Video Monetization

The Creator’s Blueprint for Thriving Amidst YouTube Demonetization

By Daniel Kosmala
9 Min Read

Learn More about Video Monetization

YouTube Demonetization

Can you do something for us?

Take a deep breath (4 seconds in, 4 seconds out) 

Done? Cool. 

During your deep breath, another YouTuber’s video was demonetized. Their income, despite their hard work, was reduced to just a couple of dollars a month. Or nothing at all.

If you’re…

  • worried your channel/videos will get demonetized
  • looking for a way to regain your income after being demonetized

…then you’ve come to the right place

We know how vital your income is as a video content creator and want to give you all the tools you need to not only survive YouTube demonetization but thrive despite it.

In this article, we’ll talk about:

  • What YouTube demonetization is.
  • Why is YouTube demonetizing videos?
  • Is YouTube worth it as a monetization platform?
  • How to survive YouTube demonetization (in just 3 steps). 
  • What To Do if You Get Demonetized on YouTube

Let’s jump right in! 

What Is YouTube Demonetization?

YouTube demonetization is when videos or channels lose their ability to earn advertising income. This is often due to changes in YouTube’s advertising algorithm.

It’s a simple 2 step process:

  1. YouTube updates its algorithm.
  2. The video’s monetization icon changes in the Video Manager.

These videos usually either definitely, or could potentially, contain content that advertisers don’t want to be associated with. (More on that next.)

For example:

Back in 2020, even the mention of Coronavirus could lead to YouTube monetization issues, as the platform tried to avoid rewarding content that potentially contained misinformation

To this day, demonetization, and the ambiguity around it, has many creators waking up like…

…and left them wondering:

Why Is YouTube Demonetizing Videos In The First Place?

YouTube has been compelled by advertisers to update their algorithm and community guidelines over the last few years.

They’ve been at the center of many brand safety scares which led to a period between 2017 and 2019 known as the YouTube Adpocalypse.

In this period, advertisers cut their spending on the media platform and even boycotted creators like Logan Paul and PewDiePie, who drew in big audiences. Why?

Because advertisers found their advertisements being included on dangerous content such as:

  • Pornography, nudity & adult content.
  • Hate speech.
  • Inappropriate language.
  • Terrorist messages.
  • Crime videos.
  • Firearms-related videos.
  • Radical political opinions.
  • Controversial issues and sensitive events.

All of which reflect poorly on the brands. After all, nobody wants to be seen as supporting or promoting any of these off-brand causes. 

Because of the Adpocalypse, anyone in the YouTube Partner Program who wants to get ad revenue is subject to YouTube’s more stringent advertiser-friendly content guidelines

It makes sense that YouTube would want to create an advertising algorithm that was fair to its advertisers and offered them a high level of protection.

But what the advertisers gained in protection, many content creators lost in income. Especially well-meaning ones whose income is repeatedly cut off by accident.

Which is a funny way to treat your most valuable asset.

More recently, the YouTube demonetization policy made headlines again, notably affecting Russell Brand’s channel. Following a series of sexual assault allegations, YouTube decided to demonetize Brand’s account.

screenshot from russell brand's demonetization reaction video
Russell Brand posted a reaction video to his demonetization encouraging his audience to support him on Rumble

This move effectively blocked him from earning revenue through the platform’s ad-sharing program.

The YouTube Machine: Are You Getting Out What You’re Putting In?

YouTube is the biggest video search engine in the world; it’s a video content machine fuelled by a never-ending stream of new content. 

But what happens if you don’t feed the machine what it wants? Or worse, what happens if the machine makes a mistake? 

Well, chances are, you succumb to one of 2 fates:

  1. You become irrelevant.
  2. YouTube will demonetize your video/channel. 

YouTube demonetization can affect anyone, regardless of their popularity. Even major creators, like Mr. Beast, can have their videos mistakenly demonetized.

MrBeast YouTube Demonetization twitter quote screenshot Example
Even huge YouTubers like Mr Beast can fall foul of demonetization

His video ‘How I Gave Away $1,000,000′ showed a compilation of generous moments where he donated money. 

Despite following YouTube’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines, his video was flagged, and he had to take his frustrations to Twitter to stop the video from underperforming. 

YouTube responded: 

If you haven’t already please appeal. The system can make mistakes but it learns/improves with each manual review. Our expert will definitely take a look and get back to you via email. Thanks.

And Mr. Beast is one of the lucky ones, he has over 70 million subscribers and is part of the fabled group of people who can consistently break a 7 figure income on YouTube. 

If it’s terrible for them, you can only begin to imagine the impact on small- to medium-sized YouTube channels. 

NFKRZ, a successful YouTuber with 900k+ subscribers got his entire channel demonetized from an old video he created in 2014.

