Follow These New YouTube Monetization Guidelines

Both novice and experience video campaign users should pay attention to the new guidelines Google announced this month regarding monetization on YouTube.

Although your video-based ads may be of the highest quality, the reality is that not all channels in the YouTube community reflect that quality. Therefore, in order to find the best outlets for your video spots, Google has tightened its restrictions for which YouTube creators will have access to your ads.

Google says its expects the changes to enhance the collective quality of the channels that contain your ads. Moreover, you as an AdWords user should see improvements to the transparency of where your campaigns exist within the YouTube universe.

Subscribers and Total Watch Time

Google’s most prominent change is its stricter criteria for inclusion in the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) – the program that allows YouTube video creators to run AdWords ads within their own videos.

The new criteria asserts that, to be eligible to run ads, YouTube videos must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the last 12 months. This marks Google’s departure from its previous assessment that videos only needed 10,000 total views to gain eligibility.

Incoming YPP hopefuls will need to conform to these changes immediately. Existing YouTube videos will need to meet the new guidelines by the end of February.

As a video-based advertisement creator, you may have little sway when it comes to affecting a particular creator’s subscriber base or watch count. Still, you should know that Google’s more selective standards could change the types of channels on which your ads are seen.

Google Preferred Gains Manual Reviews

The Google Preferred program is a subset of what YouTube offers. It has always acted as a gateway for advertisers to place their campaigns on the top five percent of videos on the site. Now Google will manually review those top-performing channels before they can continue as part of the Preferred set.

Google says it expects to finish reviewing all existing Preferred channels by the end of February. What changes will this make?

Previously, the Preferred program pushed the most popular videos to the top of the list. Advertisers could then reach a larger audience by inserting their own ads into that select network of channels.

Manual review of these channels will make sure the most popular videos also conform to Google’s “ad-friendly guidelines,” the company said in its January blog post.

Again, as an advertisement creator, you will be a passive participant in this process; the heavy lifting will take place behind the scenes. Meanwhile, you can begin to expect your ads to run on a narrower band of channels in the months to come.

A New Advertisement Suitability System

Of all the latest changes, this is where you will gain the most control as an AdWords user. Google said it will release a new “three-tier suitability system” for you to personally vet where you ads appear.

Although Google’s blog post was vague on details, your power in this situation will likely come from a choice in quality of channel your ads seek in YouTube. You may see a Good, Better, Best system that controls the quality of channels you prefer. The tradeoffs in this situation will then be similar to other strategies in AdWords.

As an example of that tradeoff: consider that you can use a long list of non-specific keywords to reach millions of Google users with your ads. Or you can pare your list so it becomes more specific, reaching maybe only hundreds-of-thousands of users. In both cases, your ads will find viewership on the Display Network, but a host of different viewers in each group will find your ads useful.

Good, Better, Best criteria in Google’s new suitability system may provide similar exchanges between more channels and more viewers or fewer channels and fewer, but select, viewers. The choice will be yours.

Google’s timetable with its suitability system was not mentioned in its recent announcement. However, it did indicate that partnerships with companies such as Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify, OpenSlate, comScore, and Moat will help the new system take shape.

On the Atria blog, we will keep our attention tied to further developments and report on them as they arise. You can contact us at any time to make sure your video ads reach the right audience.