The modestbranding Parameter Has Officially Been Discontinued
If you are wondering why the YouTube modestbranding parameter is not working, it’s because it was discontinued as of 8/15/2023.
Since 2011, users have been able to add this parameter when embedding a YouTube video on a web page to stop the YouTube logo from displaying in the video control bar. Google’s YouTube developers introduced the modestbranding parameter way back on June 8, 2011.
Here is the obsolete entry from the YouTube iFrame Player revision history from 2011.
The new modestbranding parameter lets you use a YouTube player that does not show a YouTube logo. As of this release, the parameter was only supported for the AS3 embedded player and for IFrame embeds that loaded the AS3 player. As of June 5, 2012, the HTML5 player also supported this parameter.
Here is an example of how the modestbranding=1 parameter was used in a YouTube iframe.
The announcement states that the modestbranding parameter is deprecated and will have no effect.
YouTube modestbranding Deprecation Announcement: 8/15/2023
The official announcement about the modestbranding parameter being deprecated can be found in their Google for Developers documentation here: iFrame Player API > YouTube Embedded Players and Player Parameters.
If you are reading this on a smartphone, you may not be able to easily read the text in the above image. So, here it is.
YouTube modestbranding Status on 7/31/2023
While the deprecation declaration in the revision history in Google Developers documentation is dated 8/15/2023, the modestbranding feature was not working when I tested it two weeks prior, on 7/31/2023. On that date, I checked the abovementioned revision history and there was no indication of the modestbranding parameter being deprecated. (…? WTH)
I stumbled upon this confusing issue on 7/31/2023 when I was embedding a YouTube video for a client and I noticed that the YouTube logo was displaying in the video control bar even though I included the modestbranding=1 parameter. This particular client has over 100 embedded YouTube videos on their website and every one of them includes the modestbranding parameter. I went back and checked a strong sampling of this client’s videos and was disappointed to find that they all showed the YouTube logo in the control bar. The modestbranding=1 parameter was definitely not working at that time.
Bard’s Response to the YouTube modestbranding Issue on 7/31/2023
In an effort to quickly determine the status of the modestbranding parameter, I decided to pose the question to Bard, Google’s A.I. chat service. Here is the exchange I had with Bard on 7/31/2023.
Needless to say, it’s a bit wacky that Bard would list the modestbranding=1 parameter as a “parameter you can use to embed YouTube videos” immediately after stating it is no longer supported. Google is clearly still working out their A.I. kinks.
The alternative solution of using the controls=0 parameter, offered by Bard, above, is not a viable one for me because I want the video controls (i.e., pause, closed captions, mute, volume control, etc.), to be available to the user. The controls=0 parameter disables those features.
The other parameters listed in Bard’s response in the table, above, are not relevant to the issue at hand which is the removal of the YouTube logo or at least the objective to do so.
The text of my exchange with Bard on 7/31/2023 continues, below. Keep in mind that on 7/31/2023, there was no indication in the Google Developers documentation that the modestbranding parameter was deprecated. On that date, it still showed that this feature was supported.
Interestingly, in that second response, above, Bard claims that “The parameter was deprecated in late 2018 and will no longer work.” That’s five years ago at the time of this writing. I know that’s not correct because I have embedded well over 100 YouTube videos during that time and I always check to ensure that the YouTube logo does not display in the control bar. Who knows where Bard got that little tidbit from.
On 8/16/2023, I decided to write an article covering this issue because, like myself, many people want to know what is going on with the modestbranding parameter. In fact, right now, if you perform a web search for any of the following queries, you will find a plethora of what appear to be relevant results.
- youtube modestbranding
- youtube embed modestbranding
- youtube modestbranding not working
- youtube embed parameters
- remove youtube branding from embedded video
Some of those articles explain how to use it and some claim to have a fix if it’s not working. Unfortunately, at this point, since Google has deprecated the modestbranding parameter, all of those articles will soon be obsolete and completely inaccurate.
YouTube modestbranding Status on 8/17/2023
On 8/17/2023, I started crafting this article and began by testing the modestbranding parameter to verify it was still not working. Low and behold… I found it to be WAD – working as designed. (…?!) I then went to the revision history in Google’s Developer documentation to get a screenshot and, to my surprise, I found the deprecation announcement. Very confusing.
Back to Bard.
Bard’s Response to the YouTube modestbranding Issue on 8/17/2023
**UPDATE** 9/9/2023: The modestbranding parameter will always work for YouTube videos embedded prior to 8/15/2023
Mystery solved with the right prompt posed to my buddy Bard. It was the long way around the barn but it was good to gain an understanding of what was going on. My final question to Bard, below, confirmed that grandfather effect.
There you have it. Straight from Google’s Bard. So, for those of us who used the modestbranding parameter a lot over the years, it’s good to know all that time and effort was not wasted.
Testing confirms: YouTube videos embedded before the deprecation date have been grandfathered in
By the way, my testing confirmed that YouTube videos embedded prior to the deprecation date have been grandfathered in. Check out this CodePen: https://codepen.io/rendervisions/pen/jOXmBjy. It confirms that the YouTube modestbranding parameter does still work for YouTube videos embedded prior to 8/15/2023.
BOTTOM LINE… The YouTube modestbranding parameter no longer works for videos embedded AFTER 8/15/2023 😞
Please share this article so we can spread the word and help people avoid wasting their time researching and troubleshooting the modestbranding parameter since it has officially been phased out. Since modestbranding has been around for well over a decade, there’s a plethora of web search results still disseminating what is now inaccurate information about it.
On a related note, if you are interested in removing the “Watch on YouTube” button from your embedded videos, check out my article How to Remove Watch on YouTube Button from Embedded Videos. (I recommend method #2.) At it’s peak, that post was getting over 1,500 views a month. A testament to the fact that YouTube users prefer to remove YouTube’s branding as much as possible on embedded videos to retain their site visitors, i.e., minimize the potential for their site visitors to click away from the content they worked so hard to create.