In June, YouTube launched a strict ad-blocking policy threatening to ban anyone using such software to skirt around ad-free streaming on the platform. At first, there was a lot of outrage from users who threatened to stop using YouTube if the policy went into practice, but as it turns out, what’s actually being canceled is ad-blockers.
Hundreds of thousands of ad-blockers have been uninstalled since YouTube’s policy was enacted. One such software creator, Ghostery, reported that 90% of those who uninstalled its programs cited YouTube’s policy as the driving factor. On October 18 alone, the developer saw 52,000 uninstalls as YouTube’s ban began rolling out to all users.
All in all, YouTube’s strategy to crack down on ad-blockers seems successful. A number of ad-blocker developers have reported a “record number” of users uninstalling their products, according to 9to5Google, who also said there was a record number of people installing new ad-blocker software, attempting to continue browsing uninterrupted. Ghostery noted a 30% jump in people using their software on Microsoft Edge, with some users reporting that switching browsers temporarily allows them to get around the blocking ban, according to 9to5Google. AdGuard also saw a rise in paid subscriptions as users successfully skirted the ban with its software.
YouTube launched the ad-block ban in an attempt to drive up ad revenue while also encouraging users to sign up for its ad-free Premium plan. The ban started with a test sample of users before going global in late October. If a user has an active ad-blocker, the platform shows a prompt that alerts members to either add the site to their software’s approved list or sign up for YouTube Premium. Videos won’t play or will be interrupted with further alerts until the user remedies the issue.
YouTube has been experimenting with ads this year. In May, the platform added unskippable 30-second ads to its TV app and experimented with longer, less frequent ads. However, its overall goal is still to drive up Premium member subscriptions, which cost $13.99 a month for an individual plan or $22.99 for a family of up to five.