AdvertisingListsNewsVideo TrendsYouTubeYouTube AnalysisYouTube Self-Certification Feature: Creators to Self-Rate videos on Ad-Appropriacy

While a creator uploads and optimizes a new video, YouTube informs:
“Now, you can rate your own uploads against our ad-friendly content guidelines”

After one and half years of announcing the development of a self-rating monetization system, YouTube launched the feature. 

YouTube self-certification

A bunch of creators were asked to rate their own video content during the upload so that ads run are relevant to the video content.

YouTube’s self-certification feature launched by its CEO Susan Wojcicki had a note for its creators, it mentioned that the real motive behind the feature was to “make the monetization process much smoother with fewer false positive demonetizations”.

The feature will function by taking the creator’s input on video content through the self-rating system and combine it with YouTube’s algorithm-based video reviews along with the human reviewers.

YouTube self-certification, when analysed from the statements on the creator dashboard reveals that the process of monetization involves an honest self-evaluation credit system.

If a creator is honest about their video content, then YouTube trusts them on proper & accurate self-certification. This process builds a trustworthy relationship between both counterparts thus, giving creators control over one main aspect of video monetization.

The feature presents three significant options to creators for better optimization and tuning through self-made reports on video uploads. These options are:

  1. You can turn on ads for this content- Which indicates that the video content is suitable for advertisers and meets the advertiser-friendly content guidelines.
  2. You can turn on ads but many brands may choose not to advertise: The content in video is selectively suitable. Many brands may choose to opt-out of it. This means creators may earn less revenue as fewer ads may appear on it compared to the videos appropriate for all.
  3. You should turn off ads for this content: It means that the video with this tag is not suitable for any advertisements.

There are community guidelines which YouTube creators abide by while creating videos. Advertiser-friendly content guidelines are an addition to the set of rules in YouTube community guidelines.

These will help them understand if advertisers want to have their brands visible with that content.

YouTube self-certification program

Under this program, creators need to self-certify the following videos:

  1. New video uploads that have turned on ads
  2. Older videos that a creator would now like to turn on ads and monetize
  3. Previously uploaded videos that already had ads turned on, need not undergo the certification plan

Steps to complete YouTube self-certification

In order to get the videos verified under the advertiser-friendly content guidelines, creators can follow these steps below:

  1. Upload the video by following necessary steps
  2. While uploading and filling information on the video, click on Monetization tab on the page
  3. Select self-rate my video option
  4. Fill in the YouTube self-certification questionnaire (Find the list below), click on Done
  5. Choose the ad formats that you want for the video
  6. Click save changes to confirm the process

YouTube self-certification program disables monetization of bulk videos. Channels who monetize bulk videos daily must reach out to the creator support.  Once the channel gets removed from the program, the creator can monetize bulk videos regularly.

YouTube self-certification questionnaire

The list of questions begins with certain statements that help creators declare the level of safety of their content.

Once saved, the answers cannot be changed, and the whole page ends with a disclaimer explaining the purpose behind YouTube asking these questions.

The initial statements are,

“I will provide answers to each question below. I certify that this video is appropriate for all audiences and does not contain inappropriate language, adult content, violence, harmful or dangerous acts, drug-related content, hateful content, firearms-related content or sensitive issues

Do your video’s content, title, description or keywords contain any of the following?”

The questions are as follows:

  1. Inappropriate language: Frequent use of strong profanity

a. None (Allow ads)

b. Light profanity (like ‘hell’ or ‘damn’); censored profanity in the opening of the video, title or thumbnail; or occasional use of strong profanity (like the ‘f-word’) after the opening

c. Strong profanity in the opening of the video, title or thumbnail used for the purpose of comedy, documentaries, news or education (Limited ads)

d. Strong profanity used in a hateful or derogatory way (Not suitable for ads)

