YouTube To Loosen Masthead Ad Restrictions For Alcohol, Rx Drugs, Gambling

YouTube has updated ad requirements for its masthead to allow previously prohibited consumer categories in certain states and countries to run. 

Ad bookings for the YouTube masthead, effective today, will be accepted for certain consumer product categories, including sports betting in the United States, only; and alcohol and prescription drugs in the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand.

Changes in regulations for sports betting prompted the change. For example, online sports betting is now legal in more than 20 states, seven of which came online in the past year, according to YouTube.

It became legal in Wyoming, for example, in September 2021, in time for the NFL season. Those who want to place bets could wagers on sports at several online sportsbooks. Sports betting in Connecticut came online in late 2021.

Success for its new “per market” YouTube masthead format also contributed. The company believes that this decision “balances the needs of advertisers and consumers.”



Categories such as election and political ads and gambling, for the exception of sports betting, remain restricted from the masthead. YouTube announced the changes Friday.

It's not clear if advertisers in those categories have already booked time in the masthead.

Other ad formats on YouTube or Google Search will not see the same change.

YouTube informed advertisers in 2020 the company would discontinue full-day masthead reservations and replace them with more targeted, market-based options. This option, cost-per-thousand (CPM), made mastheads more accessible to a range of advertisers. It also provided more options for their ad campaigns.

YouTube will update its ad requirements to allow assets related to some previously prohibited consumer product categories, as long as they comply with the related Google advertising policy.

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