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YouTube Removing Desktop Overlay Ads

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Support for the overlay ad format will be ending in April.

For many years, video-sharing platform YouTube has utilized two in-video ad formats: video ad breaks, and ad overlays. The latter periodically brings up a pop-up ad on the bottom of the YouTube video player, though it has mostly fallen out of disuse in recent years in favor of normal ad breaks. For this reason, and in the interest of improving user viewing, YouTube is doing away with overlay ads entirely.

YouTube announced in a post on its help forum that the overlay ad format is being officially retired in an effort to improve viewing and shift attention to other ad formats. This change will only affect the desktop version of YouTube, as the mobile and streaming player versions never used overlay ads.

“Starting on April 6th, 2023, the “Overlay ads” ad format will no longer appear on YouTube to help improve the viewer experience and shift engagement to higher performing ad formats on desktop and mobile devices. Overlay ads are a legacy ad format that only served on desktop and are disruptive for viewers. We expect to see limited impact for most Creators as engagement shifts to other ad formats.”

Once the change goes into effect, the overlay ads option will be removed from YouTube Studios’ monetization options, preventing creators from enabling it. It is unclear if YouTube will replace overlay ads with a different format, and what kind of format they would use if they did.