Advertiser-friendly content guidelines

Updated June 2019: This article now includes more examples of content that will receive limited or no ads. There are no policy changes, which means that you should not expect any difference in how your videos are assessed for advertiser friendliness.

If you're in the YouTube Partner Programme, you can monetise with ads. This article aims to help you understand which individual videos on your channel are suitable for advertisers. Our policies apply to all portions of your content (video or live stream, thumbnail, title, description and tags). Learn more about our best practices

Our systems don't always get it right, but you can request human review of decisions made by our automated systems. 

Note: All content uploaded to YouTube must comply with our Community Guidelines. If your content violates our Community Guidelines, it may be removed from YouTube. If you see violative content, you can report it.

What you'll find in this article
You'll find examples of content not suitable for ads that will result in a 'limited or no ads' monetisation state. 

Here are all the main topics that are not advertiser friendly:

Inappropriate language

Content that contains frequent uses of strong profanity or vulgarity throughout the video may not be suitable for advertising. Occasional use of profanity won't necessarily result in your video being unsuitable for advertising, but context matters.

Examples (non-exhaustive)

Category Limited or no ads  
Inappropriate language
  • Profanity in the title or thumbnail image
  • Strong profanity used repeatedly in a hateful or derogatory way
  • Strong profanity used during the beginning part of the video 
  • Strong profanity used multiple times throughout the video even if bleeped or for comedy, documentary, news or educational purposes

Violence

Content where the focal point is on blood, violence or injury, when presented without additional context, is not suitable for advertising. If you're showing violent content in a news, educational, artistic or documentary context, that additional context is important. Violence in the normal course of video gameplay is generally acceptable for advertising, but montages where gratuitous violence is the focal point are not.

Examples (non-exhaustive)

Category Limited or no ads  
Content containing gruesome, graphic or disgusting accounts or imagery
  • Blood, guts, gore, sexual fluids, human or animal waste, crime scene or accident photos
Content depicting acts of violence
  • Accounts or images of shootings, explosions or bombings; execution videos; violent acts committed against animals
  • Content depicting cruelty or gratuitous violence towards animals, such as cockfighting, bullfighting or dog fighting 
  • Videos that contain graphic violence in the context of physical altercations, public demonstrations or police brutality
  • Raw footage of war casualties with graphic depictions of injury or death
  • Gratuitous violence against children, even if only dramatised or fictional
  • Hunting videos where the focal point is on graphical violence, animal death or suffering

Adult content

Adult Content
Content that features highly sexualised themes is not suitable for advertising, with limited exceptions for non-graphic sexual education videos. Stating your comedic intent is not sufficient and that content may still not be suitable for advertising.

Examples (non-exhaustive)

Category Limited or no ads  
Sexually explicit content
  • Graphic sexual acts or simulations intended to arouse
  • Sexually explicit text or audio, to include explicit conversations about sex
  • Content that may be interpreted as promoting a sexual act in exchange for compensation
  • Raw footage of explicit animal mating scenes
Nudity
  • People or representations of people that display sexual body parts such as visible genitalia, nipples or buttocks
  • Content focused on sexual body parts that are blurred or censored
  • Body art with a focus on nudity or intimate body parts
Sexually suggestive content
  • Content featuring implied sexual acts
  • Content depicting fetishes in action or discussing fetishes
  • Content about sex scandals or leaking of private intimate photos or videos
  • Content related to the sex industry including sex-related entertainment
  • Content discussing intimate sexual experiences such as masturbation, intercourse or other sexual acts
  • Content featuring sex toys, sexual devices or other products intended to enhance sexual activity
  • Content providing advice on sexual performance or recounting stories around performance

Harmful or dangerous acts

Content that promotes harmful or dangerous acts that result in serious physical, emotional or psychological injury is not suitable for advertising. 

Examples (non-exhaustive) 

Category Limited or no ads  
Inappropriate pranks, challenges, dares and stunts
  • Pranks relating to suicide, death, terrorism (such as fake bomb scare pranks) or threats with firearms and other lethal weapons
  • Sexually unwanted acts such as forced kissing, groping or sexual abuse
  • Shows physical harm or distress but is not the focus of the video. This guideline applies to acts performed in non-professional, non-controlled environments
  • Content that induces prolonged emotional distress of a minor
Body modification and medical procedures
  • Invasive medical procedures, including cosmetic surgery
  • Pimple popping or in-grown toenail removal
  • Skin implant procedures
  • Tongue-forking surgery
Content that threatens or advocates for physical or mental harm on oneself or others
  • Threatening someone with real-life harm
  • Calling for the attack of another person
Harm to self, harm to others or harmed by others
  • Content related to suicide, eating disorders, bullying, harassment, domestic violence or other forms of abuse and self-harm
  • Content that promotes the use of weapons to inflict harm on others
  • Content relating to cannibalism
Dangerous acts not to be imitated
  • Content showing the consumption of substances in such quantities that it results in a toxic reaction
  • Failure compilations that include graphic harm and injury
  • Subway or underground surfing
  • Roof-topping
  • Other challenge-based content, which if replicated may result in harm (such as the fire challenge, Kiki challenge and Bird Box challenge)
Promoting or advocating for harmful health or medical claims or practices
  • Anti-vaccination or AIDS denialist movements
  • Non-medical treatments that promise to cure untreatable diseases
  • Content that implies that serious medical conditions do not exist or are an elaborate hoax

