How Can YouTube Creators Stay Advertiser-Friendly?

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Carla Marshall
June 2, 2022
How Can YouTube Creators Stay Advertiser-Friendly

When you’ve worked hard to be accepted into YouTube’s Partner Program, the last thing you want to do is risk your content being flagged as inappropriate for viewers.

YouTube has some pretty strict guidelines in place to ensure that creators aren’t publishing the type of content advertisers don’t want their brands associated with. 

YouTube’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines leave little wiggle room as to what kinds of content can and can not be monetized on the platform. YouTube introduced the Self Certification system for creators to clarify the content of a video they are about to publish. If the content is entirely safe for advertisers, creators just need to answer one question. However, if the subject matter might trigger a demonetization warning, creators must select from preset options to provide more details to YouTube. 

YouTube’s Self Certification Option for Creators

After a video is uploaded, YouTube will automatically screen it and ask you to self-certify that the content is advertiser-friendly. If the platform’s rating matches that of the creator, it’s all good. However, if it doesn’t match, it will cause issues about how trustworthy the creator is.

On your content dashboard in YouTube Studio, YouTube will mark your video with an icon to confirm the status of monetization opportunities. Here’s what each icon means:

Green: Monetization is confirmed, and the video is ready to publish.

Yellow: Your content can run no or limited ads from all advertisers. You can either publish, edit the video and reupload it, or request a human review of your content.

Red: The video can’t be monetized because there’s a copyright claim against it.

YouTube gives a rundown of the types of content that will net you the “Yellow Icon” with clarifications as to what you can post and still keep the “Green Icon” – or “Limited or No Ads” and “Monetized with Ads,” respectively. Here’s your handy guide on the content you need to think twice about Creating. You can also get more information on the guidelines from YouTube itself:

YouTube Advertiser Guidelines for 2022

Sensitive Events:

War, death, tragedy – Videos on these topics will be Yellow.

Mass shootings, bombings – Videos on these topics will be Yellow.

Controversial Issues:

Political conflicts, terrorism, extremism – Videos on these topics will be Yellow.

Sexual abuse – Videos on this topic will be Yellow.

Recreational Drug Use and Abuse:

“Recreational Drugs” were defined as “Drugs that can alter your mental state or give you a high.” Videos that promote recreational drugs or substances facilitate services for providing them, or instructional content for using, purchasing, or taking recreational drugs will be Yellow.


Videos promoting any sort of tobacco product or any simulation tobacco product such as e-cigarettes (vaping), etc., will be Yellow.

Weapons-Related Content, Specifically Firearms:

Any videos selling firearms or facilitating the sale of firearms (telling you where or how to buy them) will be Yellow.

Instructional videos on how to assemble firearms will be Yellow.

It was clarified that this does NOT apply to gaming content! Gaming content mentioning in-game weapons will be Green.

Advertiser Guidelines About Harmful & Dangerous Acts:

This includes pranks, challenges, dares, stunts, etc. 

Pranks involving or relating to suicide, death, or terrorism (such as bomb scares) will be Yellow.

Body Modifications:

Videos with invasive medical procedures will be Yellow. 

If it’s a basic injection, pimple popping, or ingrown toenail removal, the video will be Green, but full-on surgeries or mutilations are not allowed.

Content that Shows or Promotes Harm to Oneself or Others will be Yellow. This includes:

  • Suicide
  • Domestic violence
  • Cannibalism

Depictions of Physical Harm:

Videos that showcase acts “not to be imitated” (“don’t try this at home, kids!”) will be Yellow. This includes:

  • Ingesting dangerous substances
  • Binge drinking

Other dangerous challenges cannot be monetized and will be Yellow.

Videos that Convey Dangerous Medical Information will be Yellow. These include:

  • “Anti-vax” content
  • Aids-denialist content
  • Non-medical treatments to cure incurable diseases (such as some sort of herb supplement or pill that will “cure cancer”)
  • Videos that imply serious medical conditions don’t exist or are a hoax
  • Despite being proven by a large body of scientific work, content that focuses on denying or claiming medical conditions or diseases don’t exist will not be monetized. 
  • Content that threatens or advocates for actual bodily harm towards oneself or others (or a group of people) cannot be monetized and will be Yellow.

Hateful Content:

These types of videos are not able to be monetized and will be Yellow:

  • Videos that promote discrimination
  • Videos that seek to disparage an individual or group
  • Videos that promote terrorism

Incendiary or Demeaning Content:

Videos that shame or insult an individual or group will be Yellow. This includes:

  • “Diss tracks.” Some “diss” content can be monetized and will be Green, but if the track is purely incendiary and demeaning, making personal attacks against someone, the video will be Yellow.
  • Satirical content can be monetized, but context matters a lot. 

Videos that harass, intimidate or bully an individual or group will be Yellow.

Videos that single someone out for harassment, insult, or encourage followers to harass them cannot be monetized. Videos focused on personal attacks and slander will be Yellow.

Inappropriate Language:

Profanity is a gray area for monetization, so YouTube clarifies the policy. For a video to be monetized and Green:

  • There should be no profanity within the first 30 seconds of the video.
  • There should be no profanity in the title or thumbnail.
  • The level and strength of the profanity matter.
  • Strong derogatory language cannot be monetized.
  • Racial or other discriminatory slurs cannot be monetized.

Adult Themes In Family Content:

Content involving known cartoon, child-friendly, or actually-a-child characters performing sexual, disgusting, violent, dangerous, or distasteful acts cannot be monetized and will be Yellow.

Advertiser Guidelines Around Adult Content:

Sexually-suggestive or sexually-explicit content will be Yellow. This includes:

  • Graphically sexual acts with the intent to arouse
  • Content where the focal point of nudity
  • Content involving sex toys or sexual devices
  • If your video is about the “story of your first time” and dives into details of the actual sexual act, it cannot be monetized.
  • Content promoting sexual acts in exchange for compensation
  • Content related to the sex industry itself

Videos focusing on “sexually-gratifying content” will be Yellow. This includes:

  • Videos that focus on or attempt to arouse based on fetishes
  • Sensationalist material about sex or sex scandals
  • Explicit audio with the intent of sexual arousal
  • Body art focused on nudity
  • Other Explicit Material:

Pornography and other directly-explicit material cannot be monetized and will be Yellow.

Educational content can be Green but don’t go beyond what might appear in a high-school textbook, or the content will be bumped to Yellow status.


Gruesome, graphic, disgusting accounts or imagery will be Yellow.

  • No blood, guts, gore, sexual fluids, human or animal waste, crime scene, or accident-related photos where the focus is on the gore or outcome of violence.
  • Acts of violence:
  • Accounts or images of shootings
  • Videos that promote animal violence
  • Physical fights
  • Raw footage of war casualties

We highly recommend you keep up with these YouTube guidelines, so you don’t miss any opportunities to make money from YouTube.