YouTube tests new anti-adblocker popup with countdown timer

YouTube is trialling a new anti-adblocker popup that features a timer warning when the next advert will play.

A countdown clock, which reportedly runs for 30 to 60 seconds, appears in the top righthand corner of the message, showing non-paying viewers how long they have left to take action before another ad starts.

Viewers can then choose to either “Allow YouTube Ads” or “Try YouTube Premium”.

Why we care. Banning adblockers is a great way to boost reach, however, constant notifications may negatively impact the user experience, and brands must be mindful to not annoy potential customers.

Why now? YouTube has been increasing its efforts to persuade non-paying viewers to sign up for its Premium service, which bans ads entirely, allowing viewers to watch videos without interruption. However, people have been reluctant to convert due to the rising costs of YouTube accounts, which recently increased from $11.99 to $13.99 a month in the US.

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How it works. Right now, the warning is being served to select groups of people around the world that have ad blockers enabled. When they sign into their accounts to watch content, all videos will be blocked unless they either change their settings to disallow ad blockers or they sign up for YouTube Premium. The warning they are served, looks like this:

1691880898 Youtube Ads New Popup Story

What has YouTube said? YouTube has said that it is taking these measures to ensure that its content creators are compensated for their work. Oluwa Falodun, a spokesperson for Google, told The Verge in a statement:

  • “Ad blocker detection is not new, and other publishers regularly ask viewers to disable ad blockers.”
  • “We take disabling playback very seriously, and will only disable playback if viewers ignore repeated requests to allow ads on YouTube.”
  • “In cases when viewers feel they have been falsely flagged as using an ad blocker, they can share this feedback by clicking on the link in the prompt.”
  • “We want to inform viewers that ad blockers violate YouTube’s Terms of Service, and make it easier for them to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad free experience.” 

Deep dive. For more information on YouTube’s ad policy, you can visit the YouTube Advertising hub.

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About the author

Nicola Agius

Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.

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