YouTube has lifted the monetization ban on content that is either about, or references, COVID-19. Although some exceptions apply.
The monetization ban had already been lifted for a limited number of channels, but now the change has been rolled out throughout the platform.
In a newly published help document, YouTube states:
“Content that references and/or features COVID-19 and adheres to our Advertiser-Friendly and Community Guidelines is now eligible for monetization.”
As mentioned, some exceptions apply. Here are examples of COVID-19-related that will not be eligible to serve ads:
- Distressing Footage: Footage of people visibly suffering due to COVID-19.
- Medical Misinformation: Content that misinforms users about health matters related to COVID-19
- Pranks & Challenges: Any COVID-19 related prank or challenge that promotes medically dangerous activities.
These are just some examples, not a comprehensive list.
No Need to Worry About Losing Your Ads for Mentioning COVID-19
Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic, YouTube pulled ads from all related content.
YouTube was so strict about de-monetizing the content that even a passing mention of “coronavirus”, or “COVID-19,” wasn’t allowed.
In order for YouTubers to get around this, and continue to earn revenue from their videos, they came up with various ways to reference COVID-19 without actually calling it by name.
“The virus,” “the pandemic,” “these uncertain times,” and other such phrases were all uttered ad nauseam.
Simply because YouTube creators weren’t allowed to say “coronavirus.”
This made content feel awkward at times, and served as a reminder that YouTubers were still affected by an issue that should have been fixed.
Not to mention it was a disservice to journalists and news organizations whose job it is to keep people informed about the situation.
With that said, there are right and wrong ways to create content about COVID-19.
Here are some best practices from YouTube.
YouTube’s Best Practices For COVID-19 Content
YouTube offers the following recommendations regarding content related to COVID-19.
- Fact check your statements: Use reputable sources from organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and National Health Service (NHS).
- Be sensitive: This is an ongoing global crisis, so YouTube asks that COVID-19 related-content is shared with the best intentions in mind.
Just like any other content on YouTube, content about COVID-19 must still follow YouTube’s Advertiser-Friendly and Community Guidelines.
Some Background Information
This is a follow up to a story published last month where we reported YouTube backtracked on a decision to de-monetize content about COVID-19.
In February and early March, the coronavirus outbreak met the YouTube’s definition of a sensitive topic.
Videos mentioning sensitive topics are not eligible for advertising.
However, YouTube defines a sensitive topic as a short-term event. Such as natural disaster that occurs one day and is over quickly.
As time went on it became clear the coronavirus outbreak was going to be a long-term issue, not a short-term event.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki penned a letter on March 12 saying ads would be re-enabled “for content discussing the coronavirus on a limited number of channels.”
Wojcicki stated it would expand monetization to more creators and news organizations in the coming weeks.
Credit where it’s due – YouTube did expand monetization within the estimated timeframe.
Now, content that’s created about COVID-19, or simply mentions COVID-19, will not be stripped of ads (except for the reasons mentioned earlier.)
Source: YouTube Help
Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt has an uncanny ability to make the most complex subject matter easy to understand. When he’s not ferociously following and covering the search industry, he’s busy writing SEO-friendly copy that converts.