Google is adding in some audio ads to YouTube for when you have videos playing in the background. For Google, this is a new way to introduce a revenue stream for itself. As well as for brands that are trying to reach more customers who use YouTube to listen to audio-based content on the platform.
Primarily this is aimed at videos on the platform that are considered "ambient listening experiences." Which is to say it's meant more for music and podcasts. Things which don't necessarily require your visual attention.
Also worth noting is that the audio-only ads are only going to be in a beta state to begin with. So they aren't likely to be everywhere just yet as brands seeking more awareness will need to grab them at auction from Google.
Audio-only ads on YouTube are for desktop only
For now, these new audio ads on YouTube are only for background listening experiences on desktop. And only for non-paid users.
If you use YouTube to listen to music or podcasts while you have your web browser open, you may hear these surface from time to time in the very near future. If you primarily use the YouTube app to listen to this content in the background, then you shouldn't be impacted.
That's because to get background playback on mobile you need to subscribe to YouTube Premium. And one of the benefits of paying for that subscription is the removal of ads.
So don't expect these to take over your mobile listening experience anytime soon. If ever. Considering this point, you might want to consider the YouTube Premium subscription and listen to content if you dislike ads.
Ads will be limited to 30 seconds long
Google says that ads will be limited to a 30-second length, so they won't be too long. But that might still feel like a fairly long time to some users.
The thing to remember is that these ads are meant for content that is generally longer in length. Podcasts, music playlists and the like. Which suggests that you may only hear one short audio ad before enjoying a lengthy piece of content.
If that's the case then users won't be hearing them very often. And there's always the option of paying for a YouTube Premium subscription to get rid of the ads entirely.
Which might be Google's intention here. Either way, audio ads are being introduced and there's nothing users can do about it.