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YouTube channel monetisation policies

Updated October 2021: Starting in November, the quality principles for children's and family content will be used to make monetisation decisions for content classified as Made for Kids

If you're monetising on YouTube, it's important that your channel follows YouTube monetisation policies. These include YouTube's Community Guidelines, Terms of Service, Copyright and Google AdSense programme policies. They apply to anyone in, or looking to apply to, the YouTube Partner Programme or anyone receiving Shorts bonuses from the YouTube Shorts Fund.  

If you want to monetise videos with ads, they must also meet our Advertiser-friendly content guidelines.

Here's a quick overview of each major policy. Make sure that you read each policy thoroughly, as these policies are used to check if a channel is suitable to monetise. Our reviewers regularly check to see whether monetising channels follow these policies. Learn more about how we enforce our policies.

What we check when we review your channel

Our reviewers check content that best represents your channel against our policies. Since our reviewers can't check every video, they may focus on your channel's:

  • Main theme
  • Most viewed videos
  • Newest videos
  • Biggest proportion of watch time
  • Video metadata (including titles, thumbnails and descriptions)

The above are just examples of content that our reviewers may assess. Please note that our reviewers can, and may, check other parts of your channel to see whether it fully meets our policies. 

Follow the YouTube Community Guidelines

These guidelines help to keep YouTube a great community for viewers, creators and advertisers. Content that violates YouTube's Community Guidelines is not eligible for monetisation and will be removed from YouTube.
Anyone on YouTube needs to follow our Community Guidelines. Monetising creators should know that our guidelines don't only apply to individual videos, but to your channel overall. Below are the Community Guidelines that are most relevant to channels that can already, or want to, monetise: 

Bear in mind that any content that you post must follow all of our Community Guidelines.

Follow AdSense programme policies
AdSense allows YouTube partners to get paid for monetising their videos. Make sure that you follow the AdSense programme policies and YouTube's Terms of Service. AdSense content policies are extensive and include quality guidelines from the Webmaster/Search Console policies. We've highlighted some of the most relevant policies for YouTube creators below.

Repetitious content

Repetitious content refers to channels where the content is so similar that viewers may have trouble spotting the difference between videos on the same channel. This policy is based on the Search Console portion of the AdSense programme policies. We've put it in a context that's more relevant for YouTube creators.

This policy applies to your channel as a whole. In other words, if you have many videos that violate our guidelines, monetisation may be removed from your entire channel.

What is allowed to monetise

This policy makes sure that monetised content offers viewers something appealing and interesting to watch. In other words, if the average viewer can clearly tell that content on your channel differs from video to video, it's fine to monetise. We know that many channels create content that follows a similar pattern. What's important is that the substance of each video should be relatively varied.

Examples of what is allowed to monetise (including but not limited to): 

  • Same intro and outro for your videos, but the bulk of your content is different
  • Similar content, where each video talks specifically about the qualities of the subject that you're featuring
  • Short clips of similar objects edited together, where you explain how they're connected

Content that violates this guideline

When a channel's content consists of similar content, it can frustrate viewers who come to YouTube for appealing and interesting videos. This means that channels where content is only slightly different from video to video are not allowed to monetise. In other words, your channel shouldn't consist of content that's automatically created or produced using a basic template. 

Examples of what's not allowed to monetise (this list is not exhaustive): 

  • Content that exclusively features readings of other materials that you did not originally create, like text from websites or news feeds
  • Songs modified to change the pitch or speed but that are otherwise identical to the original
  • Similar repetitive content, or mindless content with low educational value, commentary or narrative
  • Templated, mass-produced or programmatically generated content
  • Image slideshows or scrolling text with minimal or no narrative, commentary or educational value

Reused content

Reused content refers to channels that repurpose someone else's content without adding significant original commentary or educational value. This policy is taken from the AdSense Search Console portion of the AdSense programme policies. We've put it in a context that's more relevant for YouTube creators.

This policy applies to your channel as a whole. In other words, if you have many videos that violate our guidelines, monetisation may be removed from your entire channel.

What is allowed to monetise

The spirit of this policy is to make sure that we're monetising original content that adds value to viewers. If you've put a funny or thoughtful spin on content that you didn't originally create, you've transformed the content in some way. It's fine to have this type of content on your channel, but individual videos may be subject to other policies like copyright. In other words, we allow reused content if viewers can tell that there's a meaningful difference between the original video and your video.

Note: While these examples do not violate the reused content monetisation policy, other policies, such as copyright, still apply. 

Examples of what's allowed to monetise (including but not limited to): 

  • Using clips for a critical review
  • A scene from a movie where you've rewritten the dialogue and changed the voiceover
  • Replays of a sports tournament where you explain the moves that a competitor did to succeed
  • Reaction videos where you comment on the original video
  • Edited footage from other creators where you add a storyline or commentary

Content that violates this guideline

Taking someone else's content, making minimal changes and calling it your own original work would be a violation of this guideline. This policy applies even if you have permission from the original creator. Reused content is separate from YouTube's Copyright enforcement, which means that it's not based on copyright, permission or fair use. This guideline means that sometimes, you may not get claims against your content, but your channel may still violate our reused content guidelines.

