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Upcoming and recent ad guideline updates

This page provides an overview of the upcoming and recent ad guideline updates for our advertiser-friendly content guidelines. Learn more about other updates to YouTube policies here.

Latest updates

Updates from the past 3 months

 

January 2024

We updated our guidelines on Sensitive Events, including language to clarify that content which profits from or exploits a Sensitive Event may not monetize. There are no policy changes, which means there will be no difference in how your videos are checked for advertiser friendliness.
 

November 2023

We updated our guidelines specific to Adult content in two areas:

  • Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding content where a child is present, even with visible areola, can now earn ad revenue. Previously, such content was only monetizable if no areola was visible. Also, breastfeeding thumbnails with focus on breasts without visible areola can now earn ad revenue.
  • Sensual dancing:  Non-sexually graphic dancing involving rhythmic body movements, such as twerking or grinding, as well as dance featuring fleeting minimal clothing can now earn ad revenue. Previously such content was not considered monetizable.

We’re making this change to our Adult content guidelines to allow creators to earn ad revenue from content that showcases non-sexually graphic dance, such as twerking, as well as content related to breastfeeding.

The Gaming and monetization article is also updated to reflect these policy updates.

Previous updates

Updates older than 3 months

2023

Updates to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines (October 2023)

We updated the name of our “Harmful or dangerous acts” policy to “Harmful acts and unreliable content.”  We have also added language to clarify that content which makes claims that are demonstrably false and could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process does not earn ad revenue. For example, information about public voting procedures, political candidate eligibility based on age or birthplace, election results, or census participation that contradicts official government records. Content which cites false claims in this area while making it clear that they are false, such as commentary, educational, or documentary content may earn ad revenue.

We haven’t changed how we enforce this policy, which means there will be no difference in how your videos are checked for advertiser-friendliness.

Updates to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines (September 2023)

 We updated our guidelines about Controversial issues. 

  • Allowing Creators to earn more ad revenue on content discussing topics such as abortion and adult sexual abuse. This means that content which discusses these topics without going into graphic detail can fully monetize. We know that videos covering topics like these can be a helpful resource to users, so we want to ensure that wherever possible, Controversial issues discussed in a non-descriptive and non-graphic way aren't disincentivized through demonetization. We're also keenly aware that some creator communities feel like they get more yellow icons because they're uploading content about topics that disproportionately impact them. We hope these changes can give all Creators more space to discuss these topics, with eligibility for ad revenue. 
  • Additionally, we’re aligning our Advertiser-friendly content guidelines on eating disorders with YouTube Community Guidelines. Content which focuses on eating disorders and shares triggers like guides around binging, hiding, or hoarding food or abusing laxatives will not receive ad revenue. 
    • This change will ensure such content isn’t incentivized with ads and that our monetization and community guidelines continue to be in sync. 
    • Note that educational or documentary content, and survivor content that references these aspects of having an eating disorder without promoting such activities won’t be impacted by this change.

The Gaming and monetization article is also updated to reflect these policy updates.

For more info on this update, watch our Creator Insider video.

Updates to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines (March 2023)

We’ve updated our guidelines regarding Inappropriate language. Profanity (for example, the f-word) used in the first 7 seconds or majority of the video may earn limited ad revenue rather than no ad revenue, as previously announced below. Usage of words like “bitch”, “douchebag”, "asshole" and “shit” in the video content is eligible for green icons. Profanity used in the first 8-15 seconds may now earn ad revenue. We’ve also clarified our guidance on how profanity in music is treated; strong profanity used in background music, backing tracks, intro/outro music may earn ad revenue.

2022

Updates to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines (November 2022)

We’ve updated our guidelines to include both clearer language, specific guidelines changes, and changes to ad suitabilities. See below for impacted guidelines as well as non-exhaustive examples of what is changing:

  • Adult content
    • Thumbnails, titles, and videos containing sexualized texts (such as links, 18+), obscene language, images (such as real or animated minimally covered butts ), audio (such as sharing sexual tips or working experiences), and gratifying acts (such as animal mating or implicit sexual acts) may not receive ad revenue.
    • Policy enforcement around classical arts depicting sexual activities, sensual dancing, sexual educational without intent to arouse audiences remain unchanged and may receive ad revenue.
  • Violence 
    • Non-graphic dead bodies presented without any context, game violence directed at a real named person or acts that are manufactured to create shocking experiences (such as brutal mass killing), implied moment of death (such as bombing a building with people inside) may not receive ad revenue.
    • Standard game play where gory injuries are present after the first 8 seconds, non-graphic tragedies and their aftermath (such as footage of a town flooded), or police seizures as a part of law enforcement may receive ad revenue.
  • Harmful or dangerous acts 
    • Dangerous acts where minors are participants or victims (such as minors participating in experiments or challenges involving stunts unsuitable for kids) may not receive ad revenue.
  • Sensitive events
    • All topics related to Drug Trade Organizations (DTO) and Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) will be located under Harmful or dangerous acts rather than Sensitive events.
    • Language pertaining to Sensitive events has been updated to ensure it is clear and understandable, but policy enforcement is otherwise unchanged. 
  • Inappropriate language
    • Our approach to profanity is changing. All varieties of profanity are now treated equally, meaning they are not differentiated based on levels of severity (for example, light, moderate, strong, or extreme) and we are not treating ‘hell’ and ‘damn’ as a profanity anymore. Therefore, profanity used in the title, thumbnails, or in the video's first 7 seconds or used consistently throughout the video may not receive ad revenue.
    • Profanities used after the first 8 seconds may receive ad revenue. Our position on not monetizing content with profanity throughout or comprising the majority of the video is not changing.
  • Recreational drugs and drug-related content
    • Drug usage and consumption, like injections or joint smoking in gaming content, may not receive ad revenue. 
    • Drug dealings or mentions of drugs in gaming content may receive ad revenue.

We’re also introducing new guidelines under the Enabling dishonest behavior guideline. The following content will now be in scope of “This content will earn no ad revenue”: 

  • Pretending to be a retail store employee without the property owner’s permission or violating their code of conduct (such as staying after their business hours). 
  • Using or encouraging the usage of hacking software in competitive e-sports.

The Gaming and monetization article has also been updated in parallel to reflect these policy updates.
 

Updates to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines (October 2022)

The Advertiser-friendly content guidelines page has been updated to make clear to the Creator community that today’s video-level monetization guidelines outlined apply to both VOD (long-form video) and Shorts formats. There are no policy changes, which means you will not notice any difference in how your videos are checked for advertiser friendliness. We'll provide further updates when updates are made. You can learn more about when Shorts ad revenue sharing starts here.

Updates to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines (August 2022)

We've updated monetization guidance around content that may be harmful or dangerous. Uploads showcasing vigilantism may not run ads. 

The Advertiser-friendly content guidelines page has been updated to reflect this. There are no policy changes, which means you will not notice any difference in how your videos are checked for advertiser friendliness.

Updates to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines for inappropriate content for kids and families (April 2022)

We recently updated ad guidelines for “made for kids” content to help guide creators on what is suitable and not suitable for ads. We’ve created a new guideline called “Inappropriate content for kids and families” that has three categories: Content that encourages negative behavior, Mature content aimed towards kids, and Shocking content aimed towards kids. 

Updates relating to the Ukraine war (March 2022)

We’ve posted guidance on the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines page with respect to the ongoing war in Ukraine: 

Due to the war in Ukraine, content that exploits, dismisses, or condones the war is ineligible for monetization until further notice. This update is meant to clarify, and in some cases expand, our guidance as it relates to this war.

2021

Updates to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines for adult content (December 2021)

We've updated monetization guidance around content featuring gender identity devices. Uploads showcasing objects that resemble genitalia, like breasts or penises, without showing nudity that assist creators as they explain their gender dysphoria journeys may run ads.

Updates to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines for harmful or dangerous acts (October 2021)

We’ve updated our guidelines to include clearer examples in the following policy areas: Adult content, Violence, Shocking content, Hateful & derogatory content, Sensitive events, Firearms-related content, and Recreational drugs and drug-related content. We’ve also added a new Definitions section to clarify key terms used throughout the guidelines.

Additionally, we’re introducing a new guideline: Enabling dishonest behavior. This provides guidance around ad serving eligibility for content relating to trespassing, cheating, or computer hacking that is personal or paid for.

We're also moving our guidance around monetization of COVID-19 related content from a previously separate page directly into the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines for ease of review. Visits to the former page will redirect to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines.

The Gaming and monetization article has also been updated in parallel to reflect these policy updates.

Updates to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines for harmful or dangerous acts (October 2021)

We're updating monetization guidance around climate change misinformation in November, making it clearer that content promoting claims about climate change which run contrary to scientific consensus may not run ads. Educational, documentary or news content about this may continue to run ads.

Visit the Google Ads Help Center here for more info on this update.

Updates to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines for Firearms-related content (September 2021)

We're clarifying our existing monetization guidelines around Firearms-related content. Disassembly and reassembly of weapons for maintenance may run ads. We're also strengthening our guidelines for other types of firearm content.

The Advertiser-friendly content guidelines page will be updated to reflect this in October, under Firearms-related content.

Updates to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines for Violence (July 2021)

We're updating monetization guidance around violence, making it clearer that footage of animals in distress induced by human intervention may not run ads.

Updates for multiple policies in the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines and Gaming and monetization articles (April 2021)

Based on creator and advertiser input, we’ve updated our guidelines to allow more content to become eligible for full monetization (green icon) while continuing to maintain advertiser industry standards. 
 
First, we're expanding monetization on educational, documentary or news content that may include violent interactions with law enforcement, recreational drugs and drug-related content, or sensitive events. We’re also expanding monetization for controversial issues where non-graphic, objective discussions of controversial issues are in the video. 
 
Second, we're also expanding monetization to allow for adult themes delivered through the context of humor (e.g. romance, dating jokes) and the usage of moderate profanity (e.g. shit and bitch) in the first 30 seconds.

