Nothing is more irritating to me than when I’m listening to eight hours of medieval tavern ambience on YouTube and it’s interrupted by an ad. If you’re like me, the “Skip Ads” button is your best friend whether you’re going down a video rabbit hole or giving your workday a niche soundtrack. Unless you subscribe to YouTube’s premium tiers, ads aren’t going anywhere. But YouTube is considering a trade-off: Fewer ad breaks, but longer ads.
YouTube said 79% of its viewers reported that they preferred video ads that are grouped together instead of distributed through the video.
“Based on this preference, we are evaluating new options that minimize average interruptions for viewers, such as fewer, longer ad breaks, to create a more seamless viewing experience on the big screen,” YouTube said in a blog post.
In addition, the platform will work on incorporating a more visible countdown icon to show how long the ad will be, as well as when they can skip it. YouTube said it will begin testing the updated ad experience soon.
Recent tests and changes around the platform’s ads could point to a larger effort to boost premium tier memberships. In addition, the platform’s ad revenue has been down all year, resulting in a crackdown on ad-blockers.
Last month, YouTube said it would begin testing a smaller “Skip Ads” button as part of the redesign plans it announced last October. A less visible button could buy ads a few more precious seconds of viewership, and with it, money, but it could also upset users. In May, YouTube said it would start showing 30-second ads that viewers wouldn’t be able to skip.
If you want to try the ad-free experience, YouTube Music’s premium subscription costs $11 a month. The upgrade also lets you download music to listen to offline as well as the ability to listen to songs with your screen turned off. YouTube TV offers live TV from over 100 channels and, at the time of publication, costs $65 a month for your first three months. After, you’ll pay $73 a month for the base plan.