Add paid product placements, sponsorships & endorsements

Note: This article was updated in January 2021 to include a list of products and services where you should not include paid promotions.

You may include paid product placements, endorsements, sponsorships, or other content that requires disclosure to viewers in your videos. 

If you choose to include any of the above, you have to let us know by selecting the paid promotion box in your video details. See instructions below.

All paid promotions need to follow our Ad Policies and Community Guidelines. You and the brands you work with are responsible for understanding and complying with their local and legal obligations to disclose Paid Promotion in their content. Some of these obligations include when and how to disclose, and to whom to disclose.

Where not to include paid product placements, sponsorships & endorsements

Following our Ad Policies means you cannot include paid promotions of the following products and services in your content:

  • Illegal products or services
  • Sex or escort services
  • Adult content
  • Mail-order brides
  • Recreational drugs
  • Pharmaceuticals without a prescription
  • Online gambling sites not yet reviewed by Google or YouTube
  • Services to cheat on exams or tests
  • Hacking, phishing, or spyware
  • Explosives
  • Fraudulent or misleading businesses

This policy applies to videos, video descriptions, comments, live streams, and any other YouTube product or feature. This list is non-exhaustive. Don't post content if you think it might violate this policy. 

Examples

Here are some examples of content that’s not allowed on YouTube.

  • Paid promotion of an academic essay-writing service
  • Paid promotion of a website selling counterfeit passports or providing instructions on creating forged official documents
  • Paid promotion of software that generates fake credit card numbers
  • Paid promotion of an online pharmacy that sells regulated pharmaceuticals without prescriptions

What happens if your content violates this policy

If your content violates this policy, we’ll remove the content and send you an email to let you know. If this violation is your first time violating our Community Guidelines, you’ll get a warning with no penalty to your channel. If it’s not, we’ll issue a strike against your channel. If you get 3 strikes, your channel will be terminated. You can learn more about our strikes system here

In addition, we may age-restrict content if the product or service being promoted is not suitable for all ages.

What do we mean when we talk about paid product placements, sponsorships & endorsements?

Paid product placements are pieces of content that are created for a third party in exchange for compensation. This content is also where the third party's brand, message, or product is integrated directly into the content.

Endorsements are content created for an advertiser with a message that users are likely to believe reflects the opinions of the content creator.

Sponsorships are  pieces of content that have been financed in whole or in part by a third party. Sponsorships generally promote the brand, message or product of the third party without integrating the brand, message, or product directly into the content.

Note that laws that apply to you may define paid promotions differently. Creators and brands are responsible for understanding and fully following legal obligations to disclose paid promotion in their content according to their jurisdiction. Legal obligations might include when and how to disclose and to whom to disclose.

Creators and brands should also understand whether specific types of paid promotions are permitted under their local laws. For instance, in the UK and EU, certain videos classified as “children’s programmes” under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive may be prohibited from including sponsorships or paid product placements.
Do I need to tell YouTube if a video has a paid product placement, endorsement, or other commercial relationship?
If your content has a paid product placement, endorsement, or other commercial relationship, you need to tell YouTube so that we can facilitate disclosures to users. Note that you may have more obligations depending on the laws in your jurisdiction. If you don’t follow those obligations, we may act against your content or account. To tell YouTube:
  1. On a computer, sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left section, select Content.
  3. Click the video you’d like to edit.
  4. Select More options
  5. Check the box next to “My video contains paid promotion like a product placement, sponsorship, or endorsement.”
  6. Select SAVE.

For more info, go to the "What happens when I check the 'My video contains paid promotion like a product placement, sponsorship, or endorsement' section.

What happens when I check the "My video contains paid promotion like a product placement, sponsorship, or endorsement" box?
When you check the "video contains paid promotion" box under the "Content declaration" section in your Advanced Settings, you’re helping maintain a great viewer experience.
We'll still run ads against these videos. When you tell us that a video includes paid promotion, we may replace an ad that conflicts with your brand partner with an alternative ad. Also, when you tell us, we'll remove your video from the YouTube Kids app in line with our existing policies.
Will YouTube still run ads against these videos?
Yes, YouTube will still run ads against these videos.
 
Sometimes, we may replace an ad that conflicts with your brand partner’s ad with a different ad on videos with paid promotions. This replacement is done to protect the value we offer advertisers.
 
For example, say you upload a video with brand mentions and product placements for Company A. It wouldn’t make sense to sell ad space around that video to Company B.
Do I need to tell anyone else about any commercial relationship connected to my video?
You may need to. Different jurisdictions have various requirements for creators and brands involved in paid promotion. 
 
When your content includes paid promotion, some jurisdictions and brand partners require that you tell viewers about any commercial relationship that might have influenced your content. It's your responsibility to check and comply with laws and regulations around paid promotion content that apply to you. See more resources below.
Is there a feature that can help me inform viewers about Paid Promotion in my videos?

Yes. Whenever you mark your video as containing paid promotions, we automatically show viewers a disclosure message for 10 seconds at the beginning of the video. This disclosure message will tell the viewer that it contains paid promotions. 

Note that different jurisdictions have various requirements for creators and brands involved in paid promotion that may require you to do more. Be sure to check and follow applicable laws. 

Does this mean I can burn video ads (pre-rolls, mid rolls, and post rolls) into my videos?
No. YouTube's Ads Policy doesn’t let you burn or embed advertiser-created and supplied video ads or other commercial breaks into your content. 
 
If you have an advertiser interested in serving ads specifically against your content, work with your partner manager. See more info on our policies around third party embedded sponsorships.
 
This policy doesn’t apply to videos created by or for brands and uploaded to the brand's YouTube channel. 
Can I use a title card before/after the video with the marketer's or sponsor's brand name & product info?
Yes. We allow static title cards and end cards where there’s a paid promotion. These title cards and end cards can include graphics and the sponsor or marketer's logo and product branding.
  • Title cards: 5 seconds or less and static. If they’re placed at the beginning of the video (0:01s), the card must be co-branded with the creator's name/logo.
  • End cards: Placed within the last 30 seconds of the video and must be static. 
More resources
For further info, we recommend that you regularly refer to your local legal resources, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States, Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) in the United Kingdom, the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) in France, the media authorities Medienanstalten in Germany, or the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) in Korea.
The info presented in this Help Center article is not legal advice. We provide it for informational purposes so you may wish to check with your own legal representatives.
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