A simple way YouTube could help Shorts creators

Conflict of Interest: I run multiple YouTube channels and at least one TikTok channel.

Let’s set the scene as-is: When the user scrolls to the next short, there’s occasionally an ad. This already seems to be the norm for other apps, and if they don’t already, YouTube was likely going to do this anyway.

Here’s the improvement idea: allow users to skip an ad, but not all ads. Track which ad they swipe past, and use that to gauge what ads (and Shorts) they will and won’t want to see.

We know from Instagram and TikTok sponsored posts, that some people will watch some shortform videos that are technically selling them something.

If regular ads (which already look like normal videos/posts on YouTube proper 1) are made skippable, that’s an important source of audience feedback. This allows more precise ad-targeting (which gives Shorts creators more money for the massive views they bring in). Plus, by making it so the user has to see at least one ad before

There are ways YouTube could screw this up, so it needs to be carefully tested and tweaked before roll-out. I can’t stress this enough: eventually the user needs to see either a very-short or very-interesting shortform ad, otherwise they’ll be trapped swiping past unhelpful Short ads, and then they’ll just leave to go back to TikTok. It would be nigh-impossible for YouTube Shorts to recover from a reputation as “that place with infinite ads”, as it would be similar to many old-web sites that drove away users with excessive banner ads and paywalls.

Consider the promising core, but tread carefully. If the CPM of YouTube Shorts went up, in a sustainable way, it would help YouTube compete with TikTok.

  1. and reddit and other apps… ↩︎

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