Are you one of the millions of people who watch YouTube videos every day? If so, you may have noticed that ads are becoming more and more prevalent on the platform. That is the reason why users are more and more tempted to use Ad-Blockers in order to avoid ads.
YouTube is consequently considering limiting the use of ad-blockers to access its service, a move that could have significant implications for both viewers and content creators. In this article, we’ll explore why YouTube may plan this shift, what it could mean for the platform, and how it could impact the user experience.
Why YouTube is Considering Limiting Ad-Blockers
A message appeared recently on Reddit suggesting that YouTube is considering limiting the use of ad-blockers to access its service. This move could make sense for several reasons:
- A 2023 study presented at MIPTV showed that 90% of Europeans had watched at least one YouTube video in the past month, making YouTube the preferred platform for video content fans. The competition is less threatening for YouTube than a few years ago.
- YouTube Premium had over 80 million subscribers worldwide in 2022, and the company wants to accelerate the conversion to its paid offering. To do so, it is willing to slightly degrade its free offering.
- Ad-blocker usage is on the rise: for instance, over 40% of French internet users are believed to use ad-blockers. This means that many advertising impressions are being missed and could be easily recovered.
However, the initiative to limit ad-blockers is less risky for the platform now than it was in the past, as YouTube is increasingly polarizing between mobile viewing (hello YouTube Shorts!) and long-form content on SmartTVs. Ad-blocker usage is less common, or even non-existent, on these ecosystems. Thus, the experience will actually degrade for a smaller portion of users, but the company is sending a message to the market and creators.
By limiting the use of ad-blockers, YouTube could hit two birds with one stone:
- The company would be able to boost its paid subscription by offering an ad-free experience to users who are allergic to ads.
- Mathematically increase the available advertising inventory on the platform which will also allow for adjusting ad pressure between users or generating more revenue, compensating for the inventory lost by power users (more likely to become premium).
For now, it is just a temporary test on a few users, but if the results appear to be positive for YouTube (steady watch time, more ads served or more premium subscriptions), the platform will most likely generalize this new rule to everyone.