What’s The Deal With YouTube Demonetization?

For creators, starting a YouTube channel is more than sharing your content. It's an open door to connect with a wide and diverse audience, and even build a community around what you love. 

As one of the biggest video-sharing platforms worldwide, YouTube not only serves as a stage for creators but also offers the chance to earn income through ad revenue.

However, the rules of YouTube advertising are complex, and the policies are constantly changing. Many creators are finding themselves facing a big problem: YouTube demonetization. And it can happen to seasoned veterans or those just starting.

But what is demonetization, and why does it happen to creators? How can you protect your business when the revenue stream is interrupted?

YouTube on laptop

What Is Demonetization on YouTube?

YouTube demonetization is when you lose the ability to earn ad revenue from a specific video. Or, in more severe cases, an entire channel. This situation can be incredibly stressful for creators who rely on YouTube as a significant revenue stream.

Especially after you’ve poured your heart and soul into creating compelling videos and building a community. Reaching the milestone of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours to make your channel eligible for YouTube monetization is no small feat.

However, just because YouTube demonetized a video doesn't automatically mean they will remove it. Your content may still exist on YouTube, allowing viewers to watch and share it, but it won't generate ad revenue. 

So, how do you determine if YouTube has demonetized a video? You might get an email alert from YouTube, but you can also check YouTube Studio to see if your videos are affected. If you’ve activated ads, look for the monetization icon next to each video to see your status.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what the different icons mean for your channel monetization:

  • Green (On): Your video complies with advertiser-friendly content guidelines and it’s eligible to earn ad revenue from most ads.

  • Yellow (Limited): Your video falls short of some advertiser-friendly content guidelines, and brands can potentially opt out of ads on your video. This status may result in lower revenue compared to content suitable for advertisers.

  • Red (Ineligible): This often means someone has made a copyright claim on your video and you’re no longer monetizing the video. If there is a copyright claim, the status description will say, “Copyright.”

  • Off: On Watch Page ads, this means you've switched off monetization for this particular video right now. If you see this icon on your Shorts, you haven't accepted the Shorts Monetization Module in YouTube Studio.

Why Does YouTube Demonetize Videos?

There are many reasons why YouTube may demonetize a video. The most common reason is because of copyright infringement, which is usually caused by using copyrighted music. It means you don’t have permission to use a track in your video. 

However, it’s easy to avoid getting flagged by using royalty-free or copyright-free music. The YouTube Audio Library is a handy resource for finding audio for your video. Just check the attribution requirements for each sound, as it can vary from track to track. You can also try royalty-free music platforms like Epidemic Sound and Filmstro

In recent years, some content creators have supposedly faced demonetization for reusing content. YouTube isn't a fan of recycling stuff that's already on its platform. 

They define “reusing content” as taking another creator's work without making any significant changes, like adding your original commentary or other educational value. If you repeatedly break these rules across multiple videos, YouTube could suspend your entire channel from the YouTube Partner Program. 

At the end of the day, YouTube will demonetize your video or channel for two reasons: 

Content Doesn’t Meet YouTube’s Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines

Since the YouTube Partner Program relies on sharing ad revenue, your YouTube channel videos and Shorts must be advertiser-friendly. 

There are specific guidelines on what can run regular ads, what can have limited ads, and what can't run ads at all, which can potentially lead to demonetization. These rules apply to all your content: videos, Shorts, live streams, thumbnails, titles, descriptions, or tags.

Here is a list of all the main topics that are not advertiser-friendly

  • Inappropriate language

  • Firearms-related content

  • Violence

  • Controversial issues

  • Adult content

  • Sensitive events

  • Shocking content

  • Enabling dishonest behavior

  • Harmful acts and unreliable content

  • Inappropriate content for kids and families

  • Hateful and derogatory content

  • Incendiary and demeaning

  • Recreational drugs and drug-related content

  • Tobacco-related content

However, the rules and policies aren’t black and white. YouTube acknowledges that that context is important. Artistic content such as music videos may contain elements such as inappropriate language, references to soft drug use, or non-explicit sexual themes and still be suitable for advertising.

Using occasional swearing won't automatically make your video unsuitable for advertising. However, if your content consistently features explicit language or vulgarity, especially at the beginning or throughout the video, the video can get flagged.

