With the ashes of the 2017 Adpocalypse still settling two years later, YouTube is looking for the right path forward. Feeling they have developed the blueprint that will keep content creators in line and advertisers happy, YouTube hopes to make the platform feel like home again.

What’s an Adpocalypse?

The term “Adpocalypse” was coined and used after three monumental events took place, shaking YouTube and its community to the core. In each instance, high profile creators were found posting anti-Semitic, lude or incendiary content that caused numerous advertisers to pull their ads from YouTube, causing a chain reaction. 

YouTube reacted with stricter monetization guidelines and an algorithm set to weed out suspect content from legitimate ad-friendly posts. The consequences of this led to an outcry from the YouTube community. Some wanted the bad actors canceled from the platform, and some pointed the finger at YouTube’s higher-ups for not acting faster in suppressing such content. Then there were midlevel YouTubers who had grievances with the new guidelines that would now make it even tougher for them to reach monetization on their channels. 

Impact on creators

The new guidelines now forced these early to midlevel creators to further toil in the doldrums of YouTube, seeking monetization. To be part of YouTube’s Partner Program, your channel must have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watched hours in the previous 12-months. In all reality, it wasn’t just low to mid-level channels in an uproar; many of the channels with an established subscriber base that continued to put out content were seeing a significant drop in viewership numbers and revenue. As a result of the stricter guidelines and some suspect changes to the algorithm, it has become common for videos to be flagged and demonetized for material deemed controversial, sensitive or profane. More worrisome, videos have also been flagged for approaching complex matters like suicide or LGQBT issues, even if the content was beneficial. 

Mainstream takeover

Today, YouTube is still in some form of flux. Several of YouTube’s top creators have exited the platform. Others have stayed to fight, but many claim they are reaching the point of burnout. They are competing with an algorithm that favors longer-form content, higher engagement (such as through “likes” and comments), and more regular posts to stay relevant. Much of the content uploaded on today’s YouTube is music videos, news programming and Hollywood produced content. With ample staff to keep the advertiser-friendly content coming, it’s easy for these outlets to dominate the platform. This while individual creators clock some 80 -100-hour workweeks to maintain their status, only to see less of the pie. 

Warner Bro. YouTube channel
Mainstream media outlets have an advantage when it comes to attracting advertising dollars. Unlike sometimes-unpredictable independent creators, mainstream outlets are generally perceived as safe for advertisers.

Never was it the intent of YouTube as the platform to be so mainstream. It developed from the videos of individual creators with differing points of view. It’s the hope of many that it will return to that someday. Others believe, however, that those days have gone. If YouTube doesn’t want them, they are positive something else will come along that will.