Google is adding several new ‘sensitive ad categories’ to its Ad Settings hub to help users avoid advertisements they find objectionable on YouTube and across the Google Display network. The company first introduced the feature back in 2020, allowing users to restrict ads related to alcohol and gambling. That helped the vast majority of people who want to avoid content related to alcohol or gambling, but left out many others who wanted to see less ads related to other sensitive categories.

Originally founded in 2005, YouTube was bought by Google a year later. It has since become the largest crowdsourced video-streaming platform and the second-most visited site on the entire internet, right after Google itself. According to YouTube’s own data, the platform has more than two billion monthly users who collectively watch more than one billion hours of videos each day. The company already lets users block ads related to some objectionable categories, but the expansion of the policy will help users block out ads about other potentially uncomfortable or traumatic subjects.

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YouTube is expanding the number of ‘sensitive ad categories’ to let users further restrict what ads they see. The three new categories include dating, weight loss, and pregnancy and parenting. The option to restrict the aforementioned categories of ads will not only be available on YouTube, but across all of Google’s Display network, which the company claims is a group of “more than two million websites, videos, and apps.” According to a statement (via 9to5 Google) by Karin Hennessy, Google’s Group Product Manager for Ads Privacy, the new options will bring further transparency for users and offer them more control over their ads experience.

Easily Restrict Disturbing Ad Categories on YouTube

To restrict ads on YouTube and across the Google Display network, log into the Google Account, head to the Ad Settings page, and scroll down to ‘Sensitive ad categories on YouTube.’ Then pick the categories that need to be restricted and click on the ‘See fewer‘ button next to them. Do note that this will not reduce the overall number of ads, but will simply replace ads in the restricted categories with ads from other categories that are not necessarily objectionable or uncomfortable.

It is also worth noting that banishing certain ad categories will not get rid of all mentions of those products across all ads. As an example, Google pointed out that people choosing to restrict alcohol ads may still see alcoholic beverages in other ads, such as an airline ad featuring someone drinking champagne. What’s more, users might also see ads from restricted categories if they watch videos related to those topics. Still, the ability to restrict ads from objectionable or disturbing categories is a good thing, and Google says it will add more categories in the future, depending on user feedback.