He lost 2 months’ worth of income and had to ask for help from his audience through donations before YouTube accepted his appeal.

This story is true for many YouTubers all over the world; regardless of language, location, audience size, and the content itself. It’s the same whether you create podcasts or pranks.

In fact, 96.5% of YouTubers will never earn enough on the platform to break the US poverty line. (A figure of $12,140 per year at the time the research was released.)

That number is likely to only get lower as there is more content uploaded and competition increases. 

All of this begs the question…

Are you really getting the same value from YouTube that you are putting in?

Let’s look at this objectively, YouTube…

  • expects you to create a high volume of content to stay relevant and receive a portion of AdSense income.
  • will pay you less than minimum wage to produce content
  • reserves the right to strip you of that income whenever they want

…sounds like a pretty raw deal, right? 

You wouldn’t accept it from an employer. So, why put up with it from a video hosting platform?

Which leads us to…

How To Survive Demonetization On YouTube In Just 3 Steps

YouTube demonetization can be devastating.

When the YouTube platform is your content’s only source of income, you become reliant on its algorithm. Any change to YouTube’s algorithm can affect your business’s whole ecosystem, and suddenly it’s a lot harder to pay your bills.

This reliance is at the core of the YouTube business model. It’s what allows YouTube to give you a bum deal as a content creator. 

But, you do have other options. 

Let’s take a look at them…

YouTube monetization isn’t the only way for creators to make money…

Step 1: Treat Your YouTube Channel As A Business

Treat your YouTube channel as one part of your business. You should still have a presence on it but stop relying on YouTube as a full-on monetization platform. (More on that in Step 3.)

So, YouTube’s advertising revenue should be just one income stream of a bigger business. 

You should create several streams of income within and beyond YouTube to ensure you’re not reliant on ad revenue and YouTube’s policies and everchanging ads algorithm.

Derral Eves, a YouTube and video marketing consultant, points out…

I always take the approach that the ad revenue that’s generated on YouTube is just icing on the cake, you know really treat it as that, instead of your only source of income […] think of other ways to generate money.

The best way to earn a living from YouTube is to build something outside of their advertising algorithm.

There are several different ways you can do this without moving your content away from YouTube, such as:

  • Affiliate partnerships: promoting third-party products on a commission basis.
  • Brand partnerships:  featuring product placements of your brand partnerships in your videos. 
  • Merchandising: creating your own line of products to sell to your subscribers.
  • YouTube ChannelMemberships:paid subscriptions to your channel for your most dedicated YouTube community, where you can offer exclusive members-only perks. 
  • Donations: create a Patreon account where people can contribute to your work. Decide if it’s worth your time and creativity.

A combination (or all) of these options will reduce your risk of being badly affected by demonetization. 

But, you’ll still need a large subscriber base to do these things and make sure your income is somewhat reliable. 

This makes the next step so important, it lets you be in full control of your video business regardless of how big your following is. 

Step 2: Launch Your Own Video Streaming Platform

The most effective way to survive demonetization on YouTube is to move your business elsewhere.  

What do we mean?

We mean building a standalone video streaming platform where you sell subscription access to your videos online

You’ll own your customer data, lead data, and marketing channels, all while generating consistent income every month.

Derral Eves says it best…

The biggest thing though, and this is where you guys [Uscreen] knock it out of the park, which is, I want to own the data. YouTube doesn’t give you the data, they can cancel you at anytime. So to diversify that is, as you grow an audience, start building that audience off-platform and if you own the data, which is the most valuable thing you can own, which is name, address, email address, and someone that’s actually passionate about you, but more importantly the credit card, then you can actually integrate it in a unique way.

We’ve seen content creators who have experience making YouTube videos go on to…

  • earn more money 
  • grow their audience
  • have less stress
  • enjoy more freedom

… by following this Netflix-style business model.

In fact, the average income for a content creator like you on our Uscreen platform is around $5,700 a month.

(That’s $68,400 a year in comparison to the $12,140 on offer at YouTube.)

The way the subscription business model works is simple:

  1. You put your premium content behind a paywall on a standalone video website.
  2. You charge your audience a fair price to access them.
  3. You continue to provide valuable content to your subscribers. 

If you’ve been creating content for free on YouTube for a while, you might feel like this isn’t a viable option for you. And, it’s common for people to say things like:

  • “My audience will never pay to watch my videos!”
  • “People don’t want more subscriptions.”
  • “Nobody will pay for content they can get for free elsewhere.”

But none of these statements are true. They might feel true, but the facts show otherwise. People do pay for content they can get for free because it’s:

  1. Convenient: people are happy to pay for a one-stop-shop where they know they will find the content they love, instead of fighting through the hundreds of pieces of content in their news feeds.
  2. Familiar: subscription services have become the new normal. Take video streaming subscriptions as just one example. Research by Forbes finds that 99% of US consumers have subscribed to at least one of these services.
  3. Perceived as more valuable: research suggests that people who pay for a service frequently in smaller amounts are more likely to engage with it in the future. 
  4. Supportive for their favorite communities: people love to support the YouTube creators they like and will contribute significant amounts of money to help them keep creating.
  5. Ad free: people want a seamless experience watching their favorite content, meaning they want it without ads. 

