Rate your content with Self-Certification

You can self-rate your content and understand if a video meets our advertiser-friendly content guidelines.

You’ll see 3 options in this article:

  • You can turn on ads for this content: This type of content meets our advertiser-friendly content guidelines.
  • You can turn on ads but only brands who opt in will run ads: By default, advertisers won’t run on this content, but some brands will opt in to show ads.This means you may earn less revenue on this content (because fewer ads are likely to appear) compared to content that’s suitable for all advertisers.
  • You should turn off ads for this content: This type of content is not suitable for any of our advertisers. You should turn off ads.

Keep in mind that anything you post on YouTube must meet our Community Guidelines. Our advertiser-friendly content guidelines are an extra set of rules on top of the Community Guidelines. Our guidelines outline the kinds of content that may get full or limited monetization. If it’s not ad-friendly, then you should turn off ads.

We’re not telling you what to create. Each and every creator on YouTube is unique and contributes to the vibrancy of YouTube. These guidelines aim to help you understand more clearly the types of content that advertisers may not wish to appear against. While certain types of content may not be suitable for all brands, you could still earn money from YouTube Premium and features like Super Chat and channel memberships.

What you’ll find in this article
Below you will find each questionnaire section and a breakdown of the kinds of content that also fall into each category. Note that all examples given below are non-exhaustive.

Inappropriate language

Frequent use of strong profanity.

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None, or light profanity (like “hell,” or “damn”); censored profanity in the title, thumbnail, or opening of the video; strong profanity (like the "f-word”) after the opening; or strong profanity in a music video.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Thumbnails that use censored profanity.

Definitions:

  • “Censored profanity” refers to things like bleeping or muting the word as well as covering written words with black bars, symbols, or text added in post-production.
  • The “opening” of a video refers to the beginning of the video (approximately the first 30 seconds).
  • Strong profanity refers to words such as the “f-word”, its derivations and any equivalents.
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Strong profanity in the title, thumbnail, or opening of a video; strong profanity in the title or thumbnail of a music video.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Thumbnails containing strong profanity. 
  • Titles that include strong profanity in the title even when misspelled, such as “This is bull sh1t!”

Definitions:

  • “Strong profanity” refers to words like “bitch,” “shit,” or the “f-word.”

Adult Content

Sexual behavior, language, or expressions.
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None, or romance or kissing; discussions of romantic relationships or sexuality without reference to intercourse; moderately sexually suggestive content that may include limited clothing; sensual dancing, non-graphic sex education, or a music video containing sexual content without nudity.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Romantic scenes that aren’t sexually gratifying such as animated, real-life, or dramatized kiss scenes.
  • Censored nudity where nudity isn’t the focus such as a sauna scene where no nipples, butt or genitalia are visible.
  • Discussions of sex in a non-sexually gratifying/comedic context such as sex education that might be delivered in a school context.
  • Depictions of people wearing limited clothing in an appropriate setting and where the presentation isn’t intended to be sexually gratifying such as bikinis worn at the swimming pool.
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Blurred or censored nudity, even if used for education, news, or in other contexts; focus on sexual body parts (even if covered), discussions of intimate sexual experiences, implied sexual acts, sex toys without human contact or nudity, or realistic representations of genitalia.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Non-fleeting depictions of nudity (animated, real-life, or dramatized). 
  • Depictions of sexual body parts such as recurring or focal shots of cleavage, bulges.
  • Discussions relating to one’s personal sexual experiences such as talking about sexual intercrouse, giving sex tips.
  • Depictions of objects resembling genitalia such as packing devices.
  • Scenes of sexual tension such as grinding, groping, or making out in a sexually arousing way.
  • Raw footage of animal mating, even if intended to be comedic.
  • Thumbnails depicting animal mating.
  • Sexually explicit text or audio, including explicit conversations about sex.
  • Body art with a focus on nudity or sexual body parts such as full-body painting.
  • Sex-related content, such as documentaries about the sex industry or paid subscription adult content platforms.
  • Discussions of intimate sexual experiences, such as masturbation, intercourse, or other sexual acts.
  • Depictions of sex toys, sexual devices, or other products intended to enhance sexual activity where they aren’t in use.

