Political, gambling, & alcohol content to be prohibited from YouTube Masthead ads

YouTube Masthead

Building on the change in the reservation of Masthead ads, YouTube has further announced additional content requirements for the ad format, that advertisers would need to comply with.

YouTube Masthead is one of the most prominent placements on the platform across all devices and a premium ad product offering. Content requirements for this ad format have always been higher than other formats, but now the platform has announced categories of content that would explicitly be banned.

YouTube users see Masthead ads at the top of the Home feed, it is primarily the first visual users see when they come to the platform, and brands have often tapped the format to drive mass awareness or introduction of new offerings.

Consequently, along with Google Ads policies and YouTube ad requirements, Masthead ads would also need to follow additional content requirements, due to its prominence on the platform. Rejected Masthead ads may still continue to run on Google’s other ad formats, placements, and properties.

All YouTube Masthead ads and ad assets would need to comply with the additional requirements. According to the Google Support Page, the following categories have been explicitly prohibited.

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Depiction or references to gambling-related content. Along with the traditional gambling visuals, Google has also described “online gambling, online non-casino games, and social casino games” as gambling-related content, hence online poker games, any similar content submissions would be rejected.

Political Content

Ads and ad assets related to election or politics.


Portrayal or references to alcohol-related content, including promotional ads focussed on branding or informational ads focussing on alcoholic beverages.

Prescription Drug Terms

Ads and ad assets that include prescription drug terms.

In an email to advertisers reviewed by Reuters, the platform mentions that the move builds upon the alteration in the reservation process for Masthead slots. Last year, the platform had announced that advertisers can no longer book a reservation for the whole 24 hours of a day.

A Google spokesperson mentioned, “We regularly review our advertising requirements to ensure they balance the needs of both advertisers and users. 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”.