy? You pay money to get rid of something you didn’t ask for in the first place! Yet here we are…

A Brief Timeline History of YouTube Ads

In 2016, we were first introduced to the six-seconds bumper ads because the amount of users, both desktop and mobile, reached a place where YouTube had to take advantage. Soon after, November 2018, ad-pods were first introduced by YouTube. These were two ads stacked back to back. The reason why these ads were introduced was actually fairly sneaky. Most people don’t like to be interrupted while watching a long length video, so YouTube just put the ads up front so you could get them out of the way and watch the video in peace. 

Early experiment results also show an 8-11% increase in unique reach of these ads and a 5-10% percent increase in frequency for advertisers, however, with no direct impact to brand lift metrics. YouTube didn’t stop there however, what they noticed was that there was a difference in the users who primarily listened to music and the other folks who were watching video content, so they started targeting those people differently. Youtube users who play large amounts of music will be served more ads, so that people will be more likely to update the YouTube premium paid plan in order to avoid these ads. Creating this distinction between video watchers and music listeners was an important step in the subscription plans that YouTube rolled out to make sure they capitalized on this information effectively.

YouTube Premium was launched in 2014 under the name Music Key. Music Key was a collaboration between YouTube and Google Play Music supposed to offer: ad-free music for videos hosted on YouTube, listen to music in the background of mobile, download videos to have the possibility to play offline. All the features you wanted anyway, but for a price. But that’s not all...

In May 2018 YouTube released YouTube Premium and YouTube Music. The differences between the 2 services are the following:

So what does this mean for you? 

Well, there’s not much you can do about any of it unless you’re willing to bring your credit card into the game. I think when considering all of this it is important to remember that you are still getting entertaining content for free… ads or not… YouTube is a place where you can spend hours learning, laughing, singing along, and everything in between. The idea to capitalize on this platform is a very logical step not only for YouTube but any other business. When you have a good idea and everyone agrees, you might as well make money on it… so before you get too upset about all of the new ads on Youtube, just take a moment to remember what you are getting for just seconds of your time, and if your time is valuable to you, then you have an option to buy it back.

Now go watch something!


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