How new user patterns are driving ad experiences on YouTube
PEOPLE have been watching video for a long time now, but their viewing habits have changed time and again. As a result, video platforms like YouTube and Facebook have changed how they serve ads to customers.
Previously, customers only saw ads at the start of their video. Today, it could be placed at the end, strategically at a key point during the video, or anywhere else the advertisers want.
Further, ads have gotten shorter as people’s attention span has reduced. Google’s YouTube launched six-second ads about two years ago in response to this — and now, have revealed three new trends in user patterns that are driving ad experiences on their platform:
# 1 | Longer viewing sessions
Recent user experience research at Google suggests that in addition to factors such as the length of ads, viewers are quite sensitive to the frequency of ad breaks, especially during longer viewing sessions.
Through the research, the company also learned that fewer interruptions is correlated with better user metrics, including less abandonment of content and higher rates of ad viewing.
As a result, it has been decided that YouTube will begin testing ad pods – two ads stacked back to back, where viewers have the option to skip directly to the content if it’s not the right ad for them.
# 2 | More self-directed discovery
Google says that the way users prefer to find videos to watch is changing all over again.
Remember back when the only YouTube videos you’d watch came in the form of a shared URL from a friend?
Over the years, video viewing on YouTube has become more self-directed, as more viewers than ever before hop into their home or trending feeds and scroll to find a recommended video.
In fact, over the last three years, watch time from content users discover on the YouTube homepage has grown by 10 times.
As a result, the company brought TrueView video discovery ads to the YouTube home feed, along with the Masthead and Universal App campaign ads.
According to Google, the YouTube home feed “continues to be a great place for users to discover their next favorite creator, and now it can be a great place for them to discover your brand”.
# 3 | Watching on TV screens
Internal data from Google suggests that users are spending a lot of time watching content on TV. On average, users watch over 180 million hours of YouTube on TV screens every day.
Last month, YouTube introduced the TV screen device type in Google Ads and Display & Video 360.
It allows advertisers to tailor their campaigns for connected TVs – for example, by using a different creative or setting a specific device bid adjustment – and see reporting for ads that run on TV screens.