YouTube Expands Monetization To Select Videos

YouTube has announced several updates to its Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines that it says will enable more content to become eligible for full monetization after listening to feedback from creators and marketers alike, the company said.

First, YouTube shared in a support page post that it will expand full monetization (which touts a green icon in YouTube Studio) to content that contains “violent interactions with law enforcement, recreational drugs and drug-related content, or sensitive events” — though only when those videos are being used for the purposes of education, news, or documentaries. Previously, these types of videos were not eligible for full monetization.

Furthermore, YouTube also said it is expanding monetization to content “where non-graphic, objective discussions of controversial issues are in the video.”

Next, in the realms of sex and profanity, YouTube said it will allow monetization on videos that discuss adult themes when “delivered through the context of humor” (such as romance or dating jokes) as well as on videos that feature the usage of moderate profanity — including the words ‘sh-t’ and ‘b-tch’ in the first 30 seconds of a video. Before, using profanity in the first 30 seconds of a video could result in demonetization.

Finally, YouTube says that it has added more examples to its Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines in the ‘Adult Content‘, ‘Harmful Or Dangerous Acts’, and ‘Firearms-Related Content‘ sections to clarify its evolving policies.

YouTube first furnished a rare and robust window into its these monetization guidelines last June, as an update to its Self-Certification program, which helps the platform make decisions about monetization faster and with greater accuracy by having creators rate the ad-friendliness of their own videos. The publication of these guidelines marked its biggest bid for transparency since the 2017 Adpocalypse sparked ongoing conversations about ad eligibility.

“This is the first time that any content-centered platform has been this transparent,” YouTube ads policy manager Conor Kavanagh said at the time, noting that the policies would continue to evolve. “We’re going all in on transparency, and really this is only going to be the beginning of the publication of these guidelines.”

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Education; music; humorous statements or references to drugs or drug paraphernalia that do not glorify drugs; drugs in a music video.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Talk about drugs or drug paraphernalia in the context of science, such as the scientific effects of drug use.
  • Talking about drugs where the intent is not to promote or glorify drug use, such as a personal story about the opioid crisis.
  • Focus on drug busts or drug trafficking in the context of news content, but without visible use or distribution.
  • Music videos with fleeting depictions of drugs.
  • Focus on drug purchase, manufacturing or distribution, such as home opioid manufacturing, news reports on cannabis farms.

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Content that focuses on the visualization or effects of drug use; or the creation or distribution of drugs or drug paraphernalia in a comedic, non-educational or non-documentary context.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Dramatized content depicting recreational drug use.
  • Music videos with focal drug depiction.
  • Drug use in a news report without glorification or promotion.

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Content that depicts or discusses the abuse, purchase, manufacture, sale or discovery of drugs or drug paraphernalia in graphic detail.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Promotion or glorification of recreational drugs.
  • Advice or recommendations about drug use.
  • Focusing on the recreational drug industry, such as cannabis coffee shops, paraphernalia stores or cannabis grow shops.
  • Provide practical guides on use (including consumption and effects), purchase, manufacturing and/or distribution of drugs, i.e. how to find a dealer or the best places to get high.

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