YouTube is the second most visited site, right after Google. With so much traffic flowing in, a creator undoubtedly wants to cash in on it. But navigating through YouTube’s treacherous demonetization policies is tricky – one wrong move, and you’re out. All your efforts of gaining thousands of subscribers, getting sponsorship deals, and racking up ideas for videos will become moot if you get demonetized.
Demonetization denies the creators their rightful pay if they do not adhere to the community guidelines under YouTube’s partner program. And it is not just limited to small YouTubers. Prominent creators like Mr. Beast, Logan Paul, and James Charles were also hit several times by it.
So, how do you navigate through YouTube’s policies and avoid demonetization? What type of content should you stay away from? Are there any other alternatives to YouTube ad revenue? Let us find answers to these questions one by one and understand how you can be a suitable pariah of YouTube!
What Does Demonetized Mean on YouTube?
Demonetization is a process in which the YouTube algorithm deems your video as not user-friendly and stops running ads on it. This is mainly because its advertising partners do not wish to be associated with such content in case it sends a wrong message to their patrons.
While being demonetized does not mean your video will be taken down; it’ll just stop the ads and, effectively, the revenue. Sometimes, the brands may even want to stop showing ads on your channel altogether.
These stringent policies were established after the YouTube Adpocalypse of 2017 and 2019. Under it several brands pulled out of the platform due to unsavory content. They even boycotted prominent YouTubers like Logan Paul and PewDiePie, who generated millions of views.
In order to avoid any such circumstances, YouTube came up with an advertiser-friendly guideline that greatly favored them but cut the revenue for most of the creators.
Why Is YouTube Demonetizing Videos In The First Place?
Ad revenues are the most significant source of revenue for some YouTubers and have allowed several small creators to flourish. YouTube gets revenue from its advertisers by placing their ads in videos made by content creators, banners, or overlays. However, the advertisers do not allow placing ads in just any videos – only user-friendly videos that sit right with them.
The type of content that does not qualify for ad revenue includes:
- Adult content like pornography or nudity.
- Inappropriate messages inciting violence.
- Instigates harm.
- Hate speech.
- Unsavory political views.
- Controversial issues.
How to Tell If a YouTube Video Is Demonetized?
YouTube typically takes less than an hour to show the monetization status of your video. The process takes a while since the platforms take time to review and decide whether it is suitable for displaying ads.
It can be one of the seven icons that display whether it passed the check or not and what amount of revenue you’ll be getting.
If your video shows the red icon like the picture below, then the video has been demonetized entirely and won’t generate any revenue.
How to Check a Video’s Monetization Status:
To check your video’s monetization status-
- Open the YouTube Studio of your channel by going to the YouTube app and clicking the profile icon.
- From the left navigation bar, select Content.
- Type the name of your video from the search bar and find the video in question.
- The monetization status will be indicated on the right side through the abovementioned icons.
How does YouTube’s Algorithm Impacts Demonetization?
For many YouTubers, demonetization occurs only after several warnings. A video is determined to have violated the guidelines through the reviews of human specialists and AI checkers. If your video triggers them, you won’t get demonetized right away. It’ll happen in these three steps:
- Content removal and notification – If your video goes against guidelines, YouTube will first remove the video and then send you a notification. If this is the first time, simply consider it a warning with no penalties.
- Strike one – After the initial warning, YouTube will issue a Community Guidelines strike that imposes temporary restrictions on the channel. The limits can range from stopping new videos from uploading and being disallowed to host lines to posting stories for a week.
- Strikes two and three – If, after strike one, the channel violates the community guidelines within 90 days, the platform issues a second strike. Receiving a third strike would mean termination of the channel.
As evident, YouTube is quite strict with its policies. And while the algorithm is fickle, it is best to maintain the basic rules it expects you to follow. If you unknowingly violate the guidelines, issuing a report is always an option. But till then, it is best to avoid specific themes and follow certain unwritten rules.
How to Avoid Getting Demonetized On YouTube?
If you want to skirt YouTube’s demonetization policy and keep your ad revenue intact, follow the given ways.
1. Post Diverse Content
Adsense policies state that one of the critical requirements to garner revenue and avoid demonetization is posting diverse content without repeating whatever has been posted. This implies that you should avoid non-distinguishable content that resembles other videos. The diversity should arise from the background audio to the topics.
However, this certainly doesn’t mean you cannot explore a single topic in-depth. Multiple videos discussing the same topic can be made, but they should be different in terms of actual content.
For example, you can make a series called different eyeliner styles. Each video will discuss the same topic but with varying information. You cannot mass post the same content repeatedly to simply the number of videos your channel hosts.
All in all, just make sure that the content:
- Isn’t mass-produced.
- Doesn’t follow a set template.
2. Adds Value to Repurposed Content
Simply reposting another creator’s content, music, image, or video clips could lead to a copyright claim from the original owner. You’ll receive a notice stating that there has been a breach of copyright and your video might be demonetized or partially monetized.
