Home YouTube is trying new ways to stop adblockers

YouTube is trying new ways to stop adblockers


  • YouTube is using new techniques to block third-party adblocker apps, including server-side ad injection (SSAI).
  • SSAI embeds ads directly in the video stream, making it harder for adblockers to provide an ad-free experience.
  • Despite SSAI, adblockers may still work by identifying and ignoring ad video chunks, according to SponsorBlock.

In its ongoing battle against prolific adblocker usage on its site, YouTube is trying new techniques to block third-party apps that allow users to skip ads on videos.

The world’s most popular video-sharing platform is reportedly experimenting with server-side ad injection (SSAI), according to a post from a popular adblocker on X.

This will make it much harder for adblockers to effectively deliver an ad-free experience to users.

According to the post by SponsorBlock, “YouTube is currently experimenting with server-side ad injection. This means that the ad is being added directly into the video stream.”

Simply put, with SSAI, the ads are part of the video itself rather than with YouTube’s current system (client-side ad injection, or CSAI) where they are delivered separately. With CSAI, ad blockers work by detecting where the ad is being inserted and blocking them, but if YouTube switches to SSAI, there won’t be a way to do this as easily.

Will adblockers still work to block YouTube ads?

According to an FAQ posted by Ajayyy, the developer of SponsorBlock, while SSAI will be more difficult for adblockers to deal with, it doesn’t necessarily mean the end for adblockers as a whole.

Ajayyy also shed some light on how the SSAI might work. YouTube can inject ads on the server side due to how modern video streaming works, and does not require them to fully reencode a video on their end to inject any ads. “Online video streaming nowadays uses a “playlist” of video chunks. These chunks are separately encoded videos, so can easily be swapped out, or concatted to. This also means that an ad-blocker could ignore specific chunks if they know which ones to ignore.”

YouTube has been experimenting with ways to thwart adblockers for a long time. Earlier this year they seemed to be experimenting with massive slowdowns for people using adblockers, though it’s unclear whether this was a YouTube action or a bug with a popular adblocker – both are equally as likely.

Then in April, they updated their terms of service in order to ban third-party apps that block ads. At all stages, YouTube has been keen to push YouTube Premium as the best way to get an ad-free experience, but it’s clear that adblockers will continue to attempt to counter each new technology they introduce.

Featured image credit: Generated by Ideogram

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Ali Rees
Tech journalist

Ali Rees is a freelance writer based in the UK. They have worked as a data and analytics consultant, a software tester, and a digital marketing and SEO specialist. They have been a keen gamer and tech enthusiast since their childhood in are currently the Gaming and Tech editor at Brig Newspaper. They also have a Substack where they review short video games. During the pandemic, Ali turned their hand to live streaming and is a fan of Twitch. When not writing, Ali enjoys playing video and board games, live music, and reading. They have two cats and both of…

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