YouTube has long been a favorite platform for creators to earn money by showing ads on their videos. In fact, YouTube was where creators made the majority of their income in 2022. But as of late, many are growing frustrated with the platform. Why? YouTube has been demonetizing videos that were once earning creators income.
Demonetization isn’t a new practice by the social media giant, but since YouTube’s update to its content moderation policy, creators, particularly in the gaming industry, have seen an uptick in this trend.
The truth is the rules and policies around YouTube advertising are complex and ever-changing, and even if you think you’re complying at all levels, you may not be.
In this article, we’ll help you understand the ins and outs of YouTube demonetization and how to protect your livelihood no matter what decisions YouTube—or any other platform—makes that impact your online business.
What is YouTube demonetization and how does it work?
YouTube demonetization is when a YouTube channel loses the ability to show ads on some or all of its videos. At its root, YouTube demonetization means loss of revenue for the creator.
If YouTube believes you’re not following the rules of the YPP or content guidelines, you can get penalized in several ways:
- You can lose the ability to run ads on some or all of your content.
- You can be suspended from the YPP.
- Your account can be suspended or terminated.
According to YouTube’s policy, if your content violates any of the platform’s guidelines, they’ll contact you to let you know why they’ve taken action against you, and what to do to fix the situation.
Why does YouTube demonetize videos?
There are two main reasons YouTube demonetizes creators’ videos, both of which come down to content guidelines and the platform’s monetization policy. Let’s take a look:
Content that doesn’t meet the advertising guidelines
YouTube’s advertising guidelines exclude a wide range of topics, and you must review your content carefully before uploading it, because even if you think you’re complying, you may not be.
There’s an extensive list of content to avoid if you don’t want to run the risk of getting demonetized, so you need to be extra mindful that your content doesn’t include any of these:
Despite YouTube’s extensive content guidelines for ads, users report that independent creators can have a harder time avoiding demonetization than major media outlets, even if the content is similar.
Some users have put together videos with lists of YouTube demonetized words to help other creators avoid getting demonetized, so it’s important to use these tools to ensure you’re doing everything in your power to comply with YouTube’s policies and regulations.
You’re not complying with YouTube’s monetization policy
Even if you’re complying with YouTube’s content guidelines for advertising, you can still get demonetized if you fail to follow community guidelines or if your AdSense account isn’t updated.
For community guidelines, it’s pretty straightforward. YouTube doesn’t like anything remotely suggestive of spam, scams, nudity, sex, child safety risks, or dangerous content.
YouTube also wants content creators to follow quality principles for family-friendly content and to have a respectful attitude toward their viewers, fellow creators, and advertisers.
From an AdSense point of view, there is a set of rules you need to follow to ensure your content doesn’t get demonetized. AdSense policies include:
- Have an updated AdSense account. Since February 2021, any AdSense account that hasn’t been updated will be completely demonetized.
- Create original content that adds value. If you create repetitive content, your chances of getting demonetized increase.
- Don’t feature any copyrighted material you don’t have permission to share.
Note: Starting Feb 1st, 2023, the same rules will apply to YouTube Shorts, which will be eligible for monetization in the same way long-form videos are.
The social giant has a specific procedure for reviewing videos and channels, although YouTube’s reviewers may also check other parts of your content to ensure it’s complying with their policies and guidelines.
Although YouTube seems to be taking a very thorough approach to guidelines and review procedures, some creators are still surprised to find their accounts demonetized when they haven’t breached the policies.
This was the case for Lea Robertson, whose account got demonetized for allegedly publishing unoriginal content, even though all the videos she uploaded were originally made by her.
My video has been demonetized, what now?
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having your YouTube video (or account) demonetized, there is still hope!
Here’s what you should do:
- Review all the information YouTube sends you about your policy violation.
- Contact them through Creator Support to get further details or to appeal their decision.
- Search for issues with your content. If found, update it until you are 100% confident your edited content meets YouTube’s guidelines and policies.
A key factor is to be persistent. Lea Robinson, as mentioned above, managed to get her monetization reactivated in just three days after contacting YouTube customer service and having them check that she hadn’t violated any of their policies.
A more extreme way of getting your monetization back is to follow YouTuber Tyrone Magnus’ approach and rally your followers to contact YouTube on your behalf. We’ll leave it to you to decide whether this approach would work in your case.
Protect your business from YouTube demonetization
Now that we’ve looked at what YouTube Demonetization is and how to handle it, let’s think about the big picture of your online business.
The fact is, if you’re relying on any social media platform for your livelihood, you’re giving up control of your business and putting yourself at risk for losing your content, audience, and revenue.
The best thing to do to protect your online business is to diversify your revenue streams so you don’t have to be at the mercy of YouTube or any other third-party platform.
As a content creator, you have a TON of options for monetization — including building and selling digital products.
How do I supplement my YouTube income?
To stop YouTube demonetization from drying up your income stream, look at other ways to generate revenue—that way even if your account gets demonetized, it won’t kill your business.
The truth is that the creator economy is broken, with most popular platforms doing a disservice to content creators, favoring big accounts and letting smaller ones struggle. Take it from Kajabi Hero Alla Driksne.
“For seven years, I made no money online. I built a huge following thinking that if I had a large fan base, I would make money on YouTube and Instagram. Nothing really came of it, and I was still working five jobs. I was making only - $10,000 a year."
Diversifying revenue is the best option for creators to avoid being crushed by platforms that fail to provide them with the tools and support they need to monetize content consistently.
Let’s look at three great ways to make money outside of YouTube: build and sell digital online courses and products, grow online communities, and offer coaching programs.
Build a community or membership you own
When you own a community or membership offer, not only do you decide what content to post, but you can also leave the fear of demonetization behind you.
You can charge for access and sell products or services to people who already know and like you, so you won’t have to worry about building an audience from scratch. Simply invite your YouTube subscribers to your community.
Kajabi has launched the next generation of its Kajabi Communities tool in January 2023, full of advanced features your members will love, like live calls, challenges, leaderboards, accountability tools, and more!
Use digital courses and products to diversify your revenue
Another way to diversify income is by selling digital products like courses, e-books, or guides. This is a great way to monetize your content creation skills and knowledge, as it allows you to get paid for it directly.
Take Kaori Ikuta, a Kajabi Hero who added courses to her coaching business to find great success.
“In 2021, I was able to earn almost $100,000 using Kajabi. Using online courses really saved up my time significantly.”
Offer group or individual coaching
Coaching is an effective way to diversify your income while also helping you build closer relationships with your community members and understand how to serve them better.
If the idea of selling a course, creating a membership, or offering coaching is starting to sound appealing to you, but you don’t know how to get your offer in front of people, don’t worry. That’s what funnels are for!
Take control of your content and your revenue
YouTube can be a great tool to grow and monetize your business, but at the end of the day, it exists to serve advertisers more than creators.
Kajabi, on the other hand, is designed for knowledge creators. You are our most important order of business, and we only succeed when you do.
That’s why we equip you with all the tools you need to easily build and monetize your digital products from start to finish, with tons of support along the way.
Diversifying your revenue is key to building a lasting business, and with Kajabi, you’ll be able to make sure your income stream never dries out.