YouTube will stop supporting unskippable 30-second ads on the popular streaming video platform beginning sometime in 2018, according to an official statement from Google given to Campaign. The move is said to be a way to provide a better experience and format that works well for YouTube users, as well as the company's advertisers.
The advertising focus for YouTube will switch over to a 6-second unskippable "bumper ad" format in the coming year, which the company introduced in 2016 and is said to be a way to convince more impatient users to stick around when an ad pops up before a video.
It wasn't confirmed whether the removal of unskippable 30-second ads would hit both the web and mobile YouTube apps, but Google's wording appears to support the format's removal across all platforms.
"As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers," said a Google spokesman.
A few industry analysts speaking with Campaign agreed that YouTube's decision makes sense, particularly within the context of a growing rivalry with Facebook and its ramping up of video content. YouTube Red, the company's premium subscription service, lets users avoid ads altogether for $9.99/month, which places it alongside other video streaming platforms like Netflix ($9.99/month) and Hulu ($11.99/month for commercial-free videos).
While this move will not please advertisers, Callum McCahon, strategy director for Born Social, said it is the price YouTube is willing to pay to keep people watching.
"I’m reading this as a signal that YouTube is very worried about Facebook," he added. "We know that video is right at the very core of Facebook’s roadmap. Their video offering is becoming ever more attractive to brands by the day, and YouTube is panicking."
For Netflix, the company has remained adamant that it will never introduce advertisements into its streaming video content. A recent report ran the numbers and discovered that Netflix forgoes about $2.3 billion in potential advertising revenue each year by keeping to its no-commercial strategy.