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YouTube’s new tool for brands means you don’t have to see the same ads nauseam

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Although it’s up to brands to impose limits

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Sometimes it’s a little too obvious when a company is launching a big advertising campaign on YouTube. If you’re a regular viewer, you may end up seeing the same ads over and over again. This week, though, YouTube announced that it’s expanding the power of tools that let brands control how often their ads are shown to specific users.

Google’s Display & Video 360 platform previously launched a tool in February to cover ad campaigns running across different smart TV apps, including YouTube’s app and apps from rivals like Hulu. This week, YouTube launched its own complementary tool, YouTube Frequency, which counts ads shown not only on YouTube’s smart TV app, but also across its mobile and desktop platforms. Combined, these programs should mean less ad spam for viewers.

But why does YouTube care? Well, because seeing the same advertisements over and over isn’t just a pain for consumers — it’s bad for companies, too. They want to know not only that they’re not annoying would-be customers, but that they’re not wasting money by showing the same person the same ad too many times.

As YouTube explained in a blog post aimed at advertisers:

Now, you can compliment your reach by actively setting your weekly frequency goal – a solution only YouTube can provide. Combining our unmatched audience reach and leading machine learning capabilities, advertisers will now be able to optimize how many times viewers see their ads in a week. Not only does this mean more efficient spend, but crucially, a better experience for viewers.

It’s up to brands to impose those limits, of course, but here’s hoping they know the best ad campaigns aren’t the ones that hammer you over and over again with the same message.

Correction, May 19th, 11:39AM ET: This story incorrectly stated that two separate ad frequency tools were part of the same program. Google’s Display & Video 360 platform covers smart TV apps from YouTube and other services, while YouTube Frequency manages ad frequency across its desktop, mobile, and smart TV apps.