How YouTube’s Crack Down on Ad Blockers Impacts Advertisers

In the second quarter of 2023, there were 912 million adblock users worldwide. YouTube hasn’t given up its fight against ad blockers. What started as a beta test in June 2023 has transitioned into globally implementing slow website load times and blocking users in 2024.

Google confirmed that if they detect you are using an ad blocker, you will have very slow video load times and will be urged to try YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience.

Many Reddit users online have reported receiving the following notification indicating that an ad blocker has been detected while using YouTube

Screenshot of a warning message on Youtube

Others have also reported being blocked from YouTube. After being allowed to watch three videos that start with a countdown warning, they are blocked from using the site after watching three videos until their adblocker is disabled.

YouTube began blocking ad blockers last June to ensure they are not losing out on potential revenue from their ad services. 
According to Backlinko’s 2024 YouTube Usage Report, the platform currently has 2.49 billion users, up from 2 billion users in 2019. This accounts for eight billion dollars in quarterly revenue for Google. So YouTube has a significant incentive to eradicate the ability for viewers to use ad blockers and regain lost ad revenue. 

Direct Impacts on Advertisers

In response to the prevalence of ad blockers, YouTube’s banning of ad blockers is not only an attempt to ensure their revenue stream continues to grow but also to improve how advertisers reach their target audiences. This change will affect advertisers who run campaigns, including:

All of these campaign types include ads on the YouTube homepage or at the beginning or during video content.

Increased Audience Sizes and Impressions

According to 2023 ad blocking research by Tinuiti, around 31% of U.S. adults use ad blockers.  Thus, the successful banning of ad blockers on YouTube could result in upwards of 30% impression and reach increases for US running video campaigns in Google Ads. 

While this strategy puts YouTube at risk of losing users to other platforms, Wired’s report of YouTube’s ad blocker crackdown found a record-breaking number of ad blocker uninstalls after the platform implemented its defense strategy. This suggests that despite negative feelings from some consumers, YouTube’s crackdown should result in an overall increase in audience sizes for advertisers.

Greater Investment in Video

For advertisers, the increase in audience members on YouTube means there is an opportunity to spend more on video campaigns.

As you plan your 2024 budgets, remember that the sooner you expand your video strategy to account for potentially spending 30% more, the less competition you could have initially. Your CPMs, or cost per thousand impressions, may increase as more competitors grow their video strategies and budgets.

How This Affects Consumers

While YouTube’s crackdown on ad blockers may result in increased reach and conversion rates for advertisers, consumers have not been happy with the changes.

Shift in User Behavior:

The online community has shared their disdain for the changes implemented by Google in 2023. Users on Reddit have been sharing their dissatisfaction with their inability to continue using ad blockers on the platform.

Many users don’t want to pay for Youtube Premium, which is $13.99/month, a similar cost to ad-free subscriptions for other streaming platforms.

As a result, they may move towards other apps with short-form video content, such as TikTok or Instagram. These apps, however, also have ads and do not work with most ad blockers.

Distrust in YouTube

As YouTube users are forced to see ads they may build negative opinions towards your brand and online advertising as a whole. From EMarketer, just 18% of users agreed or strongly agreed the platform protects their privacy in 2022. This is down from their results in 2020. A change like this can only continue to push these statistics downward as users are forced to view ads.

For brands targeting the new audience that disabled their ad blockers, their brand image may be negatively affected by these feelings of distrust and aggravation with YouTube.

Advertising in a Blocker-Less YouTube

YouTube’s intensified crackdown on ad blockers, marked by slow website load times and outright blocks for users detected using them, underscores Google’s commitment to growing its revenue streams and ensuring advertisers can reach their audiences. With YouTube boasting a staggering 2.49 billion users, the impact of this change could be substantial for their bottom line and subsequently boost advertisers’ success on the platform.

There is a risk of user backlash and a shift towards other platforms. For YouTube to implement this globally, their test in 2023 must have shown greater positive impacts than negative, with few users leaving YouTube altogether. However, this data was not released to the public. The ban on ad blockers may help advertisers unlock untapped audience segments and drive higher engagement. By dedicating greater investment into video ads, advertisers can see the benefits of this in 2024.

Andrew Wirtz

Senior PPC Strategist
Senior PPC Strategist

Andrew began his career running PPC for nonprofits, which quickly sparked a passion for paid advertising. With a background in advertising and language, he knows the importance of each channel of the Marketing Stack and how to pack a punch in 90 characters or less. As a PPC Strategist at Portent, Andrew applies his expertise working in various verticals to help clients of all sizes. Andrew enjoys playing piano, crafting a recipe or cocktail, and exploring the outdoors outside of work!

Start call to action

See how Portent can help you own your piece of the web.

End call to action
Close search overlay