Learn more about how YouTube works for you

Whether you're pursuing a passion or a business, we know you put a ton of time and energy into making content that goes on YouTube. It's important for you to understand how your content is discovered and how it performs. As creators, you're at the center of our community, so communication and transparency with you remains our priority. We’re committed to supporting your success. That’s why we’ve brought together some great resources that explain:

Your content on YouTube

YouTube Search

YouTube Search prioritizes a few main elements to give the best search results, including relevance, engagement, and quality. To estimate relevance, we look into many factors, such as how well the title, tags, description, and video content match a viewer’s search query. Engagement signals are a valuable way to figure out relevance and we incorporate aggregate engagement signals from users. For example, we may look at the watch time of a particular video for a particular query to figure out whether other users consider the video to be relevant to the query. For quality, our systems are designed to identify signals that can help determine which channels demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness on a given topic. YouTube doesn't accept payment for better placement within organic search results.

In areas such as music or entertainment, we often use extra factors like freshness or popularity to help our systems connect users to quality content they’ll enjoy. In other areas where credibility is key, including news, politics, and medical or scientific info, we work hard to make sure that our search systems prioritize surfacing high-quality and authoritative content from trusted sources.

Official Cards also make it easier for users to discover content by highlighting official material in YouTube Search. These cards include official videos and posts from top channels, like those of top YouTube creators, celebrities, and music artists. Videos and posts are also included from content related to sports teams, movies and TV, music, and special events. These cards are automatically generated and don't allow for customization.

Our goal is to give you the resources to help you understand the factors we consider to provide the best search results for users.

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Recommended videos

We start with the knowledge that everyone has unique viewing habits. Our system then compares a user’s viewing habits with those that are similar. The system uses that info to suggest other content the viewer may want to watch.

Our recommendation system is constantly evolving, learning every day from over 80 billion pieces of info we call signals, the primary ones being:

  • Watch history: Our system uses the YouTube videos viewers watch to give them better recommendations, remember where they left off, and more.
  • Search history:  Our system uses what a viewer searches for on YouTube to influence future recommendations.
  • Channel subscriptions: Our system uses info about the YouTube channels a viewer is subscribed to to recommend other videos they may like.
  • Likes: Our system uses likes info to try to predict the likelihood that a viewer will be interested in similar videos in the future.
  • Dislikes: Our system uses videos a viewer disliked to inform what to avoid recommending in the future.
  • “Not interested” feedback selections: Our system uses videos viewers mark as “Not interested” to inform what to avoid recommending in the future. 
  • “Don’t recommend channel” feedback selections: Our system uses “Don’t recommend channel” feedback selections as a signal that the channel content likely isn’t something a viewer enjoyed watching.
  • Satisfaction surveys: Our system uses user surveys that ask viewers to rate videos that they watched, which helps the system understand satisfaction, not just watch time.

Different YouTube features rely on certain recommendation signals more than others. For example, we use the video a viewer is currently watching as the main signal when suggesting a video to play next. To provide video recommendations on the homepage, we primarily rely on a viewer’s watch history. Viewers can turn off and clear their watch history if they don’t prefer to see recommendations on their homepage. For people with YouTube watch history off and no significant prior watch history, the homepage will continue to show the search bar and the left-hand Guide menu. 

Reducing the spread of borderline content and harmful misinformation 

Our commitment to openness means we may have content available on the platform that comes close to violating our policies, but does not quite cross the line. We think it’s important to protect freedom of expression, but we set a high bar for what videos we display prominently in our recommendations on the YouTube homepage, or through the “Up next” panel. 

That's why we take the additional step of recommending authoritative videos to viewers on topics such as news, politics, medical, and scientific info.

We rely on human evaluators, trained using publicly available guidelines, who assess the quality of info in each channel and video. To decide if a video is authoritative, evaluators look at factors like the expertise and reputation of the speaker or channel, the main topic of the video, and whether the content delivers on its promise or achieves its goal. The more authoritative a video, the more it’s promoted in recommendations. We're constantly working to improve our systems to better raise up content from authoritative sources, like news outlets and health institutions. 

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Your relationship with YouTube

Your contract with YouTube

All use of the service is subject to the YouTube Terms of Service, our Community Guidelines, and our Platform Policies.

Note that further policies will also apply when you turn on certain features like monetization, live streaming, or Shopping. Don't forget that if you provide advertising or sponsorships to the service or incorporate paid promotions in your content, you’re also bound by our ad policies for advertisers. You can view all of our policies at any time by searching our Help Center.

You can find most current online contracts that were accepted in YouTube Studio.

Communicating with YouTube

As part of our ongoing goal to improve our transparency and communication with our partners, we're committed to keeping you up to date of changes we may need to make that could impact you. Whether you're facing a specific problem, need help with resolving technical issues, or want to learn how to get the most out of YouTube, we're here to help you. You can get in touch with Creator Support or your Partner Manager. You can learn more about how we communicate with you here.

