YouTube’s Clampdown On Ad Blockers

In the current digital landscape, ad-blocking tools offer users enhanced privacy and a smoother browsing experience. They do, however, pose significant challenges for content creators and businesses.

As a result of YouTube’s ad block ban, users are scrambling to find a way around it. In this article, we will discuss YouTube’s decision to make ad blockers against their terms of service, as well as the reasons behind their decision.

Why Do People Use Ad Blockers?

Users install ad blockers to provide a quicker and less intrusive experience online, however in most cases the main purpose is to simply stop adverts. Users adopted such technology in response to a saturation of adverts, which usually are seen as intrusive.

How Have Ad Blockers Affected YouTube?

The answer to this question may seem simple, however, we need to understand what exact problems ad blockers cause for the platform. Their estimated revenue from all forms of advertisement reached $29 billion in 2022. The main concern is YouTube advertisements could stop serving impressions as a consequence of increased ad blocker usage.

Ad blocker users visiting the video platform will not be served an ad, meaning no impression has been served to the user. YouTube therefore cannot charge the advertiser a cost, so there is no revenue benefit to YouTube having ad blocker users.

Looking at the greater picture, Alphabet’s share price will be heavily influenced by their quarterly earnings. Thus, the threat ad blockers pose is taken seriously, so the company can protect one of their main sources of revenue.

How Has YouTube Stopped Ad Blockers?

For all the innovations the company has developed over the years, they haven’t used an original way of dealing with ad blockers, an anti-adblock wall. Simple technology is used to detect if a user is using an ad blocker, and then a message is deployed asking the user to turn off their ad blocker. The platform is inaccessible if the user continues to keep their ad blocker turned on. The company has stated that ad blockers violate their terms of service, encouraging users to pay for their premium subscription to avoid watching ads.

The company has been implementing such measures to ensure revenue, as the anti-adblock wall was introduced in a testing phase during the middle of 2023.

What Implications Does This Have?

Users have been scrambling to find ad blockers which still work against the platform, with some of the highest change in installation figures for ad blockers. Users who have a growing dislike for ads may have to consider paying for YouTube’s subscription services.  

Content creators have become a bystander in this conversation, with a foreseeable benefit in ad revenue, but also the potential to see viewer numbers take a drop. It will be interesting to see if the two balance out, or creators see an increase in ad revenue from their platform provider.

For YouTube it may seem the brand is too big to take a substantial hit, possibly guaranteeing an increase in ad revenue and subscription revenue. If this is the case, then shareholders will be upmost pleased with their new strategy to combat ad blockers.

One industry which people may overlook in this situation are the ad blocker companies themselves. Installation figures have reportedly increased as users have looked for alternatives, however as people realise the ad blockers do not work on YouTube, they uninstall and look for another ad blocker. From a marketing perspective ad blocker companies will be delighted to boast their installation figures, encouraging others to install and follow the crowd.

Will YouTube Become Harsher On Ad Blockers?

While we wait for the results on the new strategy, we can only speculate the chain reaction to come. It would be wise to assume that anti-adblock walls are the first step in YouTube’s strategy against ad blockers.

Google Manifest V3 limits browser extension’s ability to use dynamic filtering, essentially making it difficult for ad blockers to act on their main purpose of blocking ads.  It was meant to be the mandatory chrome extension system as early as March 2023, however it has been delayed until further notice.

If Google Manifest V3 comes into full fruition it could lead to the decision of YouTube removing their new anti-adblock wall, as ad blockers will not have the same blocking power as before the changes to browser extensions.

Is There An Effective Solution Against Ad Blockers?

The B2 team has developed two products to help publishers and ad networks against the revenue troubles ad blockers cause. Together they can form an effective strategy to ensure content is monetised even when a user has an ad blocker installed. 

B2 analytics provides detailed information on the volume of your website traffic that is using an ad blocker. This includes the percentage of visitors, their device type and their location. B2 Analytics is a single line of code that can be added to your website (or WordPress users can user our WordPress plugin). B2 Analytics is free for anyone, no matter how many websites you choose to install the technology on. The critical information provided by B2 Analytics can help you understand the size of your ad blocker problem.  

B2 Stealth is the answer for publishers and ad networks who wish to have an effective strategy against ad blockers. Ad reinsertion technology is used to display ads to users who have an ad blocker installed. B2 Stealth will unlock ad revenue which would have otherwise been blocked by ad blockers. 

 If you want to find out the size of your ad-block problem, you can sign up to B2 Analytics for free, or get in contact with info@B2.ai for more information