But, all of this talk about starting a business off of YouTube doesn’t mean you should give up on the platform altogether…

Step 3: Use YouTube As A Marketing Platform

Creating your own VOD service doesn’t make your YouTube Channel obsolete. 

A good marketer knows that your YouTube Channel and VOD site are 2 different platforms that play different roles in your video business. 

Think of it this way: 

  • Your VOD is your video monetization platform– it’s where you sell and stream your video content. 
  • Your YouTube channel is your video marketing platform – it’s where you get your streaming business discovered and grow your brand awareness. 

This means you’ll still need YouTube to…

  • generate traffic.
  • build brand awareness.
  • generate leads.
  • connect the right people with your paid video streaming platform.
  • nurture a loyal community around your videos. 

…which makes your YouTube channel a powerful marketing asset. 

In fact, we find that Uscreen customers who have a YouTube following of 500+ subscribers earn more money in a shorter period of time than those who don’t.

So, if you already have a YouTube or social media following of at least that size, you’re in a great position to turn it into a marketing engine! 

Read: How to get more views on YouTube

How to get more views on YouTube

You’ll need to adopt the YouTube Marketing Funnel to turn your channel into an effective marketing engine. 

A YouTube Marketing Funnel is specifically focused on the customer journey from YouTube to your VOD business. This YouTube Marketing Funnel is split into 3 stages:

Graphic illustrating the Youtube to VOD marketing funnel by Uscreen

The main goal here is to push your target audience from the very top of the funnel to the bottom where they can decide to be paying subscribers to your VOD site. 

For each stage of the funnel you’ll produce specific content that engages people and pushes them to the next stage:

  • TOFU: where people first find out about your content. Your videos need to attract viewers, build brand awareness, and give them a reason to watch future videos. 
  • MOFU: where people begin to engage with your content, form concrete opinions about your brand, and join your community. Your content needs to educate and be helpful to people, build a relationship with viewers, and give viewers a taste of what your paid service can do for them. 
  • BOFU: where you promote your paid video-on-demand service and convince people to try your premium content. This stage takes place on your video streaming site after viewers have followed a strong call-to-action from your YouTube channel to your video streaming site. 

Here’s how MyTribe does it: 

Turning your YouTube channel into a full-fledged marketing engine is a bit out of the scope of this article, but we’ve created a full guide where you can see the 6 steps you need to repurpose your YouTube channel into a powerful marketing funnel lead generator.

Case Study: Sarah Beth Yoga 

Sarah Beth Yoga started off as a YouTuber and launched her channel back in 2010. She steadily grew a loyal viewer base with her approachable spin on yoga. 

screenshot of sarah beth yoga youtube channel

Despite finding success on the platform, she quickly realized there was a big problem with her earnings: they weren’t reflecting the time, energy, and effort she put into her work.

Her income was fluctuating, and her YouTube channel didn’t offer a sustainable business model. 

So, Sarah Beth decided to take control of her business, audience, and income by launching her very own subscription-based video-on-demand site with Uscreen. 

Sarah Beth Yoga Landing Page

Doing so completely transformed her business, it grew 10x bigger! In an interview with Sarah Beth, she said: 

YouTube AdSense, you don’t own that, that can go away any day […] as an influencer I 80/20-ed my revenue streams. I had a lot of streams of revenue that were bringing in different amounts of income […] I had to narrow it down: what are the 20% of the things that are bringing in 80% of my revenue? And my membership site was that thing.

Now Sarah Beth can:

  • Generate a consistent and reliable revenue stream that reflects the effort she puts in.
  • Own her marketing channels and audience information. 
  • Scale her business. 
  • Offer a premium service at an affordable price. 

What To Do if You Get Demonetized on YouTube

You’ve got your 3-step survival strategy for YouTube demonetization sorted, and you’re ready to diversify your revenue streams. That means you’re en route to having full control over your business. And should you fall foul of YouTube’s ever-changing ad algorithm? YouTube demonization won’t take out your entire means of earning an income. 

That said, even if YouTube isn’t the be-all and end-all of your business, you’ve still put time, energy, and effort into building your channel. And getting a financial reward for your efforts makes sense. 

The easiest way to do that is to stay monetized in the first place. (Phew, that’s not an easy task, we know!) You can increase the likelihood of this by following YouTube’s guidelines for advertiser-friendly content. But here’s the kicker: YouTube can change these any time they want, so check in often.