More examples of what's not allowed to monetise (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Clips of moments from your favourite show edited together with little or no narrative
  • Short videos that you compiled from other social media websites
  • Collections of songs from different artists (even if you have their permission)
  • Content uploaded many times by other creators
  • Promotion of other people's content (even if you have permission)
Quality principles for children's and family content

The below section outlines a policy update that will take effect in November 2021.

Our aim is to provide children and families with a safe and enriching experience on YouTube, while finding new ways to reward creators contributing high-quality content to the platform.

If your channel has 'Made for Kids' content, we'll use YouTube's quality principles for children's and family content to determine the monetisation status of that content.

If a channel is found to have a strong focus on low-quality 'Made for Kids' content, it may be suspended from the YouTube Partner Programme. If an individual video is found to violate these quality principles, it may see limited or no ads.

When checking to see if your 'Made for Kids' content is of low or high quality, nuances and context are important. Visit our best practices for children's and family content page for guides and examples.

Application of quality principles for monetisation eligibility

There are several low-quality principles that may affect the overall quality of a particular video. We will consider each principle as a factor for monetisation eligibility on a rolling basis. We currently enforce against the low-quality principles for children's and family content listed below. We may increase the scope to include more quality principles over time.

  • Encouraging negative behaviours or attitudes: Content that encourages dangerous activities, wastefulness, bullying, dishonesty or a lack of respect for others (e.g. dangerous/unsafe pranks, unhealthy eating habits).

Creator responsibility

The success of your channel and the YouTube Partner Programme is dependent upon the willingness of advertisers to associate their brands with YouTube content. The earnings of all YouTube creators are negatively impacted when advertisers lose trust. 
We don't allow egregious behaviour that has a large negative impact on the community. This policy means that you should be respectful of your viewers, your fellow creators and our advertisers – both on and off YouTube.
If you violate this policy, we may temporarily turn off your monetisation or terminate your accounts.
Learn more about creator responsibility

How we'll inform you of policy changes

YouTube is constantly changing and improving the service, and adapting to the world around us. We may need to make changes to the Terms and Conditions or policies that apply to your use of the service – including the Terms of Service, and the YouTube Partner Programme Terms, our policies and other contractual documents – to reflect changes to our service or for legal, regulatory or security reasons. 

We'll let you know in writing when we make changes that might impact you. If you do not agree to the modified terms, you may stop using the relevant feature, or terminate your agreement with us. 

To help you stay up to date with our policies, we also maintain a permanent log of updates. View our change log here.

How we enforce YouTube monetisation policies

Anyone who earns money on YouTube must follow YouTube's channel monetisation policies. If you violate any of our policies, YouTube may take any of the actions outlined below.

Turn off ads from your content

As a member of the YouTube Partner Programme, you have the ability to turn on ads for your videos if they meet our advertiser-friendly content guidelines. However, if your videos are found to not meet our advertiser-friendly content guidelines, or if they violate other policies, such as our age restriction or copyright guidelines, we may turn off ads from your content.

For more information about the reasons why content may not be eligible for monetisation, see: Monetisation icon guide for YouTube Studio

Suspend your participation in the YouTube Partner Programme

Violation of our YouTube channel monetisation policies may result in monetisation being suspended or permanently disabled on all or any of your accounts. If it's determined that your channel is no longer eligible for monetisation, your channel may lose access to all monetisation tools and features associated with the YouTube Partner Programme.

For more information about suspensions, including troubleshooting tips and details about how to reapply to join the programme, see: Monetisation is disabled for my channel

Suspend or even terminate your YouTube channel

In exceptional circumstances we may need to terminate a channel, account or disable a user's access to the service in order to protect the integrity of the platform or protect our users from harm. Learn more about channel terminations and disabled Google Accounts including what you can do if you believe that your channel or account was terminated by mistake.

How we'll inform you of actions that affect your monetisation

We'll inform you in writing by email or in product when we have to enforce our policies. We will also let you know which options are available to you. 

How to get help with issues that affect you

If you're in the YouTube Partner Programme, you can get access to our Creator Support team. 

Whether you're facing a specific problem or you want to find out how to get the most out of YouTube as a creator, we're here to help you:

  • Optimise how you use YouTube
  • Get tips on technical or service aspects of YouTube
  • Find out how to navigate policy and copyright guidelines
  • Get answers on account and channel management questions
  • Resolve Content ID and rights management issues
  • Troubleshoot and fix bugs or issues with your account

You can find more detailed instructions on how to contact Creator Support and how to get help as a YouTube Creator.

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