As Spotify Tests Unlimited Ad-Skipping, YouTube Pushes ‘Non-Skippable’ Ads

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To skip, or not to skip?  That’s a question with very different answers from Spotify and YouTube.

Hot on the heels of Spotify’s unlimited skippable ads test in Australia, YouTube is about to revoke the ability to skip ads on its platform.

YouTube broke the news to creators about its ‘non-skippable’ ads by uploading a video entitled, “Want to earn more money from ad revenue?” to its Creator Insider channel yesterday.

Soon, any channel that has the ability to monetize videos will be given the option to enable non-skippable ads.  YouTube says that advertisers pay more for non-skippable ads, so creators who want to make more from their content should consider enabling the new feature on their channels after it rolls out.

That’s quite an interesting perspective, given Spotify’s most recent decision to test unlimited skippable ads in Australia.

Starting in July, Spotify has given Australians the ability to skip as many ads as they want on the platform, with promises to refund advertisers for any skipped ads.  Spotify is monitoring the results of this test, and the experiment is still ongoing.

For Spotify, there’s a defensible hypothesis driving their experiment.  Spotify believes that it can micro-target ads down to the listener, in much the same way it has allowed the music industry to target specific genres and sub-genres of music fans.  This micro-targeting could eventually create personalized experiences for products that people are interested in hearing about, based on their previous ad-skipping preferences.

Spotify’s Australian experiment is an interesting one, but it fails to account for the fact that free music listeners are often the least engaged in their platforms.  These users skip ads just to avoid hearing them, and are less likely to engage with any advertising that does appeal to them.

Another caveat is that it’s harder to skip an unfavorable ad when multi-tasking.  So there’s no guarantee that an ad that wasn’t skipped was for a product or service truly interested the listener.