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Digital News to Watch: YouTube trialling ads that play when you pause

In this week’s digital news to watch, YouTube is testing ads that appear when you aren’t watching videos, Google announce that their ad revenue overall is strong, with YouTube ad revenue growing at 21% year-on-year. Google have finally completed their March Core Update. We also discuss the upcoming Paris Olympics and how brands can leverage connected TV advertising to reach a large audience during the event. Finally, there are updates on consumer confidence, which is slowly improving, and Google’s documentation on how to diagnose website ranking drops.

YouTube trialling ads that play when you’re not watching videos

YouTube is testing ads that play when users are not watching videos, a Google executive revealed. The trials have shown positive results, indicating a potential broader rollout. During Alphabet’s earnings call, Philipp Schindler stated that the pause ads pilot on connected TVs has been successful in driving brand lift and commanding premium pricing from advertisers. However, there was no confirmation on when or if these ads would be expanded further. YouTube previously discussed pause ads for connected TVs, where ads appear when a video is paused. Despite offering a subscription service to remove ads, YouTube is cracking down on ad-blocking apps to support creators and maintain revenue.

Google March 2024 Core Update officially completed

Google finally announced the completion of their March 2024 Core Update, a week after actually finishing it. The update is confirmed to have completed on 19th April, taking 45 days in total to roll out, although wasn’t announced until 26th April. The delayed confirmation by Google highlights their communication issues with publishers and the need for more clarity during core updates.

If you have noticed a drop during this core update, you should refer to our existing advice on how to prepare and recover from Google’s Core Algorithm updates.

How brands can leverage connected TV during Paris Olympics 

The Olympics draw a vast global audience, making it a prime opportunity for brands to reach diverse demographics. With over 3 billion viewers for Tokyo 2020 and an estimated billion for Paris 2024, brands are keen to capitalise on this event. The shift from traditional linear TV advertising to connected TV (CTV) is becoming more pronounced, with CTV expected to account for a significant portion of TV ad spend in the coming years. This change is driven by shifting viewing habits and the popularity of streaming services, especially for live events like sports. CTV advertising offers benefits such as one-to-one communication, cookie-free targeting, easier measurement, and greater viewer engagement due to content choice. Brands need to prepare by organising their first-party data and establishing direct connections with CTV platforms to maximise the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns during the 2024 Olympics.

Google shares healthy search & YouTube ad demand

In their Q1 earnings call, Google announced a revenue increase of 15% year-over-year in Q1 to $80.54 billion. Google joined digital peers in reporting a robust quarter on the advertising front, further affirming that the industry is on the upswing.

Total advertising revenues hit $61.66 billion, up 13% YoY. Search and other, Google’s largest segment, grew 14% YoY to $46.16 billion while YouTube continued to gather momentum, climbing 21% YoY to $8.09 billion. Similar to rivals, Google spent much of the discussion trumpeting advances in generative AI, which is positioned to transform its biggest moneymaker.

CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is well into its “Gemini era,” referencing the generative AI software that Google has heavily invested in to stay competitive in an emergent sector that could alter the fundamentals of search and beyond.

Google have updated documentation on how to diagnose ranking drops

Google have updated their guidance for how to respond to ranking drops in their official documentation. The changes, shown through small changes to the language, include:

  • Downplaying the ability to always fix traffic drops
  • More accurate labelling of traffic drop graphs to include what has caused them
  • The inclusion of “changing interests” as a reason for traffic drops to cover a wider range of possibilities causing market disruption that are out of a site owners control
  • Distinguishing guidance between small drops (position 2 – 4) and larger position drops (position 10 – 29)
  • As well as some trivial changes to update headings that don’t seem to mean anything new – e.g. “You recently moved your site” to “Site moves and migrations”

We recommend reviewing the new guidance if you’ve noticed a traffic drop recently or off the back of the March 2024 core update.

Consumer confidence is up but progress feels like it is in ‘slow motion’

Consumer confidence grew for the first time in two months in April, but the overall picture remains stubbornly flat against an in-different economic environment. Four of the five measures that make up GfK’s Consumer Confidence Barometer increased in April, with the overall index score growing by two points. Consumers are viewing their personal finances (up two points to -11) and the general economy (up four points to -41) over the past year more favourably. The overall consensus is that consumers are more optimistic about the future than they were last year. However, marketers need to be aware that progress is slow.
If you’d like more information on any of these stories, or you’d like to discuss any of our digital marketing services, get in touch with us. Our team are more than happy to discuss your requirements, send us an email to
Tom Pickard  - Modo25
Tom Pickard
Tom Pickard  - Modo25
Tom Pickard

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