But what should you do if YouTube actually demonetizes you? Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to YouTube monetization, demonetization, or re-monetization. Still, if a video has been demonetized, it’s worth trying the following process to get it re-monetized:

  • Read the details YouTube has sent you about your demonetization.
  • If YouTube hasn’t sent you details, contact Creator Support for any specifics behind the demonetization. 
  • Review your content and make any necessary changes when/if you have the relevant information. 
  • Contact Creator Support to request a manual review of your demonetized videos. You can do this by first filing an appeal

A word of warning, though: You can put a lot of effort into trying to get your YouTube video (or entire channel!) re-monetized to no avail. That begs the question, is it even worth taking steps to get re-monetized? Sure, it’s worth a shot. 

But should you put all your eggs in one basket, here? Probably not. 

If you follow the above process and get nowhere, a little persistence may pay off. But your time might be better spent improving your own video streaming platform and community. At the end of the day, that’s something you have full control over.

Wrapping it up…

YouTube demonetization is a real problem for content creators that affects them every day. For many, YouTube is their only source of income.

Yet, despite being the platform’s most valuable asset, YouTube is willing to pay low rates and demand high levels of output, all while maintaining the power to strip you of your income at a moment’s notice. 

That’s why we suggest taking control of your business, audience, and income by building your very own video membership site!

Ultimately, to survive and thrive in the face of demonetization, we recommend you take these 3 steps:

  1. Treat your channel like a business: stop looking at the YouTube platform as your only source of income and create several income streams. 
  2. Build a premium video membership platform: create a standalone website where you can sell your videos on a subscription basis. 
  3. Market with YouTube: turn your YouTube channel into a powerful marketing tool where you can build a loyal community, generate leads, and direct them to your paid VOD site. 
It’s simple with Uscreen.

Build, launch and manage your membership, all in one place.

YouTube Monetization FAQs

Why does a YouTube video get demonetized?

YouTube demonetization can happen when your content is deemed as not suitable for ads. This will result in a ‘limited or no ads’ monetization state The main topics that are not advertiser-friendly include: 

– Inappropriate language.
– Violence.
– Adult content
– Shocking content.
– Harmful or dangerous acts.
– Hateful and derogatory content.
– Recreational drugs and drug related content.
– Firearms-related content.
– Controversial issues.
– Sensitive events. 
– Incendiary and demanding. 
– Tobacco related content. 
– Adult themes in family content. 
– Enabling dishonest behavior.

You can learn more about these guidelines here.

What are YouTube’s demonetization rules?

YouTube’s demonetization rules involve removing the ability to earn money from videos that are not advertiser-friendly. This includes content that features or promotes violence, adult content, harmful or dangerous activities, hateful content, incendiary and demeaning content, drug-related content, and controversial issues and sensitive events.

Videos that violate YouTube’s community guidelines or terms of service are also subject to demonetization. Creators are encouraged to adhere to these guidelines to maintain monetization on their content​​.

How do I stop being demonetized on YouTube?

While there is no guarantee that you can stop demonetization, there are a few things you can do to reduce your odds of being demonetized: 

1. Make sure you’re following YouTube’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines. Review your content, thumbnail, title, and descriptions. Avoid controversial issues and being clickbaity. 
2. Request a manual review of your demonetized videos by filing an appeal
3. Create a standalone video streaming website to make money without Youtube, and treat your YouTube channel as a marketing platform. 

What is the best alternative to YouTube?

It really depends on what features you need and the stage of your creator journey. Take a look at our guide on YouTube monetization alternative platforms or check out the following: 

1. Uscreen
2. Facebook
3. TikTok
4. Twitch
5. Patreon
6. Ko-fi
7. Brightcove
8. Kaltura
9. JW Player. 

How do I know if my YouTube video is monetized?

You’ll see a monetization icon next to the video you turned on ads for, this will also include a status description.
The statuses include: 

-Checking: while the system checks for ad eligibility. 
On (green): earning full revenue for this video. If the status description says ‘exceptions’ it means your video is only eligible for non-personalized ads because its audience is set as ‘made for kids.’
Sharing (green): you’ll get some but not all of the revenue for this video because of copyright claims.  
Escrow (green): video was found to contain copyrighted material and the copyright owner is reviewing your dispute or appeal. 
Limited (yellow): video doesn’t meet all advertiser-friendly content guidelines and brands may choose to opt out on advertising on your content. 
Ineligible (red): your video cannot be monetized.
Check out YouTube’s monetization icon guide for more detailed information.

Will I still get my YouTube earnings after demonetization?

After your YouTube channel is demonetized, you will still receive any earnings you made up until the point of demonetization, provided they meet the minimum threshold set by AdSense​​. However, you will not earn from ads on your content after the demonetization takes effect until you successfully reapply and are accepted back into the YouTube Partner Program​​.