Definitions:

  • “Censored nudity” refers to things like blurring, covering nudity with black bars or pixelation.
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Exposed breasts or full nudity, sexual acts, animal mating, discussion of fetishes, or a video thumbnail with sexual content.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Mature activity such as full exposure of sexual body parts, sex acts.
  • Sex-related entertainment such as porn or other sexual services.
  • Graphic sexual acts or simulations intended to gratify.
  • Depictions or discussions of fetishes.
  • Focus on sex scandals or the leaking of private intimate material.
  • Imitating or mimicking sexual activities.
  • Promotions of sexual acts in exchange for compensation.

Violence

Situations showing hurt, damage, or injury.

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None, or mild violence; injury without showing blood or graphic content; or dramatized violence as part of animation, comedy, drama, or music videos; violence that occurs as part of unedited video gameplay.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Violence as part of standard video gameplay, where it’s mildly graphic.
  • Depiction of non-graphic injury such as falling on knees which occurs where no or limited amount of blood is shown.
  • Depiction of dead bodies prepared for burial in educational context.
  • Hunting content where there’s no depiction of graphic animal injuries or prolonged suffering.
  • Non-graphic depictions of animal violence in nature.
  • Coverage or discussion of animal abuse with no footage of the abuse.
  • Non-graphic injuries in sports or graphic injuries as part of unedited sportsplay where blood is shown.
  • Depiction of fights in an educational context.
  • Non-combative or non-abrasive interactions with law enforcement.

Definitions:

  • “Mild violence” refers to scuffles in real-life content or fleeting violence like punching. 
  • “Dramatized” refers to scripted content such as movies or fictional settings including animated content.
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Real injury or violence with blood shown as part of sports, accidents, pranks, “fails,” or animal videos; dramatized violence showing excessive blood and gore as part of animations, comedy, drama, video games, or music videos; edited video gameplay with some clips that focus on graphic violence.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Real-life or dramatized violence that results in serious injury where the aftermath or impact is visible and present such as blood or gore scenes, bones visibly broken.
  • Compilations of animated killing scenes or fight scenes in which there’s heavy display of blood and gore.
  • Dead bodies (outside of those prepared for burial) in the context of educational or documentary content such as war documentaries.
  • Non-graphic street fights such as no blood or broken bones.
  • Violent, combative or abrasive interactions with law enforcement in an educational context.
  • Graphic sports injuries as part of a larger video with context (e.g. compilations involving graphic injuries but not singularly focused on them).
  • Animal violence in nature with portrayals of graphic animal injuries.
  • Hunting content featuring fleeting graphic imagery.
  • Educational or documentary content on animal abuse with fleeting portrayals of the abuse.
  • Documentary content on Foreign Terrorist Organizations or Drug Trade Organizations such as drug cartels, or public service announcements on these groups.
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Severe real injury, real death, harm to minors, or abuse of animals; depictions or discussions of sexual abuse or domestic violence; edited video gameplay that primarily focuses on graphic violence.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Dead bodies or ultra-graphic injury such as decapitations, amputee operations.
  • Focus on the display of graphic violence in dramatized settings such as “kill compilations” or compilations of graphic violence from video games or movies.
  • Accounts or images of shootings, explosions, executions, or bombings.
  • Non-educational videos featuring any animal abuse.
  • Animal violence in any context outside nature.
  • Cruelty or gratuitous violence toward animals such as animal abuse, cockfighting, bullfighting, or dog fighting.
  • Focus on blood, guts, gore, bodily fluids (human or animal), crime scene or accident photos with little to no context.
  • Portrayals of gratuitous violence against children, even if dramatized.
  • Hunting videos with a focus on graphical violence, animal death or suffering.
  • 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.
  • Sports videos where the central subject is display of graphic injuries.

Harmful or dangerous acts

Situations that may endanger participants.
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None, or stunts or acts that are slightly dangerous, but performed in a professional and controlled environment where no one is seriously injured.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Activities where risk is involved with no visible injuries such as professional stunt or extreme sports like wingsuit flying.
  • Footage of a person doing wheelies or ground-level parkour.
  • Body modification content where the focus isn’t on the procedure and does not portray bloody scenes.
  • Pranks or challenges where there is perplexity, confusion, or discomfort but no risk or long-term harm is involved such as the ice bucket challenge.
  • Education or advocacy about safe practices related to medicine or health such as how to quit smoking or how to fight the flu.
  • Vaping and tobacco: 
  • Public service announcements for preventative actions 
  • Dramatized content with focal depiction of usage  
  • Documentary content showcasing the industry