Total demonetization is common for videos reposted without adding value, like reposting an artist’s music video. You can make a reaction video with some added commentary or musical score. YouTube won’t flag these videos down, and you might be eligible for some monetary compensation (the original creator might demand partial reimbursement).
You can make repost content until:
- A small clip for critical review.
- Adding commentary.
- Editing footage of other creators together and adding an original storyline.
3. Avoid Spams
YouTube wants to create a positive experience for all users whenever they log in to promote high user retention. But it won’t be possible if they are bombarded with spammy comments and deceptive videos. So, if you ever post content that misleads or scams, your video will get demonetized.
So, if you want to keep the steady flow of revenue alight, don’t:
- Post content about making a quick buck.
- Link websites that take viewers to harmful sites.
- Use clickbaity thumbnail, title, or description.
- Sell comments, views, or subscribers. Avoid Sub for Sub.
- Draw them towards false pyramid schemes or similar promotions.
- Post the same comment across different videos.
- Live stream copyrighted content.
4. No Hate Speech
YouTube has a strict policy against hate speech or anything that can incite violence and trigger people. So, if you want to keep generating revenue, avoid speaking offensive things. Forget about demonetization; YouTube might even ban the channel.
However, evading it should be pretty straightforward – do not discriminate against another person or group based on age, sexuality, gender, disabilities, religion, or social status. Here’s what you shouldn’t say:
5. Minimal Use of Profanity
Saying some particular words can also get your videos demonetized. While YouTube doesn’t mind mild profanities like “hell” or “damn,” the problem arises when the slurs get vulgar and hurts someone’s sentiments. Words like “b*tch,” “f*ck,” “ni**er,” or “fa**ot” will get you in trouble.
You should strictly avoid them under any circumstances. Misspelling or using stars and adding them to the title and description is still against the rules and will make you lose money. However, if you were making some reaction videos and couldn’t help but record them, just bleep them out during editing.
6. No Dangerous or Illegal Activities
It is strictly against YouTube’s policy to show body harm, ghastly injuries, or death. These are disturbing to watch and can cause demonetization even with trigger warnings.
One of the infamous incidents of a video with a dangerous theme was Logan Paul’s “Suicide Forest.” He showcased a dead body hanging from a tree and later was seen tasering dead rats. This caused a mass agitation against his content and led to YouTube demonetizing his entire channel.
Besides these themes, posting videos about illegal activities is also prohibited. You should avoid showing:
- Drugs (W*ed and even tobacco)
- Criminal activities
7. Use Royalty Free Music
Music copyright is one of the most debated topics of YouTube. Content creators often complain about copyright infringement notices with even the slightest use and the lengthy procedure of procuring usage rights. In contrast, the owners complain about creators getting money for their work.
Some of the biggest YouTubers like Mr. Beast and James Charles have been struck down by it after using only some seconds of a song in their videos.
It is a long-standing debate with complications along the way which are best avoided. So, if you really want music on your video, try using copyright-free music provided by YouTube. They’re royalty-free and won’t strike your video down. You can find them on YouTube’s music library.
8. Don’t Cyberbully
Cyberbullying is a significant issue that plagues the American audience, and YouTube takes it very seriously. Threatening or name-calling people is considered harassment on this platform and can cause demonetization.
So, if you want to avoid demonetization, don’t:
- Say racial slurs or write them in the comments.
- Threaten people even if you’re not serious.
- Post any content that makes fun of a minor.
9. Safe for Young Viewers
YouTube is very particular about child safety and removes any or all content that can promote harm to the younger audience. Many kids below 13 years end up on YouTube even if they’re not supposed to.
So, YouTube makes an effort to keep the following content away from the platform:
- Sexual content featuring minors.
- Harmful activities show violence against children.
- Videos that show parental harm or minors’ coercion.
- Bullying or harassment of minors.
10. No Sexually Explicit Content
Any content that glorifies sex or shows sexually explicit clips will immediately get demonetized. Suppose the creator deliberately shows content with nudity, sex scenes, or pornography. In that case, YouTube will stop showing ads or even remove the content (or ban the entire channel) over policy violation.
No matter if the clip shows clothes or unclothed individuals, showcasing genitals or any other parts is a strict violation and will result in demonetization. Any sexual fetishization is also prohibited.
11. Disturbing or Shocking Clips
Shocking clips, here, do not mean clips with twists and turns or an unexpected finale – it is anything that can cause mental disturbance to people. These types of videos create a negative experience for the viewers and are not something an advertiser would want.
So, videos with the following content won’t be monetized:
- Gory clips showing body fluids or anything similar.
- Showing unedited medical procedures.
- Animal slaughter or harm.
12. Graphic Violence
YouTube also has a policy against showing gory visuals, even from a game. Giving context outside simple violence is very important if you wish to post anything about game videos, as they too are considered a deal breaker for YouTube.
According to YouTube, you should stay away from the following topics:
- Any violence that shows gore like blood and guts.
- War clips that show death, bombings, or shooting.
- Dead bodies.
