2020 New YouTube Guidelines

Written by
Yoni Yampolsky


Chances are, you’ve noticed the following blue strip when visiting YouTube during the last few weeks:


For many of us, this message must have triggered a series of questions:

To what extent will these changes in policy change the world’s second most popular search engine?
And, most importantly, how will these changes affect me and my own YouTube channel?

Fret not.

We’ve got you covered.

Here is breakdown of the most notable changes you should expect to see starting January 1st, 2020:



YouTube has recently had to pay the FTC a fine tallying at $170M due to violations of the kids’ data privacy law -COPPA.

In many ways, this is the catalyst to what seems to be extensive changes in the way YouTube operates its advertising system.

Here’s the gist of it:

As of January 1st, 2020, YouTube creators will have to explicitly state their videos’ projected audience.

During the upload process, creators will need to check a box that indicates that the video in question is ‘directed to children’.

Ticking this box will prevent the video from running algorithm-based, recommended ads triggered by prior indication of interest (AKA personalized ads.)

These differ from contextualized ads (i.e. pop-up banners) that can appear regardless of age-appropriate designation.

Here’s the catch:
This new policy applies to every single video that exists on YouTube’s data base.

Even if you’ve uploaded thousands of videos, each will need to be reviewed and deemed either “kid-directed” or suitable for a more mature audience.

This is a major development, giving tens of thousands of YouTube creators great reason for concern.

Given its amorphous terminology, it is still unclear what content will fall outside of the definition of ‘child-directed’.

Google defines child-directed content as that which is appropriate to children up to the age of 13, the minimal age to create a YouTube channel.

However, it is yet to be determined what content falls within that group.

Will a video in which a child is being interviewed on a show that normally touches upon more mature topics and themes be categorized as child-friendly?

What about sporting events?

Videos caught targeting children while containing content deemed by  YouTube as unsuitable for children can result in creators paying the FTC fines of up to $42,530.

The same goes for videos classified as non-child friendly that are deemed by YouTube as containing content that is attractive to children.
If a video touches on mature themes but showcases animated characters, it may result in its creator being handed a hefty fine.

YouTube creators rely primarily on personalized ads’ revenue.
If you rely on your YouTube channel as a source of income, it would be wise to make a strategic decision:

Do you change the way you create content and make it suitable for children?
Conversely, do you decide to give up on your younger audience base?

It is important to note that you can define your YouTube 
channel as ‘kid friendly’. Doing this will see you losing your community page, you won’t be able to have the bell notification turned on and you won’t be able to comment on other videos.



Having a verified YouTube channel is a notable achievement.
True; it does not bring with it newfound wealth or elevate creators to a hire tier of ad revenue.

However, the cachet a verified badge carries with it is what leads creators to work tirelessly to attain it. People tend to trust these channels, and it contributes greatly to these channels’ continued growth.

Existing rules require channels to have at least a hundred thousand subscribers before they are given the coveted verification badge. 

Well, that is about to change.

First off, instead of the check badge, YouTube will signify verified channels in this manner:

Verification badge

Beyond the shift in aesthetics, this move brings with it some more substantive changes.

As of January 1st, 2020, racking up one hundred thousand subscribers is no longer the sole criteria by which a channel will be verified.

YouTube will now examine each channel that garners the prerequisite hundred thousand subscribers and decide whether to grant them the new brand of YouTube Creator.

YouTube will need to see that a channel in question is run by a real figure, artist or public figure and  that its name is not similar to other popular YouTube channels ; this is what they call the authenticity test.

Additionally, a verified channel is one that YouTube sees as complete.
The channel must appear with a full description, channel icon and boast content that can be active on YouTube.


Final Word

2020 is expected to be a tumultuous year for YouTube and its creators. With many of its creators flocking to social media to voice their displeasure and overall confusion regarding the implications of these looming changes,  YouTube was forced to react. Since, there have been a number of amendments made to the more vague clauses within the lengthy guideline.
Still, a distinct air of uncertainty is very much felt by those who rely on YouTube as a primary means of dispersing their videos.

Exploring alternatives to the video searching behemoth has suddenly become a more pressing issue.

Expect businesses, especially those operating within a B2B environment, to begin leaning more heavily on private hosting platforms. No longer being beholden to YouTube’s nebulous guidelines, coupled with unique analytical and lead-generating features will likely see a major spike in organizations opting for private vendors.


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2020 New YouTube Guidelines

by Yoni Yampolsky time to read: 4 min