Ad Blockers on YouTube: 336% Spike in Ad-Blocker Demand Following YouTube Crackdown [Data]

Since YouTube declared war on ad blockers, users have been scrambling for new ways to avoid advertisements. We polled 1,000 YouTube users to find out what they’re doing now.
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In an effort to support its ad-driven revenue, YouTube recently started a “global crackdown” on ad-blocker apps and extensions on the platform, leaving users scrambling for new ways to watch videos uninterrupted.

This cat-and-mouse game between the streaming giant and its users is nothing new. But this recent crackdown has compelled many people to think about how much they actually hate ads, and if it’s worth paying $13.99 per month for an ad-free YouTube Premium subscription.

What users choose to do is an important question for our team at All About Cookies, as our experts guide readers on ad-blocker options. So to find out how people are responding, we looked at our own data to find trends in the ways people are searching for and interacting with ad blockers.

We also polled YouTube users to see how they feel about the crackdown, how much they actually care about ads, and how many would consider paying for an ad-free option.

In this article
Summary of findings
Consumer reactions to YouTube’s ad-blocker crackdown
Would users actually pay for an ad-free YouTube?

Summary of findings

  • YouTube users are seeking ad-blocker alternatives:
    • Traffic to YouTube ad blocker pages spiked 336% in the month since YouTube started its crackdown.
    • Only 11% of YouTube users say they’re less likely to use an ad blocker following the crackdown.
  • People don’t want to pay for YouTube Premium:
    • Only 12% of users said they’d even consider getting a YouTube Premium subscription to avoid ads.
    • When asked how much they’d pay, only 11% of users said they’d be willing to pay more than $10 per month for an ad-free YouTube.
      • 52% said they’d be unwilling to pay anything.

Consumer reactions to YouTube’s ad-blocker crackdown

If one thing is clear, it’s that users really hate advertisements. Though YouTube’s intention was to either get viewers to watch ads or pay for the privilege of avoiding them, the ad-blocker crackdown has drawn a considerable number of people to find innovative alternatives.

In the month since the crackdown began, we’ve seen a 336% spike in traffic to our YouTube ad-blocker-related pages. Based on the timing of the spike, we can infer that these readers are likely searching for new alternatives to ad blockers that are no longer working.

A graphic stating that All About Cookies has seen more than a 300% increase in traffic to YouTube ad-block content since YouTube issued its crackdown in the fall of 2023.

Interestingly, some users have switched to extensions that significantly speed up ads in an effort to reduce the toll ads take on their user experience. Others are trying ad-blocking extensions and software that can circumvent YouTube’s restrictions.

Would users actually pay for an ad-free YouTube?

Does YouTube’s crackdown affect many people? More than you’d think. Of those we polled, more than one in four internet users (29%) said they’ve tried ad blockers in the past. That equates to more than 750 million of YouTube’s estimated 2.7 billion active monthly users.

A chart showing how much people say they're willing to pay for an ad-free YouTube experience. Most people are unwilling to pay anything.

For people who need options for the future, we wanted to know whether they’d actually be willing to pay for an ad-free subscription like YouTube Premium. Though the cost of a subscription is $13.99 per month at the time of this writing, the data suggests most people aren’t willing to pay that much.

In fact, the majority of people say they aren’t willing to pay anything at all for an ad-free YouTube, and nearly one in four would pay only $5 or less per month for the service. Fewer than one in eight people (11%) said they’d be willing to pay more than $10 per month.

If nothing else, the data suggests YouTube’s crackdown has rubbed some users the wrong way. When asked whether the platform’s attempt at forcing ads would affect their behavior, 22% said the crackdown has made them more likely to want to use an ad blocker. That’s double the number of users who said the ban deters them from trying to block ads.

A chart showing people's reported reactions to YouTube's ad-blocker policy.

Of note, more users (16%) said they’re likely to spend less time on the platform than said they were more likely to pay for Youtube’s Premium plan (12%).

Finding an experience that works for you

As the clash between YouTube and its users intensifies, you’ll want to stay apprised of the most recent developments and tools available. There may be creative solutions around the problem, or you can always use our team’s guidance on other options for ad blockers on YouTube.

Methodology

To compile the data shown above, we reviewed All About Cookies proprietary data for traffic and impressions to select pages that expressly reference ad blockers for YouTube. For the survey component, we surveyed 1,000 U.S. participants in November 2023 about their reactions and habits related to ad blockers. Only YouTube user data was included.

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