The questions surrounding YouTube Advertising has become a widely debated issue in the world of Digital Marketing. Is it worth it?

Before we begin, we’re strictly talking about Video Ads today.

The Argument Against YouTube Advertising

Users have pretty much come to a consensus that YouTube Ads are annoying. 

They interrupt the user experience (people trying to enjoy their YouTube videos), leaving users to come away with negative impressions of the brand(s) that made them wait however many seconds to watch their video.

Then you have to consider the user journey.

Not only are users annoyed about having their videos interrupted, now you’re expecting them to suddenly become interested in your pitch, stop what they were doing, visit your website, buy your product/download your app, etc.?

That better be one hell of an ad because people aren’t wired that way.

Understand How Users Consume Content

Technology has created customized experiences for online users.

  • They prioritize social media content based on our engagement habits
  • They recommend YouTube videos based on our viewing habits
  • They sometimes finish our Google searches before we finish typing them

When we’re set on doing something (in this case, watching YouTube videos), we’re not likely to be persuaded to do something else. At least not immediately.

Let’s think for a minute. Why do people watch YouTube videos?

A Google survey asked respondents to choose which platforms they turn to for a range of needs. Here’s what they said:

  • 65% was some form of DIY project
  • 57% was entertainment
  • 42% was to relax
  • 39% to de-stress

Are you seeing a trend? 

People are on YouTube to either:

  1. Learn something
  2. Relax or be entertained

Neither are instances when anyone wants to be bothered.

In 2019, average YouTube viewing sessions lasted 40 minutes, while average Facebook viewing sessions lasted just under 5 minutes.


People are much more likely to click around when they’re on social networks like Facebook or Instagram because they’re known for short-form content. People consume short-term content differently than long-term. They’ll have shorter attention spans and showcase more spontaneous behavior.

After all, you’re just clicking around, right?

Think of it this way.

Say you’re watching TV. Would you be more likely to entertain an ad when you’re:

(A) In the middle of watching a great movie or sporting event

(B) Channel surfing

Probably (B), right?

Nobody wants to be pulled away from something they’re into; plus we’re more susceptible to distractions when nothing has our attention.

In this instance, YouTube is like that movie or sporting event, while Facebook and Instagram better resemble channel surfing.

People aren’t going to respond well to YouTube Ads that call for immediate action (visit our website, download our app, etc.) because their attention is elsewhere and anything looking to get in the way of that will be seen as annoying.

But that doesn’t mean YouTube Ads don’t work, it means you’re using them wrong.

Analyze My YouTube Strategy

Using YouTube Ads Properly

You wouldn’t clean your bathroom with a toothbrush the same way you shouldn’t use YouTube Ads for aggressive advertising.

We should be using select tools when they’re most effective, not force them when we know there are better alternatives out there.

Not all ads are created equal and each is designed to fulfill a specific purpose depending on:

  1. Your brand’s relationship to your target audience
  2. The stage of the buyers funnel your audience is in

This is because great advertising speaks to a specific audience.

There are a few main ways that YouTube Ads can be useful

  1. Awareness
  2. Reminders
  3. Announcements


Awareness Ads serve as quick introductions. They quickly explain who your brand/product/cause is in a simple way that doesn’t require much thought or action. If your ad is done right, the message will stick just enough so they’ll remember your message for when they see your next ad.


Reminder Ads are part of much larger campaigns that serve to remind people of their overall message. Brands aggressively promoting themselves can run snippets of their viral ads on YouTube to reinforce their messaging


  • Excerpts from nationally recognized ads
  • Taglines from nationally recognized brands
  • Snippets from recognized political ads

These work great with tv advertising!


Announcement Ads can be effective for YouTube Ads because they’re strategically conveying a single thought. Best of all, the announcement(s) often doesn’t use a sense of urgency, so they’re not prompting viewers to stop what they’re doing and engage immediately.


  • Retail brands running in-store promotions “come on down for 30% off this weekend only”
  • Compressed trailers for upcoming movies “coming to theaters June 26th”

Wrapping Up

So… are YouTube Ads worth it?

It depends on your goals and the type of ads you’re looking to run. Hoping that people will magically shift interest from their intended video to the ad that’s interrupting their intended video isn’t a very good plan.

Instead, put yourself in their shoes and craft your message in a way that gets your point across quickly, rather than trying to compete with the video they’re choosing to watch.

Need assistance with your YouTube Ads Campaign? Contact the experts at Active Web Group for a free consultation. Can’t wait? Give us a call at 800-978-3417.