Making advertiser-friendly content
If you're interested in earning money from ads on YouTube, it's important to understand YouTube’s ads policies and how advertisers choose where their ads appear.
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 can be monetized?
YouTube has advertiser-friendly guidelines that address topics like violence, hateful content and profanity (just to name a few), that channels who want to monetize must adhere to. Check out this Help Center article for more details on what may not be suitable for brands. Note: Videos may be rejected for monetization depending on the nature of the video.
When uploading a video you want to monetize, there is a checkbox to tick that confirms the video adheres to advertiser-friendly guidelines. If you want to upload content that does not comply with the guidelines, you should turn off ads on individual videos. This option allows you to opt out of monetization for any videos that are not advertiser friendly while you remain in the YouTube Partner Program.
Once your video is uploaded, YouTube’s automated systems will review that your video is suitable for ads. If we find that your video is not suitable for all advertisers, you’ll see a yellow dollar sign next to it, 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.