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YouTube tries bundling ads together for a better viewing experience

YouTube is aiming to create a more enjoyable viewing experience by bundling ads together to reduce the number of interruptions viewers have to deal with while watching a video.

So while it could mean increasing the number of videos it shows before and during a video, doubling them up at least means fewer interruptions. For example, instead of four ads presented as one preroll and three breaks during the main video, the new system results in two preroll ads and only one break (comprising two ads playing back to back).

YouTube is calling the new preroll package an “ad pod,” and viewers can skip directly to the main content “if it’s not the right ad for them.”

Khushbu Rathi, YouTube’s product manager for video ads, said in a recent blog post that the company’s own research suggests viewers are “quite sensitive to the frequency of ad breaks, especially during longer viewing sessions.”

If you’re one of the streaming site’s 1.8 billion monthly active users, then “quite sensitive” probably manifests itself as audible tuts or perhaps quiet swearing under your breath as an ad rudely interrupts whatever video it is that you’ve been enjoying.

But Rathi said the new method of bundling ads together means that viewers will experience up to 40 percent fewer interruptions by ads during the main video.

Advertisers benefit too, as early testing of the new system is resulting in less abandonment of content and higher rates of ad viewing.

Ad pods are being tested now on desktop followed by mobile and TV screens sometime in 2019. The overall aim, as spelled out by Rathi, is to “accommodate viewer preferences while continuing to help advertisers connect with their most important audiences.” In other words, it hopes it’s a win for all involved, including YouTube itself, whose huge running costs have left many debating whether the company is yet to turn a profit.

Of course, another way to clear YouTube of ads is to sign up to YouTube Premium for $12 a month. Besides an ad-free experience, YouTube Premium also offers access to its music streaming service and its full library of YouTube Originals, among other benefits. You can learn more about the service in our YouTube Premium primer.

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Trevor Mogg
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