- Animal harm.
- Police brutality.
- Sports violence.
13. Stay Away From Controversial Issues
YouTube is a free platform where you can talk about controversial political or social issues, not controversies emanating from “bodily harm” or “human tragedy”. News reports or awareness videos contain instances of them, but they always come with a trigger warning and blurred parts. Showing them outright will get you demonetized.
So, it is in your best interest to stay away from topics like:
- Body harm.
- Sexual harassment or abuse.
- Domestic violence.
- Eating disorders.
You can talk about them as a social issue and raise awareness, but you’re not allowed to glorify, promote, or instigate them.
14. Sensitive Topics of Recent Past
Any recent happenings that took a lot of lives and caused mass tragedy also fall under the purview of demonetization. Since videos of deaths or sorrow lead to an unpleasant watching experience, YouTube will have no incentive to monetize them.
It won’t be a problem if you’re making a historical piece, like the American civil war, and supporting them with brief clips. However, you won’t get the revenue if you glorify the war, show deaths and killings, and make a negative piece about it.
15. Select Right COPPA Audience
All YouTube videos are supposed to have a rating that specifies whether it is appropriate for children or not. If it isn’t suitable for children, then you select the option to restrict access to those under 18.
Advertisers usually do not want to be associated with content exclusive to adults and videos rated such only receive limited or no revenue. So, if you’re monetizing, mark the range for children and avoid sexual remarks, violence, and foul language.
What to do when you have been demonetized on YouTube?
If you missed the above mentioned cues and got demonetized, don’t worry! Getting demonetized once isn’t the end of the world, and you can get the monetization back. You’ll receive an email notification when your channel or video hits by demonetization. If you think the decision was unfair and the video didn’t have any restricted content, you can contact the YouTube Creator Support Team.
Here’s how you need to proceed:
- Identify what caused the demonetization.
- Remove it if it’s in the title or description.
- Send an email to the YouTube Creator Support Team to check the changes.
While the process seems pretty simple, it can take time for the review to complete and for the video or channel to get monetized again. You can also send the support team a report to either push back against their decision or inform them about the changes.
Other Ways to Earn Money Through Your Following
Earning money through YouTube Adsense is not the only way to monetize your channel. For most creators, the majority of their money comes from other sources than YouTube itself. So, if your video or channel has been demonetized forever, you can look for alternative ways to earn revenue. If your channel has a good following, it should be easy; if not, you can buy cheap YouTube subscribers.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most trending ways of earning money! If you have a brand or use any brand that aligns with your audience’s interests, you can endorse them. You’ll earn a commission whenever one of your followers buys the product using your link.
You can start doing sponsorship deals if you have a massive following, enough to attract brands. Any brand will pay a pretty penny for sponsorship via famous YouTubers. However, sponsors, too, are very particular about their brand image and will only select your channel if you have a clean slate with advertiser-friendly content. So, if you’ve faced demonetization once, avoid its reason at all costs.
Video Streaming Channel
If you repeatedly face demonetization and find YouTube’s policies too stringent, you can shift to other video streaming platforms. Twitch and Vimeo are some of the most followed platforms with millions of users. You can monetize through a live stream, set up subscription bases, and do sponsorship deals here as well.
If your YouTube channel has an extensive subscriber base, then chances are you also have a good enough following on Instagram and Twitter. Just like YouTube, brands are willing to pay a reasonable amount to get visibility. However, be safe on Twitter and Instagram, as they have many fraudulent companies that won’t pay you after the posting – check, verify and then go ahead.
Most Famous YouTube Demonetizations/Suspensions
James Charles had toed the line of suspension and demonetization for several years due to his controversial videos, but YouTube finally made do with the threat in 2021. They were accused of sending sexually explicit messages to minors and had their entire channel monetized. While it was restored later, he suffered some severe monetary losses. James had his videos demonetized previously as well over copyright claims.
Logan Paul has conflicted with YouTube ever since he started his channel and, under numerous circumstances, had his channel demonetized. Most recently, YouTube suspended ads on his channel owing to a “pattern of behavior.”
YouTube cited his “Suicide Forest,” “tasering dead rat,” and “eating detergent capsules” videos and comments as the reason for suspension.
Spectre Sound Studios/Glenn Fricker
Spectre Sound Studios is a well-loved recording studio that shows free video tutorials. One of their videos featuring a 15-second clip of the song Iron Maiden got demonetized after being live for 5 years and garnering 600,000 views.
The Government of Pakistan
The YouTube channel of an entire country was not safe from the wrath of the platform’s community guidelines. Their channel was suspended over an uncredited use of a video clip belonging to another independent creator but was restored days later.
YouTube is a sensitive platform that favors advertisers over creators, but it is still one of the most significant places to gain revenue. Aside from AdSense, you can get sponsorship deals or do affiliate marketing. So, it is best to stay within the boundaries of its community guidelines and make content that pleases the algorithm. If your channel ever gets demonetized, making changes or reporting and challenging the decision is recommended.