Advertisers on YouTube want to display their ads on videos that feel safe for them. They don’t want their advertisement to be associated with videos that are racy, promote hate, violence, drugs, and things like that. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make videos about those topics. Let’s review YouTube’s guidelines for how to make videos that are advertiser-friendly and will still attract ads so you can make money from the video.

If you’re making money from sponsors and advertisements here on YouTube, then you need to make content that attracts those advertisers to your videos. YouTube themselves have a lot to say about this. They actually define what advertiser-friendly content is. Advertiser-friendly content is content that’s appropriate for all audiences. It has little to no inappropriate or mature content in the video stream, thumbnail, or metadata, such as in the video title. If the video does contain inappropriate content, the context is usually newsworthy or comedic. And the creator’s intent is to inform or entertain, not offend or shock.

What does that mean, exactly? What is and is not considered advertiser-friendly content?

A few things that are not considered advertiser-friendly would be:

Sexually Suggestive Content

Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity or just sexual crude humor.


Violence, which includes displaying anything that’s just like a really serious injury, or events related to just really extreme violence.

Inappropriate Language

Inappropriate language, which could include profanity and vulgar language, but also includes harassment, and even bullying.

Drugs and Regulated Substances

Any content that promotes drugs or regulated substances. That could be like selling it, using it, abusing it. Anything that has regulated substances and drugs in it, illegal drugs, not going to work on YouTube.

“Controversial” or Sensitive Topics

Any controversial or sensitive topics or events that include anything like, war, political conflicts, natural disasters, tragedies. Even if the graphic imagery is not shown, just talking about those can eliminate advertisers’ ads and things on your channel.

For example, on my family’s YouTube channel, we did a video where we were just talking with our children about the Holocaust. We used no graphic imagery or anything. It was just simply a conversation between us and our kids about that event. And that video is demonetized and not available for AdSense revenue on YouTube.

I even tried to appeal that one with YouTube. And they said nope. Advertisers don’t want to have their ads associated with horrific events like that, which, I guess, is understandable.

So what should you do instead?

Well there’s one key thing that you need to keep in mind. And I’ll give you some examples. Context is so important. Sometimes, when you’re just talking about real-world situations and events, that just naturally includes tragedies, and includes things that just aren’t happy-go-lucky, feel-good type of stuff.

YouTube says, “hey, we understand. We get it. If you’re going to use graphic material in your videos, then you can make it more likely to be advertiser-friendly by providing context around that story or that graphic, that image that you’re showing”. Whether or not your content includes material that could be considered to be non-advertiser-friendly friendly, there’s a few things that you can do to– best practices to follow that will make your videos most likely to be monetized and attract subscribers.

1. Follow YouTube’s Guidelines

Number one, first thing is just simply follow the YouTube guidelines. If your content does get anything that’s on the edge on some of these things, you might want to read it. Make sure you’re very familiar with where that line is so you don’t go over it.

2. Use a Title and Thumbnail Well

Number two, use a title and thumbnail that represents your content well. You guys know misleading titles and thumbnails don’t do anyone any favors. Your videos will not get promoted. And your channel will not grow if you do anything like that. So I’m sure most of you guys aren’t. But if you want to attract advertisers, it works best if you have titles with thumbnails that are related to the content.

3. Avoid Using Profanity

Another thing that can help attract sponsors to your channel is to avoid using any profanity, any explicit language, or graphic visuals, or anything like that in the titles or thumbnails of your videos. Especially– avoid them in the content, as well, but especially in the titles and the thumbnails.

4. Don’t Replicate any of YouTube’s Ad Products

And perhaps one of the most important things that you should not do in order to keep your channel monetized, don’t replicate any of YouTube’s current ad products in your videos. And what I mean by that is, let’s say you’re going to burn an actual pre-roll ad into your actual content for a sponsor. And then you’re going upload that to YouTube.

YouTube says, if you’re going to replicate any of our existing current ad formats into your video, that is a big no-no. And you can have not only your video taken down, but you could get into a lot more problems, have monetization disabled on your YouTube channel. So that’s including mid-roll ads, if you’re going to put an ad right in the middle of your video somewhere. So nothing that looks anything like a YouTube ad in your videos.

I know a lot of you guys have had experience with your videos being demonetized, and then remonetized, and advertisers on them, and advertisers bailing. I know you guys have a lot of stories. I want to hear them in the comments below so I can learn from you.

And also, if this is something you want to learn more about, read the comments people are asking down there. Ask your questions. The rest of you guys, answer questions that other people are asking. Let’s help each other out so we can all learn how to sustain the content financially that we’re making to serve other people really well.

– Learn more about YouTube’s guidelines for advertiser-friendly videos
– Need YouTube to manually review one of your videos that’s marked “not advertiser-friendly?”
YouTube Community Guidelines