YouTube is testing longer but fewer ads on its connected TV app.

The platform is hoping to improve the user experience and boost engagement for non-premium subscribers by running extended ads in the middle of videos as opposed to short ads throughout.

YouTube is yet to confirm the duration of these new ads and the length of the extended ad breaks.

Why we care. Extending ad duration provides brands with a greater chance to connect with their intended audience, while minimizing disruptions enhances the viewer experience, potentially making them more receptive to ads. However, displaying fewer ads may reduce reach and potentially affect conversions.

Ad timer. YouTube is testing a new ad countdown clock that will indicate the remaining seconds before users can either skip an ad or when it finishes. Currently, the platform shows a “video will play after ads” message, but this is set to be replaced by the countdown timer which will appear in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

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What has YouTube said? Nicky Rettke, the head of YouTube’s ad products team, told the Verge:

  • “There are a lot of factors that go into deciding when to show an ad break… so it’s a bit dynamic.”
  • “The overall change is that we’re going to continue to have those dynamic times between ad breaks, but the average interruptions are going to go down.”
  • “We’re continuously experimenting and innovating what changes…and we’ll do user research to see if these changes are positive for our viewers, advertisers, and creators. If they are, then we’ll proceed with updating the experience and launching it for everybody.”

Deep dive. Read YouTube’s ad policy for more information.

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About the author

Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.

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