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The pros and cons of faceless channels on YouTube

20 Mar, 2023

Что лучше: безликий канал или канал с автором в кадре? У каждого формата будут свои тонкости. Рассказываем о плюсах и минусах каналов без лица. The presence of the author on screen is an important component. It affects the loyalty of the audience. Viewers see the speaker's eyes, interpret their gestures and emotions, evaluate their appearance, and make a decision to trust or distrust the creator much faster.

Let's just imagine a situation where in our modern times, we can go to a bank and meet a robot-consultant and a live person. No matter how professional and knowledgeable the machine may be, it is easier for us to approach a person just like us for help the first time. The person will be easier to understand, more familiar, and may not cause stress.

Returning to the topic of anonymous channels, how do YouTubers who don't show their faces earn money? How do they build a loyal fan base?

Before answering this question, let's first look at the pros and cons of faceless channels.

Benefits of having a faceless channel

  • There is no need for a significant financial investment.

The costs involved in starting a YouTube channel are primarily related to acquiring a camera, lighting, space, and background. However, if you choose to create a faceless channel, these costs can be avoided altogether. Deciding whether or not to start a vlog can be made easier by considering these factors. If the mere thought of starting a channel feels overwhelming and causes you frustration, it may be time to consider other options.

  • It's less stressful to create faceless content

Speaking on camera can be a daunting task for many content creators, creating an insurmountable obstacle. Some people may feel self-conscious on camera, while others may struggle to communicate as effectively when they are being recorded. Creating content without showing your face can eliminate this problem.

  • The same rules apply to both types of channels.

Both content types, those without a vlogger in the frame and those with, are promoted using the same methods. There are no distinctions when it comes to algorithms, optimization, or earnings, as they are available to all types of content.

  • Creating content is significantly simpler

Channels without a face require editing software, time to download stock videos and photo frames, and thoughtfully plan out the text. Consider vlogs, for instance: they have a clear structure and off-screen text that avoids unnecessary words, making it easy to edit and illustrate the author's words. Of course, some content creators of this type will argue that they spend a lot of time editing to perfect their videos. However, it is important to note that content without a face will be viewed in very basic forms.

  • Higher frequency of video releases

With the right approach, it is possible to create videos on a daily basis without sacrificing quality. However, if the voice-over is recorded on a low-quality microphone and stock photos are used instead of video footage, then the appeal of faceless content may not work for your channel, regardless of how often you release videos.

  • The ability to create a character, regardless of who you are in real life

Your personal interests, preferences, political beliefs, speech patterns, or physical appearance do not matter when creating content without a face. All of these factors are irrelevant when you're operating under the veil of anonymity. As a result, it is relatively easy to create the persona of a specific character or personality without exposing any personal details about yourself.

For instance, there's the popular channel "Slivki-Show." The author remains unseen, but we hear their voice, see their hands, and catch glimpses of their cat. The channel's vibe is distinct: it's cozy, amiable content that's laced with amusing and endearing cat antics, practical advice, and good-natured humor.

  • Internet privacy or anonymity

One of the most crucial aspects is the safety factor. Unfortunately, the online world is not always secure, and you may have experienced this yourself. Every day, countless trolls, haters, and stalkers push public figures to the point of depression. It makes no difference if you are a prominent creator or not. Therefore, having less information about yourself online can make it easier to handle any negative comments that may come your way.

  • Ability to work in any niche

Name a niche that can't be converted into a faceless channel?  There are none, any niche can be turned into a faceless channel. You are free to choose what you like and start creating content. Whether the audience will like the person in the frame or not doesn't matter. They should only like the voice, which means that more of the audience will be interested in the content itself rather than a specific creator.

Arguments against running a channel without a face

  • The viewer is more likely to watch content with a real person in the frame.

Of course, the psychological aspect of viewing content still exists. If you go to your subscriptions and count the number of channels without a face and the number with a creator visible, there is a 99% chance that the latter will be more prevalent.

  • Lack of communication with the audience

Since YouTube is a community of like-minded individuals, many viewers feel it's essential to be involved, receive feedback, and connect with real people. The absence of a specific person on a channel will unfortunately not produce that feeling.

  • Less trust in anonymous content

It is important to note that while psychological disposition towards the author of a channel is one thing, trust is another. This is especially critical for those who aim to use YouTube as a means of developing their business.

Take a look at commercials on TV right now - the largest companies often feature celebrities. Sports brands enlist the top athletes in football, hockey, and boxing. Brands in areas such as cosmetics, groceries, finance, and investment often feature media personalities such as actors, singers, or vloggers.

If you plan to create your own product in the future or promote your services and find clients through YouTube, it is crucial to establish trust with your audience. This means connecting with a person who viewers can trust and rely on.

