YouTube demonetization: Why it happens & how to fix it

YouTube demonetization: Why it happens & how to fix it
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When creators first start their YouTube channels and work hard to grow them, YouTube demonetization is probably the last thing on their minds. Most people focus on monetizing their videos and making money from ads, but not many think about what happens when you lose the ability to monetize your channel. 

More creators than you know probably have run into an issue of YouTube demonetizing one or more of their videos. It's part of being a YouTuber. So, what do you do if that happens to you? Let's talk about what YouTube demonetization is, why it happens, what to do if it happens, and how to foolproof your business.



What is YouTube demonetization? 

So, what does “demonetized” mean? Well, YouTube demonetization is a process when a YouTube channel loses the ability to earn money from the ads shown on the channel's YouTube videos. YouTube might demonetize one or a few of the videos, or they might demonetize the whole channel. 

All YouTube channels that qualify for the YouTube Partner Program are allowed to run ads on their videos and earn income that way. Just because you qualify for the Partner's Program and are able to monetize your videos is only just the tip of the iceberg. To make money, those videos have to adhere to pretty strict advertiser-friendly content guidelines, or those videos and the whole channel might be at risk of being demonetized.

Demonetized YouTube channel creators can completely lose their income. And if it's the creator's only or primary income source, then it can be a terrifying experience. In some cases, YouTube might completely remote the YouTube channel from their platform.

Common reasons for YouTube demonetization

So, there are two main reasons why certain videos or a whole channel might be demonetized by YouTube:

1. Your content doesn't meet advertising guidelines

As we've mentioned earlier, in order to earn income from ads shown on your videos, your videos have to follow the advertiser-friendly content guidelines. Those guidelines are pretty strict, and there is a lot to be aware of. But YouTube outlines them on their website to help creators understand what's allowed better:

2. Your content doesn't follow YouTube community guidelines

Now, even if your videos comply with advertiser-friendly content guidelines, you also have to ensure that your videos follow YouTube's community guidelines. It's their internal set of rules you aren't allowed to break if you want to have your channel eligible for monetization. 

YouTube aims to create a respectful and safe space for everyone on its platform, so it doesn't allow spam or misleading content, nudity, sex content, content that puts children at risk, or violence and crude content. 

YouTube also pays attention to the content and whether or not it's original to the creator. So, it's important to use copyright-free content (like a soundtrack) and avoid using borrowed content because it might increase the chances of your videos getting flagged by YouTube's video review system.


Step-by-step: what to do if you're demonetized

So, you have a YouTube channel, you are a part of their Partner's Program, and your videos are monetized. You received a notice from YouTube that one or more of your videos are not going to be monetized anymore. What do you do now? 

Here's a simple step-by-step process to help you resolve the demonetization issue:

Step 1: Identify the problem 

First, you'll want to figure out why your video was flagged by YouTube's system and demonetized. If YouTube sends you an email, it might outline the reasons for you. It should also show up on your YouTube Studio. 

Before you do anything else, review your video to identify the issue outlined by YouTube yourself. That's important because you must know whether it was a mistake or whether your video violated guidelines.

Step 2: Review the guidelines 

Once you have reviewed your video, you want to review the guidelines. Diligently review the advertiser-friendly content guide and YouTube's internal guidelines and evaluate where and why your video might have caused an issue. 

Step 3: Make adjustments where needed 

If you notice where your video content violates the rules after reviewing it, fix it. Remove any copyrighted sounds, vulgar words, and other sensitive content. Even the smallest thing might set off YouTube's review system; removing it can help you resolve the issue quickly.

If you have yet to find any issues with your content, and you think it was YouTube's mistake, then skip to the next step. 

Step 4: Submit the appeal 

Finally, the most crucial step in getting the monetization back for your YouTube channel is to contact their Creator Support team and submit an appeal. Once you do that, YouTube will manually review the videos (or videos) that were affected to determine whether your content truly violates their guidelines. 

You can contact Creator Support through your YouTube Studio, and waiting times can vary greatly, so be prepared to be patient. After the review, your video should be back to normal, and if it's not, you can repeat the process and re-submit your appeal. 

Step 5: If everything else fails

Some creators get lucky and get the monetization put back into place super quickly. Others have to jump through a lot of hoops to get their channel monetized again. In those more complex cases, creators often go public with their demonetization issues, which might not be a bad idea. 

YouTuber Tyrone Magnus got his channel demonetized, and when he couldn't solve the issue himself, he turned to his subscribers and asked them to help him by contacting YouTube support on his behalf. Having multiple people contact YouTube might be a way to get noticed quicker and help you resolve the issue. 


Can you get remonetized on YouTube?

Just because YouTube demonetized your channel doesn't mean it'll be this way forever. In some rare cases, when the channel or a video severely violates YouTube policies, you may not be able to turn the monetization back on. 

If the violation wasn't severe or it was a mistake on YouTube's part, and if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can follow the process we outlined above and try to get your channel monetized again. 

Be aware that it might be a long and challenging process that requires a lot of patience. YouTube is known for taking the time to address these matters and making mistakes that cost the creators time and money. 

Beyond AdSense: monetizing a YouTube channel 

Even if your YouTube channel is thriving and all of your videos are successfully monetized, it's worth being aware that YouTube might change its mind at any time. So, the best way to protect your income is by diversifying it. Here are some of the most effective strategies for monetizing your YouTube channel without relying on ads:

Sell online courses 

Ali Abdaal is a YouTuber with over 5 million subscribers. He creates videos about productivity, business, and creating the life you want. Despite his large subscriber number and advertiser-friendly content, his main income stream is not AdSense but his online course, Full-Time YouTuber Academy, which does multiple millions in revenue every year. 

Create an online course you sell and market it on your YouTube channel. Online courses require little monetary investment to create, they have great margins, and if you use platforms like Teachable, the whole process is quick and painless. 

Offer coaching 

Leila is a small YouTuber who recently quit her job to pursue her passion for personal finance. She makes videos on personal finance, budgeting, and investing, which are all advertiser-friendly topics. Due to the size of her channel, she only makes a little money from ads. Instead, she focuses on her coaching services, which she often promotes to her viewers in her videos. 

Offering coaching is super easy. There is probably a topic you're knowledgeable about that you can instruct other people on—anything from fashion, business, weight loss to personal finance. 

Create an online community 

YouTube is one of the best ways to find, build, and nurture a community. Even YouTube itself offers a new monetization option that allows you to create a community and charge a fee so people can access exclusive content. Many YouTubers use this feature, but you can create a community even outside the platform. An online community or a membership site can be lucrative for many different niches, from personal finance to wellness. 

Create and sell digital products 

Sarra Cannon is a YouTuber, author, and online course creator. She is the perfect example of diversifying YouTube income to make the best out of it. While her channel is modest in size, she doesn't focus on AdSense income but rather uses her channel to promote her digital products—one of which is digital printable planner templates for authors. 

If an online course feels like too much or doesn't align with your business vision, a great alternative is to create and sell digital downloads. You can create PDFs, worksheets, templates, ebooks, and so much more. 

Sell physical products 

Some YouTubers opt to sell physical products like Raisa Martin. She's a small YouTuber and business owner from Canada. She creates personal finance and luxury goods videos, which help promote her small stationery business, which sells budget templates and physical planners. 

There are many different physical products you can sell, and they don't have to be complicated. The easiest and most popular amongst YouTubers who have loyal audiences is merch. If it aligns with your brand, you can design and sell merch to your audience, which can further deepen the sense of community. 


Case studies: thriving after demonetization

If you have one or more of your videos demonetized, know that you're not alone in this. Many creators have faced this issue, and many have overcome it and still have thriving channels to this day. Let's look at some of those examples:

Tolu Frimpong 

Tolu is a small personal finance creator who was demonetized out of the blue last year. While YouTube ads weren't a significant income source, it still jarred the creator, who had worked so hard to grow her channel and monetize it. 

Of course, she submitted the appeal to YouTube, and while she waited for the answer, she decided to focus on things she could control that could help her be better prepared in the future if something like this happens to her channel again. So, she doubled her efforts in building an email list and growing her blog.

Slay The Renee' Way

Renee is a small YouTuber with just over 100K subscribers on her channel, which suddenly got demonetized in September 2023. She wasn't specifically told which videos were flagged, but her whole channel was demonetized, and she couldn't make money from the ads anymore. 

Of course, she contacted Creator Support and appealed YouTube's decision. It took her three months, but she finally managed to get her channel monetized again. Since then, she has grown her channel to 100K and continued to make videos and build her community.

MxR Plays

MxR Plays is an adult comedy and commentary channel created with a large subscriber base and massive views on their videos. Their channel was demonetized last year, and it wasn't the first thing that happened to their channel. 

The couple asked their community to contact YouTube on their behalf so that YouTube would actually look at their appeal and help get it sorted sooner rather than later. Their YouTube subscribers helped, and the channel was monetized once again within a matter of days. 

One thing that MxR Plays emphasized in their video to their community and that helped them survive the unexpectedly lost ad revenue was their Patreon. Because they had income coming from their Patreon, and they weren't relying on YouTube ads alone, it helped them get through the whole situation without worrying about their livelihoods.



Let's answer some of the most frequently asked questions about YouTube demonetization. 

Can I fight YouTube demonetization?

Yes, absolutely! Having one or more of your videos demonetized doesn't mean you won't be able to make money from ads ever again. You can always review your content and contact the Creator Support team to appeal their decision and get your videos monetized once again. 

Be aware, though—in some cases where content severely violates YouTube's guidelines and policies, it might not be possible to monetize it again. 

How long does it take to get remonetized on YouTube?

All appeals for demonetized videos and channels go through manual review by the YouTube team, so it's hard to say how long it might take. Some creators had ads put back on their videos within days of submitting the appeal, while others had to wait weeks, if not months, for YouTube to review their content and make the decision. 

What are the alternatives to YouTube ads?

The great news is that there are many alternative income streams. You don't have to rely on YouTube ad income alone. Some other alternative income streams include Patreon, selling online courses or digital downloads, offering coaching services, selling physical products like merch or stationery, and so much more. 

What does being demonetized on YouTube mean?

So, every channel on YouTube that meets the requirements can apply to the YouTube Partner Program, which allows creators to put ads on their videos and earn an income from all the ads that people view. 

For the video to be eligible to run ads, it has to adhere to advertiser-friendly content rules from Google and YouTube's internal community guidelines. If a YouTube video doesn't follow these policies and guidelines, it gets demonetized, which means that the creator loses the right to make money from ads that run on their videos. 

What is the demonetized policy on YouTube?

The demonetization policy on YouTube is pretty straightforward but strict. All videos that are eligible to run ads have to adhere to Google's advertiser-friendly content guidelines and YouTube's community guidelines. If a video violates any of those rules, it is not eligible for monetization. 

Is YouTube demonetizing AI videos?

The answer is—it depends. Recently, YouTube introduced new policies that require all creators to mark their videos with a tag that shows the viewer that some (or all) of the video was created with the help of AI. 

YouTube doesn't have monetization policies for AI video content specifically. However, some of their other monetization eligibility guidelines often make AI-generated content ineligible to make money from ads, like duplicate and repeated content or using copyrighted materials. 

Will YouTube send my earnings to AdSense if I am demonetized?

If your channel is demonetized, all your earnings from ads shown on your video will remain in your Partner Program account until your channel is monetized again. While your channel is demonetized, you can still upload videos and grow your subscribers, but during that time, no ads will run on your videos, and you won't make money.

Karolina Wilde

Karolina Wilde, Karolina Wilde is a freelance writer. Her work has been published on Better Marketing, The Ascent, and Sexography reaching over 25,000+ readers. In her free time, you can find her podcasting, reading, or creating TikTok videos.

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