Additionally, we’ve included more examples to the following sections to clarify their guidance: Adult content, Harmful or dangerous acts, and Firearms-related sections in the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines.
 
The Tips for monetizing gaming videos section of the Gaming and monetization article has also been updated in parallel to reflect these policy updates.

Guidance additions for the Inappropriate language, Violence, Recreational drugs and drug-related content guidelines, as well as an update to our monetization policy relating to COVID-19 (February 2021)

The Advertiser-friendly content guidelines article now includes additional examples within the “You can turn on ads for this content” sections for the Inappropriate language, Violence, and Recreational drugs and drug-related content guidelines.

Additionally, updates have been made to the Monetization update on COVID-19 content article as well as the Harmful or dangerous acts section of our advertiser-friendly content guidelines to provide more guidance around vaccination content.

Creation of a new page contextualizing advertiser-friendly content guidelines for gaming content (January 2021)

To help YouTube creators of gaming content better understand the advertiser-friendly content guidelines, we've published a new page to help bring the topic of gaming and monetization into context. 

This new page was created with the intent to make our guidelines clearer when it comes to gaming content specifically, and to help improve self-certification understanding for YouTube creators of gaming content. 

There are no policy changes, which means you will not notice any difference in how your videos are checked for advertiser friendliness. 

Updates to various sections of Advertiser-friendly content guidelines providing more information and examples, Rate your content with Self-Certification article now deprecated (January 2021)

The Advertiser-friendly content guidelines article has now been updated with additional guidance and examples for self-certification. In line with this, the Rate your content with Self-Certification article has now been deprecated. 

New, comprehensive examples under “You can turn on ads but only brands who opt in will run ads” (Limited Ads) and “You should turn off ads for this content” (No Ads) for the Adult content and Hateful & derogatory content policies further clarify what content is in scope. We also separated the Sensitive events and Controversial issues policies to ensure we are providing granular and transparent policy guidance. 

Minor additions to the Harmful or dangerous acts policies have been made to demonstrate additional examples of content which could result in Limited or No Ads. 

A new note has been added to the Incendiary and demeaning, Tobacco-related content, and Adult themes in family content policies to inform readers that these are bundled under other policies in the self-certification questionnaire in YouTube Studio.

There are no policy changes, which means you will not notice any difference in how your videos are checked for advertiser friendliness.

2020

Updates to various sections of Rate your content with Self-Certification providing more information and examples (October 2020)

The Rate your content with Self-Certification article now includes more comprehensive examples under “You can turn on ads for this content” for the Violence and Adult Content policies to further clarify what content is in scope. We also clarified the definition of “sensitive events” and “focus” in the Controversial issues & Sensitive events section.

Minor additions to the Harmful or Dangerous Acts and Inappropriate Languages sections have been made to demonstrate further examples of emotional distress pranks and to clarify that frequent usage of strong profanity could result in Limited or No Ads. 

There are no policy changes, which means you will not notice any difference in how your videos are checked for advertiser friendliness.

Addition of News-specific guidance to Advertiser-friendly content guidelines (August 2020)

The Violence and Controversial issues and sensitive events guidelines will be clarified to include how our policies impact news reporting on current affairs. 

This update will be made live in August.

Addition of Shocking Content to Advertiser-friendly content guidelines (August 2020)

The Shocking Content guideline represents a clarification of existing policy and focuses on content that may upset, disgust, or shock viewers. We are making this change to the resources to help enhance Creator understanding of content which cannot run ads.

A new section will be added to the self-certification questionnaire. Updates will also be added to the Advertiser-friendly content guidelines and to the Rate your content with Self-Certification in August to give as much detail as possible to the Creator Community. 

There are no policy changes, which means you will not notice any difference in how your videos are checked for advertiser friendliness.

Updates to Inappropriate language (June 2020)

The wording in this section has been amended to clarify that misspelled profanity within a title or thumbnail intended to censor inappropriate language results in Limited or No Ads. Creators can review the updated language here.  

There are no policy changes, which means you will not notice any difference in how your videos are checked for advertiser friendliness.

Updates to Rate your Content with Self-Certification (May 2020)

The article now includes examples of content types that fall into each of the options outlined in the questionnaire found in your account. We’ve also included definitions of key concepts, such as nudity, that are referenced throughout the questionnaire.

There are no policy changes, which means you will not notice any difference in how your videos are checked for advertiser friendliness.

Updates related to COVID-19 (April 2020)

Content that references and/or features COVID-19 and follows our Advertiser-friendly and Community Guidelines may now monetize (and will see the green icon). Find more detailed guidance on monetizing COVID-19 content here.

Updates to Controversial issues and sensitive events, and Inappropriate language (February 2020)

The article now includes a more comprehensive list of issues considered controversial, and an explanation on how we define sensitive events. We’ve also clarified our guidelines around Inappropriate Language.

There are no policy changes, which means you shouldn’t expect any difference in how your videos are checked for advertiser friendliness.

2019

Update to Advertiser-friendly content guidelines (June 2019)

The article now includes more examples of content that will get limited or no ads. 

There are no policy changes, which means you shouldn't expect any difference in how your videos are checked for advertiser friendliness.

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