In the wake of its December 2017 Logan Paul PR disaster, YouTube abruptly altered its monetization policies, effectively making it more difficult for newer and smaller influencers to generate ad revenue on the platform.
It’s been a frantic few months for the tech giant — advertisers are demanding stricter content guidelines and stronger enforcement. Meanwhile, influencers of all sizes are frustrated with the platform’s poor communication and apparent disregard for its creators.
In April, the issue of demonetization came to head when a shooter attacked the company’s headquarters and authorities discovered she had expressed serious qualms with YouTube’s recent demonetization.
YouTube is scrambling to make drastic changes that simultaneously appease advertisers and influencers. Here we’ve provided a cheat sheet for understanding the current state of YouTube demonetization.
The term adpocalypse refers to numerous instances in which major brands such as Coca-Cola, Amazon, and Verizon have pulled their ads from YouTube due to their placement alongside extremist content, effectively boycotting the platform.
The most recent adpocalypse event transpired in April when a CNN investigation found that YouTube ran ads from over 300 brands and organizations on channels that promoted white nationalism, pedophilia, North Korea propaganda, and more.
Adpocalypse has contributed heavily to YouTube’s decision to alter its monetization policy and demonetize influencers. Today, YouTuber’s often use the term to refer to the platform’s tendency to inaccurately demonetize harmless videos.
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Demonetization refers to changes in YouTube’s advertising policy that make it harder to qualify for generating ad revenue on the platform. YouTube’s most recent demonetization effort has limited the number of influencers who can earn advertising revenue.
To be eligible to earn advertising revenue on YouTube, YouTubers must enroll in the YouTube Partner Program. On January 16, 2018, YouTube changed the eligibility requirements for YPP. Influencers now need 4,000 hours of watch time in the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers to be reviewed for YPP membership. Previously, an influencer needed 10,000-lifetime video views to be reviewed for program membership.
Once a YouTube influencer has been approved to join YouTube’s Partner Program, s/he must create a YouTube AdSense account to start earning ad revenue. The term is used when referencing the act of making ad revenue on YouTube.
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All YouTube users (creators and viewers) must follow community guidelines to use the platform. YouTube’s community guidelines state that users cannot post videos that include sexual, harmful, dangerous, hateful content, or violent content. Users are also not allowed to harass, bully, threaten, or impersonate others on the platform.
Beyond its community guidelines, YouTube’s advertiser policies are the rules an influencer’s videos must adhere to in order to appear alongside advertisements. Videos can be appropriate for YouTube but not appropriate for advertising. All YouTube videos must meet the platform’s community guidelines. But to be suitable for advertising, videos must meet an additional set of advertiser policies.
Content not suitable for most advertisers but still allowed on YouTube includes inappropriate language, sexually suggestive content, and controversial issues and sensitive events (e.g., war, political conflicts, death and tragedies).
In the wake of influencer complaints against demonetization, YouTube is currently beta-testing a new way for influencers to generate revenue on YouTube.com. Subscribers will be given the option to pay a $4.99/month fee to sponsor their favorite creators and in turn receive perks like custom emojis or badges for live chats. Sponsorships were first introduced on YouYube Gaming in September 2017.
In the wake of adpocalypse and demonetization, YouTube announced the creation of a quarterly report called YouTube Community Guidelines Enforcement Report in April. According to YouTube, reports will explicitly lay out the steps YouTube is taking to remove problematic content.
The first report includes the total number of videos removed from the platform between October and December 2017, as well as the percentage of videos that were removed before anyone viewed them.
In April, a shooter attacked YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, CA, injuring three people. The shooter was a YouTube influencer who had published multiple videos and blog posts criticizing YouTube’s demonetization policy. Many have said her actions, albeit extreme, reflect the frustration and anger many influencers feel towards YouTube’s demonetization policies.