How Do You Report Ads on YouTube?

Learn to report inappropriate or unwanted ads on YouTube in just a few simple steps.

Navigating through the sea of content on YouTube, you may occasionally encounter ads that are inappropriate or simply unwanted. Reporting such ads is vital to maintaining the platform’s quality and ensuring a pleasant viewing experience for all users. YouTube has a straightforward process for this, which allows you to report ads that violate its policies or don’t align with your interests.

Through this guide, you will learn the easy steps to report ads on YouTube, from identifying the offending ad to submitting the report. This functionality empowers you, as a user, to contribute to the health and integrity of the YouTube community. Follow along to understand how you can play a part in this.


How Do You Report Ads on YouTube?

Reporting inappropriate ads on YouTube is important for keeping the platform a safe and enjoyable space for everyone. Here’s how you can do it.


On desktop

  • Identify the ad:
    Make sure it’s a Google ad and not just sponsored content within the video itself. Google ads will usually have an “i” icon in the corner or “AdChoices” text with an “X” icon. Click the “i” icon or “AdChoices” text. This will open a menu with options to report the ad or learn more about why you’re seeing it.
  • Select “Report ad”:
    This will open a reporting form where you can choose a reason for reporting the ad.
  • Choose your reason:
    You can select from various options like misleading, offensive, sexually suggestive, etc. If unsure, “Repetitive or irrelevant” is a good catch-all.
  • Provide additional details (optional):
    If you have specific concerns about the ad, you can provide more information in the text box.
  • Click “Submit.”:
    Your report will be sent to Google for review.


On mobile

Tap the three dots in the bottom right corner of the ad. This will open a menu with options to stop seeing the ad or report it.

Select “Report ad”:

  • This will open a reporting form similar to the one on the desktop.
  • Follow steps 4-6 above to choose your reason, provide details, and submit the report.

Here’s a quick summary of when you can report ads:


  • During the ad:
    You can report an ad directly while it’s playing by clicking the “i” icon or “AdChoices” text, then selecting “Report ad”.
  • After the ad:
    If you miss the opportunity to report during the ad itself, you can still report it afterwards. On the desktop, click the three dots next to the video title and select “Report”. On mobile, tap the three dots in the video player and then “Report”.


Under what reasons can I report an ad?

You can report a YouTube ad for various reasons, categorized into main areas:


1. Inappropriate Content

  • Misleading:
    The ad contains false or misleading information about the product or service.
  • Offensive:
    The ad is offensive or harmful, including hate speech, discrimination, or violence.
  • Sexually suggestive:
    The ad has inappropriate sexual content or exploits, harms, or endangers children.
  • Dangerous or harmful:
    The ad promotes dangerous activities or products.
  • Spam or deceptive practices:
    The ad is a scam or attempts to deceive viewers.


2. Technical Issues

  • Repetitive or irrelevant:
    You keep seeing the same ad repeatedly, or it needs to be more relevant to your interests.
  • Technical problems:
    The ad has technical issues like glitches, audio problems, or visual distortions.

Privacy concerns:
The ad seems to violate your privacy or collect data without your consent.


3. Other

  • Illegal activity:
    The ad promotes illegal activities.
  • Impersonation:
    The ad impersonates a brand or person without authorization.
  • Other:
    If your reason doesn’t fall into any of the above categories, you can choose “Other” and explain your concerns in the reporting form.


What happens with advertiser when I report their ad?

When you report an ad on YouTube, the advertiser goes through a series of steps depending on the reason for your report and the outcome of the review process. Here’s a breakdown of what typically happens:


A) Review process

  1. Your report is submitted:
    When you report an ad, it’s sent to a team of Google reviewers who specialize in ad policy compliance.
  2. Review and investigation:
    The reviewers will analyze the ad against YouTube’s advertising policies and consider your specific reason for reporting. They may also gather additional information, such as the context in which the ad was shown or user feedback on similar ads.
  3. Decision:
    Based on their investigation, the reviewers will decide whether the ad violates any policies. There are three main outcomes:
  • No violation:
    If the ad doesn’t violate any policies, it will continue to run.
  • Minor violation:
    If the ad has a minor policy violation, like inaccurate information or repetitive appearance, it may be adjusted or restricted in how it’s shown (e.g., limited to certain audiences or times).
  • Major violation:
    If the ad has a major policy violation, like offensive content or misleading claims, it will be removed from YouTube.


B) Consequences for the advertiser

  1. Notification:
    Depending on the severity of the violation, the advertiser might receive a notification informing them of the issue and any actions taken.
  2. Account suspension:
    In severe cases or repeated violations, the advertiser’s account might be suspended or even terminated.
  3. Financial impact:
    If the ad was removed due to misleading claims or spam, the advertiser might lose the ad spend associated with that campaign.
  4. Reputation damage
    Reporting an ad is a public action, and if others discover the violation, it can damage the advertiser’s reputation.


C) Transparency and feedback
While you, as the reporter, will not receive individual updates on the specific outcome of your report, Google aims to maintain transparency with advertisers. They may provide explanations for why an ad was taken down or how it was modified.
Advertisers can also appeal the decision if they disagree with the outcome of the review.


D) Additional tips:

You can also report ads directly from the YouTube Help Center.

If you’re concerned about an ad, but it doesn’t violate any specific policies, you can choose “Stop seeing this ad” instead of reporting it. This will tell Google that you don’t want to see that ad again.

Remember, reporting ads is just one way to help keep YouTube a safe and positive environment. You can also help by flagging videos that are inappropriate or harmful.