When talking about blocking YouTube ads, there are two ways in which it can be done; as a YouTuber, and as a YouTube viewer.
- As a YouTuber, you can choose to block certain ads from your videos, such as would be the case if you are running a family-friendly channel and do not want certain brands associated with your content.
- As a YouTube viewer, you might want to block ads which, as even many YouTubers who make their living from those ads can admit, can get a little excessive at times.
Whichever it is, we will cover the details of how you go about it and what it means for both you and the YouTubers or viewers in this post, so let’s dive in!
Blocking Ads as a YouTuber
So, as we mentioned above, YouTubers can block certain types of ads from appearing with your content. More specifically, you can block certain URLs from showing up in your AdSense ads (the ads at the side of your videos), and you can block ads in sensitive categories from showing up before, during, or after your videos.
It is no longer possible to opt-out of ads entirely, however. It used to be the case that being ineligible for the YouTube Partner Programme—or choosing not to participate it—meant that you would not see any ads on your videos. YouTube has since changed its policies to state that it will run ads on content regardless of whether the YouTuber uploading it is part of the YouTube Partner Programme.
You can’t block all ads, and you can’t block specific ads, but you do have some control over what ads are shown on your channel.
Blocking Ads as a YouTube Viewer
There is all manner of ad blockers available in various forms, such as browser plugins and stand-alone applications. These use various tricks—such as denying access to certain URLs—to keep ads from cluttering your pages and interrupting your content.
In practice, this is an arms race, and ad providers—including YouTube—are constantly finding new ways to stop ad blockers from working. Ad blockers are also ineffective at stopping the disruption that ads cause in many cases. For example, they may prevent an AdSense ad from loading, but the space dedicated to that ad could still be there.
Similarly, YouTube does not verify its ability to load an ad before breaking up the video you are watching, meaning that your viewing will still be interrupted by ad breaks in most cases. The difference lies in the fact that once the video has been interrupted, you will get an awkward pause while YouTube tries to load the ad, and then a half-hearted request to click on a button when the ad didn’t load.
What this means is that in many cases, you are making a personal stand against ads, but not actually avoiding the disruption they cause.
Is Ad Blocking Ethical?
Bearing in mind that you will often still suffer a disruption of some kind, is it ethical to block ads anyway? This is one of those questions that has a very simple answer.
In short, no, it is not ethical to block ads on YouTube. Whichever way you look at it, you are depriving revenue of someone who is providing content for free. Whether that someone is your favourite YouTuber or the YouTube platform itself is irrelevant. You may disagree with something the YouTuber (or YouTube) is doing, but the proper response to that would be to not watch their content. If you are consuming their content, it is only fair that they be compensated for providing it. And, whether you are viewing it for enjoyment or hate-viewing, it’s worth remembering that your ad views may be keeping them going. If you stop, they may stop, too.
If you want to keep supporting your favourite YouTubers but think the ad placements are egregious, you might consider YouTube Premium. The content may no longer be free, but the ads are gone and you are still supporting those YouTubers.
What the Law Says About AdBlockers
The law is a tricky beast at the best of times, and that doesn’t change here. Also, remember that laws may differ depending on where you are in the world. Generally speaking, however, AdBlockers themselves are not illegal.
As a user of the Internet, you have the right to filter your browsing experience however you see fit. Or, to put it another way, nobody has the right to make you watch something you don’t want to.
The catch here is that platforms like YouTube also have the right to decide to who to serve their content to. If they decide to withhold access to their content from people who use AdBlockers, you would be in violation of the relevant laws by circumventing that.
Or, to sum it up more succinctly, you are well within your rights to block ads, and YouTube is well within their rights to refuse to show you videos if you do.
Ads can certainly be a nuisance. And, as mentioned above, even YouTubers who make a living from ad revenue can probably admit the pairs of unskippable 18-seconds ads, seeming ad breaks every two minutes, and unskippable ads that are longer than the video you’re trying to watch is a bit much. Unfortunately, however, no one is forcing you to watch YouTube, and your only legal and ethical recourse to excessive advertising is to stop giving YouTube your custom.
You can, of course, complain about things to YouTube representatives, or try similar avenues such as raising social media awareness, but things like that typically require a lot of interest to get noticed and take time to build up that interest.
Ultimately, the best way to get around ads on YouTube without still being disrupted by the attempt to serve the ads and without depriving your favourite creators of their earned revenue is to purchase YouTube Premium. This way, you get your content ad-free, and they still get paid!
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube
I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.
I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.
That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.
Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).
5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.