Hateful content

Content that incites hatred against, promotes discrimination, disparages or humiliates an individual or group of people based on the following is not suitable for advertising:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity or ethnic origin
  • Nationality
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Veteran status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity
  • Any other characteristic associated with systemic discrimination or marginalisation 

Content that is satire or comedy may be exempt. Stating your comedic intent is not sufficient and that content may still not be suitable for advertising.

Examples (non-exhaustive) 

Category Limited or no ads  
Content that incites hatred against, promotes discrimination, disparages or humiliates
  • Content promoting, glorifying or condoning violence against others
  • Content that encourages others to believe that a person or group is inhuman, inferior or worthy of being hated
  • Content promoting hate groups or hate-group paraphernalia
Promoting terrorism and violent extremism
  • Content made by, or in support of, terrorist groups
  • Content that promotes terrorist acts, including recruitment 
  • Content that celebrates terrorist attacks

Incendiary and demeaning

Content that is gratuitously incendiary, inflammatory or demeaning may not be suitable for advertising. 

Examples (non-exhaustive) 

Category Limited or no ads  
Content that is incendiary and demeaning
  • Content that focuses on shaming or insulting an individual or group
Content that harasses, intimidates or bullies an individual or group of individuals
  • Content that singles out someone for abuse or harassment
  • Content that suggests that a tragic event did not happen or that victims or their families are actors or complicit in a cover-up of the event
  • Malicious personal attacks, slander and defamation

Recreational drugs and drug-related content

Content that promotes or features the following is not suitable for advertising:

  • Sale of illegal drugs, regulated drugs or substances, or other dangerous products 
  • Use of illegal drugs, regulated drugs or substances, or other dangerous products 
  • Abuse of illegal drugs, regulated drugs or substances, or other dangerous products

Videos discussing drugs or dangerous substances for educational, documentary and artistic purposes are generally suitable for advertising, as long as drug use or substance abuse is not graphic or glorified.

Examples (non-exhaustive)

Category Limited or no ads  
Promoting substances that alter mental state for recreational purposes or otherwise induce 'highs'
  • Cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, marijuana, cocaine substitutes, mephedrone, 'legal highs', bath salts
Promoting products or services marketed as facilitating recreational drug use
  • Pipes, bongs, cannabis coffee shops
Promoting instructional content about producing, purchasing or using recreational drugs
  • Exchanging tips or recommendations on drug use

Tobacco-related content

Content that promotes tobacco and tobacco-related products is not suitable for advertising.

Examples (non-exhaustive)

Category Limited or no ads  
Promoting tobacco
  • Cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco
Promoting tobacco-related products
  • Tobacco pipes, rolling papers, vape pens
Promoting products designed to simulate tobacco smoking
  • Herbal cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaping

Firearms-related content

Content focused on the sale, assembly, abuse or misuse of firearms is not suitable for advertising.

Examples (non-exhaustive) 

Category Limited or no ads  
Promoting the sale of a firearm
  • Sale of a firearm
  • Sale of a firearm-related part or component that is essential to, or enhances the functionality of, a firearm, including: 
    • 80% finished gun parts 
    • Ammunition
    • Ammunition clips
    • Silencers
    • Ammunition belts
    • Stocks
    • Conversion kits
    • Gun grips
    • Scopes 
    • Sights
  • Promotional content for gun shops
  • Manufacturers or discount codes for gun shops
Instructions about the assembly of any firearms including parts or components thereof
  • Firearm-making instructions, guides, software or equipment for 3D printing of guns or gun parts
Abuse or misuse of a firearm
  • Content where firearms are discharged in unsafe environments

Controversial issues and sensitive events

Content that features or focuses on sensitive topics or events is generally not suitable for ads. This policy applies even if the content is purely commentary or contains no graphic imagery. 

Examples (non-exhaustive) 

Category Limited or no ads  
Sensitive events
  • War
  • Death and tragedies
Controversial issues
  • Political conflicts
  • Terrorism or extremism
  • Sexual abuse

Adult themes in family content

Content that appears to be appropriate for a general audience but contains adult themes is not suitable for advertising. This guideline applies even if content is done for comedic or satirical purposes. 

Examples (non-exhaustive) 

Category Limited or no ads  
Adult themes in family content

Content that is made to appear appropriate for a general audience but contains adult themes, including:

  • Sex
  • Violence
  • Vulgarity
  • Other depictions of children or popular children's characters that are unsuitable for a general audience
     

All videos uploaded to YouTube must comply with YouTube's Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. To be able to monetise with ads, you'll need to follow the YouTube Partner Programme policies and Google AdSense Programme policies

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