What you need to know about YouTube’s major advertising changes

17 Jan 2018

YouTube app. Image: Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock

The changes to YouTube’s advertising rules are the biggest since the site was established.

YouTube has been under immense pressure of late following a litany of stories highlighting its content moderation issues, among other problems.

From Logan Paul to disturbing videos aimed at children, the firm has fielded criticism from many in recent months.

Big changes for content creators and advertisers

Google, YouTube’s parent company, has come up with strict new regulatory amendments to the video platform’s advertising policy, which will change how the site works for many of its top creators.

Advertisers have complained about their content being played before videos containing violence or racist sentiments. Brands from Cadbury to Lidl pulled ads from videos featuring sexually explicit comments about the children depicted therein.

The new advertising policies, according to YouTube, are not a direct response to the recent Logan Paul fiasco, but rather a continuous process undertaken following advertisers making their concerns clear.

Stricter criteria

To become a YouTube partner, content creators previously only needed 10,000 total views. YouTube will now take channel size, audience engagement and creator behaviour into account, rather than just using views as the sole barometer for membership of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).

New channels will need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months to become eligible for ads, and these requirements will be in force from 20 February.

Paul Muret of Google also noted other criteria YouTube would now be monitoring going forward: “We will closely monitor signals like community strikes, spam and other abuse flags to ensure they comply with our policies.

“Both new and existing YPP channels will be automatically evaluated under this strict criteria and, if we find a channel repeatedly or egregiously violates our community guidelines, we will remove that channel from YPP.

“As always, if the account has been issued three community guidelines strikes, we will remove that user’s accounts and channels from YouTube.”

More human moderation of top-tier videos

YouTube will also work to make the process of flagging videos unsuitable for advertising more accurate.

It has promised that its team of content reviewers will moderate every single video in the Google Preferred content stream, where marketers can advertise with the site’s most popular creators at a premium price.

It will include a three-tier system to determine suitability for advertisers, and will be commencing some partnerships with third parties to create brand safety reporting tools for the site.

Along with its promise to hire more moderators, these new rules from YouTube could make a positive difference after a notably turbulent period.

YouTube app. Image: Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects