TechYouTube tests sneaky new ad tech to beat ad blockers

YouTube tests sneaky new ad tech to beat ad blockers

YouTube is testing another type of advertisement
YouTube is testing another type of advertisement
Images source: © Getty Images | SOPA Images

1:37 PM EDT, June 13, 2024

YouTube is experimenting with new ad types that are unnoticeable to ad blockers. They are currently testing server-side ad insertion, which technically makes the ads indistinguishable from the actual video content.

YouTube has not widely publicized this issue; the first reports are from an unexpected source. According to 9to5Google, the problem recently surfaced for a developer of the SponsorBlock extension, which allows users to skip parts of videos marked as sponsored content. The extension cannot function properly with these injected ads because the timestamps are not adjusted according to the ad's length.

For most users, however, it's probably more important to know that ad injection has a different goal than disrupting (intentionally or not) the functionality of sponsored content skippers. The purpose of ads added to the video server-side is to be technically indistinguishable from other streaming elements and thereby unrecognizable and unblockable by ad blockers. YouTube has recently been particularly intensive in combating ad blockers.

Currently, server-side ad insertion is likely still in the testing phase. Once widely implemented, YouTube is expected to announce this change and use it as an opportunity to encourage users to subscribe to Premium or accept the ads, as that is the goal.

It is worth noting that long, non-skippable ads appear more frequently in YouTube videos, often at random points. Since last November, video creators have had limited control over ad configurations. YouTube introduced artificial intelligence into the process, handling the details so that creators can "focus on the videos."

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