Google is testing a new back-to-back ad format called “Pods” that will play out before a video begins after revealing that clips shown during the middle of content are often deemed disruptive by viewers.
The ad pods will be made up of two short, skippable ads. Google says that the format better aligns with the viewing habits of users, who don’t want longer videos to be broken up into segments by ads, and will support 40% fewer interruptions during a session. This is likely to drive up metrics such as time spent with content and total viewing time.
Google said in a recent report: “Our recent user experience research suggests that in addition to factors such as the length of ads, viewers are quite sensitive to the frequency of ad breaks, especially during longer viewing sessions.”
Video Ads Product Manager Khushbu Rathi added: “Through this research, we also learned that fewer interruptions are correlated with better user metrics, including less abandonment of content and higher rates of ad viewing.”
Google is now testing ad pods on desktop, with both mobile and TV screens soon to follow. While an official rollout has not been confirmed, the company is confident that it will be a success as it believes that the format is beneficial to advertisers and viewers.
Users will not be forced to watch any of the ads and will be able to skip through to content easily, but they will see a pop-up notification explaining that viewing the ads now will result in fewer interruptions later in the video.