What is Youtube Demonetization and How to Survive It

Tips & TricksWhat is Youtube Demonetization and How to Survive It
Table of contents

    If you are reading this, then it’s likely that you’ve suffered from this problem – your YouTube video was demonetized. Don’t you worry though – following the 2017 YouTube adpocalypse when advertisers left the platform in heaps, heavily affecting monetization opportunities, new ways around the issue of demonetization have appeared. Yet YouTube does not seem to have learned their lesson – creators keep getting demonetized for no apparent reason to this very day.

    So let’s take a closer look at the problem, why YouTube demonetization happens and what steps can be taken to overcome it.

    What is YouTube demonetization?

    YouTube demonetization refers to when videos or channels are no longer eligible for ad revenue. This often happens because of updates in the platform’s advertising algorithm, which can catch many creators off guard.

    How are your videos demonetized on YouTube?

    The whole process is painfully easy: YouTube changes its algorithm and videos are subsequently removed from the Account Monetization program as they no longer fall under the program’s strict criteria.

    Often, the content in a demonetized YouTube video is algorithmically flagged as unsuitable for advertisers when these changes occur.. However, the problem is that channels suffer even if YouTube only believes that a certain video may contain certain content – even if it doesn’t. But because advertisers are the ones paying, YouTube has been forced to update their algorithm and community guidelines in recent years, which in turn induced large scale demonetization.

    On the other hand, there have been incidents where YouTube’s advertisers saw their commercials included alongside hate speech, pornography, criminal activities and controversial content. 

    For brands, this is always bad news, as they then could be seen as associated with those messages. For YouTube, this translates into extra work and the need to find solutions that would prevent such issues in the future. 

    But for content creators, if your YouTube videos get demonetized, it is a loss of income, often despite not doing anything untoward. So let’s consider what measures can be taken to avoid YouTube demonetization and what to do if it happened to a channel owner.  

    Tips to avoid YouTube demonetization

    There are a number of steps that can be taken to minimize your chances of YouTube demonetization. Although there are no guarantees with a platform that relies on such an algorithm, in most cases if you follow them, your content should not be at risk.

    Double-check everything before uploading

    Even if you have more or less automated your YouTube uploading process and think everything is good to go, take an extra minute to make sure absolutely everything is intact, including the title, description and thumbnail. Is there anything that the monetization bot could view as offensive or unpleasant? 

    If you are unsure, maybe it’s time to give YouTube demonetization rules a read? In reality, there are even tools that can help test your thumbnail for compliance with safe search policies. Just feed in your pic and get feedback right away!


    If it’s not the issues above, then maybe there’s something within that contravenes YouTube’s Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines. Perhaps consider the following:

    Avoid foul language

    Even if it’s a word or two now and then, YouTube dislikes profanities and penalizes videos for including them. So be sure to edit them out to avoid running the risk of demonetization. 

    No to controversial topics

    If the theme of your channel is controversial or disliked topics, then tough luck – YouTube is highly unlikely to monetize your videos. The only way to fix this and remain on YouTube’s advertising algorithm’s good side is by avoiding such topics altogether.

    No reaction videos

    Despite their popularity, Google’s video platform often views reaction videos as problematic due to it being in a gray area of the fair use policy

    Avoid politics

    Yes, politics are controversial too, even if you are looking to broadcast to a very particular group of people sharing your views. Therefore, if you want to talk politics on YouTube, be prepared to forgo ad revenue.

    Keep an eye on old content too

    Even if all your videos have so far done well in terms of monetization, don’t forget that YouTube is known for adjusting its policy and algorithm almost on a daily basis, and you could easily lose that green monetization icon, all while thinking that all your content is earning you dollars. There have been cases of YouTube demonetizing videos from years ago. Therefore, develop a habit of checking your entire library for potential demonetization.

    Manual review of demonetized videos

    If everything above has been done and to no avail, consider appealing by requesting a manual review of the demonetization decision. This button is right next to that ugly yellow icon. After that, you can only wait and hope it was a mistake on the part of the YouTube bot that can be fixed swiftly.

    Other options

    If all fails and you are determined to continue producing the content you have, it may be worth considering moving to an alternative video platform to make money or use video distribution services such as VlogBox, or even setting up your own where you will be able set your own rules for monetization. 

    At the same time, with YouTube being the go-to platform for video creators, staying on YouTube may be good for brand exposure even if you’re demonetized.

    That means you can always keep YouTube as strictly a marketing platform when you are starting off. If this is where your audience is, it might make sense to grow on YouTube first and then take your most loyal followers to a platform that suits your needs as a creator better afterwards.


    Even if you get demonetized on YouTube, don’t panic: you’re not the first and there are effective ways to deal with the problem, even if it is your sole income source.

    Yes, YouTube is powerful and can dictate its own rules, but the YouTube business model is undoubtedly successful, and instead of channeling your energy into fighting the giant, pay heed to these tips:

    • Take control by diversifying your income – You could take up paid sponsorships, set up affiliate marketing, create a separate paid subscription page to distribute premium content or sell your own branded merch once you have a substantial following.
    • Set a goal of building your own platform where you will enjoy full control over content and income
    • Utilize the power of YouTube as a marketing tool – Considering the reach it offers for free!

    In any case, if you are set on your dream, surviving demonetization should not be a problem.