YouTube sets stricter rules on videos that can carry ads

YouTube sets stricter rules on videos that can carry ads

Google has announced several significant changes to how it will be monetizing content on YouTube. The changes come after a series of updates the company has implemented in response to repeated advertiser backlash over the past year.

In a blog post Wednesday, Paul Muret, VP of display, video and analytics acknowledged “2017 was a difficult year, with several issues affecting our community and our advertising partners”.

The problems — namely brand advertisements appearing on extremist, racist and other objectionable content, badly behaving YouTube stars whose channels are part of the Google Preferred premium advertising program, and alarming content involving and/or targeted to children — largely stem from a lack of oversight, controls and transparency.

Muret outlined three primary changes to further address these challenges.

1. New thresholds for channels to carry ads

Last year, Google enacted a 10,000 view minimum on YouTube channels to be able to part of the YouTube Partner Program and carry advertising on their videos. That hasn’t cut it.

“It’s been clear over the last few months that we need the right requirements and better signals to identify the channels that have earned the right to run ads,” said Muret.

The new requirements:

  • 1,000 subscribers
  • 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months

Enforcement timeline:

  • February 20, 2018, for existing YouTube Partner Program (YPP) channels

Three strikes rule stands:

The policy that calls for Google to remove user accounts and channels from YouTube after they’ve incurred three community guideline violations will continue to be in effect.

“We will closely monitor signals like community strikes, spam, and other abuse flags to ensure they comply with our policies. Both new and existing YPP channels will be automatically evaluated under this strict criteria,” says Muret.

2. Manual vetting of Google Preferred channels

As rumored, monitoring will not be left to algorithms alone. “We’re changing Google Preferred so that it not only offers the most popular content on YouTube, but also the most vetted,” writes Muret.

In December, Google said it would be increasing the number of people reviewing content to as many as 10,000 across the organization in 2018.

New requirement:

  • Ads will only run on videos in the Google Preferred network that have been manually reviewed and “verified to meet our ad-friendly guidelines.” That work is beginning now.

Enforcement timing:

  • Mid-February in the US
  • End of March in all other Google Preferred markets

3. New brand safety controls, 3rd-party reporting

YouTube will give advertisers more control over where their ads can appear and more transparency into where they actually run.

New control:

  • A new three-tier “suitability system” will be available to advertisers to control the types of video content on which their ads can appear.


  • In the coming months

More reporting partners:

  • For third-party reporting, a beta with Integral Ad Science continues.
  • A new beta with DoubleVerify is in the works.
  • YouTube may also partner with OpenSlate, comScore and Moat this year.

“The challenges we faced in 2017 have helped us make tough but necessary changes in 2018,” concludes Muret.

These changes will have financial implications for a large swath of YPP content creators who don’t meet the new thresholds. Advertisers will be watching closely and paying particular attention to the when the third-party reporting actually comes to fruition.

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