YouTube is finally getting rid of a “legacy” feature that has most likely been annoying users for quite some time now.
According to the official YouTube forum post and reported on by Ars Technica, YouTube will finally be retiring the overlay ad starting on April 6, 2023. The overlay ads, or ‘legacy ad format’ as the post refers to the feature as, “will no longer appear on YouTube videos or as an available ad format when you turn on ads in YouTube Studio.”
The post details that the banner ads were only available on desktop mode and that they were “disruptive for viewers.” YouTube believes that this removal will have a limited impact on most Creators as “engagement shifts to other ad formats.” This makes sense since Creators only make money off overlay ads if the viewer clicks on them, and most likely a very small percentage actually did so.
Why this is a great thing
This is a great move from YouTube, not only because these ads are in fact disruptive since they blocked a portion of the screen but also because this marks the first time YouTube actually removed a type of ad.
It shows that the media giant is willing to pay attention to what viewers want and preemptively act on that. And this leaves it open for YouTube to reevaluate other ad types or even ad length and decide whether to pull back on those as well. For example, it could analyze what kinds of ads viewers tend to hit the Skip button on – which is an important metric since Creators don’t get paid for ads on their videos if the viewer skips it – and then do away with that ad type.
Regardless, aggressively anti-consumer features should always be retired. It would be nice if they weren’t introduced in the first place, but might be too much to ask of a corporation.