Those spam-like YouTube ads that pop up mid-video will soon be gone

YouTube is removing a type of advertising that users say feels like spam. The in-video notifications with links to other videos, live-streams or playlists will be discontinued on December 14, Engadget reports. The change in those ads comes as YouTube also shared expanded policies for removing extremist content.

The video platform says that only about one in every 20 viewers actually clicked on those links. When linked to live-streams, some of those links took viewers to streams that were no longer live and not available for playback.

Because of the low click rate and user feedback that the in-video notifications feel like spam, YouTube will be removing them from the advertising options, so after mid-December, viewers won’t see those mid-video pop-ups. YouTube suggests advertisers using the format should switch to cards or video links that pop up at the end of those videos, which the company says is more effective. That is only a solution for YouTube links and the platform suggests listing outside links in the description, as well as on a channel page or inside artwork uploaded to the site.

While the change is likely a welcome one from viewers, some YouTube channels were mixing what they recorded with those pop-ups. Once the format is no longer available, that means some older videos may have recordings that point to a link that will no longer show up.

The removal of the video pop-up ads comes as YouTube is removing more extremist content from its platform than before. During an ongoing discussion and changes to policy, YouTube is removing a broader range of extremist videos. While videos containing hate or encouraging violence were already removed under a previous policy, the platform is now removing more content from known terrorists, regardless of the content.

According to Tech Crunch, the change came after research suggested that Anwar al-Awlaki, a jihadist clerk, was still a major recruiter despite being killed six years ago because of a vast library of videos. The platform has since removed around 50,000 of al-Awlaki videos, though YouTube says there are still (and will probably always be) videos that turn up in a search for al-Awlaki.

The change comes after a series of updates, including penalizing videos that don’t quite warrant a removal and creating a stronger review process for YouTube Kids.


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