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 videos, and it's important for you to understand how they get discovered and how they perform. As creators and content providers, you're at the center of our community - communication and transparency with you remains our priority. We’re committed to supporting your success. That’s why we want to bring together some of our great resources that explain how our systems work for you, how you can make money on YouTube and measure your performance, and how to manage your relationship with YouTube. Take a look to learn more about:

Your content on YouTube

YouTube Search

YouTube Search prioritizes three main elements to provide the best search results: 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 user’s search query. Engagement signals are a valuable way to determine relevance. We incorporate aggregate engagement signals from users, i.e. we may look at the watch time of a particular video for a particular query to determine if the video is considered relevant to the query by other users. 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 veracity and credibility are 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 do not allow for customization.

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

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Recommended videos

Recommendations help users discover more of the videos they love, whether it’s a great new recipe to try or their next favorite song. We share recommendations both on YouTube’s homepage and in the “Up next” section as a suggestion of what to watch next when a user is watching a video. We’re constantly testing, learning, and adjusting to recommend videos that are relevant to users. We take into account many signals, including a user’s watch and search history (if enabled), as well as the channels they have subscribed to. We also consider a user’s context, such as their country and time of day. For example, this helps us show users locally relevant news.

Another factor YouTube’s recommendation systems consider is whether other users who clicked on the same video watched it to completion - a sign that the video is higher quality or enjoyable - or just clicked on it and shortly after starting to view the video, clicked away. We also ask users directly about their experience with individual videos and our recommendation systems using random surveys that appear on their home page and elsewhere throughout the app. We use this direct feedback to fine-tune and improve these systems for all users.

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. We’re constantly working to improve our systems to reduce recommendations on borderline content and videos that could misinform users in a harmful way, particularly in areas that rely on veracity - such as news, medicine, historical events, or science.

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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 enable special features like monetization, live streaming, or the merch shelf. 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 the Creator Studios via the Agreements section of your Creator Studio settings (by following the instructions here).

Communicating with YouTube

As part of our ongoing goal to improve our transparency and communication with out 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'll communicate with you here.

Making money on YouTube

YouTube Partner Program

As part of the YouTube Partner Program, you'll be eligible to tap into multiple revenue streams, as long as they're available in your country, and you meet the proper criteria. You'll 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.

Super Chat and Super Stickers

Super Chat and Super Stickers are ways for creators to connect with fans, allowing viewers to purchase messages that stand out. During a live chat or Premiere, viewers can purchase either Super Chats to highlight their message, or Super Stickers to see a digital or animated image that pops up in the chat feed. If you’re eligible, learn more about how to turn on Super Chat or Super Stickers and how you can manage these features.

Selling on YouTube

We also offer eligible channel owners the opportunity to showcase their official branded merchandise on YouTube. Learn more about merch features here.

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 ensure 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, providing access to YouTube Analytics data for YouTube channel and content owners. For details about the types of reports that YouTube channel and content owners can access via these APIs, please see here. 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: See 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 users 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.

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 analyze 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 providing 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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