Content Violates Community Guidelines

YouTube has clear policies about certain types of content. For example, misleading or deceptive content violates their community guidelines and can be demonetized. This content could include ‘medical misinformation’ that promotes harmful remedies or treatments.

The platform is also cautious about controversial content. Sensitive content includes significant social, cultural, or political incidents like natural disasters or public health emergencies. If YouTube feels like a video exploits a recent tragic event for views, it may face demonetization.

Lastly, it’s important to note that using misleading titles and thumbnails with clickbait tactics goes against community guidelines. This means your titles and thumbnails should genuinely reflect your video content to keep in line with YouTube's standards.

What Should I Do If My Channel Has Been Demonetized?

Demonetization usually isn't a big deal for YouTube creators. Typically, it starts with just one video getting demonetized, unless there's a serious breach of community guidelines.

The platform has a three-strikes copyright system to keep tabs on copyright violations. However, if you continue to violate copyright laws or community guidelines, your channel may face demonetization. 

YouTube can respond by limiting ad revenue, suspending you as a YouTube Partner in their program, or even banning your account. Sometimes, YouTube creators might get a suspension, like a 30-day or 90-day suspension, before they can reapply.

To tackle copyright infringement, you can also try editing your video. For example, if the problem relates to music copyright, updating the music could be a solution. You can find the Audio Library on the left menu.

How to Appeal YouTube Demonetization

YouTube doesn't always get it right. If you think your video or channel was demonetized unfairly, you can ask for a human review of decisions made by their automated systems. 

Here's a simple guide:

  • Find Out Why: Check your YouTube Studio to discover why your video was demonetized. The specific reason will be shown next to your video.

  • Review Content Guidelines: Take a look at the advertiser-friendly content guidelines. Rewatch your video and decide whether the demonetization was justified or not.

  • Appeal Process: If you believe your YouTube video shouldn't have been demonetized, go to the video in question and hit 'request review.' Use the Community Guidelines to explain why you think it's unfair.

  • Eligibility: You can only appeal if your video is eligible. After submitting an appeal, the text next to the video updates with your appeal status.

  • Human Review: When you request a human review, an expert takes a look at the video. Then, it's a waiting game (up to 7 days).

  • Decision Update: Once a final decision is made on your video, you receive an email update with the monetization decision.

person holding a camera

Diversify Your Revenue Streams to Protect Your Content

While YouTube and other social platforms might be unpredictable for earning income, there's no need to ditch them entirely. Instead, think about diversifying your revenue streams to take more control over your earnings.

Even though you technically own all the content you upload to YouTube, your income depends on whether it attracts ad revenue.

But there are plenty of ways to earn income from your content outside of YouTube. With creator platforms like Marvelous, you can keep 100% of the revenue you earn from teaching online. This platform lets you create and sell online courses and products, build an online community, or provide online coaching.

Here are a few product ideas you can explore:

Digital downloads

Digital downloads are often an entry point for creators who want to sell products online because they're a simple, cost-effective way for your audience to access your content. You can create and sell content, like e-books, private podcast feeds, and templates.

Membership programs

A membership is a growing bank of content you can add content to every day, week, or month. You can include videos, audio, or PDF files and schedule live streams—all bundled within a membership package.

Online courses

Elevate your teaching with structured online courses. Whether students prefer self-paced learning or a scheduled drip-feed of lessons, this format is ideal for addressing specific problems.

Individual or group coaching

Add a personal touch with group coaching or one-on-one sessions. Consider mentoring, tutorials, and specialized coaching to foster a more intimate connection with your audience.

Future-Proof Your Business With Creator Platforms Like Marvelous

While YouTube is a fantastic tool to grow your audience and monetize your business, it's important to remember that social media and third-party platforms should play a supporting role in your website—the real heart of your online presence. These platforms are more about generating ad revenue than serving creators like yourself.

Now, that’s where Marvelous comes in. We've designed it super user-friendly while giving you all the tools you need to create and monetize your expertise, all in one place. The best part is you get to keep 100% of the revenue you earn from teaching online.

Diversifying your revenue might mean more work, but the payoff is a more resilient and successful business. Creating multiple income streams means that losing one isn't a significant setback. With Marvelous, you set yourself up for long-term success and stand out in the market.

Peek inside of Marvelous with a demo!

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