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YouTube’s Annoying Marketing Model

It’s costing us creators money

YouTube has been pushing its Premium subscription service “YouTube Premium” heavily in recent time, and it’s getting extremely annoying for viewers and creators alike.

We’ve all been victims of it. And YouTube is making more money than ever.

Subtle changes

I’ve been a YouTube user for a third of my life. Additionally, I’ve been creating YouTube videos on my faceless channels for over 2 years now.

Over the past months and even earlier, I’ve notices subtle (and not so subtle changes) YouTube has made to the website and apps for two main reasons: Earning more money and pushing their subscription service YouTube Premium, formerly called YouTube Red.

When Google introduced YouTube Red 7 years ago, I liked the idea. Getting rid of ads for a monthly subscription and additional features sounded like a solid deal.

Now, I think differently.


Recently, I get bombarded with banner ads to sign up for YouTube Premium. A free trial, usually.

Not bad per se, but the frequency is annoying. Also, dismissing those banners doesn’t help much. They’ll pop up a day later.

I don’t need Premium. And if I do, I know where to find it.

The not so subtle change

More annoying is the following set of changes YouTube has been implementing over the past months.

It started with an increase of ads. Makes sense, right? If you want to drive people to your paid, ad-free alternative, just bombard the free users with more ads to make them switch.

This has gotten out of hand, in my opinion. Not only has YouTube started to increase the number of ads per video, another change really bugs me.

Let’s talk about the ad frequency first, though.

1. Video duration

YouTube creators might know this.

In the past, anyone could add one advertisement in every video below 10 minutes of playing time.

Above 10 minutes, creators were allowed to insert multiple ads in their videos.

To my knowledge, there was no official limit here. I saw channels who put up ads every minute or even every 30 seconds. A little much.

This was also the reason many YouTubers stretched their videos to over 10 minutes, because it quickly added up.

Instead of serving one ad, they could insert 5, or 8, or 10. This theoretically meant a 5-time, 8-time, or 10-time increase in earnings. Theoretically being the important word here because in practice, it did increase ad clicks, but not to this extent. I experienced a 3-fold or 4-fold increase myself when added a handful more ads.

A while back, YouTube has lowered this limit to 8 minutes, meaning every video over 8 minutes could have unlimited ads.

This means more ads for free users. A lot more.

2. Ads only for Google

The second change is even more significant.

YouTube used to not show ads on videos by creators who weren’t accepted into the AdSense partner program.

To be accepted as a YouTuber, you need to meet the requirements of 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time within 12 months. Only then are you eligible to enter the partner program.

In the past, creators who weren’t part of the partner program didn’t get ads for their videos. Hence, viewers didn’t see ads.

This has changed. YouTube now shows ads in these videos as well. And the profits only go to YouTube, of course. Again, the creator isn’t getting paid yet.

That is hell of annoying. And it’s a clear and calculated push toward YouTube Premium, in my mind.

The bottom line

I get it. YouTube is freaking popular. I use it every day. To consume and create. YouTube Premium might be a perfectly fine service as well, offering great features, an ad-free experience, and YouTube Originals. I don’t argue against that.

What annoys me, though, is the fact that YouTube is heavily increasing the ad rates for free users without benefits for new creators.

Small creators that haven’t made it to the partner program just yet, have to face ads in their videos. This might drive away some of their viewers, and they don’t even get paid or compensated any other way for that. Only YouTube benefits.

This sucks.

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