YouTube Bans Ads for Politics, Alcohol, Drugs and Gambling on Homepage

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YouTube will no longer sell ads for certain categories — including politics and alcohol — on its homepage, which Google says it the internet giant’s highest profile advertising real estate.

YouTube’s “masthead” ads appear at the top of the YouTube homepage — which is “the most prominent Google advertising placement available to advertisers,” according to the internet company.

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As of Monday, YouTube has banned the following advertising categories from its masthead: gambling; elections and political content; alcohol; and prescription drugs; The policy change was first reported by Axios.

“We believe this update will build on changes we made last year to the masthead reservation process and will lead to a better experience for users,” a Google rep said in a statement.

In 2020, Donald Trump’s re-election campaign bought 24-hour ad takeovers of YouTube’s masthead some 20 times, including on Election Day (Nov. 3). A full-day placement on YouTube homepage cost about $2 million, the New York Times reported.

The day after the election, YouTube said that it would stop selling full-day masthead takeovers. Instead, that ad inventory is now sold on a per-impression basis.

YouTube notes that it reviews each masthead ad asset for “compliance with the YouTube masthead ad content requirements” which are in addition to the Google Ads policies and YouTube ad requirements.

Here’s some additional detail on what is no longer allowed in ads on YouTube masthead, per Google’s customer service site:

  • Gambling: Assets that depict or reference gambling-related content, including offline gambling, online gambling, online non-casino games, and social casino games.

  • Alcohol: Assets that depict or reference alcohol-related content, including ads promoting the sale of alcohol as well as branding or informational ads focusing on alcoholic beverages

  • Prescription drug terms: Assets that depict or reference prescription drug terms

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