YouTube escalates war on ad blockers


YouTube has introduced two new measures in its crackdown on ad blockers. There will either be: 

  • Buffering issues.
  • An error message saying “The following content is not available on this app.”

Why we care. YouTube is doing all it can to ensure ads are seen by as many of its free users as possible. YouTube’s war on ad blockers will likely lead to disgruntled users who will abandon YouTube altogether. It’s either that or break down and pay for YouTube Premium to avoid excessive advertising. If the latter happens, YouTube will gain revenue, but ultimately that means advertisers will lose reach and exposure.

Enforcement on third-party apps. YouTube is now taking active measures to deter third-party ad blockers directly.

  • “We want to emphasize that our terms don’t allow third-party apps to turn off ads because that prevents the creator from being rewarded for viewership, and Ads on YouTube help support creators and let billions of people around the world use the streaming service,” according to TeamYouTube.

The story so far. This is the latest action YouTube has taken to curb the use of Ad blockers:

Is YouTube breaking privacy laws? YouTube needs to be careful in how it cracks down on Ad Blockers, as this could be seen as breaking privacy laws. Last October, privacy expert Alexander Hanff filed a complaint with the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC). 

Ad-free experience. The only ad-free experience YouTube promotes is YouTube Premium. It costs $13.99 in the US and £12.99 in the UK. 

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About the author

Anu AdegbolaAnu Adegbola

Anu Adegbola has been Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land since 2024. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media, video and more.

In 2008, Anu’s career started with

 delivering digital marketing campaigns (mostly but not exclusively Paid Search) by building strategies, maximising ROI, automating repetitive processes and bringing efficiency from every part of marketing departments through inspiring leadership both on agency, client and marketing tech side.


Outside editing Search Engine Land article she is the founder of PPC networking event – PPC Live, host of weekly podcast PPCChat Roundup, and brand evangelist at ClickTech. 


She is also an international speaker with some of the stages she has presented on being SMX (US), SMX (Munich), Friends of Search (Amsterdam), brightonSEO, The Marketing Meetup, HeroConf (PPC Hero), SearchLove, BiddableWorld, SESLondon, PPC Chat Live, AdWorld Experience (Bologna) and more.


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