Know the feeling when you’re on YouTube watching the video of your choice when you’re rudely interrupted by a video ad? Of course, you do, we’re all familiar with that and it’s a huge pet peeve for many, including me. After all, what could be worse than having to sit through 5 long seconds of watching ads for some product or service I don’t care about when I could be watching my favorite clips from The Graham Norton Show?

Well, I’ll tell you what’s worse – watching a video ad that simply cannot be skipped. That’s right, we know how annoying video ads on YouTube and other platforms that you don’t have the option of skipping after a few seconds can be. Trust me on this; I’ve spent many frustrating minutes trying to figure out where the ‘Skip Ad’ button was when none was to be found.

Such ads find their way to your screen at three different points in time:

  •         Before your video starts playing – These are also known as pre-roll ads. Most of these ads are quite short, to begin with, and contain more catchphrases than full-fledged content. I’ve found that these are often the most interesting ads on YouTube and other platforms simply because they’re concise and entertaining.
  •         In the middle of your video – These ads play in the middle of long videos and are usually 1-3 minutes long. Creatively, these ads take more time and effort than those at the start of the video that can typically be skipped. You’ll find that these ads often contain stories rather than catchphrases and taglines.
  •         After your video is done playing – Also known as bumper ads, these video ads cannot be skipped either but don’t last for over a few seconds anyway. Besides, these ads are not complete, but rather shortened versions of longer ads.

Even though neither of these options is enjoyable to sit through, I don’t believe I’d be alone in claiming that videos that interrupt your viewing experience by playing in the middle of your video are the absolute worst. At least when a video plays before the start of the video you know you can ignore it while you wait for your video to play, even though you can’t skip it.

As for videos that play after your video ends, who sticks around to watch those anyway? Either way, it can’t be denied that YouTube now earns a huge amount of revenue from non-skippable video ads – which means these ads are likely here to stay. Besides, Google plays a big role in determining what kind of ads you see on YouTube so don’t be surprised if the video ads you see are somewhat based on your Google searches.

Also, if you’ve given these ads a chance and watched some of them, you’ll know that the ads themselves are not that bad. I’d go so far as to say that these ads are of better quality than the ads that I have the option of skipping. Not that it makes that much of a difference, honestly, since I’d pick the ads I have the option of skipping in a heartbeat.

So what’s the point of video ads that can’t be skipped? Well, for starters, these ads demand the attention of viewers that know they have to sit through them if they want to watch their preferred content. Therefore, viewers are more likely to pay attention to the content in these ads and absorb what these ads have to stay.

You can think of these ads as being no different from those you viewed on television as a kid. Think back to all the lively commercials you had to view before you could get back to watching your favorite movies and shows and you’ll be surprised at how many ads (and ad jingles in particular) you’re able to recall. Surely the fact that you remember those video ads all these years later indicates that they were quite effective in making you aware of the product or service they were promoting.

On the other hand, you could argue that video ads on YouTube are not the same as TV commercials simply because you have the option of skipping some of them. Besides, other video streaming platforms offer you the option of not having to view ads at all, which only makes intrusive video ads on YouTube all the more frustrating.

Bear in mind here that advertisers on YouTube do have the option to make their ads skippable, but not all of them choose to do this. Of course, this means that if you think you cannot capture a viewer’s imagination in less than 5 seconds, you’d likely opt for ads that cannot be skipped. However, I’d like to point out that I have watched some video ads on YouTube in their entirety over the years despite being able to skip them. This is not just the case for YouTube but for other platforms that run video ads as well.

I suppose it’s a testament to the skill of those that create ads if viewers can stay interested in them for more than a few seconds. Understandably, not all creators share the same skill set and not all companies can afford to hire such individuals to run their Digital Marketing Campaigns. Besides, these ads help support those that run the YouTube channels you love so think of it as a small price to pay for watching their content for free.