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YouTube modestbranding Not Working – Discontinued 8/15/2023

Youtube branding in video control bar is here to stay

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.

(Source: https://developers.google.com/youtube/player_parameters#june-8,-2011)

Here is an example of how the modestbranding=1 parameter was used in a YouTube iframe.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z13-yP3Zhns?modestbranding=1" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" ></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.

The modestbranding parameter is deprecated and will have no effect.

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.

Revision history
August 15, 2023

Note: This is a deprecation announcement for the modestbranding parameter.

The modestbranding parameter is deprecated and will have no effect. To align with YouTube’s branding requirements, the player now determines the appropriate branding treatment based on a combination of factors, including player size, other API parameters (e.g. controls), and additional signals.

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.

My 1st of 2 questions to Bard on 7/31/2023: Why doesn’t the parameter modestbranding=1 work any more on embedded youtube videos?

Bard’s response: The modestbranding=1 parameter used to work on embedded YouTube videos to prevent the YouTube logo from displaying in the control bar. However, it was deprecated in late 2018. This means that it is no longer supported by YouTube and will not work.

There are a few reasons why YouTube deprecated the modestbranding parameter. First, it was not very effective. The YouTube logo would still be visible in the upper-right corner of a paused video when the user’s mouse pointer hovered over the player. Second, YouTube wanted to make it easier for creators to brand their videos. By removing the modestbranding parameter, YouTube made it more difficult for people to embed videos without the YouTube logo.

If you want to embed a YouTube video without the YouTube logo, you can use the controls=0 parameter. This will hide the control bar, including the YouTube logo. However, you will still see a small YouTube text label in the upper-right corner of a paused video when the user’s mouse pointer hovers over the player.

Another option is to use a third-party video player. There are a number of video players that allow you to embed YouTube videos without the YouTube logo.

Here is a table that summarizes the different parameters that you can use to embed YouTube videos:

ParameterDescription
modestbranding=1Hides the YouTube logo in the control bar.
controls=0Hides the control bar, including the YouTube logo.
fs=0Hides the fullscreen button.
rel=0Disables related videos.
color=whiteChanges the progress bar color to white.

I hope this helps!

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.

My 2nd of 2 questions to Bard on 7/31/2023: You say the modestbranding=1 parameter was deprecated in 2018 but why does Google’s developer documentation show it as a supported parameter here: https://developers.google.com/youtube/player_parameters#Parameters

Bard’s response: You are correct. The modestbranding=1 parameter is listed as a supported parameter in the Google developer documentation. However, this is not accurate. The parameter was deprecated in late 2018 and will no longer work.

I have checked the documentation and it seems that the modestbranding=1 parameter was not removed from the documentation. This is likely an oversight and the documentation will be updated soon to reflect the fact that the parameter is no longer supported.

In the meantime, if you want to embed a YouTube video without the YouTube logo, you can use the controls=0 parameter. This will hide the control bar, including the YouTube logo. However, you will still see a small YouTube text label in the upper-right corner of a paused video when the user’s mouse pointer hovers over the player.

I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

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.

Moving on.

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.

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

My question to Bard on 8/17/2023: Hey Bard, on 7/31/2023 I noticed that the modestbranding parameter was no longer working. Since then, the YouTube embedded player revision history in Google’s developer documentation was updated and shows the modestbranding parameter has officially been deprecated. The revision history update is dated 8/15/2023. It says the parameter has no effect. But today, 8/17/2023, I tested the modestbranding parameter and it works as designed. This is very confusing, don’t you think? Any idea what is going on?

Bard’s response: You are right, it is confusing. The modestbranding parameter was deprecated on August 15, 2023, but it seems to be working again. I am not sure why this is happening.

It is possible that YouTube is still rolling out the deprecation of the modestbranding parameter. This means that it may not be working for everyone yet. It is also possible that there is a bug in the YouTube player.

I would recommend that you continue to test the modestbranding parameter and see if it is working for you. If it is not working, you can use the controls=0 parameter instead.

I will keep an eye on this issue and let you know if I find any more information.

In the meantime, here are some other things you can try:

Clear your browser’s cache and cookies.
Try using a different browser.
Try embedding the video on a different website.
If you are still having trouble, you can contact YouTube support for help.

**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.

I finally got some clarity by posing this question to Bard on 9/9/2023: Since the YouTube developers revision history states that the modestbranding parameter was deprecated on 8/15/2023, does that mean that the modestbranding parameter will always work for YouTube videos embedded prior to 8/15/2023?

Bard’s response: Yes, the modestbranding parameter will still work for YouTube videos embedded prior to August 15, 2023. The deprecation of the modestbranding parameter only affects new YouTube videos embedded after August 15, 2023.

The modestbranding parameter was introduced in 2011 to allow users to hide the YouTube logo in the control bar of an embedded YouTube video. It was deprecated in 2023 because YouTube decided to standardize the branding treatment for all embedded videos. However, they grandfathered in videos embedded before the deprecation date, so the modestbranding parameter will still work for those videos.

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.

Comments

  1. Posted 10 months ago

    Hey Robert! Really great write up, I found it super helpful. I had a question about a piece of Bard’s response to you:

    “Another option is to use a third-party video player. There are a number of video players that allow you to embed YouTube videos without the YouTube logo.”

    Do you know of/have experience with any video players that playback Youtube videos without all the extra redirect branding that Youtube keeps trying to throw in there?


    • Posted 10 months ago

      Hi Daniel, thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately, Bard’s responses on this topic are generally not reliable. When it says “there are a number of video players that allow you to embed YouTube videos without the YouTube logo” it’s including plugins that use the modestbranding=1 parameter which, as I mentioned in my article, is a bit wacky since it has already acknowledged that that particular parameter has been deprecated. Interestingly, I have not had much better luck with the Bing’s AI chat service on this issue.

      So, I did some research and thus far have found only two plugins that, as far as I can tell, have the ability to remove YouTube branding without using the deprecated modestbranding parameter. I have not yet had the chance to test them but when I do I will update this article.

      1. The first plugin is called “The Ultimate Video Player For WordPress” by Presto Made, Inc. And while the free version of this plugin can be found in the WordPress plugin repository, only the paid Pro version claims to support the ability to remove the YouTube branding/logo. (See this support thread.)
      2. The second plugin I came across with the ability to remove YouTube branding is “The Easy Video Player WordPress Plugin” by FWDesign. Unlike the first option, this plugin is not found in the WordPress repository. And while it is also a premium/paid plugin, the license fee is a one-time payment rather than a recurring fee. Follow this link for pricing. According to the release notes for this plugin, the ability to remove YouTube UI elements (Title/Share/Watch later/Related videos/Logo) was added in May 2023. After browsing the reviews and comments for this second plugin, and given the fact that requires only a one-time fee of $69, I would be inclined to give this one a shot first.

      Hope that helps.

      In the event that you wind up trying one of these plugins, I would greatly appreciate your feedback here in the comments. Thanks.


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