2. Adult content: Sexual behaviour, language or expressions

a. None (Allow ads)

b. Romance or kissing; discussions of romantic relationships or sexuality without reference to intercourse; moderately sexually suggestive content that may include limited clothing; sensual dancing, non-graphic sex education or a music video containing sexual content without nudity (Allow ads)

c. Blurred or censored nudity, even if used for education, news or in other contexts; focus on sexual body parts (even if covered), discussions of intimate sexual experiences, implied sexual acts, sex toys without human contact or nudity, or realistic representations of genitalia (Limited ads)

d. Exposed breasts or full nudity, sexual acts, animal mating, discussion of fetishes or a video thumbnail with sexual content (Not suitable for ads)

3. Violence: Situations showing hurt, damage or injury

a. None (Allow ads)

b. Mild violence; injury without showing blood or graphic content; or dramatised violence as part of video games, animation, comedy, drama or music videos (Allow ads)

c. Real injury or violence with blood shown as part of sports, accidents, pranks, ‘fails’ or animal videos; dramatised violence showing excessive blood and gore as part of animations, comedy, drama, video games or music videos (Limited ads)

d. Severe real injury, real death, harm to minors or abuse of animals; depictions or discussions of sexual abuse or domestic violence (Not suitable for ads)

4. Harmful or dangerous acts: Situations that may endanger participant

a. None (Allow ads)

b. Stunts or acts that are slightly dangerous, but performed in a professional and controlled environment where no one is seriously injured (Allow ads)

c. Content showing but not focusing on physical harm or distress, including acts done in a non-professional, non-controlled environment (Limited ads)

d. Focus on accidents, pranks or stunts that involve health risks, like drinking or eating non-edibles; or discussions of trending videos that show this type of content (Not suitable for ads)

5. Drug-related content: Illegal, recreational or regulated substances

a. None (Allow ads)

b. Education, music, statements or humorous references about drugs or drug paraphernalia that doesn’t promote or glorify them (Allow ads)

c. Content focusing on the display or effects of drug consumption, or the fabrication or distribution of drugs or drug paraphernalia in the context of music, comedy, news, education or a documentary (Limited ads)

d. Content showing or discussing abuse, buying, making, selling, or finding of drugs or drug paraphernalia in a graphic and detailed way (Not suitable for ads)

6. Hateful content: Content likely to offend a marginalised individual or group

a. None (Allow ads)

b. References to a marginalised group that are made in a non-hurtful manner as part of a public debate or comedic context (Allow ads)

c. Content that may be offensive to a marginalised group but is used for education, news or a documentary (Limited ads)

d. Hate or discrimination toward a protected group based on race, age or other natural characteristics (Not suitable for ads)

7. Firearms-related content: Showing or discussion of real or fake guns

a. None (Allow ads)

b. Content that shows gun fabrication or modification, promotes gun makers or outlets, or facilitates the sale of a gun (Not suitable for ads)

c. Hunting-related content or guns shown in a safe environment like a shooting range (Allow ads)

8. Sensitive issues: Recent events dealing with war, death or tragedy

a. None (Allow ads)

b. Discussions of modern acts of terror, events resulting in the catastrophic loss of human life or controversial social issues (Not suitable for ads)

c. Analysis of or opinion around serious and topical events not described above (allow ads)

Benefits of YouTube self-certification program

Previously, YouTube’s algorithm and program bots studied videos and rendered them fit or unfit for advertisers. It was not of much help because the analysis was seldom wrong.

Creators faced the loss at the hands of the “guess” process of these algorithmic systems.

The introduction of YouTube self-certification program decentralized the traditional process of monetizing content to some extent. Now, creators have control over one major aspect of monetizing channels.

YouTube would now compare the self-certify inputs from creators with its system-generated analysis, thereby confirming a more accurate decision over its monetizing.

Creators can report to YouTube if they disagree with system generated result, thus, requesting for a human reviewer to ensure satisfying analysis.

The complete mixture of analysis from self-certification program, YouTube algorithmic bot system and human reviewers would further “fine tune” their system.


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Salorita Mohanty

Peppy, chirpy, sane in her way. Sucker for wild travels & treks. Fond of murder mystery and non-fictional books. Open politics enthusiast and an agnostic atheist. Looks for wackiness in normalcy, adulting at her own pace!

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