Brands Beware: YouTube Is Cracking Down on Sponsored Videos

Brands that work with YouTube creators on sponsored videos need to know that YouTube wants a cut of the action. As Digiday reports, sponsored videos can no longer include an overlay that shows the sponsor’s logo—unless the sponsor also pays for advertising on that channel. Google would prefer that brands go through its sales team to arrange sponsorships, rather than working with brands directly.

YouTube_LGMaking this a little confusing is the fact that YouTube wants sponsorships disclosed and allows the use of text-only title cards to show that a video has paid product placement. But that title card had better not be graphical, and absolutely can’t include the sponsor’s logo without payment to Google.

With the volume of videos that YouTube receives, Digiday thinks that enforcement could be a problem. While creators are required to inform YouTube when a video includes product placement, YouTube is relying on viewers to flag videos that go against the rules.

Along with the sponsorship crackdown, YouTube has created an ad unit just for sponsorships. Called a product card, this six-second preroll lets brands place a quick message before a sponsored video. Look for this ad unit to be a regular part of YouTube’s media package for brands.

In related news, YouTube head of content and business operations Robert Kyncl announced this week at the Code/Media conference in Dana Point, California, that the site will soon offer a subscription service that lets viewers pay to avoid ads. So while YouTube is preparing new types of ads for brands, it will also make money from people who want to skip those messages.


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