YouTube is discontinuing one of its longest-running ad formats. On April 6, the platform will stop displaying the “overlay ads” that pop up on videos on desktop devices.
Overlays took the form of banners that stretched across the bottom of the YouTube player. They often appeared toward the end of eligible videos. The format was one of YouTube’s earliest ad types, but it has since been outclassed by more recent revenue streams. In a forum post, a YouTube rep described the current ad formats as “higher performing” options than overlays.
“Overlay ads are a legacy ad format that only served on desktop and are disruptive for viewers,” reads the post. “We expect to see limited impact for most Creators as engagement shifts to other ad formats.”
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After April 6, overlay ads will no longer show up as a monetization option in YouTube Studio. Other ad formats will not be affected by the change. YouTube has shifted resources to video ads that play before, during, and after long-form clips.
Overlays were already unavailable on mobile devices, so viewers on the YouTube app may not notice a difference after April 6. Mobile-ready YouTube revenue streams come in different shapes and sizes, including YouTube Shorts ads that play between vertical videos and a product tagging feature that helps identify (and sell) specific products that appear within user-generated videos.
Overlay ads were indeed intrusive, and like many pop-up banners, they got in the way of the content they ran on. For those reasons, the bygone format won’t be missed by many, but its demise is a reminder of how far YouTube advertising has come. Once upon a time, overlays were one of the only options for brands attempting to market themselves on YouTube. Now, there are a plethora of options, and annoying banners are no longer a necessity.