Making money on YouTube

YouTube Partner Program

We’re expanding the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to more creators with earlier access to fan funding and Shopping features. The expanded YouTube Partner Program is available to eligible creators in these countries/regions. The expansion is rolling out over the next month to eligible creators in AE, AU, BR, EG, ID, KE, KY, LT, LU, LV, MK, MP, MT, MY, NG, NL, NO, NZ, PF, PG, PH, PT, QA, RO, RS, SE, SG, SI, SK, SN, TC, TH, TR, UG, VI, VN, and ZA. Check out this article to learn more about the changes to YPP.

If you’re not in one of the countries/regions above, there are no changes to the YouTube Partner Program for you. You can view this article for the YPP overview, eligibility, and application instructions relevant to you.

Check your eligibility for the expanded YouTube Partner Program. If you’re not eligible yet, select Get notified in the Earn area of YouTube Studio. We’ll send you an email once we’ve rolled the expanded YPP program to you and you’ve reached the eligibility thresholds. 

As part of the YouTube Partner Program, you're eligible to tap into multiple revenue streams, as long as they're available in your country/region, and you meet the criteria. You also have access to creator support and the Copyright Match Tool. You can learn more about the program, how it works, and how to apply here.

Monetizing a YouTube Music Channel

Whether you're a label, publisher, distributor, or an independent musician, YouTube can help you reach more fans and add revenue. Learn more about how YouTube can help you make money with your music through ads, subscriptions, and other revenue sources here. Learn more about scalable tools and strategies to deliver your music and manage your digital rights on YouTube here.

Fan funding 

Super Chat and Super Stickers are ways for creators to connect with fans during live streams and Premieres. Fans can buy Super Chats to highlight their message within live chat or Super Stickers to get an animated image that surfaces in live chat. If you’re eligible, learn more about how to turn on Super Chat or Super Stickers and how you can manage these features.

Super Thanks lets creators earn revenue from viewers who want to show extra gratitude for their Shorts and long-form videos. Fans can buy a one-time animation and post a colorful, customizable comment in the video or Short’s comment section. If you’re eligible, learn how to turn on and manage Super Thanks for your channel.

Channel memberships allow viewers to join your channel through monthly payments and get members-only perks like badges, emoji, and other benefits. If you’re eligible, learn more about how to turn on memberships and how you can manage memberships for your channel.

Selling on YouTube

We also offer eligible channel owners the opportunity to showcase their own products and official branded merchandise on YouTube. Get started with Shopping on YouTube.

And if you’re a music artist on YouTube, you may also be eligible to showcase your upcoming concert listings on YouTube. Learn more about how to add tickets for your tour dates to videos here.

Your performance on YouTube

YouTube is a part of Google and adheres to Google’s privacy policies and principles. When you use our services, whether that’s as a user or as a partner, you’re trusting us with your info. We understand how important data is to measuring your success on YouTube. We make sure our methods are consistent with our Privacy Policy to protect the privacy and security of our users and partners.

YouTube offers the YouTube Analytics and YouTube Reporting APIs to help you get the most out of your data. If you allow it, we give access to YouTube Analytics data for YouTube channel and content owners. Learn more about the types of reports that YouTube channel and content owners can access via these APIs. We also have analytics features, YouTube Analytics and YouTube Analytics for Artists, built directly into the platform, allowing you to access performance metrics, such as: 

  • Watch time: The amount of time that viewers have watched a video.
  • Subscribers: The number of viewers who have subscribed to your channel.
  • Views: The number of legitimate views for your channels or videos.
  • Top videos: Which videos are performing best.
  • Audience retention: View how well your video keeps your audience interested.
  • Live Stream Data.
  • Demographics: who your viewers are, including stats about their age, gender, and location.
  • Traffic sources: to help you understand how viewers find your content.

We also publish some channel and video analytics, like aggregated subscriber counts and video views, publicly on your channel page, the watch page, YouTube trending sites, YouTube Analytics for Artists, Music Charts & Insights, and through the API services. We may also share aggregated, anonymized channel and video data with advertisers, sales partners, and rights holders, per Google’s Privacy Policy. For example, we might say that the number of fitness videos has doubled over the past year in a given country or region..

Specific types of data might also be shared when you choose to use certain YouTube features. For example, if you connect your official merchandise retailer and your YouTube channel, analytics data relating to sales and visits will be shared between Google and the retailer. We’ll always let you know about how data might be shared together with your program terms.

Certain YouTube teams, such as those involved in YouTube’s trust and safety enforcement, may have access to channel and video analytics that are different or more detailed than those made available through the YouTube Analytics platform or API services. For example, YouTube’s spam and security-breach detection systems may review detailed site traffic and analytics to detect irregular behavior and catch people trying to inflate view counts of videos or numbers of subscribers in violation of the YouTube Terms of Service.

We continually work on new methods to deliver accurate and actionable insights for businesses and advertisers, particularly as viewership shifts across platforms and devices. We make sure these methods are consistent with our Privacy Policy to protect the privacy and security of our users. You can read more info about how we retain this data if you cease using our services as part of our retention policy.

How we support new talent

As part of our commitment to help our emerging creators and artists, we regularly run programs to support their growth. This can include giving access to our amazing studios at the YouTube Spaces, training camps like NextUp, and specific seed funding to support the development of new content. In exchange for this support, our creators and artists promise to make YouTube-exclusive content for our users to enjoy.

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