YouTube guidelines for paid product placements and endorsements

Guidelines for paid product placements and endorsements


All five commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have voted to review how it handles digital influencers and sponsored content outlined below:
  1. The FTC is looking into turning its current guidelines for influencers and sponsored content into hard and fast rules so “violators can be liable for civil penalties"
  2. Current practice is brands, ad agencies, and influencers who currently break the FTC’s guidelines may be legally accountable using the U.S.’s laws against deceptive advertising. If the FTC makes the change from guidelines to rules, that will give it the right to levy fines without involving laws.
  3. The FTC is also looking into developing requirements for social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, including advertisers and brands who sponsor content on the said platforms. It is also considering “activating civil penalties” for platforms/advertisers that don’t follow new rules.
  4. The commission also wants to layout an industry-wide set of requirements all brands must adhere to when working with influencers, “including sample terms that companies can include in contracts”

Paid promotions, also known as brand deals, are a great way to diversify your channel earnings, however, you need to be aware of the following:
  1. As a creator, you are responsible for understanding and complying with your legal obligations to disclose Paid Promotion in your content, including when and how to disclose and to whom to disclose, as different jurisdictions have various requirements for creators and brands involved in Paid Promotion. 
  2. YouTube doesn't allow you to use "burned in ads" (i.e. brand commercials) to be embedded into your video.
  3. All Paid Promotion needs to conform with the Google Ads Policy (see below). With this in mind, make sure to do your due diligence to check if you sponsor can put your video at risk of demonetization.
  4. You are required to notify YouTube when you have a paid promotion in your video. You just need to follow the steps below:

    1. Go to your video manager.
    2. Next to the video, select "Edit"
    3. Under the video, select the Advanced Settings tab.
    4. Make sure to tick the box "This video contains paid promotion such as product placement, sponsorships or endorsement".

To learn more about YouTube's paid product placements and endorsements policy, click here.

Google Ads Policy includes:

Prohibited content:
  1. Counterfeit goods (sale or promotion for sale of counterfeit goods such as products that attempt to pass themselves as the original genuine product).
  2. Dangerous products or services (promotion of products or services that cause damage, harm, or injury).
  3. Enabling dishonest behavior (promotion of hacking software or instructions; services designed to artificially inflate ad or website traffic; fake documents; academic cheating services).
  4. Inappropriate content (examples include bullying or intimidation, racial discrimination, hate, graphic crime scene or accident images, animal cruelty, murder, self-harm, extortion or blackmail, sale or trade of endangered species, ads using profane language).
Prohibited practices:
  1. Abusing the ad network (examples include promoting content that contains malware; "cloaking" or hide the true destination that users are directed to; "arbitrage" or promoting destinations for the sole or primary purpose of showing ads; promoting "bridge" or "gateway" destinations that are solely designed to send users elsewhere; advertising with the sole or primary intent of gaining public social network endorsements from the user; "gaming" or manipulating settings in an attempt to circumvent our policy review systems).
  2. Data collection and use (you should not misuse information, such as name, email address, mailing address and others, or collect it for unclear purposes or without appropriate security measures. You should also not obtaining credit card information over a non-secure server, promotions that claim to know a user's sexual orientation or financial status, violations of our policies that apply to interest-based advertising and remarketing).
  3. Misrepresentation (examples include omitting or obscuring billing details such as how, what, and when users will be charged; omitting or obscuring charges associated with financial services such as interest rates, fees, and penalties; failing to display tax or licence numbers, contact information, or physical address where relevant; making offers that aren't actually available; making misleading or unrealistic claims regarding weight loss or financial gain; collecting donations under false pretenses; "phishing" or falsely purporting to be a reputable company in order to get users to part with valuable personal or financial information).
Restricted content:
Regarding content that is sometimes legally or culturally sensitive.
  1. Adult content (examples include strip clubs, erotic cinemas, sex toys, adult magazines, sexual enhancement products, matchmaking sites, models in sexualized poses).
  2. Alcohol
  3. Copyrights (Google doesn't allow ads that are unauthorized to use copyrighted content. If you are legally authorized to use copyrighted content, apply for certification to advertise.
  4. Gambling and games (examples include physical casinos; sites where users can bet on poker, bingo, roulette, or sports events; national or private lotteries; sports odds aggregator sites; sites offering bonus codes or promotional offers for gambling sites; online educational materials for casino-based games; sites offering "poker-for-fun" games; non-casino-based cash game sites).
  5. Healthcare and medicines (ads and destinations need to follow appropriate laws and industry standards. Some healthcare-related content can’t be advertised at all, while others can only be advertised if the advertiser is certified with Google and targets only approved countries).
  6. Political content (promotion of political parties or candidates, political issue advocacy).
  7. Financial services (for the purposes of this policy, Google considers financial products and services to be those related to the management or investment of money and cryptocurrencies, including personalized advice. Make sure to include specific disclosures required by local law.
  8. Trademarks
  9. Legal requirements (you’re always responsible for ensuring that you comply with all applicable laws and regulations, in addition to Google's advertising policies, for all of the locations where your ads are showing).
  10. Other restricted businesses (if Google feels that certain kinds of businesses pose an unreasonable risk to user safety or user experience, then they may limit or stop related ads from running).

For an updated version of the information above, make sure to check the official Google article here.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us. We will be happy to help.

    • Related Articles

    • What are brand deals and how can I find them?

      If you are looking to increase your channel's potential, brand deals are a great option. Brands are constantly looking for influencers to promote their products and services. If your audience matches the target audience of a brand, and you have a ...
    • YouTube updates Community Guidelines Strike System

      In a blog post on February 19, 2019, YouTube announced changes to their Community Guidelines strike system, effective from February 25, 2019. With the goal of educating creators, channels that violate YouTube's Community Guidelines for the first ...
    • YouTube provides monetization guidelines for 8 areas

      For YouTube, rating content accurately is key, as it demonstrates if creators understand what kind of content can be or shouldn't be monetized. As part of its transparency goal, YouTube has provided additional details to help creators go through the ...
    • YouTube is updating the Terms of Service on December 10, 2019

      On December 10, 2019 YouTube will be updating the wording of their terms of service for greater clarity - they are not materially changing how things work, and are not introducing any changes regarding channel terminations. Here are the key items to ...
    • ICG shares best practices for MCN agreements and brand deals

      The Internet Creators Guild (ICG) is a nonprofit organization created by YouTuber Hank Green, co-founder of the popular vlogbrothers channel, that published a study aimed to inform creators about best practices for MCN agreements and brand deals. For ...