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YouTube content guidelines & Monetization: What You Need to Know


YouTube Ads / September 07, 2016

The YouTube community has been abuzz with a lot of the top creators getting their videos delisted for monetization and they’re complaining that YouTube has not adequately explained why they’ve done this. Understandably, people are frustrated and feeling as if they’ve been left in the dark.

Philip DeFranco was the first to raise the red flag with his video: YouTube Is Shutting Down My Channel and I’m Not Sure What To Do.


Another popular creator, h3h3 has gone so far as to make a video: Why Doesn’t YouTube Explain Anything?!


In it, Ethan shares an anecdote about a reaction video they made 2 years ago. Oddly, it made one tenth of what one of their average videos generate in revenue. Months later, YouTube finally told him that the tags he used were what resulted in the reduced revenue. These tags included “porn”, “blowjobs” and other related sexual terms.

So what’s going on? Why all the rage?

YouTube updated its enforcement notification system for Advertiser-friendly content guidelines. Their enforcement has hit some of the more popular YouTube creators who also tend to be pretty good at sensationalizing stories. As a result of this, a lot of people are whining and complaining about YouTube being “oh so evil” when they’re just doing the thing they’ve always done: make things work for the advertisers who ultimately end up paying the creators through Google’s monetization scheme through AdWords and AdSense.

Ultimately, Google needs to help advertisers be assured that their brand safety guidelines are being met. For example, an automotive company doesn’t want their ad to be seen next to a story about a car crash that resulted in people dieing. It’s just in bad taste.

So to help add some clarity, we’ve summarized the main exclusions settings advertisers have at their disposal. We hope that this can help dispel the myth that YouTube is in some way punishing content creators who make entertaining and engaging videos.

Sensitive content options (display ads)

  • Crime, police, and emergency: Police blotters, news stories on fires, emergency services resources, and more.
  • Death and tragedy: Obituaries, bereavement services, accounts of natural disasters, accidents, and more.
  • Military and international conflict: News about war, terrorism, sensitive international relations, and more.
  • Juvenile, gross, and bizarre content: Jokes, weird pictures, videos of stunts, and more.
  • Profanity and rough language: Moderate or heavy use of profane language, and more.
  • Sexually suggestive content: Provocative pictures, text, and more.

Sensitive subjects (video ads only)

  • 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.

Digital content labels

  • DL-G: Content suitable for general audiences.
  • DL-PG: Content suitable for most audiences with parental guidance.
  • DL-T: Content suitable for teen and older audiences.
  • DL-MA: Content suitable only for mature audiences.
  • Not yet labeled: Content that has not been labeled.

At the end of the day, advertisers need to be confident that their ads won’t be in put in awkward or otherwise unfortunate situations like an add for Lorde’s Pure Heroine album in an announcement that Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroin overdose.

Please note and beware that some of the examples below are shocking and are not meant to be showcased in a humorous way but to highlight the risks for brands and YouTube. These examples highlight why YouTube and advertisers take editorial policies seriously.


Or any of these…

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Hope this helps!

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