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Imagine this. You are enjoying a drive and your phone is connected to the stereo. You have played songs on YouTube. Just as your favourite part is about to drop, an ad pops up. The worst form of buzzkill that could possibly exist.

You’re not alone in the gang though. Tesla chief Elon Musk went on to call these ads a scam, recently.

If one goes to Google’s ‘Ads Help’ page, he/she will find the benefits that Google lists when it comes to ads on YouTube. The very first point mentions how it helps in connecting with the audience.

Musk’s tweet saw replies which asked him to buy YouTube and remove the ads. Is this the audience connection that Google/YouTube is claiming? Maybe, maybe not.

What we can be sure about though is that the audience doesn’t seem happy. There ofcourse is the option of getting a YouTube Premium subscription. But is the goal to make money actually taking away from the user experience?

Let’s go back a couple of years. To the time when there was cable TV and YouTube was relatively a new concept. Sitting through shows on television and getting bombarded with ads in the midst of an interesting turn was a big turnoff. Moving to a ‘no ads’ YouTube version then, seemed so satisfactory.

Currently, it is very clear, what stayed and what disappeared amongst the two. It feels as though the very same plight might not be far for a platform like YouTube, if it continues the same mode of operation.

It becomes even more important for the video streaming platform to take note of how its users are reacting, considering the scale at which it operates. Video marketing dominates the content marketing industry today and YouTube holds a significant place, being the second largest search engine.

If we were to cite numbers, as of April 2022, India had the largest YouTube audience by far, with approximately 467 million users engaging with the platform. The United States followed, with around 247 million YouTube viewers.

With such a huge user base and in this era of social media, where influencers are basically ruling the platforms. someone as influential as Musk with close to 100 million followers tweeting about the platform’s incompetency (as he perceives), needs to be taken seriously. More so, when users actually went ahead and agreed with him.

Nevertheless, one cannot really be sure whether the ads are a scam or not, nor can one predict the future of the platform. The only hope remains that in a bid to chase revenue, YouTube doesn’t lose its original self, like it was back in the days.

Sohini Ganguly

We would love to hear your feedback. Do reach us on contactus@etbrandequity.com or sohini.ganguly@timesinternet.in or prasad.s@timesinternet.in. Happy reading!

Elon Musk calls YouTube a ‘nonstop scam ad’ platform

Is YouTube losing its original self?
Tesla owner Elon Musk recently slammed video streaming platform ‘YouTube’ over unnecessary advertisements on their platform.

“YouTube seems to be nonstop scam ads” Elon Musk Tweeted on Tuesday. Musk targeted YouTube over the number of ads the platforms deliver to the viewers, calling it all a scam. Soon after the tweet was published it gathered a lot of attention from the audience. Read more.

Facebook falls flat in detecting hate speech in ads

Is YouTube losing its original self?
Facebook and its parent company Meta flopped once again in a test of how well they could detect obviously violent hate speech in advertisements submitted to the platform by the non-profit groups Global Witness and Foxglove.

The test couldn’t have been much easier – and Facebook still failed.

The hateful messages focused on Ethiopia, where internal documents obtained by whistleblower Frances Haugen showed that Facebook’s ineffective moderation is “literally fanning ethnic violence”, as she said in her 2021 congressional testimony. Read more.

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