YouTube Finds a Way to Show Ads in Videos That Ad-blockers Cannot Bypass


Reports suggest that YouTube may have devised a method to display advertisements within videos that traditional ad-blocking tools struggle to circumvent. Allegedly, the Google-owned video platform is experimenting with server-side ads, integrated directly into the video content rather than being served separately.

This approach, disclosed by third-party ad-blocker browser extension developer SponsorBlock and reported by consumer tech news outlet 9To5Google, involves injecting ads directly into the video stream.

Unlike the conventional method where ads are delivered separately and intercepted by ad-blockers, server-side injection merges ads seamlessly into the video, rendering them undetectable to such tools. This innovation poses a significant challenge to ad-blocking software, potentially making advertisements indistinguishable from the video content itself.

As per SponsorBlock’s observations, the introduction of server-side injected ads alters the video timeline, causing disruptions to timestamps essential for creating chapter markers. Although still in the experimental phase, this technique has already impacted users reliant on browser extensions like Ublock for ad blocking. Some have reported encountering mid-video ads while using Ublock on the Firefox browser.

YouTube’s efforts to combat ad-blockers date back to last year, marked by pop-up messages urging users to disable ad-blocking tools to access content. Subsequently, the platform extended its crackdown to third-party ad-blocking apps earlier this year.

While YouTube has not officially acknowledged the testing of server-side ad injection, this method could prove instrumental in countering ad-blockers, especially as the platform emphasizes its premium subscription for an ad-free experience.