Most YouTube users who use the platform for free, usually see up to 2 pre-roll ads, with some additional ad breaks while watching long videos. But Google is greedy.
One at a pre-roll is fine, two is tolerable. But three pre-roll ads, or even four? According to posts on Twitter and Reddit, some users have been seeing 5 unskippable pre-roll ads in a row before a video even starts playing. And in long videos, some were seeing up to 10 ads.
"This may happen with a certain type of ad format called bumper ads, since they’re only up to 6 seconds long," said the team at Google who confirmed this.
Generally, unskippable ads are only a few seconds long. But even though they are pretty short, this isn’t exactly translate to a great user experience.
This is because having to wait through 5, 7 8, 9, or even 10 of these ads increases the ad viewing time up to 500%.
In seconds, the viewing time can go up from the already-annoying 12 seconds, to 30, 42 or even 60 seconds, before the selected video starts to play.
So of course, this created backlash, and heavy criticism.
hmm...this may happen with a certain type of ad format called bumper ads, since they're only up to 6 seconds long. if you'd like, you can send feedback directly from YouTube via the send feedback tool
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) September 7, 2022
YouTube is arguably the most popular long-form video streaming platform the web has ever seen.
It's a place where communities and individual creators are making up the majority of the content.
The thing is, YouTube is still growing.
With its business model, which it is sharing its income with creators, YouTube definitely has to pay lots of money to those who made YouTube a popular online destination.
As a matter of fact, paying content creators is one of YouTube's largest spending, besides upkeeping its servers.
So here, YouTube that sees hundreds of hours of videos uploaded to its servers every single minute, knows that by inserting a few seconds of ads between those videos, the company can earn lots of money.
Google clearly knows that YouTube is already the largest long-form video platform, with no competitors coming close to it.
From a business perspective, Google knows that it's already a monopoly.
With so many creators earning lots of views, popularity (and money) from the platform, Google knows that the majority of creators (and users) won't just leave the site for another, as content may not be available on alternatives.
Unless creators move to another platform in masses, YouTube is more or less free to do as it pleases.
And Google is taking advantage of that.
It's worth noting that the news came soon after YouTube introduced tools to help content creators optimize ads for Shorts.
The Google-owned company has realized that more people are visiting YouTube to see content and find longer videos through its Shorts.
Thankfully, the 5-10 pre-roll ads were only a test, and with Google receiving too many complaints, it may as well rethink its plan and reconsider.
It's worth noting that it's only those free users on YouTube that see ads, which earn YouTube money.
Those who wish to not see any ads, can purchase a Premium membership, or use some sort of ad blocker.