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Industry

Why Does YouTube Demonetize Videos? 6 Key Reasons for YouTube Demonetization, and How to Protect your Revenue

Jourdan Aldredge

Jun 11, 2024

Since its launch in 2005, the online video sharing platform YouTube has become the single most powerful force in content creation today. As YouTube continues to hold tight to its market dominance, countless creators have flocked to YouTube to launch their channels and their content creation careers.

Regardless of your niche or expertise level, there’s something quite appealing and fascinating about how YouTube works to help new creators find an audience and grow a brand. Still, while YouTube might feel like a fun game that can potentially make you a millionaire, it also can just as quickly crush your dreams.

As many creators have found, despite their best efforts to follow what they think are the guidelines and rules, YouTubers find their videos demonetized and even have their channels taken down. So, regardless of where you are on your YouTube content creation journey, let’s share some of the reasons for demonetization of YouTube videos and—more importantly—how to avoid these pitfalls.

1. Your channel is not eligible for monetization

Hand holding smart phone, showing the view count of a demonetized video on youtube

Before we explore how or why your YouTube videos might be demonetized, we should make sure that they are eligible for monetization.

Depending on how you set your channel up and the nature of your video content, you might be surprised to learn that your videos aren’t eligible for monetization. This could be devastating news if you’ve already spent a lot of time creating a channel and building an audience.

But if you’re just starting on your journey, and want to ensure that your channel will be eligible, here’s a great blog article where YouTube monetization is explained in detail.

2. You haven’t joined the YouTube partner program

 

Furthermore, as you start on your YouTube content creation journey to launch a monetizable and profitable channel, you’ll need to be eligible and accepted into YouTube’s Partner Program. Of course, to be accepted, you’ll need to follow the YouTube channel monetization policies listed above, but you’ll also need to follow a few more steps, which include:

  1. Live in a country/region where the YouTube Partner Program is available.
  2. Have no active Community Guidelines strikes on your channel.
  3. Make sure 2-Step Verification is turned on for your Google Account.
  4. Have advanced features access on YouTube.
  5. Have one active AdSense for YouTube account linked to your channel, or be ready to set one up in YouTube Studio if you don’t already have one (only create a new AdSense for YouTube account in YouTube Studio).

 

You’ll also need to reach a few eligibility thresholds, which, once met, will earn you an invitation from YouTube to join the YPP. As of the writing of this article, the current requirements thresholds for joining the YPP are:

  1. Get 1,000 subscribers with 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months, or
    2. Get 1,000 subscribers with 10 million valid public Shorts views in the last 90 days.

 

Once these thresholds are met, you’ll be invited to apply, and YouTube will review your submission to join the YPP.

3. Your video has received a copyright strike for unlicensed music

 

Perhaps the most common reason for demonetized videos on YouTube is when they use unlicensed music. Suppose you do get a YouTube copyright strike. In that case, it means that a copyright owner has submitted a legal removal request for using their copyright-protected content—and most often, that is music or sound effects related.

When a copyright removal request is submitted to YouTube, they review it. If the request is valid, they must remove your video from YouTube to comply with copyright law.

If you get a copyright strike, it means that a copyright owner submitted a legal copyright removal request for using their copyright-protected content. When a copyright removal request is submitted to us, YouTube reviews it. If the removal request is valid, YouTube has to remove your video from YouTube to comply with copyright law.

YouTube also notes that a video can only have one copyright strike at a time and that videos can be removed from the site for reasons other than copyrights. However, if you do use Content ID claims, these don't result in a strike. Here's some more info about how to fix a copyright claim on Youtube.

If you do get a copyright strike, you’ll need to go through YouTube’s Copyright School. If you get three copyright strikes, your account, along with any associated channels, will be subject to termination, all your videos will be removed, and you won’t be able to create new channels.

So, by far, the best way to avoid getting these career-ending copyright strikes is to use royalty free music for youtube videos, licensed through sites like Soundstripe.

4. Your video has received a community guideline strike

 

Another reason for your YouTube demonetization could be because you’ve received a community guideline strike. Trust us; these strikes are no jokes and should be taken very seriously if you want your videos to be monetizable and profitable.

YouTube provides Community Guidelines to protect both its creators and its users, as well as its advertisers. You'll receive a strike if you break the rules—even in unlisted or private content, comments, links, community posts, or thumbnails.

Luckily, if you get the bad news that you’ve received a strike, you have options to move forward. If you receive a strike, YouTube will send you an email and tell you the following:

  • What content was removed
  • Which policies it violated (for example harassment or violence)
  • How it affects your channel
  • What you can do next

Furthermore, YouTube will let you know how the strike affects your channel, which could include a warning or an optional policy training course. From there, though, any strikes will count against you and build up as part of YouTube’s three strike policy, which you can read more about here.

5. Your video goes against YouTube’s advertiser-friendly guidelines

Screenshot 2024-06-11 at 2.51.28 PM

Along with community guidelines, YouTube also has its own set of Advertiser-friendly guidelines that it encourages creators to follow. Failure to follow these guidelines can get your video in trouble or possibly demonetized.

YouTube offers a self-certification questionnaire and specific rules about what ads can run, what limited ads can run, what ads will not run, and what ads should have monetization turned off. And, if you’re interested, you can read a lot more about the best practices here.

However, in short, the best way to stay on the good side of YouTube’s advertiser-friendly guidelines is to avoid these main topics that YouTube deems to be not advertiser-friendly.

  • Inappropriate language
  • Violence
  • Adult content
  • Firearms-related content
  • Harmful acts and unreliable content
  • Hateful & derogatory content
  • Recreational drugs and drug-related content
  • Tobacco-related content
  • Inappropriate content for kids and families

And many more could result in a "limited or no ads" monetization state.

6. Your video was demonetized by mistake

Finally, while these cases are indeed rare, one final reason YouTube might demonetize your video is simply because of a mistake. These don’t happen often, but if you feel that YouTube has suspended your channel or rejected your application to the YPP by mistake, here are the steps you’ll need to follow to get your channel and content in good standing again.

You may be able to appeal either by creating and submitting a video appeal or by contacting Creator Support from within YouTube Studio. After you submit your appeal, YouTube’s team will respond to you in 14 days with a decision. If your appeal is successful, your channel will be approved for YPP, and monetization will be turned back on within 30 days.

How to Avoid Demonetization on YouTube

 

At the end of the day, though, while mistakes do happen, most of the time, videos that are demonetized on YouTube are due to not licensing assets like music, sound effects, or other materials. A good rule of thumb is to simply not use anything created by anyone else but yourself.

If you do want to use music or sound effects that you didn’t write and record yourself, though, you should absolutely look into licensing royalty-free music that has been cleared for you to use in your videos. Here are some legal guidelines on how to use copyrighted music on YouTube.

From there, be smart and try to avoid any subjects that might seem risky or even closely against YouTube’s rules as mentioned above and guidelines. You’ll be in the clear about starting to create high-quality, and hopefully high-earning, YouTube videos.