This is Bad news for those using ad blockers. YouTube just launched a new experiment that would block users from watching YouTube content when, ironically, ad-blocking apps are active in the browser. It’s obviously saying that it wants users to get YouTube Premium to be rid of those pesky ads, but maybe YouTube just wants to take the ‘Say premium without saying premium’ route.

Blocking The Blockers

As seen in this example, shared by Android Police, some users are now seeing a new pop-up appear when trying to watch YouTube content. The new pop-up explains that in order to keep watching YouTube videos, users will have to first disable their third-party ad blocker, or make an exception within their ad-blocking rules.

YouTube has confirmed that this is part of a new experiment, which has not been widely launched as of yet. For the most part, it could indicate the future direction of the app in combating ad blockers to maximize promotional opportunities. Of course, some developer somewhere will think of a future workaround, meaning that it won’t be long before we’re all once again bypassing this new process. But it does point to a new shift in approach from YouTube’s parent company, Google, in more aggressively combating ad blockers in its apps.

Google has been implementing restrictions on ad-blocking technologies for years, via Google Chrome updates, as it works to protect its core ads business. Most of those changes have been reverse-matched by ad-blocking devs. However, it now seems that Google may be looking to get more serious about halting apps that seek to stop it from displaying ads.

With Google also integrating generative AI in Search, which could also impact its ad business, it makes sense that it would also be looking to maximize ad exposure in other areas to mitigate any potential loss, thus keeping ad partners happy. Such a push is understandable, given how YouTube’s a company that runs and is primarily powered by ads.

The Wrap

YouTube has long been a key focus for ad-blocking providers – because no one wants to sit through two ads, or more, before viewing a YouTube clip. The rise of Shorts has also added to this, with YouTube still working out the best way to insert ads into the Shorts experience and maximize the potential for ad partners within this element. Weighing everything together, it kind of makes sense why Google would be looking to crack down on ad blockers moving forward. Again, right now, this is a limited test, but it might be expanded in the future.