Things I recently learned about YouTube and monetization




I’m not a big time YouTuber by any means. My largest channel has about 250 subscribers so I know I’ll never get rich off of making videos. However, this week I was saddened to discover that the channel I have started to use the most covering my mental illness had nearly every video that mentioned anything related to mental illnesses demonetized.

I’m not sure if it has to do with advertisers not wanting to be associated with the stigma surrounding mental illness or it’s because it’s just a bot so it can’t tell the difference between someone suffering from a mental illness and someone making fun of someone with a mental illness. Perhaps, the bot is just trying to protect us from hate speech and I get that but if that’s the case monetization is seriously flawed. If all else fails don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself and launch another channel. It takes 10,000 views to monetize so either you have to get a viral video or make a lot of videos getting around 50 views each.

Da Do’s

Basic YouTube tips (especially for those who vlog about mental illness):

  • Always state your video subject within the first 20 seconds of it starting.
  • Before filming find some keywords related to your video title and mention them in your video. As the YouTube bot now actually scans the audio of your video to make sure it matches your tags.
  • Try to have at least two keywords in your title.
  • Use proper tags but make sure they are related to the content in your video. For example, videos about baseball wouldn’t use a tag about knitting needles.
  • Take advantage of end cards. These allow you to interact with your viewers and highlight something you want them to watch as well as reminds them to subscribe.
  • Vary things up by making playlists. While you may be talking about mental health, for example, you want to try to narrow it down to a niche. For example, one video playlist about bipolar disorder while another covers generalized anxiety. The more specific your playlists are the more likely you will get additional views from someone watching your video for the first time.
  • Use custom thumbnails for each video and not the tube generated ones every time. This will get you more viewers. However, if you show your face a lot in your videos try to come up with something using your face as a sort of branding. If you’re not sure what I mean check out boogie2988 for the simplest method. Pretty much just add some text above your photo.
  • Speaking of photos. Be sure to have a channel cover photo for your page. It’s also helpful to have a good description of your channel and a first-time visitor video.
  • Utilize Google plus. Sounds weird since that place is a ghost town but keep this in mind. Every person who has you in their circles and searches for a topic that your video is relevant to it will show up on the front page of their Google search. That can help you get a lot of traffic especially if you’re friends with a lot of people in your niche.
  • Share your video a lot on social media. Try to stay relevant and share your videos on twitter, Facebook, Google plus, Instagram, and even tumblr. Best practice though is to try to post things other than just your video so you don’t seem like a spammer. Also, there are tons of groups that you can join where you can share your video as well.
  • When you hit 100 subscribers get a custom channel. Always make sure that your channel name and username match.
  • Try to post about something outside of your normal content at least once a week. This can help bring someone in who never would’ve thought of watching your videos plus it gives you a chance to experiment with new things. If you need help coming up with a topic check out Google Trends.

If you’re not sure about what to title your video or what keywords to use Google is your friend. Just type in the main point you’re trying to make in your video into Google search and use some of the suggested searches at the bottom. If that doesn’t work you can always use a site made to help you come up with tags such as rapidtags. A word of warning about those sites though. Sometimes they suggest keywords that trigger a negative reaction from the bot. Always use common sense and honesty when choosing the tags and you should be fine.

Da Do Not’s

Most of these are common sense but there are a few surprises. Never do any of these especially when talking about mental illnesses on YouTube or you will be demonetized or worse.

  • Do not use profanity.
  • Do not film in any location where music is playing in the background. This includes your car with the radio on or even elevator music. The bot is really good at locating copyrighted music.
  • Do not use copyrighted material. (Photos, music, other people’s videos, etc.…) The exception to this is you are allowed to use it if it qualifies under fair use. If you don’t know what that is click here.
  • Do not mention any illegal activities. In the case of mental illness, vlogs do not mention specific medication names as the bot is unable to determine the context in which you’re using them.
  • Never mentioned suicide. This one will get tagged as not advertiser-friendly for obvious reasons.
  • Do not use the word hate more than three times in a video discussing mental illness or even the word stigma because it will come back labeled as hate speech and may even get removed until it is manually reviewed.
  • Do not lie with your titles and tags. Basically, don’t engage in click bait. Sure it may help in the short term but enough people report you it will cause you to lose your monetization rights and possibly get your channel suspended.
  • Try to avoid using any topics that can be considered controversial or sensitive. For example, don’t mention terrorism, any type of abuse (even if relevant to anxiety and PTSD), war, and even the president of United States. If it’s something even mildly controversial it will be demonetized. You have to use your best judgment here so trial and error is really the only way to figure this one out.
  • Never mention alcohol. Regardless of the context even the brand name or saying that you are drunk can trigger the bot to remove monetization. They feel that by you sharing that information you’re glorifying its use to minors.
  • Another obvious one. Do not post anything sexual. A rule of thumb for all your videos that would actually some most of this up is if you wouldn’t see it on the Disney Channel don’t put it on YouTube.
  • If you refer negatively to any group of people is considered hate speech. Keep in mind this even applies to you referring to people who treat you negatively because of your mental illness. Any time you “throw shade” on any group regardless of the reason Google now considers it hate speech.
  • Do not participate in sub for sub, like for like, comment for comment or view for view hijinks. Not only is this just that form eventually you’re going to get banned.
  • Never ever purchase views or buy software fakes YouTube views.
  • Do not click your own ads. Duh…

Da Gray area

There are a few things that fall under a gray area. What I mean is while there is no general rule for or against it these things. They are things that Google has no official take on yet rewards or punishes on a case-by-case basis. Usually, the big time YouTube vloggers are rewarded while the startup is punished.

  • Do not discuss income generated from YouTube or even AdSense. People have been banned because of this.
  • Do not negatively speak against Google, any of its companies or employees.
  • Do not make video compilations of other people’s work or even television shows. They may fall under fair use depending on the circumstances but they still will pull your advertising if you are a small timer.
  • Same thing goes for reaction videos unless you do not show the actual video you are reacting to. This includes any sound clips that might be in the video.
  • Do not make “shocking” videos. Things like car crashes, crazy stunts, and lately even pranks have been getting demonetized.
  • Do not frequently mention brands in your video. If you do, they may flag you as being a brand sponsored video which cannot be monetized. I know my boy The Road Down Bipolar likes to talk about Mountain Dew but eventually, the bot may trigger he’s being sponsored by Mountain Dew. While this is something that can be set to be manually reviewed once you hit 1000 views it’s annoying and many of us small timers struggle to get 1000 views per video.
  • Avoid mentioning the YouTube algorithm. This is a sensitive issue for Google and doing so has been met with your channel content being more thoroughly scrutinized.
  • Do not keyword stuff. While having tags on your video is great for helping people find it putting too many of them that are not related to your video can make YouTube come down on you because they think you are a spammer.

These are just the basics and I also found out some pretty interesting workarounds to a lot of the “Do not do” things that I may share later if enough people are interested. I also will be experimenting with some of the actual advance things I learned on my mental health YouTube channel since at this point it’s almost the same thing as being banned.  That channel has nowhere to go but up so if they work I will share. Remember there is no real reason we can say a video has succeeded as my video below proves.  Thanks for reading this and happy vlogging


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