Definitions:

  • “Seriously injured” refers to injuries that cannot be treated without proper medical care or cannot be treated at home such as broken bones, visible dislocations, or significant amounts of blood.
  • Body modification may include things like tattoo, piercing, or medical surgery.
  • “Dramatized” refers to scripted content such as movies or fictional settings.
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Content showing but not focusing on physical harm or distress, including acts done in a non-professional, non-controlled environment.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Acts involving high risk activities such as skyscraper parkour or depicting serious injury like skate slam aftermath or fail compilation of bike injuries.
  • Pranks or challenges that create extreme emotional distress such as physical altercations, abusive language and insults. These can also include threatening an individual’s life status such as layoff prank. 
  • Pranks involving gratuitous amounts of body fluids or graphic violence.
  • Challenges that include eating non-toxic, non-edible substances such as ingesting a glue stick or pet food. Eating edible substances that are harmful in large volumes such as the Carolina Reaper pepper, or one’s that depict a mild physical reaction. 
  • Product reviews of or comparison between tobacco products (i.e. vaping juice comparison).
  • Harmful or dangerous acts where graphic injury is presented in an educational or documentary manner. 
  • Invasive medical procedures where skin is cut or punctured such as subdermal implant procedures.
  • Educational or documentary mention of addiction services.

Definitions:

  • “Mild physical reaction” refers to things like dry heaving, vomit inducing cough.
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Focus on accidents, pranks, or stunts that have health risks, like drinking or eating non-edibles; or discussions of trending videos that show this type of content.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Glorification of harmful or dangerous acts or acts perceived to be dangerous such as a compilation of graphic fails.
  • Pranks or challenges that should not be imitated such as a challenge to drink chlorine and may result in immediate and critical harm to one’s health.
  • Extremely graphic or gruesome body modification procedures such as tongue forking procedure.
  • Pranks relating to: 
    • Suicide, death, terrorism such as fake bomb scare pranks, or threats with lethal weapons.
    • Sexually unwanted acts such as forced kissing, groping, sexual abuse, spy cams in dress room.
    • Physical harm or distress but where such distress is not the focus of the video.
    • Prolonged emotional distress of a minor such as a prank that lasts for an extended period of time leading to a child being scared or upset. This could include pranking children into believing their parents are dead.
    • Threats or advocating for physical or psychological harm against oneself or others such as laying flat between train tracks.
    • COVID-19, that promotes medically dangerous activities such as purposeful exposure to the virus or which incites panic.
  • Promoting the use of weapons to inflict harm on others.
  • Showing the consumption of substances in such quantities that it results in a graphically shocking physical reaction such as vomiting after eating a ghost pepper.
  • Failure compilations that include graphic harm or injury.
  • Challenges which, if replicated, could result in serious harm such as fire challenge or bird box challenge.
  • Promoting or advocating for harmful health or medical claims or practices: 
    • Videos that advocate for or provide instructions on non-scientifically proven medical info such as how to heal cancer at home, untrue statements about the cause, origin or spread of COVID-19.
    • Spreading myths against what is accepted as normal and regular medical protocol such as anti-vaccination. 
    • Denying that certain medical conditions exist such as HIV, COVID-19. 
  • Promotes tobacco and tobacco-related products.
  • Footage of minors consuming tobacco products.

Recreational drugs content

Content related to recreational use of drugs
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None, or education, music, statements, or humorous references about drugs or drug paraphernalia that do not glorify them; drugs in a music video.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category: 

  • Discussing drugs in an educational or documentary context such as the science of drug use. 
  • Discussing drugs where the intent is not to promote or glorify drug usage such as a personal story about the opioid crisis.
  • Focus on drug busts or the drug trade within the context of news content but with no visible consumption, fabrication, or distribution.
  • Music videos with fleeting depiction of drugs.
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Content focusing on the display or effects of drug consumption; or the creation or distribution of drugs or drug paraphernalia in a comedy, documentary, news, or educational video.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category: 

  • Dramatized content showing the consumption of recreational drugs.
  • Focus on drug fabrication or distribution in an educational or documentary context such as documentary focusing on the fabrication of home-made opioids, news reports about cannabis farms.
  • Music videos with focal depiction of drugs.
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Content showing or discussing abuse, buying, making, selling, or finding of drugs or drug paraphernalia in a graphic and detailed way.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category: 

  • Promotion of recreational drugs.
  • Glorifying the use of recreational drugs.
  • Focussing on drug consumption (including its effects) without educational or documentary context.
  • Tips or recommendations on drug use.
  • Focus on the recreational drug industry such as cannabis coffee shops, head shops, or cannabis farming.
  • Providing how-to guides on usage, purchase, fabrication, and/or distribution of drugs such as how to find a dealer or best places to get high.

Hateful content

Content likely to offend a marginalized individual or group.
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None, or references to a marginalized group that are made in a non-hurtful manner as part of a public debate or comedic context.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • News content which describes a marginalized group or reports in a non-hateful way on discrimination such a group may face such as a news report on homophobia. 
  • Comedic content that include jokes at the expense of marginalized groups in a non-hurtful manner as part of a public debate or comedic context such as non-hateful jokes in a standup comedy routine.
  • Artistic content that uses sensitive terminology in a non-hateful way such as popular music videos.
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Content that may be offensive to a marginalized group but is used for education, news, or a documentary.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Political discourse or debate that may include offensive language but is intended to educate such as a political debate on trans rights.
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Hate or discrimination toward a protected group based on race, age, or other natural characteristics.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Statements intended to disparage a protected group or imply/state its inferiority such as “all people from this country are disgusting”.
  • Promoting, glorifying, or condoning violence against others.
  • Promoting hate groups or hate group paraphernalia.
  • Content made by or in support of terrorist groups.
  • Content that promotes terrorist activity, including recruitment.
  • Content that celebrates terrorist attacks.

Firearms-related content

Showing or discussion of real or fake guns.
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None, or hunting-related content or guns shown in a safe environment like a shooting range.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Footage of shooting in the course of a hunting trip in an unpopulated location such as a forest.
  • Discussions on gun legislation or the issue of gun-control.

Definitions: 

  • A “safe environment” refers to locations like shooting ranges or enclosed areas that are purpose built for target practice.
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Use of guns outside a controlled environment; display of homemade, 3D-printed, or previously modified guns; use of airsoft or ball bullet (BB) guns against others without protective gear.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Showing guns being used in unprepared or uncontrolled environments (e.g. on a public street outside a home, inside a building that’s not a shooting range).
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Content that shows gun creation or modification, promotes gun makers or sellers, or facilitates the sale of a gun, minors using guns without adult supervision.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Guides as to how to add bump stocks to a firearm.
  • Recommendations of top gun manufacturers or firms from which to purchase firearms (e.g. “15 best gun shops”).
  • Referring users directly to a site facilitating gun sales.
  • Promotions of the sale of a firearm or component, including but not limited to: 
    • 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
  • Videos which promote content for gun stores.
  • Videos which promote manufacturers or discount codes for gun stores.
  • Videos containing firearm-making instructions, guides, or software, or equipment for 3D printing of guns or gun parts.

Sensitive issues

Recent events dealing with war, death, or tragedy.
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None, or analysis of or opinion around serious and topical events not described below, such as COVID-19.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Fleeting references to any of the topics or events listed below.
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Discussions of modern acts of terror, events resulting in the catastrophic loss of human life, or controversial social issues.

Some examples of content that also fall into this category:

  • Focus on controversial issues such as:
    • Child abuse
    • Pedophilia
    • Child marriage
    • Sexual abuse 
    • Sexual harassment
    • Self-harm
    • Suicide
    • Eating disorder
    • Domestic abuse
    • Abortion
    • Bullying
  • Focus on sensitive events such as:
    • Atrocious acts that result in the loss of human lives, such as mass shootings 
    • Armed conflict (raw footage)
    • Death
    • Global health crises 
    • Tragic events 
    • Terrorist acts
  • Footage or images from the scene/aftermath of a sensitive event.

Definitions:

  • An event must be relatively recent if it’s going to be considered a sensitive event such as the New Zealand Mosque Shooting. 

Disclaimer: These questions help us better understand how your video aligns with our advertiser-friendly content guidelines. Keep in mind that YouTube has the right, not the obligation, to display any advertisements alongside your videos. These guidelines are not prescriptive or exhaustive, and apply to all aspects of your video including title, thumbnail, images, and description.

YouTube reserves the right, at its discretion, to not show ads on videos and watch pages — including ads from certain advertisers or certain formats. Serious or repeated violations of these policies may lead to ads being disabled for your channel or suspension from the YouTube Partner Program.

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