Google revealed its quarterly earnings last night, and one detail in particular suggests the company might be a little out of touch with what its customers want. And it revolves around, surprise surprise, ads.
The biggest share of Google’s revenue comes from ad sales across its services – including YouTube – so it was no surprise to hear Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai dedicate a portion of the firm’s latest earnings call to the site.
However, when it came to the subject, Pichai made it painfully clear that Google isn’t quite as in tune with YouTube’s users as it might think it is.
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“Speaking of shopping, people can now easily buy products in YouTube’s home feed and in search results making it possible for advertisers to reach even more audiences.” said Pichai during the ‘prepared remarks’ segment of the call.
“Try searching for Puma shoes review on YouTube to see an example. With all the related content YouTube, like unboxing and beauty videos, this is a format people love and it delivers a simple in-video buying experience”.
Love might be a strong word here, Sundar.
Not only has Google introduced new forms of advertising in YouTube over the past year, but it seems to have upped the length of the commercials it crams into videos. Most importantly, it doesn’t seem customers are particularly happy with the progression.
“Is it just me, or are videos being spammed with ads today on youtube. I watched a few videos and I’m averaging about 7-8 ads per 10 minutes”, wrote u/SAP_WINDOWS_SQL on Reddit.
“I cannot even watch YouTube videos because Ads are playing back to back”, noted user Chasity Monroe on Google’s support site in a post with 735 upvotes. “I understand some Ads, but the Ads on YouTube have increased significantly in the past 2 to 3 months. The Ads are very annoying…too many Ads”.
The call was actually Google’s first time reporting YouTube ad revenue since it acquired the platform in 2006.
“YouTube reached $15 billion in ads revenues in 2019 growing at 36% compared with 2018,” said Pichai.
We can only assume that customers are actually clicking on the ads if Google is making this kind of cash, but whether or not those users “love” the intrusive search result banners and lengthy ads in videos is another question.