YouTube Announces Updated Monetization Guidelines, New Analytics Tools in the Mobile App

YouTube has announced an update to its Advertiser Friendly Guidelines which dictate what content is eligible for monetization in the app.

Creators have often expressed frustration at YouTube’s regulations on this front, and the various changes in policy and approach, as it can immediately cut them off from monetization opportunities if a video falls foul of the rules.

The guidelines essentially cover illegal and offensive content, but in terms of specific changes, YouTube is updating these elements:

  • Adult content – Video thumbnails containing adult links, bad language and adult material will not be eligible for monetization.
  • Violence – Content showing dead bodies without context, game violence directed at real people and ‘videos showing an implied moment of death’ will not be eligible for ad revenue. YouTube will also demonetize acts that are created ‘to intentionally shock and disgust’ within the context of violent acts.
  • Harmful or dangerous acts – Dangerous acts or stunts featuring minors as participants or victims may not receive ad revenue. This is an important focus given the rise in child deaths as a result of participating in dangerous online challenges.
  • Inappropriate language – YouTube says that all varieties of profanity will now treated equally, and will not be differentiated based on levels of severity – though YouTube does also note that it’s not treating words like ‘hell,’ and ‘damn’ as profanity anymore. Though this is a little weird: ‘Content where profanity is used AFTER the first 8 seconds may receive ad revenue. However, if profanity is used in the first 8 seconds of the video, then it will not monetize.’ Right.
  • Drug-related content – In addition to the existing rules around the display and discussion of illegal drugs, drug use and/or mentions of drugs in gaming content will now also trigger de-monetization. 
  • Enabling dishonest behavior – This is a new guideline designed to tackle the rising spate of prank videos where people impersonate store employees. YouTube says that pretending to be a retail store employee without the property owner’s permission will now also trigger demonetization. Another aspect within this category is cheating in video games, with the use of hacking software in competitive e-sports now also against the rules. 

As you can see, YouTube’s guidelines are evolving in line with shifting creator behaviors and activities – though some, at least to my reading, still seem a little confusing, and are likely to cause angst among some creators.

Like, the no profanity in the first 8 seconds one – that seems a little bizarre, but the idea is that if profanity isn’t the focus of the entire clip, then it’s more acceptable to ad partners.

Here’s an overview of YouTube’s ad guidelines around profanity.

YouTube profanity guidelines

Crystal clear, right? Anyway, that’s what the rules state.

On a separate front, YouTube has also announced that it’s rolling out a mobile version of Research in Analytics on the Studio mobile app, which will include additional features not available on the desktop version.

“Creators with early access to this mobile version will see insights like top searches on YouTube, content gaps, and watch activity for topics based on their audience’s interests. To start, the insights will be limited to activity from U.S.-based viewers.”

YouTube rolled out Search Insights on desktop back in April, and this expansion will bring the mobile version largely into line, along with, as YouTube notes, some additional analytics tools to help maximize your video performance.

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