Making advertiser-friendly content
Creators, viewers, and advertisers on YouTube
YouTube is a platform with a wide range of communities, and it’s also an ecosystem that serves creators, viewers, and advertisers. You can build a dedicated audience without ever enabling monetization or glancing at our Advertiser-friendly content guidelines. But if you would like to earn money from advertising, it is important to set yourself up to succeed by understanding YouTube’s ads policies and how advertisers choose where their ads appear on YouTube. Every brand is different, and some have different views on the kind of content they are comfortable appearing alongside. By understanding how advertisers think about these issues, you can make informed decisions about your content and how much (if at all) you wish to take that into account when creating content.
What is important to advertisers?
Advertisers want to reach the right audience, but they also care about how they reach that audience and where their ad appears. They use topics, specific keywords, and audience demographics, among other things, to decide where to place their ads. YouTube helps them identify the right place for their ads to appear by looking at your video content, thumbnails, and metadata (title, description, and tags).
What content is not suitable for advertising?
Some videos may be rejected for monetization depending on the nature of the video. Content that is considered "not advertiser-friendly" includes, but is not limited to:
- Controversial issues and sensitive events: Video content that features or focuses on sensitive topics or events including, but not limited to, war, political conflicts, terrorism or extremism, death and tragedies, sexual abuse, even if graphic imagery is not shown.
- Drugs and dangerous products of substances: Video content that promotes or features the sale, use, or abuse of illegal drugs, regulated drugs or substances, or other dangerous products, is not eligible for advertising.
- Harmful or dangerous acts: Video content that promotes harmful or dangerous acts that result in serious physical, emotional, or psychological injury is not eligible for advertising.
- Hateful content: Video content that promotes discrimination or disparages or humiliates an individual or group of people on the basis of the individual’s or group’s race, ethnicity, or ethnic origin, nationality, religion, disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization is not eligible for advertising. Content that is satire or comedy may be exempt; however, simply stating your comedic intent is not sufficient and that content may still not be eligible for advertising.
- Inappropriate language: Video content that contains frequent uses of strong profanity or vulgarity throughout the video may not be eligible for advertising. Occasional use of profanity won’t necessarily result in your video being ineligible for advertising, but context matters.
- Inappropriate use of family entertainment characters: Videos depicting family entertainment characters or content, whether animated or live action, engaged in violent, sexual, vile, or otherwise inappropriate behavior, even if done for comedic or satirical purposes, are not eligible for advertising.
- Incendiary and demeaning: Video content that is gratuitously incendiary, inflammatory, or demeaning may not be eligible for advertising. For example, video content that shames or insults an individual or group may not be eligible for advertising.
- Sexually suggestive content: Video content that features highly sexualized content, such as video content where the focal point is nudity, body parts or sexual simulations, is not eligible for advertising. Content that features sex toys, sexual devices, or explicit conversation about sex may also not be eligible for advertising, with limited exceptions for non-graphic sexual education videos.
- Violence: Video content where the focal point is on blood, violence, or injury, when presented without additional context, is not eligible for advertising. Violence in the normal course of video gameplay is generally acceptable for advertising, but montages where gratuitous violence is the focal point is not. If you're showing violent content in a news, educational, artistic, or documentary context, that additional context is important.
Review YouTube’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines for more details on what may not be suitable for all brands.
A video with a yellow dollar sign next to it means that the video may not be suitable for most advertisers, and therefore may see limited or no ads. YouTube Red earnings are not impacted. If you believe that your content is suitable for all advertisers, you may be able to request a review.
If you see a dollar sign with a strike through it next to your video, it may have a third-party claim or we believe that it violates our monetization policies. These videos cannot earn revenue (including via YouTube Red).
How can you help your content monetize better?
Even if a video is approved for monetization, some advertisers may choose not to show their ads on particular content types that don’t match their brand, especially content that deals with controversial or challenging subject areas. For example, advertisers often choose to exclude these types of content from their campaigns:
- Sensitive social issues: Discrimination and identity relations, scandals and investigations, reproductive rights, firearms and weapons, and more.
- Tragedy and conflict: Obituaries, bereavement services, violence, war, missing persons, and more.
- Sensational and shocking: Content that creates shock value, including sensational, gross, and crude content.
Some advertisers may also choose to avoid content that features:
- Profanity and rough language: Moderate or heavy use of profane language and curse words.
- Sexually suggestive content: Provocative pictures, text, and more.
If you want to maximize your potential to appeal to a broad range of advertisers, consider the following:
- Keep profanity to a minimum - Consider limiting or bleeping out profanity.
- Review your content mix - Balance videos that deal with more mature topics with others that might focus on more widely appealing topics.
- Put on your advertiser hat - Think about what type of advertiser would be comfortable showing up alongside your content.
Thumbnails should accurately represent the content and be enticing to potential viewers, but you may also want to think about thumbnails in the context of whether many brands would be comfortable showing up alongside them. For example, thumbnails that are shocking or overly graphic can also cause some advertisers to exclude that content from a particular campaign.
To ensure advertisers are comfortable with your thumbnails:
- Choose accurate thumbnails - Thumbnails should, first and foremost, be an accurate depiction of the content of your video
- Avoid sexually suggestive, graphic, or shocking - Shocking, graphic, or sexually suggestive thumbnails - even if the video itself is not - may result in certain brands choosing to not advertise against that particular video.
- Appeal to a broad audience - Choose a thumbnail that you think accurately reflects your video but still appeals to the broadest audience. If it does, it will may appeal to a broad set of brands as well.
Metadata: titles, descriptions, and tags
Advertisers can choose to target videos that contain particular terms and keywords in their titles, descriptions, or tags, in order to reach the audiences they value.
Advertisers can also use terms and keywords to opt-out of content that doesn’t align to their brand as well. For example, videos that contain profane, controversial, or sexually suggestive terms (even if they are being used in a comedic, ironic, or otherwise non-offensive context) can result in some advertisers excluding your video from their campaigns. Advertisers also sometimes opt out of keywords that are not controversial, but in their own may not align with their brand or advertising campaign goals.
Tips to ensure advertisers are comfortable with your metadata:
- Make accurate titles, tags, and descriptions - Most importantly, metadata should accurately describe the content of your video
- Every word matters - Videos that contain profane, controversial, or sexually suggestive terms can result in some advertisers excluding your video from their campaigns.
- Words can be taken out of context - Advertisers will often opt out of certain words or phrases - consider how your titles, tags, and descriptions can be interpreted.
As a creator on YouTube, you should always exercise your freedom of expression. However, if you want to ensure your content attracts advertisers, keep in mind the above best practices and our Advertiser-friendly content guidelines as you create your content.