Ilyse Liffreing
Feb 23, 2017

Agencies grateful for YouTube's decision to cut 30-second unskippable ads

Ad executives say users won't miss them and they welcome the challenge of shorter ad formats.

Agencies grateful for YouTube's decision to cut 30-second unskippable ads

Google is getting rid of 30-second unskippable ads on YouTube, and it doesn’t look like too many people are going to miss them.

Last Friday, YouTube announced it will stop supporting the ad format in 2018, and will instead focus on more appealing ads for users and advertisers.   

Consumers will likely appreciate the change. A July HubSpot study found that 57 percent of respondents disliked pre-roll ads. And advertising executives won’t mourn the loss either, claiming they welcome the challenge of telling brand stories in the remaining? pre-roll  formats. Many anticipate the creative use of 20-second and six-second spots, which remain unskippable, to surge.   

Greg Lieber, head of global partnerships, VaynerMedia

It's becoming clear that the video advertising model across all platforms is in flux. All the platforms, including YouTube and Facebook, are still trying to crack the formula. You’ll continue to see the platforms tinker with their approaches and develop new ad products around the ways video consumption evolves over time.

This is definitely a win for marketers, but the onus is still on brands to create compelling video content and be strategic about how they buy and place media. From a brand perspective, this means there will be more opportunities to tell stories in unique formats. We're excited about YouTube's new 6-second bumper ads for this reason.

Steffany Carey, group creative director, Tribal Worldwide, North America

As marketers, we have to be smarter, quicker, and simpler with ideas. The 5-second rule is your success metric. If you get someone to stick around longer than 5 seconds, you can consider it a success. Get them to remember your brand within those 5 seconds, and you can consider it a win. But since YouTube doesn’t plan on dropping the unit until 2018, those who are anxiety-ridden over the change have some leadtime to work on providing more creative solutions.

Julian Cole, head of communications planning, BBDO New York

This is a great thing, as it will get marketers to think more about the context of where their messages show up. It’s kind of like sending red roses to a funeral—the message of sending flowers is right, but if you do not take the context into account, it can be wrong. It has been too easy for marketers to just take their 30-second TV spots and put them online. 

It will not be much of an issue for our clients who have already started to optimize for the digital environment. However, I do see a potential issue for clients who have limited production budgets that don’t allow them to make multiple edits from one piece of content. 

Jeremy Leon, VP of strategy, Laundry Service

YouTube’s decision to cut 30-second, unskippable ads is a positive move that prioritizes the user experience, which should always be the number one consideration for marketers. This is something that many other platforms have done and something that drives huge success and growth for them. Putting user-experience first when it comes to ads will also result in user sentiment that's more positive while viewing, which means the ads will have a greater impact.

This is not a huge blow to advertisers either. Laundry Service’s proprietary data on video performance tells us the most important KPIs can be achieved relatively quickly, especially with authentic, culturally-relevant creative. We see an approximate 10-second average view duration as being optimal for driving brand lift and intent.

Liz Stahl, ‎senior director of social media, Deep Focus

This was an incredibly intelligent move for YouTube. The regurgitation of 30-second TV spots onto digital platforms hasn't worked for quite some time and this is their way of acknowledging that, while also staying competitive against the very future-forward Facebook. Now it is our jobs as marketers to evolve creatively and take advantage of these changes quickly.

Paul M. Rand, president and CEO, Zocalo, a division of Critical Mass

Users will be thrilled, and advertisers will adjust. Users will still have to slog through a new deodorant commercial before getting to the latest from Jenna Marbles because the 20 and six-second spots will take front and center stage.

And YouTube will continue to experiment with formats that they hope will help fend off Facebook’s encroaching video presence. But, as we know, a lot can happen in this digital world in the nine months leading up to 2018. Stay tuned.

Campaign US

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