YouTube Adjusts Monetization Policy In Response To Influencer Criticism
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YouTube’s Monetization Policy: History, Recent Developments & Influencer Marketing Implications
In the span of its 12-year history, YouTube has accumulated more than 1 billion users and has become a gathering place for influencers and fans. For some, it has become a place to make a living. The number of YouTube channels earning $100,000 is up 50% year over year, and 7 out of 10 YouTube subscribers report relating more to YouTube creators than traditional television/movie stars.
YouTube’s monetization policy has been a controversial issue within the influencer community for the past several months. In light of influencer complaints, YouTube just announced changes to its monetization algorithm that will, if successful, help creators generate greater ad revenue on videos. Here, we’ll break down the history of YouTube’s monetization algorithm, the steps YouTube is taking to improve it, and how it affects the influencer marketing industry.
What Is YouTube Monetization And How Does It Work?
Most simply, YouTube monetization is one way YouTubers make money by posting videos on the platform. Advertisers pay YouTube to run their video advertisements before and/or during creator videos. YouTube then pays creators a cut of the revenue generated by running ads on their video.
Not all creators are eligible for content monetization.
In April 2017, YouTube also announced that users must amass 10,000 total channel views before applying for its paid partnership program. Once a creator reaches the 10,000 view threshold, they can apply for the partnership program, and if approved, they can begin monetizing videos.
A Timeline Of YouTube’s Monetization Policy
Though YouTube’s monetization program appears relatively straightforward, the feature has proven particularly problematic in the past year.
An investigation by The Times discovered that major brand advertisements were playing before inappropriate and offensive YouTube videos. Over 250 brands among the likes of Audi, Verizon, and Starbucks pulled their advertisements from the platform.
YouTube responded to advertiser dissatisfaction by updating its monetization algorithm and implementing stricter video monetization guidelines. In a statement, the company expressed a commitment to ensuring advertisements only appear alongside advertising friendly videos.
In the months since top YouTubers have expressed frustration concerning the monetization algorithm’s accuracy and voiced complaints that it jeopardizes their ability to make a living on the platform.
YouTube announced the introduction of monetization icons and a new appeals policy, both meant to give creators a better sense of why a video is monetized or demonetized.
Three icons were introduced:
- Green dollar sign: indicates that a video can earn money from the largest set of advertisers on YouTube and YouTube Red advertisements.
- Yellow dollar sign: means that a video can earn money from YouTube Red ads, but standard ads are limited or not shown because the video is unsuitable for all advertisers.
- Black dollar sign: identifies a video as ineligible to earn any revenue through monetization. In addition, YouTube’s new appeal policy gives creators the ability to appeal the decision to demonetize their video if they feel it was wrongly classified as yellow or black.
Though YouTube took steps to appease advertisers and creators, the issue of demonetization came to a head in early October. Popular creator Casey Neistat published a video in an effort to raise donations for victims of the recent Las Vegas shooting, promising to donate all ad revenue made through monetization to the cause.
Three days later, Neistat tweeted that the video had been demonetized, sparking controversy. The issue was further exasperated when YouTube community members noticed that a video in which Jimmy Kimmel addresses the issue was running with advertisements.
Current News Surrounding The YouTube Monetization Policy
On October 26, YouTube announced a new update to the monetization algorithm, which will reportedly result in fewer video misclassifications.
According to YouTube, more than 1 million videos have received human reviews for ad appropriateness since August, which has improved the accuracy of the monetization algorithm. The company stated that the update will result in a 30% reduction in the number of videos receiving limited ads.
How Will YouTube's Monetization Policy Updates Affect The Influencer Marketing Industry?
YouTube is in the process of improving the accuracy of its monetization algorithm and support its creators. Nevertheless, the monetization issues on YouTube affect the influencer marketing industry by reducing incentives for influencers to create content and making it difficult for them to sustain their careers.
As a key element of many brands’ marketing strategies, YouTube influencers provide an enormous amount of value to the industry. There are several ways YouTubers can make money — one of them is through ad revenue share. If YouTube's monetization policy and algorithm continue to adversely affect YouTubers' ability to monetize through ad revenue, YouTubers will seek out other revenue opportunities including YouTube video sponsorships with brands.
YouTube’s most recent efforts to solve its monetization algorithm problems are steps toward remedying ad revenue issues with influencers, which ultimately benefits the influencer marketing industry as a whole. A more accurate monetization algorithm will make it easier for new and existing influencers to grow and flourish on the platform.
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November 1, 2017 By Mediakix Team