YouTube’s ongoing battle against ad blockers: YouTube starts restricting ad blocker users



August 3, 2023

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On July 27, 2023, a Reddit user first encountered a previously unseen popup on YouTube.


The Reddit user, who had been using an adblocker, was blocked by YouTube from watching the video unless they allowed ads or purchased YouTube Premium. Since then, more users have been subject to the controversial popup block, triggering yet another battle in YouTube’s long-held fight against ad blockers.

Over the years, YouTube has utilized various methods to recover revenue losses from adblockers. In 2022, several ad-blocking services, including the prominent YouTube Vanced (specifically designed to block YouTube ads) were discontinued due to legal issues and complaints from Google. Further, in an effort to make ad blocking more challenging, YouTube implemented SSAI (Server-Side Ad Insertion) technology. Now, YouTube uses a new AdBlock Wall strategy, as experienced by the aforementioned Reddit user.

YouTube’s bold attempts have created mixed results. The AdBlock Wall appears to still be in effect for mobile web environments, where adblocking capabilities are limited. However, popular ad blockers like AdGuard and uBlock Origin have already neutralized the Adblock Wall in desktop environments - and it took them less than a week. With just two lines of added filter (shared below), the seemingly complex blockade was easily bypassed.,,'json-prune', 'playerResponse.adPlacementsplayerResponse.playerAds adPlacements playerAds', 'playerConfig.streamSelectionConfig.maxBitrate'),,'json-prune', 'playerResponse.adPlacements playerResponse.playerAds adPlacements playerAds', 'playerResponse.playerConfig.streamSelectionConfig.maxBitrate')

Despite the Desktop setback, YouTube may achieve higher recovery rates via mobile web users. However, it comes at the cost of alienating loyal users with a disruptive new UX.

For behemoths like YouTube, sacrificing UX to forcefully display ads may be feasible. But it’s far from ideal and causes further revenue loss for most publishers. Ad-Shield(AdShield) offers a next-generation ad-block recovery solution that consistently recovers 90% of ad-blocked impressions, on both mobile and desktop. At Ad-Shield(AdShield), by utilizing Better Ads Standards-compliant ads and opt-out functions, we help publishers recover adblocked revenue - without disrupting your user experience.

Join us in building an internet enjoyable for everyone. Contact us to get started.

David Jeon
Lead Software Engineer