YouTube kills off annoying in-video popup links that spam users

YouTube is killing off links that pop up midway through videos.

Clips on the site will stop displaying the notifications, which appear in an interactive bar and promote live streams, playlists and other videos, from 14 December.

Though they serve a purpose for video creators, they can be very annoying for viewers.

It’s distracting when they block parts of the on-screen action, for instance, forcing you to switch your attention away from the video you’re trying to watch, in order to find and click on the Close button. 

YouTube made the decision because few users actually bother engaging with the links.

“Recently, we’ve taken a look at how successful the interactive bar is and how often people actually use it,” said Jordan, a YouTube Help Forum member.

“We’ve come to realize that very few actually click on it. In fact, only one in twenty people click on the suggested link. Even worse, for the small percentage of users who do click on the link, they’re often taken to a live stream that no longer exists. 

“As a result, many folks complain that it feels like spam.”

YouTube creators will still be able to promote links with cards and end-screen links.

“We find that creators have the best success by linking to content from cards and end screens,” added Jordan. 

“This can include videos, playlists, associated websites and approved merch and crowdfunding sites. For those still eager to link to other sites, don’t worry. You can still use the video description, your channel page or your channel art to drive fans to other sites.”

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