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With ad revenue sometimes fluctuating more than the cryptocurrency market, many content creators are turning to sponsorships to bring in a bit of extra cash – and that’s great – but it can be a risky endeavour if you’re unfamiliar with the policies. If you’re thinking about teaming up with brands to promote their products/services, here are a few tips to ensure you don’t find yourself in hot water.

Disclosures, disclosures, disclosures!

Many moons ago, policies were pretty relaxed when it came to disclosing your relationships with advertisers, but platforms like YouTube have since implemented new guidelines that crack down on exactly this, and platforms are actively removing content that fails to follow the rules.

In short, if you participate in a brand deal, product placement, or receive a free gift, you must disclose it to your viewers by including clear copy within the video’s description. Simply including #sp or #partner is not sufficient enough.

In addition to the written disclosure, YouTube includes a checkbox within the advanced settings on your videos which needs to be turned on if a video is sponsored. Facebook and Instagram have similar options, which remind creators to disclose their brand deals during the upload process.

Failure to clearly disclose sponsorships may result in your videos being taken down, community strikes, account termination, and a possible fine from the FTC.

Finally, if the brand wants you to include a static card within the video, here are YouTube’s guidelines that you must adhere to:

  • Title cards: Five seconds or less and static. If they are placed at the beginning of the video (0:01s), the card must be co-branded with the creator’s name/logo.
  • End cards: Placed within the last 30 seconds of the video and must be static.

If you currently have sponsored videos that violate YouTube’s terms of service, you may be able to trim the beginning and ends (if the video has less than 100,000 views), or delete it completely (if it has not received a strike yet).

Restricted topics

Disclosures aren’t the only step you need to take to avoid takedowns. Many product categories are prohibited from being advertised on YouTube, including adult content, weapons, academic aids, automated ad clicking, and more. Before accepting a sponsorship deal, check this list to make sure the product or service you’ll be promoting or advertising doesn’t fall into any of the restricted categories.

It’s not just YouTube

While each platform has their own tools for sponsorships, guidelines must be followed no matter where you’re posting. There have been several cases where Instagram stars came under fire for not clearly disclosing their brand relationships, and in most cases, simply throwing a #sp hashtag at the end of your post will not cut it.

Now go make that money – but be careful

Hopefully these tips help you on your journey in the world of sponsorships, and keep you out of social media jail.