How To Get Around YouTube's 'Not Suitable For All Advertisers'

By Steve Higgins
January 05, 2018 3:14 AM ‐ YouTube

A list of banned words and tips on how to make sure videos newly uploaded to YouTube aren't marked not suitable for all advertisers and demonetised.

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YouTube has become a very difficult landscape for Creators recently, as YouTube has introduces changes which automatically demonetises videos that it deems not suitable for all advertisers.

These video can still benefit from YouTube Red payments but no other ads will be displayed on the content in most cases.

I do understand why Google has made these changes and I support them. By allowing any old unvetted piece of content to be monetises is damaging the digital advertising industry. At the end of the day there is a finite amount of people paying to advertise on videos, and to be brutally honest, brands and advertisers are clearly going to want to be associated with some content more than others.

The problem is, YouTube's algorithm which determines which videos are suitable seems to be too harsh and too strict. I can understand advertisers not wanting to be associated with hate speech, political videos, violent games, and conspiracy theories. I can even understand why a brand wouldn't want its adverts being shown alongside videos about sexuality, even when those videos are educational in nature.

But YouTube is getting it wrong in a lot of cases, it's flagging a lot of videos which aren't unsuitable. Perhaps they've switched their algorithm on full in learning mode, and over time they plan to ease off as it works out which video are actually bad. But it seems for now that the strategy is 'better safe than sorry.'

I upload one video a week and fortunately these change haven't become a massive problem for me, just a mild annoyance. But because of my upload schedule, content type and, how I work on YouTube, I've found away around this issue. But I have to warn you, it won't work for everyone.

Step 1

Upload your video as 'private' or 'unlisted'. Give video the file name something generic like 'final render', don't add a title, description or thumbnail. Let this video sit in your Video Manager for an hour. Hopefully at the end of this time you'll still have a green icon next to the video indicating that it is monetised. This tells you that the content of your actual video is inline with YouTube's content guidelines.

However, if you see the yellow 'limited or no ads' icon next to the video, then you're going to need to refer to YouTube's Community Guidelines and try to edit or re-think your video. There's no way to get your video monetised in this situation unless you appeal the decision and request a manual review, but as we all know, there is no guarantee you'll get the decision revoked quickly.

Step 2

If your video still has the green icon then you can now add a custom thumbnail. Ensure your thumbnail is also suitable for all advertisers and inline with the Community Guidelines. Upload the thumbnail, hit save, and wait for a while. I usually give this step about ten minutes.

If after ten minutes the monetisation icon is still green then you know your thumbnail is suitable for all advertisers and isn't causing you an issue. If the icon has turned yellow then you'll need to re-design your thumbnail and start over, there's more details on how to do this below.

Step 3

Add a video title. Avoid any antagonistic words, the filter is very strict. There's some guidance on banned words below. Once changed, leave this for ten minutes or so to let the algorithm run over it.

Again, if after this time the monetisation icon is still green then you know your title is OK. If the icon has turned yellow then you'll need to start over and use a different title for the video.

Step 4

Add a description for your video. Unfortunately it's safer to keep your description short. The less words you used the less chance there is one of those words will cause the video to get flagged. The problem is, this goes against everything YouTube's best practices tell you about video descriptions. The best practice guidelines and common sense tells you to load you description with relevant keywords and as much detail about your video as you can to help people find it.

So, you need to find a balance. In an ideal world you'd fill that description box. I hate to say it, but to avoid demonetisation use bland language and say what you need to in as few words as possible. Again follow the advice on banned words below and once again, leave this for ten minutes or so to let the algorithm run over it.

As in the previous steps, if the icon stays green then you know your description is safe and your video is suitable for all advertisers, congratulations! If the icon has turned yellow then you'll need to start over and use a different description for the video.

How To Start Over

If you need to start over, it's a bit of hassle. You'll obviously need to delete the original upload, but if you try to upload the same file again then YouTube will recognise it as the same video which it's previously marked as not suitable for all advertisers.

The way I get around this is to change the video slightly, either by flipping a shot, or extending/shortening a caption or shot by a single frame. This, even though a tiny change, will cause YouTube to see this as a completely new video.

Banned Words List

Avoid anything political, including politicians names. Obviously avoid swear words, adult language, and hateful language. Anything antagonistic, aggressive, sexual, or illegal.

You need to be really strict on this. Words in my descriptions have been the main reasons why my videos have been demonetised. On one occasion the word the algorithm seemed to not like was soldier.

YouTube haven't published a list of banned words... obviously if they did people would then just avoid them in order to get around the filter, so they probably never will. Their algorithm just needs to get smarted at detecting context.

Why Won't It Work For Everyone?

The reason this technique works for me is because I usually produce videos in advance, at least three or four days before they go live. This gives me time to let the upload settle as the algorithm asses it. However, some channels (such as news channels) need to get videos up and published quickly, and they need to drive traffic to it straight away.

For these Creators a lot of their views come immediately after the upload and in the first 24 hours. Even with a request for a manual review the video will have lost out by the time it is monetised.

Also, it could be damaging for a video if a Creator puts in a short description which lacks keywords. Larger channels might rely more on views from from their subscriber base, where as small channels will rely on being discovered through search, having a good description is a big part of being discovered.

I'd say if you're a smaller channel, don't let your content go undiscovered for the sake of a few dollars by using inadequate titles and descriptions. Remember we're YouTube Creators primarily for the passion, not for the money.
I'd love to hear about your experiences with this in the comments below and hopefully this will only be a relatively short term issue as YouTube tweak their algorithm.

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