Search & Discovery and monetization FAQs

This article will tell you more about how our Search & Discovery systems work. We know recommendations are important to you, and that our systems help viewers find your content. This article will help you understand what our systems check, and will also debunk some common myths.

Goals of our systems

YouTube’s Recommendations systems have 2 significant goals:

  1. Help viewers find videos they want to watch
  2. Maximize long-term viewer engagement and satisfaction

In other words, our goal is to find the right video for the right viewer at the right time. To accomplish this goal, we follow the audience.

What our systems check

To help tune recommendations, our systems check a few criteria. Some check content that you created, others check audience engagement.

For content you created, our systems check:

  • Video content
  • Thumbnail
  • Title
  • Description
  • Tags

Then we check how the audience gets to know you and how satisfied they are with your content. This can include:

  • Views
  • Watch time
  • Percentage of the video watched
  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Comments
  • Viewer feedback

You can get a much more in-depth look at how our systems work in this Creator Academy lesson.


Do I need to be in the YouTube Partner Program for my channel or my videos to be recommended?

No. Our Recommendations and Search & Discovery systems do not look at a video’s monetization status.

Will I be recommended less if my last video did not make much money?
No. Our Recommendations and Search & Discovery systems do not look at a video’s monetization status.

Recommendations are personalized for each viewer, and take their preferred viewing habits into account. If the audience watches and gets to know your video, your videos may be more likely to be recommended.

If my previous videos got demonetized by manual review, does this demonetization mean my future videos won’t be suggested as much?

No. Our Recommendations and Search & Discovery systems do not check a video's monetization status. Our Recommendations systems assess each video on its own merit, and focus on how each video performs with the audience. What’s most important is how your video performs with the audience. Because we don’t consider monetization, your monetization status or history does not impact recommendations.

If my video gets demonetized, will my watch time (views) drop? Or will it not be recommended?

Our Search and Recommendation systems do not know which videos are monetized and which are not. We take a long-term view and focus on recommending the videos viewers will find satisfying, regardless of monetization. You can verify this by turning off monetization on a video and noticing that there's no impact on traffic.

Here’s what happens if your video contains excessive violence, raciness, or profanity:

  • There’s a greater chance that it will be demonetized because it's not appropriate for all advertisers.
  • There’s a greater chance that it will not be recommended because it's not appropriate.

In this example, it's not the demonetization that causes the video to be recommended less, but the violence, raciness, and profanity.

Learn more in this video and our Discovery optimization tips.

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