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Update to the YouTube Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines

YouTube has updated the advertiser-friendly content guidelines, with some policies more restrictive, and others now less restrictive.

YouTube channels monetizing through the YouTube Partner Program must ensure video content complies with the advertiser-friendly content guidelines. Non-compliant content may either have limited ads or no ads at all. 

If your channel is not in the YouTube Partner Program now, but you plan to apply when your channel is eligible, then you should be making sure your content is advertiser-friendly. 

If you don't care about monetization, then stick to the slightly less restrictive Community Guidelines.

There's a summary of the changes below, but if you are a YouTube Partner it's really important that you read up on all of the changes. Creator Insider also has a video with an overview.

Adult Content

NO ad revenue: Thumbnails, titles, and videos with:

  • Sexualized texts or adult links
  • Obscene language
  • Sexualized images (like minimally covered butts)
  • Shared sexual tips or working experiences
  • "Gratifying acts" (like implied sexual acts or animals mating)

May receive ad revenue: Classical arts depicting sexual activities, sensual dancing and sex education (this policy is unchanged): 


NO ad revenue: 

  • Non-graphic dead bodies without context
  • Game violence directed at a real named person
  • Game violence meant to be shocking (like brutal mass killing)
  • Implied moment of death (like bombing a building with people inside)

May receive ad revenue: 

  • Non-graphic tragedies and their aftermath (like video of a flooded town)
  • Standard game play, even with gory injuries, as long as it's after the first 8 seconds
  • Police seizures as a part of law enforcement
Harmful or Dangerous Acts

NO ad revenue:  Dangerous acts where kids are participants or victims (including challenges with stunts unsuitable for kids)

Note: Topics related to Drug Trade Organizations and Foreign Terrorist Organizations are now included in the "Harmful or Dangerous Acts" category. 

Inappropriate Language

NO ad revenue: Profanity in the title, thumbnails or in the first 7 seconds of the video
  • "Hell" and "damn" are no longer treated as profanity
  • All other profanity is now treated equality, with no distinction between "strong" and "light" profanity
Drug-related Content

NO ad revenue:  Drug usage, like injections or smoking a joint, in gaming content

May receive ad revenue:  Drug dealing or mention of drugs in gaming content

Enabling Dishonest Behavior

NO ad revenue:  
  • Pretending to be a retail store employee without permission from the owner
  • Violating a retail store's code of conduct (such as staying after business hours)
  • Using or encouraging use of hacking software in competitive e-sports

More information

YouTube Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines

YouTube Help Center: Upcoming and recent ad guideline updates

YouTube Help Center: Gaming and monetization