Video Creation in the Era of YouTube Demonetization: Tips and Strategies

Understand the changing nature of YouTube demonetization and discover alternate ways to earn making videos. This article will help you succeed in the video creation industry.

Video creators have started to rely on YouTube because of the opportunities it offers. The Washington Post reports that YouTube supported 425,000 full-time jobs in the United States, contributing $25 billion to the nation’s GDP. Additionally, 80% of creative entrepreneurs believed that YouTube provided them with opportunities they wouldn't get in traditional media. However, amidst this opportunity, demonetization can drastically affect video creators. 

In this article, we will look at the ins and outs of YouTube demonetization, its impact on the video creation industry, and strategies that creators use to deal with demonetization.

YouTube demonetization 

Demonetization happens when creators violate the advertising-friendly policy, community guidelines, google adsense program policies , YouTube’s terms of services, copyright and rights clearance adjustment policy.  When they violate these policies they are no longer able to generate revenue through ads and are suspended from the Partner Program. However, if the content is made for the purpose of education, documentary, scientific, or artistic material it will be monetized even if few of the contents violate the community guideline. This will also depend on how extreme the content is. For instance, nudity shown for the purpose of sex education will be monetized but pornography will be demonetized. 

If a creator believes their video has been mistakenly flagged, they can request a human review by submitting an appeal through YouTube Studio. Policy specialists will assess the case within 30 days and if they find that the demonetization was unfair, they may modify the video's monetization settings. If the appeal is rejected, creators can re-apply for it after 90 days.

The changing dynamics of YouTube demonetization and its impact on creators 

Since 2017, demonetization has been affecting the YouTube community as a whole. This was a period popularly known as ‘YouTube Adpocalypse’ where advertisers decided to not display their ads on certain channels, following which YouTube tightened its monetization rules. 

In 2017, big advertisers such as American Telephone and Telegraph Company, Disney, and Unilever chose to pull their ads from YouTube after they found that their ads were displayed in content with hate speech. This affected content creators like PewDiePie, Phillip De Franco, and many more. In certain situations, channels were obliged to fire staff members or, in the worst case, shut down completely. Advertisers became more picky, showing their ads only on "Family Friendly'' channels. As a result, content creators' earnings suffered as they couldn’t meet the "Family Friendly'' criteria. It was discouraging, especially for smaller and emerging creators, many of whom chose to leave the platform. 

During the second Adpocalypse, in January 2018, YouTube updated its partner program, making it mandatory for channels to meet the requirement of 1000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours per year, which affected the smaller creators who were still striving to meet these requirements. The third adpocalypse started shortly after 2018 when Matts Whatltls released a video demonstrating how YouTube encouraged child exploitation, blaming the platform's algorithm. In December, YouTube took down 7.8 million videos, almost 1.7 million accounts, and more than 224 million comments following the allegation. As the platform continues to change in response to both internal and external forces, it has made it clear to video creators that their content strategy must be adaptable and flexible.

On May 24, 2019, the fourth Adpocalypse, also known as Vox Adpocalypse or Adpocalypse 2.0, started, when Vox writer Carlos Maza requested that YouTube should prohibit or demonetize hate speech after comedian Steven Crowder made comments about her ethnicity and sexual orientation. Following this, YouTube implemented new anti-harassment and anti-bullying policies. Creators started expressing their concern over the biasedness of the policy, as their content was mistakenly identified as non-advertiser-friendly. This demonstrates the necessity for a detailed analysis of YouTube's algorithm and improved communication between the platform and its creators to ensure that these policies are executed fairly and with utmost transparency. 

In 2020, COVID-19 sparked another round of demonetization, fueled by a drop in overall ad spending. As reported by Verge, using the term "Coronavirus" or the abbreviation "CV" could result in demonetization. Creators  like Nathalian Rumphol-Janc whose channel is popularly known as the Nintendo Prime channel, discovered that even minor or indirect mentions of the virus resulted in demonetization, such as the use of phrases like "that thing that started in China." 

The creators have also voiced concern over how specific channels are not demonetized despite using sensitive topics in their videos. For example, a video uploaded by the news channel - The Sun had an ad for COVID-19 and was still able to earn revenue. Such occurrences call into question the YouTube community's treatment of small and large creators. 

The LGBTQ community has also been battling for their rights for a long time on YouTube. A group of data researchers conducted a study on the YouTube algorithm and discovered that queer-friendly words like gay and lesbian were frequently removed from YouTube. In an extended study on queer vocabulary, the researchers found that 33% of the queer content used in video titles was demonetized, which was later re-monetized only when creators replaced those words with “friend” and “happy”. This led many LGBTQ creators to seek alternative revenue streams like sponsorships, donations, and video-on-demand websites.

Observations from an extensive study on the impact of demonetization on marginalized communities

A study conducted by Sara Kingsley, Protetti Sinha, Clara Wang in November 2022  focused on the perception of video creators especially that of disadvantaged creators on demonetization. They interviewed 20 content creators and did a thorough content analysis of videos, tweets, and news about demonetization. The results revealed that YouTube’s algorithmic system stereotyped content of marginalized communities as “unsafe” for children or families. 

Videos with LGBTQ keywords were found to be ’ too sexualized or pornographic’. Similarly, videos related to the black community such as Black Lives Matter or videos commenting on black culture were demonetized. As a result, many creators resorted to other ways of earning such as sponsorship, however, they couldn’t succeed there as well, as their sponsor income fell from $8,000 to $800.

Creators also expressed that YouTube displays ads based on geographic location. It was observed that YouTube charged advertisers a different price in poorer regions, resulting in creators from those regions earning less income. 

During the interview, creators shared that the demonetization impacted them economically, physically, and mentally and disturbed their quality of work. They reported low self-esteem as their content started generating low metrics due to demonetization.

These findings highlight the need for YouTube to address issues related to demonetization and ensure fair treatment and representation of disadvantaged communities on the platform.

Overall, the problem lies in the inconsistencies regarding the policy of demonetization. While one person might consider content as harmful either might not. This can be confusing as different people have different ways of interpreting content. Therefore, YouTube must provide objective and specific guidelines regarding what is considered permissible and what is not.

Exploring alternative revenue streams used by creators 

With YouTube demonetizing most content, many video creators are likely looking for other ways to earn their income. Let’s look at how creators are adapting to these changes- 

Some creators, such as Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, have shifted to Rumble, a video platform and web hosting provider. He said that he used Rumble for press conferences as he was tired of YouTube's algorithm. However, not everyone switched to a different platform. Podcaster Chris Williamson, for example, avoids profanity in the first five minutes of a video on YouTube because this is when creators gain the most views. He does not rely on ad revenue and instead concentrates on affiliate links and sponsorships, making demonetization less of an issue. 

A study conducted by Yiqing Hua, Manoel Horta Ri on alternative strategies used by creators showed that creators uploading fringe content such as Alt-lite, Alt-right, or "manosphere" content were at the risk of being demonetized and hence were more likely to use alternative money-making techniques like affiliate links. The research showed that 61% of channels were found to have used this strategy once. The Verge covered extensive detail about this research, highlighting that fringe creators make good money off-platform as they earn thousands of dollars by linking it to Patreon.

As the demonetization continued, more creators switched to secure platforms. For instance, in 2020, Turd Flinging Monkey left YouTube due to repeated demonetization of his content and directed his audience to platforms like BitChute, Discord, and Patreon. 

Other video creators and media channels used social media platforms like Twitter to voice their opinions regarding demonetization following which YouTube restored their videos. After the demonetization of one of its show hosts on YouTube, the media channel The Daily Wire  has  published its whole video podcast on Twitter. According to Jeremy Boreing, CEO of The Daily Wire, Twitter has become one of the major channels for free speech. Some of its podcast programs will also be available on Rumble. Furthermore, ex-Fox News host Tucker Carlson stated in April 2023 that he intends to broadcast his prime-time show on Twitter, though Musk has yet to negotiate a deal. 

Creators who successfully monetize their content through non-YouTube mechanisms feel liberated from the ever-changing nature of YouTube's algorithm. Sarah Beth, a YouTube yoga instructor, switched to video-on-demand platforms like Uscreen by launching her subscription-based video-on-demand site as she was unhappy with YouTube’s business model. 

Creators use sponsorship as another way to earn money. They simply collaborate with a brand and get their videos sponsored. This is a form of influencer marketing that allows even micro influencers to earn money. According to Social Publi, 89% of advertisers prefer accounts with less than 100,000 followers, and 35% choose influencers with less than 10,000 followers since they have a higher engagement rate. According to Hubspot, the highest engagement rates on YouTube are among micro-influencers (those with 100,000 to 1 million followers). Kendall Rae, who uploads True Crime videos that are at risk of often getting demonetized, earns money through sponsorship and paid product placement. 

Selling merchandise is another effective way to monetize content. Creators can sell their own and other’s merchandise on YouTube. On 13 June 2023, YouTube expanded its shopping feature for those with 500 subscribers and 3,000 watch hours in selected countries. It is a good move as it will help small YouTubers to connect with the viewers. Popular Youtuber Mr. Beast often used a shopping feature to monetize his videos at a time when his videos were demonetized. 

Asking for donations is another alternative to earning on Youtube. Buy me a coffee and Patreon is a great way to do the same. For example,  the Youtube channel  ‘ abroad in Japan’ that uploads content related to Japan uses Patreon to offer membership.

With the changing nature of YouTube, creators have realized the value of diversifying their revenue streams. This not only protects creators against demonetization but also provides a steady and ongoing source of revenue.

Build your video streaming app 

We have observed how creators have expressed their concern over demonetization. As a result, having a platform over which you have complete control is necessary. With a video streaming app and website, such as Skara, you can develop your app in less time, and cost. Set up your subscription plan and monetize your content the way you like. Once you are done creating an account, you may be surprised by the amount of subscribers or fans who are eager to pay for your content.


Overall, YouTube has been a huge platform supporting creators for a long time. Demonetization, however, is a financial burden for every YouTuber. As a result, many video creators are looking for alternate sources of income, such as sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and even starting their video streaming app. They are developing new strategies to engage with their audience and monetize their passion, as they are adjusting to the shifting environment of video creation. With time, the world of online content creation is likely to experience greater innovation and adaptability, ensuring that creators can prosper in a constantly changing digital environment. 


These are the top frequently asked questions on YouTube demonetization. We hope that these will provide you with the information you want. 

Q: What type of content is most likely to be demonetized?

Any content that does not follow the advertising-friendly policy, community guidelines, google adsense program policies, Youtube’s terms of services, copyright and rights clearance adjustment policy may be demonetized. Sensitive topics like violence, hate speech, controversial topics, and drugs are likely to be demonetized 

Q: Can I be permanently demonetized on YouTube?

Yes, if your content severely violates the monetization policy, there is a high chance that your channel or video may be permanently demonetized. 

Q: How can I know whether my video has been demonetized?

You may monitor the status of your video through YouTube Studio. A green dollar symbol next to your video indicates that it is monetizable, whereas a yellow dollar sign indicates that your channel will receive limited advertisements and a red dollar indicates that your channel will be ineligible for monetization due to copyright issues. 

Q: Will demonetization affect my already-earned money through YouTube? 

When the channel is demonetized you will no longer be able to earn money from ads. However, the money that you have earned before will not be affected at all. 

Q: What are the alternative ways to earn from YouTube?

If your videos get demonetized you may resort to sponsorships, affiliate marketing, or sell your merchandise at your convenience. Apart from YouTube, you may switch to other social media platforms such as Twitter, or create your own streaming app using no-code platforms like Skara to generate income. 

Q: How can I make my content more advertiser-friendly?

It’s important to follow the community as well as advertising guidelines on YouTube. Make sure that your video is informative and engaging. Try avoiding controversial themes or gore images.

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