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YouTube's Teen Viewers Complain of Too Many Ads

But it’s also the platform teens are most likely to use daily

September 7, 2017 | Advertising & Marketing | Demographics | Video

YouTube is accessed daily by more US teens than any other social platform, but these viewers also say it has too many ads.

More than four in 10 teen YouTube users ages 12 to 17 say there are too many ads on the platform, according to a January 2017 survey from Forrester Research. eMarketer projects that 23.2 million 12- to 17-year-olds will watch digital video monthly this year.

Social Media Platforms on Which There Are Too Many Ads According to US Teen Social Media Users, Jan 2017 (% of respondents)

Snapchat and Instagram were tied as the two platforms teens were least likely to feel had too many ads. Just over one in 10 teen users of each platform complained about excessive ads.

But a heavy ad load hasn’t deterred teens from using YouTube. The study also found that 77% of teens use it daily, compared with 55% who use Facebook, the second most popular social network among the demographic.

Teens appear willing to put up with ads on YouTube, along with other services like Facebook, which 26% of users said had too many ads.

Social Media Platforms US Teen Internet Users Access Daily, Jan 2017 (% of respondents)

The type of ad being served may have an effect on whether or not teen users notice how plentiful those ads might be.

“Teens might think there are too many ads on YouTube because YouTube ads are pre-roll or sometimes mid-roll video ads that users have to either watch, or click to skip after a few seconds,” said Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer.

“They may be more likely to skim right by ads that appear on Facebook or other social platforms, as the ads are native to the service,” she said.

An earlier study by IPG Media Lab and YuMe found that pre-roll ads—the kind commonly served on YouTube—were considered the least interruptive video format by US internet users overall.

The study found that less than one-fifth (17%) of viewers thought skippable pre-roll ads were interruptive after viewing 15-second ads on both smartphones and desktop/laptop computers.

Monica Melton

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