YouTube is changing the way some ads are shown on videos very soon with the removal of “Overlay ads” from content starting April 6.

“Overlay ads” are banner-style pop-up ads that often disrupt or obscure currently playing content on YouTube for desktop or browser. The company confirmed the decision in a YouTube Help Forum post where the choice was confirmed as the “legacy ad format” has been determined as “disruptive for viewers.” It’s worth noting that the option has long since been unavailable on the mobile platform in favor of pre-, mid-, and post-roll ad formats that often can be skipped.

YouTube 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. 

The video platform has also stated that the removal of overlay ads option will have a “limited impact” on YouTube Creators. To combat this, there will be a shift toward “other ad formats,” but no details were shared on what these will constitute. Given that desktop platforms are the only place in which “Overlay ads” are shown, this may make up a smaller proportion of ads shown on eligible monetized content.

From April 6, 2023, you will no longer be able to activate or add “Overlay ads” from within YouTube Studio when accessing monetization options. Just what Google is planning to replace these pop-up ads with is unclear, but “other ad formats” could include the recent “Product Tagging” feature, which allows creators to tag products used or featured within videos.

Making this change will no doubt benefit viewers on desktop as intrusive elements will no longer obscure or clash with video content. Selected ad-blocking plugins are already capable of blocking such content, and it remains to be seen just how this might be replaced.

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Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email: