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A friendly reminder and monetization advice

By Vasiliki Kanistra and Devon Storbeck

YouTube Partner Support

We’re always working to bring to you the latest tips and updates so you can make the most of your YouTube experience. One of the benefits of being a YouTube partner is your ability to monetize your uploaded content, and we have a few best practices and guidelines to help you understand the monetization process. Read on to review some of the commonly-asked questions and our suggestions for how you can maximize your YouTube earnings!

Keep in mind these monetization basics:

  • Create an AdSense account. You can enable video monetization and display ads without associating an AdSense account with YouTube, but in order to be paid you’ll need to create - and associate - an AdSense account.
  • Enable relevant ad formats. Set your monetization ad defaults, and allow all ad types that are relevant for your videos.
  • Look at the monetization symbol next to your video.
    • Videos with a grey “$” button are not yet monetized.
    • Videos with a green “$” button have been enabled for monetization
    • Videos with an orange “!” symbol next to them indicate that YouTube might need more information to approve your video for monetization. In that case, check your Video Manager and your e-mail.
  • Make sure you own commercial use rights before you monetize.
    • Whenever possible, take the opportunity to be creative - create your own unique audio and visuals!
    • If you want to monetize a video that contains audio or visuals you didn’t personally create, you’ll need the content creator to provide express written permission for commercial use. If you have written permission to use third-party material, be sure to mention/include it when you publish a video or when asked to provide information for monetization.
    • Check the licenses for any audio you include, and where possible, use royalty-free music that's licensed for commercial use. 
    • Remember that fair use is a tricky subject. Don't assume you can monetize third-party content because you’ve claimed it as fair use.

Going forward, don’t forget to:

  • Keep your AdSense account in good standing. Encouraging viewers to click on your ads, or clicking on them yourself, is strictly prohibited. Learn more here.
  • Do your homework to understand whether you actually own commercial use rights. Purchasing a song, game, or program may not mean you own the rights to monetize, and there could be consequences for claiming content you don't own.
  • Create family-friendly content that advertisers want to sponsor. Keep in mind some advertisers have a family audience and may not want their ads appearing next to content containing profanity, offensive, or derogatory language/images.
  • Review our policies. Make sure you’re familiar with our spam policies and avoid spamming your viewers.
  • Follow our audience development best practices outlined in the Creator Playbook to build your fan base and increase views and watch time. Using misleading tags, thumbnails, and metadata may give your fans a negative viewing experience, reduce your watch time, and could affect your monetization status.

Thanks again for helping make the YouTube partner community so vibrant. We hope you find these tips useful, and if you have any additional questions, don’t forget about the resources YouTube makes available: monetization tips and audience development best practices abound in the YouTube Help Center, the Playbook, the Partner Forum, the Creator Hub, the YouTube Creators channel and here on the YouTube Creator Blog.