Can Ad Blockers Tank Your YouTube Views and Watch Time?

YouTube revenue isn't the only thing in jeopardy when viewers use ad blockers; they also affect channel views and watch time. Here's why!

If you use an ad blocker on your browser and have tried to watch a YouTube video recently, you may have seen a prompt like this pop up:

The prompt reads:

“Ad blockers violate YouTube’s Terms of Service."

“It looks like you may be using an ad blocker. Video playback is blocked unless YouTube is allowlisted or the ad blocker is disabled."

“Ads allow YouTube to be used by billions worldwide at no charge."

“You can go ad-free with YouTube Premium, and creators still get paid from your subscriptions."

YouTube's stance against ad blockers has been a topic of heated discussion among creators and viewers alike. While ad blockers may seem like a convenient way to skip through commercials, their impact on the YouTube ecosystem is far-reaching.

Let's delve into some critical questions to understand why YouTube is cracking down on ad blockers and what it means for everyone involved.

Why Is YouTube Taking a Stand Against AdBlock?

Ever since the adpocalypse in 2017, ads have contributed the lion’s share of revenue for most creators. And, YouTube has consistently earned lots of ad revenue in comparison to other platforms. So, it’s necessary to keep the advertisers happy and returning to the platform year after year, and adblockers stand in total opposition to this.

In fact, YouTube reported a significant fall of 2.6% year over year as advertisers pulled back from the platform due to economic uncertainty. YouTube raked in $6.69 billion in advertising revenue in early 2023 compared to $6.87 billion during the same period last year. So, it makes sense for YouTube to become proactive now!

How Does This Affect Your YouTube Channel?

Even if you aren't monetized, YouTube's new approach to ad blockers could affect your channel. The first two sentences of the error message (above), emphasize that YouTube is responding to ad blockers by blocking video playback.

“It looks like you may be using an ad blocker. Video playback is blocked unless YouTube is allowlisted or the ad blocker is disabled."

A monetized creator will feel the sting of this, but not as sharply as someone who isn't monetized yet. New creators need every video view and every ounce of watch time to qualify for the YouTube Partner Program and get monetized. It's hard to do that when your videos aren't being shown to some viewers!

How Does This Affect YouTube Overall?

YouTube shares ad revenue with creators, offering them healthy pay for their efforts. Ad blockers cut into this shared income, affecting the platform's financial health.

So, the revenue generated from ads helps YouTube invest in new features and improve user experience.

Plus, these benefits are also at stake if ad revenue disappears:

  • Sustainability: To continue producing high-quality content, creators need financial support. Ads provide that cushion.
  • Fair compensation: By watching ads, viewers help to compensate creators for their effort and time.
  • Better ads to get you paid: YouTube has been working on making ads more relevant and less intrusive, which could improve the overall viewing experience.
  • Long-term viability: Ad revenue creates long-term sustainability for the platform.

With reduced revenue, YouTube might find it challenging to support creators, which could lead to a decline in content quality.

Read more: Just Got Monetized on YouTube? 4 Tips to Boost Your AdSense Revenue

How to Increase Views, Revenue, and Watch Time Despite Ad Blocking

Now that you know how ad blockers affect your channel, is there anything you can do to keep your metrics high? Absolutely!

Explain to your audience how ad blockers hinder you from creating the content they love. In the same way that you ask for likes and comments, ask your viewers to disable their ad blockers. Emphasize that you love your community and you want to be there for them always. If they can't watch your videos due to ad blockers, it's almost impossible to build that relationship.

You can also direct viewers to YouTube Premium, a service that allows for ad-free viewing.

YouTube Ads Are Here to Stay

In an interview with The Verge, YouTube made it clear that using ad blockers is a no-go according to their Terms of Service. However, YouTube will warn viewers of that fact and ask them to disable any ad blockers. If the requests are ignored, that's when playback may be disabled.

The crackdown on ad blockers is not just a move to protect the platform's revenue but also an effort to sustain the community of creators who rely on that revenue.

So, the next time you think about using an ad blocker, consider the bigger picture and how it impacts other creators.

And if you're not monetized yet, don't make these three mistakes with your channel!