Is a Macro That Handles YouTube Ads Possible?


#1

I'd like use a macro that automatically closes or otherwise deals with Youtube ads.

There are two types, pre-roll and banner. The pre-roll is an ad that begins playing in front of a video for at least four seconds. When the four seconds are up, Youtube posts a "skip ad" button, which I'd like the macro to auto detect and click. When clicked, the remainder of the ad is abandoned and the video starts.There are some ads which go a variable number of seconds, typically 30, before the video starts and the 'skip ad' button is never posted; once the ad runs, the video starts at its end. The macro can ignore that kind.

The banner ad is posted atop of a video once it's playing. The banner ad contains a small square icon with an X in it in the ad's upper right corner, which, when clicked, makes the ad vanish. I'd like the macro to auto detect the X whenever it's posted by Youtube (it isn't always) and auto click it.

I understand how to prepare and use a "Move and Click from the Centre of the Found Image" action for each of these types, but the problem I'm having is figuring out how to trigger the macro to search for the ad types only when a Safari window's URL search box contains the "https://www.youtube.com.com" portion of a URL. That's because I don't particularly want the macro running the entire time I'm working in Safari on non-Youtube windows, which is most of the time. Ideally the macro would start searching for the X or the Skip Ad buttons whenever it detects a Youtube window is Safari's front window, and automatically stops watching the page when I move to a window with some non-Youtube URL. If it's not possible to create that trigger, and I'm not sure how it would go back to watching the page at the end. Aany suggestions for accomplish the concept would be welcome.

The two type of ads don't seem to appear at the same time. Normally, it's the Skip Ad button that appears firs, and it sticks around until it's clicked (manually, at the moment), followed by the banner X ad, which only appears a few seconds after the video begins. It stays up, usually, for most of the video unless the X is manually clicked.

I'm guessing it might be helpful for KM to have a trigger action that activates when a URL contains some variable text, but I didn't see anything in the list of triggers where that might be accomplished at the moment, unless there's a work-around with another type of trigger action.


#2

Not the subject of your question but why don't you use an ad blocker?


#3

Ad blockers have problematic side effects, as well as, for me, ethical ones.

I was a publisher for decades before I retired a few years ago. I know the genuine value of advertising to support businesses large and small which offer good content, but I’ve also seen the corruption of the business models that once worked fine by using an underlying respect for the audience and content in the last few years.

Largely, the voracious greed of those now in the ad business has swamped those models, so I understand the constant arms race between ad blockers and advertisers.

In any event, I’m trying to use KM to be judious about removing personal ad annoyances on YouTube, rather than be wholesale about it.


#4

I was going to post a new topic showing how to do this, but when I saw your 9 month old question I decided to post my solution here instead. I don't think it solves the problem exactly the way you intended (i.e., it doesn't check URLs) it but I think it gets exactly the results that you want. The reason I use two searches for the "Skip AD" image is that the Skip Ad button is translucent and I got much better results with two searches. I did not post the actual code because the bitmap images may not work on your screen since my monitor probably has a different resolution than any of yours, therefore my code wouldn't work on your computer. My only regret is that sometimes when a commercial pops up I'm actually enjoying the commercial (ads are getting more compelling lately) and the ad disappears too quickly now. :slight_smile:

Hopefully you understand why I'm forcing you to retype the code. Because you need to generate your own bitmaps for the searches.

I find that my code detects Skip Ad correctly about 99% of the time, but it has a lower success rate at detecting the banner X ads because there are actually many types of X's and this code doesn't seem to detect them all.

P.S. I had trouble writing this message because my macro was running and tried clicking on the parts of this message containing the SKIP AD image which was messing me up. :smile:


#5

Hey, thanks, Sleepy!!
And, yes, I understand why your "forcing" (LOL) me to retype the code...
I'll try it out shortly and keep you apprised.
Cool!


#6

Thanks. It works very well for me (although the banner ad portion needs some work). But I confess that I disable the macro when I'm not watching Youtube videos. I hadn't thought of your idea to check the URL first to see if it's Youtube. There's probably a way to do it, but if I can't figure it out, I'd just use a dirty trick to achieve that goal (which is to look for a bitmap to see if the user is on Youtube.com). Nevertheless the trick involves continual checking, so as long as we have to continually check for something, it might as well be for the SKIP AD graphic. I don't see any benefit to continually checking for the YouTube URL. This macro would be cleaner and clearer if Keyboard Maestro supported variables or arrays of bitmaps, but it doesn't.


#7

I like this solution and if I may, I would like to offer one suggestion. If the skip button is visible but not in a condition to click, click the mute button. Then, when the skip button is visible and can be clicked, unmute the video.

I was going to suggest my solution, to use a downloader for those videos I want to watch without all the annoying adds. For a time I was doing that when I had to switch back to my MacBook pro as it had a less powerful sound card than my now dead iMac had. Playing a video in VLC is always a better sound volume than what is on the YouTube video.

Of course, this is an incomplete solution as many vids you want to check out but not download. This posted solution is one I will try.


#8

Your ideas are welcome. However when the word SKIP appears it is always clickable. There is a small box that appears with a countdown from 5 to 1 that a human could use to infer it's a commercial, but it wouldn't be easy with KM. You're probably thinking about how it used to work, but it changed months ago.

As for downloading videos, that would probably work but it really slows down your ability to watch videos, as you suggest in para #3, so I wouldn't do it that way. And by the way, you don't need a downloader if you use Firefox. As far as I've been able to determine, Firefox is the only browser among the big three that has this ability. This is important to me as I don't trust most addons. I used to be able to do it in Safari but I think that ability was removed (and it wasn't easy at all.)


#9

If I remember correctly, you only have to put in the letters "SS"before "youtube". Yep, just tested this with Safari. Works great. I stopped using this method after I picked up a license for Mac VideoRipper Pro a while back. It hasn’t let me down and makes downloads easier.


#10

I'll skip on the addons which require the SS because you don't need them if you use Firefox. Oh, and Firefox's download ability is free, no license required.


#11

I am not aware of any add ons to do this. SS is just a method that works in any browser without any add ons - as far as I know. Safari is free also. Not knocking Firefox, I also use Firefox. Just saying ...


#12

Today I noticed that Youtube changed it's Ad graphic from "Skip Ad" to "Skip Ads". This may cause the macro above to fail. They made other minor changes too. Eg, today is the first time I've ever seen two 30 second ads at the beginning of a Youtube video, which explains the difference in wording. So this macro is already a little out of date. It's easy to fix, but it will always be a cat and mouse game. I could add more smarts to this macro but only when I'm feeling in the mood. I posted the macro above mainly as an educational example, not as a perfect solution.