YouTube Monetization Guidelines 2021 – What You Need to Know

YouTube Monetization Guidelines

The guidelines for the YouTube Partner Program are constantly changing.

And every YouTube creator must follow these changes closely.

Beyond access to support, creators also need this partnership to earn revenue from ads displayed over their videos through monetization.

It is not uncommon to see YouTube channels get terminated as a result of violating their policies.

Since September 2020, YouTube has terminated over 8,000 channels for this reason [1] and will continue to do so.

So, if you want to keep creating and earning from YouTube, you will have to follow their terms of service.

In this article, we will consider some important guidelines you need to bear in mind regarding creating on YouTube and monetization of your videos.

YouTube Monetization Guidelines

Important 2021 YouTube Monetization Guidelines

Let’s have a look at some of the 2021 guidelines for YouTube monetization and see what they mean for your channel.

To monetize on youtube, your content has to align with all their policies.

Let’s have a look at some of these policies.

YouTube videos cannot contain any claims that the 2020 US presidential elections were rigged.

This means that any video that suggests voter fraud or that a candidate won due to counting errors or software glitches will be erased.

They’ll be marked as a violation by that channel.

Fake engagement tactics are strictly prohibited.

Practices such as exchanging subscriptions or hosting giveaways to get people to subscribe to your channel and grow your audience are no longer acceptable.

If your call-to-action for a giveaway outrightly states or suggests that you want to get subscribers, it would be a violation of YouTube’s fake engagement policy.

Having over 1,000 subscribers does not necessarily mean that you will be verified as a YouTube creator.

YouTube has added a few more requirements for content creators looking to get verified.

Here are the new criteria for YouTube verification:

YouTube must confirm that you are an actual person or public figure.

In other words, you must pass the authenticity test. 

A few extras:

Your channel should not be similar to popular YouTube channels.

Also, your channel must have a description, icon, as well as content that is actively sought out on YouTube.

 If your channel meets those requirements, you can go ahead to apply for verification.

  • Your YouTube thumbnail should not be misleading.

Quite often, YouTube creators use their video title and thumbnail to pique the interest of viewers and rack up views.

While in itself, there is nothing wrong with this, the problem comes when your thumbnail advertises something that is not in the video.

And also, the more obvious restriction on thumbnails with violent or pornographic images will continue to be enforced.

  • YouTube channels marked as ‘child friendly’ will no longer be allowed to host any form of adult-related content.

Some new child-related privacy laws are being enforced.

The reason is that Google and YouTube are forced to pay 170 million dollars for allegedly violating child privacy laws in 2019.

[2] Here is what this means for YouTube creators:

As a YouTube creator, you will have to clearly state the age range of your target audience. 

Already existing videos will need to be reviewed and marked either kid-friendly or otherwise.

Content for children?

When you tick the box that indicates that a video is for children, it prevents YouTube from displaying personalized ads over them.

Kids content

You will have to tick this box for all existing videos on your channel, no matter how many.

There is some obscurity as to what defines a kid-directed video.

YouTube defines it as a video suitable for children 13 years and above.

As a YouTube creator, this is an area where you will have to tread carefully and keep researching to stay updated.

If your video is targeted towards children while containing content unsuitable for kids, you might have to pay a fine of up to $42,530.

The same goes for videos that are marked as containing mature content, but YouTube considers kid-friendly.

Also, you might have to pay fines if your video is animated but contains mature content or themes.

Seeing as revenue onYouTube comes from ads, as a YouTube creator, you will have to decide whether to stop creating kid-friendly content or not.

Security guidelines

  • Ensure you have 2-step verification enabled on your google account.

This means that your account should be protected with both a password and an additional account.

Failure to do this will result in a delay in having your application reviewed.

2 step verification

Your channels must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 valid public watch hours.

This threshold exists because YouTube needs to know that your channel offers enough valuable content before you gain access to monetize your videos.

Only after meeting this requirement can you apply for the YouTube Partner Program.

Once you meet the threshold, sign the YouTube Partner Program terms.

You can set a reminder if you want to be notified when you meet that threshold. 

Ensure that you do not have more than one AdSense account.

Naturally, to get paid you would need to set up an account with google ads.

You should not have more than one and it should be connected to your YouTube account.

After signing the terms of use for the YouTube Partner Program and linking your AdSense account, your application will be put in a queue for review.

If your application is accepted, you can start earning.

However, if your application gets rejected, you can review your channel for any violations.

Then you can submit another application in 30 days.

If your channel has not uploaded new content in 6 months or more, there is a possibility that monetization may be disabled.

How to Create a YouTube Channel


The YouTube Partner Program keeps expanding.

So support is focused on creators who are active and engage regularly with the community.

A Side Thought

So many people view YouTube monetization as the holy grail This is something that personally, I have never understood. Click To Tweet

There are many other ways to make money from YouTube:




To my mind all of these are better than monetization.

In fact, unless you have a super huge channel, you’ll make less from monetization and it will disrupt the viewers experience.

So think wisely before you make this your goal.


YouTube can be an amazing platform for video content sharing.

But it cannot be overemphasized that you need to be very mindful regarding their policies and guidelines so as not to violate any.

Also, YouTube policies are constantly changing and as such you need to keep up with your research to stay abreast with the current trends.


Comments on YouTube Monetization Guidelines 2021 – What You Need to Know

  1. Jon crimes says:

    Very interesting, thanks Adam. I’m not quite there with subscriber quota yet but will use your guide to keep on the right track.

    All the best

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Good luck Jon. Even though I have had it for ages, I do not use it personally as I’d rather not have competitors ads on my videos. Cheers

  2. Kerie H says:

    For me it is the traffic it brings to my small but growing affiliate list. Although I would love to be monetised too.

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Even when you get monetized, all you’d need is to link out to your own properties directly IMO. The Adsense is not worth it unless you have a massive following and upload regularly.

  3. Albertus V says:

    Maybe people are fixated on monetization because they haven’t been educated on what it actually entails as well as the consequences thereof?

    1. Adam Payne says:

      I’d agree. For many it’s a goal and they think they will miraculously make money when they get there.

  4. Sandy says:

    Hey Adam,
    As always, super helpful information. Currently working on other people sites in my everyday job but just starting to put my own plan into action. I don’t always comment but you have given such simple straightforward information that I find very helpful. Thanks mate!

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Glad that the posts and tips are of use to you Sandy 🙂


  5. Doug Keil says:

    It will be a while until i hit 100k, but sometimes it’s the journey, not (just) the destination.
    Thx for the insight, as usual, Adam.

    1. Adam Payne says:

      Hi Doug,

      1K subs, not 100K thankfully! Cheers for stopping by.

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