  • YouTube copyright issues

This applies to channels that plan to use music and photos from stock websites, or include content from other authors, even if they are just small excerpts. It is important to be attentive and careful in these cases. Unfortunately, the ContentID system does not have the ability to distinguish between fair use and theft, so you may have to put in a lot of effort and energy to assert your rights.

We have described some of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether to create a faceless channel. These include the psychological component of viewing, the importance of trust for businesses and promotional purposes, and the potential issues with copyright and ContentID.

Now, let's move on to another important issue - earning potential.

Which channels will not be connected to the Partner Program

The issue of copyright piracy is serious. It is crucial for you to understand which channels will categorically be barred from linking to the Partner Program if you still intend to employ third-party, stock materials.

To avoid accusations of copyright infringement, you must utilize background music for which you have the rights to use. If you don’t have the proper authorization you will not be able to join the Partner Program. There are drawbacks in everything, though.

  • It is important to note that not all classical music is in the public domain, and it is necessary to check the copyright status before using it in your content. 
  • Even if the composer died two hundred years ago, you are still required to credit their name and the title of the composition. 
  • Simply speeding up or changing the pitch of a copyrighted song will not help you bypass the Content ID system, as it can detect such manipulations. 
  • When Content ID detects copyright infringement, copyright holders have three options: take no action, block the video, or claim the monetization for themselves.
  • Therefore, it is crucial to be careful and respectful of intellectual property rights when creating content for YouTube.

Let's imagine everything is clear with music. What about a slideshow or an animated picture? This type of content will not generate income.

Even your own video gameplay without a voice will not receive monetization because, according to the rules of YouTube, this is someone else's content. The video game is not technically yours.  But as soon as you add your voice, the content becomes heavily copyrighted.

This also includes channels with audiobooks. Reading any other person's text without adding something of the author's will also not receive monetization, even if the text is in the public domain. You need to either put yourself in the frame or add off-screen comments. Otherwise, there will be nothing copyrighted in the content.

Videos created by an automated program, even if the program itself and the template were developed by you personally, will not get you into the Partner Program. You must add your own voice or face to any content.

However, channels with silent hobbies, such as drawing, knitting, or hand-made DIY, can receive monetization. Nonetheless, you will have to work hard. YouTube may doubt that the content was filmed by you and not stolen from the Internet. How can you fix this issue? It is necessary to create a full-fledged design for each video, including a good title and a comprehensive description, and it is also better to add a trailer where you introduce yourself and your channel.

Important: do not forget that copyright also applies to previews downloaded from the internet. Create your own thumbnails to avoid problems when connecting to the Affiliate Program. You will also have to be careful with the addition of branded logos. If the topic of your vlog is, say, going to different coffee shops and testing drinks, you can add Starbucks, Coffeeshop, and Costa Coffee to the header, but don't forget to add yourself. Otherwise, it can be regarded as copying and using the brand to promote yourself.

YouTube's algorithms perfectly recognize someone else's material of any format in a video: text, pictures, video, the voice of a robot reading out text. All of these are not original materials because many people use them. The times when it was possible to create the same type of channels and videos according to a template are gone. To earn income on YouTube, you must be an original creator,  not a carbon copy of another channel.

Important points about the monetization of faceless channels:

  • Monetization exists to support authors who create unique, original content. Any videos that simply use borrowed material without any significant transformation are not eligible for monetization. 
  • However, if you take someone else's material and transform it in a way that makes it your own, then even if there are Content ID claims against it, you may still be able to connect to the Partner Program.

Advices for creators who want to run channels without a face

How can you make it easier for yourself to work on this type of content?

  • Create sketches or doodles. 
  • Work on quality content without hype. 
  • Use visualization and scripting services.

    If you really don't feel like putting your face and your thoughts on the channel, there are many paid services that are ready to do all the work for you. For example, they can draw a whole video or use neural networks to build a whole scenario. At least until YouTube rolls out some kind of restriction on the use of neural networks, which is quite possible.

But this will only work on a paid basis because if you do not pay for the right to be considered the creator of this or that content, then it will not be considered yours. If you have at least some drawing skill, or want to develop your talent, you can take the time to study the simplest sketches to use in videos. You may have already seen a similar video sequence where a person on a virtual board outlines what they are saying.

Also, many creators of faceless channels focus not on a niche, but on trending content, and this is a mistake. These videos will earn you less than videos in the right niche. Trending content doesn't make any sense as it only works for a moment and then dies. The videos that constantly gain views bring you money.

And finally, successful channels without a face mainly depend on stock videos and voice-over text. Your success will depend on creating a quality script.

We hope we have answered any questions concerning how faceless channels make money and how they manage to build an audience? By knowing the pros and cons, you can learn how to create  in this environment and monetize your content. The main thing is not to violate copyrights and act clearly according to the rules that YouTube offers us.

You can find additional materials that will help you deal with the monetization of faceless channels below:



Sasha Lerman

Copywriter, writer, editor. Development and promotion on YouTube, as well as many other exciting topics.

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