As YouTube rolls out its premium YouTube Red subscription service this week, popular video game YouTuber PewDiePie has taken to Tumblr to shed some light on its possible genesis by pointing out that nearly half of his audience uses third-party software to block YouTube ads.
While this is chiefly interesting to anyone studying the evolving YouTuber ecosystem, it's also a good reminder that paying to advertise your game on YouTube and other popular websites may not be the most effective marketing strategy.
"YouTube Red exist[s] because using Adblock has actual consequences," wrote Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg, after conducting an informal Twitter poll suggesting that 40 percent of his audience uses the ad-blocking browser plugin on YouTube.
"It's a number that has grown a lot over the years, from roughly 15-20% when I started. And it's not unlikely that it will keep growing."
Kjellberg goes on to posit that people using Adblock are unlikely to pay Google $10/month for YouTube Red, which includes ad-free YouTube as one of its chief selling points. That hurts YouTube's bottom line, as well as the video creators (including game developers) with whom it splits revenue from ads and YouTube Red subscriptions.
Perversely, an uptick in the number of people blocking YouTube ads would seem to increase the value of having YouTubers actually play and talk about your game in their videos, reviving the question of whether or not it's ethical to pay for such coverage.