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 look at, and will also debunk some common myths.

Goals of our systems

YouTube’s Recommendations systems have 2 big 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, we follow the audience.

What our systems look at

To help tune recommendations, our systems look at multiple things. Some look at content that you created, others look at audience engagement.

For content you created, our systems look at:

  • Video content
  • Thumbnail
  • Title
  • Description
  • Tags

Then we look at how the audience engages and how satisfied they are with your content. This can include:

  • Views
  • Watchtime
  • 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.

FAQs

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

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

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

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

If my video gets demonetized, will my watchtime (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 whether they are monetized or not. You can see this in action by disabling monetization on a particular video and noticing that there is no impact on search or recommendations traffic.

Here’s what happens if your video contains a lot of 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 to as many viewers of YouTube because it's not appropriate for all viewers.

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

Learn about this and more in this video and our Discovery optimization tips.

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