It has been reported that Google is banning advertising on the YouTube masthead from certain industries. These restraints are in addition to the existing restraints in many of the same verticals.

The tips known so far are:

  • Sale of alcohol
  • Gamble
  • Prescription drugs
  • Election and political advertisements

An example of a YouTube masthead ad on a desktop device

YouTube masthead advertising

The YouTube masthead ad unit will appear as an ad at the top of the YouTube homepage.

Google Ads Help Page describes this unit as:

“This is a video ad that appears at the top of the YouTube homepage.

The YouTube home feed is a very important destination for viewers, and with a Masthead ad, you can be primarily in that home experience.

Buying a Masthead ad means targeted coverage in a campaign with budget and density control. Purchased masthead ads are available on YouTube on all computers, mobile apps, and the YouTube app for TV. “

An example of a YouTube masthead ad on a mobile device

Screenshot of the YouTube masthead for mobile devices

The Masthead ad unit will be displayed to visitors to the YouTube homepage and will be subject to stricter advertising policies.


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For example, ads targeted to the YouTube masthead must be approved at least 48 hours in advance. Potential ad units must be approved by a Google sales representative 48 hours before they can run.

By Google YouTube Masthead Policy:

“Masthead ads are only available by reservation through a Google sales representative.”

Masthead ad units must also follow current policies for sensitive verticals.

An example of a YouTube masthead ad on TV

Screenshot of YouTube masthead ad on TVGoogle has determined that masthead is relevant to advertisers for the following purposes:

  • “Drive a huge dimension or awareness
  • Plan your purchase in advance and don’t want to rely on the auction
  • Promote your brand or service in a prominent place on the YouTube homepage ”


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New restrictions on masthead advertising

Axios reports that there will be new restrictions on certain verticals.

By report:

“YouTube will stop accepting ads from the masthead ad unit in certain areas, including alcohol sales, gambling, prescription drugs, and election and political ads,” Axios has learned. “

The reason mentioned for restricting these verticals from masthead ads is to improve the user experience.

These verticals are already restricted because they can be advertised, but with restrictions. Mast restrictions on these verticals mean tightening existing restrictions.

The restrictions are not entirely unexpected

Search Marketing and PPC Specialist Kenny Hyder (@kennyhyder) Hyder Media expressed its surprise that these verticals were not already prohibited.


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He pointed out

“I’m surprised it took so long, these are standard categories with political limitations. Especially given that YouTube has a significant audience of children, I think it should have been done a long time ago.”

I agree with Mr Hyder that these restrictions are not entirely surprising.

He added,

“Probably only more and more advertisers are starting to use video ads and they had to catch up. These topics are already severely restricted on all other Google platforms.”


Scoop: YouTube is banning some ad slots from buying masthead ads


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