YouTube Monetization Rules for Content Creators in 2019
YouTube is the world’s #1 video sharing site, and it carries this title with pride. But with great power comes an insane amount of conditions, limitations and issues.
After Google bought YouTube in 2006, it started working on a way for creators to earn money from their videos. By 2007, it launched the YouTube Partner Program where video owners could enable ads on their videos and earn via ad-based revenue streams.
It was a revolutionary time in the digital video streaming sector since vlogging was born. People would create videos accounting their day-to-day activities in a fun and visually attractive way.
Over time, YouTube launched several other services like YouTube Red (now YouTube Premium), YouTube TV, YouTube Music, Vevo and its own live streaming and TVoD services.
Youtube Monetization in Early Days
Like any other progressive technology, YouTube also started upgrading its algorithms and terms of the YouTube Partner Program.
To provide better and more relevant content to its viewers, and to push creators to make better videos, YouTube added a clause to the monetization feature.
In order for creators to monetize videos, their channel needed to have over 10,000 lifetime views on their videos. This drove creators to generate better content on the platform and improve their reach.
There were a lot of users on the platform who uploaded copyrighted content and content owned by other people in order to make money. To rid the platform of such bad actors, YouTube enabled this rule.
It was enough to evaluate the authenticity of the content & the user and the cap wasn’t too high to discourage new creators to join the YouTube community.
Factors That Affect The Monetization Rates
Out of the revenue generated by creators through ads, they keep 55% of it while 45% becomes YouTube’s cut.
Therefore, there exists a lot of pressure on creators to generate ad-worthy content on their channel. But what makes a video ad worthy on YouTube?
This question has always stumped a lot of people. Since the top tier YouTubers gather the majority of their revenue from off-platform sources, variable monetization rates only affect the small to mid-tier YouTubers.
Here is a list of things to look out for while creating video content for your YouTube channel to ensure that you attract the best advertisers:
Higher the quality and production value of your videos, better the advertisers. Ad companies tend to pay more for videos that grab attention.
You’ll get better & higher paying advertisers if your videos engage with a large number of people. More subscribers equals higher revenue.
Advertisers like videos that engage with its viewers and are interactive in nature. They’ll pay more if they see a high number of likes or comments.
Viral videos are prone to infringement so the best way to promote yourself and attract advertisers is branding in a way that doesn’t go unnoticed.
While you get higher engagement on long videos, video should be of moderate length depending on the niche & the viewing trends.
Creating controversy or talking about controversial topics affects the brand of the channel and some advertisers don’t affiliate with such a brand.
New Rules in Video Monetization on Youtube
By the end of 2017, YouTube was struggling with controversies and criticism from every angle because of its inability to filter monetized creators and fix monetization issues quickly. The platform was taking fire from both the creators’ side and the advertisers’ side.
In order to avoid a 6-year setback, YouTube announced changes in its monetization policies. The new policies stated that for a channel to be able to monetize its videos, it must have at least 4000 hours of total watch time in a 12 month span and a minimum of 1000 subscribers.
This move was made completely out of self preservation: to protect the company and the platform. The updated set of rules was sort of a compromise between the advertisers and the platform and the platform got to keep its top tier YouTubers. But it got a lot of criticism from small to mid-level YouTubers who couldn’t fulfil the new requirements.
Now, the video platform has become an advertising platform with ad servers at the top of the ecosystem, above creators.
The flipside would have been something like this:
1. Advertisers wouldn’t trust the platform to provide decent ROI and thus would have ended their alignment with YouTube.
2. This would have lead to all the top YouTubers leaving the platform because of lack of monetary incentive.
3. And with no money coming in, YouTube would have become a video archive where people could upload and store videos but couldn’t start a video career.
The baseline remains that there are still people who upload copyrighted videos as their own for their personal gain. As such, YouTube has initiated a lot of policies to ensure action is taken against bad actors like these. It has initiated Content ID, a copyright strike system, where if a person uploads any copyrighted content which is filed in Content ID, the channel gets a strike. And like in baseball, three strikes and the channel is banned for life. But even now, people are moving away from the platform, finding alternatives to YouTube and trying to migrate their subscribers on to it.
They also consistently implore people to use branding initiatives on their video content and, recent policy changes aside, inspires people to create awesome videos.