In 2020, a nine-year-old boy named Ryan made $26 million. It wasn't a fluke for Ryan has been the top earner on YouTube for several years in a row now. He's not alone either. There are plenty of people pulling six figures or much more from their YouTube channels.
You don't need professional-level video skills or a Hollywood budget. But before you set up the video camera, let's take a look at what YouTube is and how you can monetize it.
How Do You Become a YouTuber?
YouTube is a video sharing and social networking site - and if you didn't know that already, you are in the minority. YouTube dominates the video streaming platforms of the internet, so much so that nothing else comes even close in terms of traffic.
The beauty of the internet is that anyone can participate. It is the democratization of information, and video is just another form of that democratization. If you can make a video, you can upload it to YouTube. If your video interests others enough to get them to watch it, then you could be making money from it.
So, how do you become a YouTuber? The simple answer is that you shoot a video, and you upload it to YouTube.
How do you make money on YouTube? To understand that, you'll need to realize that content creators aren't on YouTube just to share their family videos. Like business-minded individuals everywhere, they're there to get attention and to sell something.
In some cases, they may be making money by selling ads that run during their videos. In other situations, they might be using YouTube to drive traffic to other sites, like their web store.
Understanding How YouTube Works
The first key to understanding how to make money on YouTube is to understand the scale of the service. YouTube is popular globally. Every day, one billion hours of YouTube videos are watched.
To put that in further perspective, here are a few other statistics.
More than 500 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute. Over two billion users log in every month. Almost three-quarters, or 74 percent, of US adults, use YouTube. For the age 15 to 35 group, the number goes up to 77 percent.
Need more convincing? Only 16 percent of YouTubes traffic comes from the US. It's the web's second most visited website, second only to Google. So how much time do people spend once they're on the site? Folks over 18 spend an average of almost 42 minutes every day on YouTube.
Here's one last impressive number to consider. Every year, the number of people making more than $10,000 increases by 50 percent. The number of creators making six figures increases 40 percent every year. So while the numbers are daunting, they're also encouraging--there is plenty of traffic, plenty of growth, and plenty of people continue to break out and make big bucks.
How do people make money on YouTube? In many ways, YouTube isn't different than blogs, Instagram, or other forms of social media marketing. You can earn money in the same ways. The difference stems from the fact that it is video content on the site, making it feel more authentic than other forms of web hustles.
10 Effective Ways to Make Money from Your YouTube Channel
Become a YouTube Partner
Before you can join the YouTube Partner program, you already need to have some measures of success on the site. Put simply, it's not a program available to anyone.
The exact metrics change from year to year, but in 2020 your channel needed to have at least 4,000 watched hours and more than 1,000 subscribers within the past year.
The Partner program is YouTube's fundamental way of monetizing the service. Once you've met the criteria, you'll set up an AdSense account and have your channel reviewed by the officials at YouTube.
Once accepted, you'll get to choose from a few different ways to make money on your channel. The most fundamental of these ways is via advertising revenue. The exact payout depends on how you want the ads displayed with your content.
Some of the other choices you can make to monetize your channel through the YouTube Partner program include the following.
- Super Chat and Super Stickers--These allow your fans to pay to get their messages highlighted in chat streams.
- Merch Shelf--If you're over 18 and have more than 10,000 subscribers, you can sell branded merchandise on your watch page.
The Premium feature allows members of the service to watch your content without ads. Instead, they pay a monthly fee. A part of their membership fee goes to you instead of the ad revenue.
Premium members get other perks, too. Their messages are badged, and they can download videos for offline viewing. Membership includes access to YouTube Music Premium, as well.
Channel members make monthly payments. To participate, you have to be over 18 and have more than 30,000 subscribers. Your subscribers can get member-only perks like badges, emojis, or other swag for their monthly membership fee. It's a pretty neat way to encourage engagement, and if a viewer is dedicated enough to pay a membership, you know they're likely to consume ads and content.
Some YouTubers with many subscribers use the platform to sell their merchandise with the Merch Shelf tool. But you can use your videos to market to another site and sell goods from there.
If your content is building a fan base, let them show their love by dishing out some premium merch. Not only do you make some money from the sales, but it also builds your fan loyalty and creates an exclusive feel.
There are dozens of sites that allow you to sell print-on-demand products. All you have to do is create an original design, and the company will print it on whatever you want to sell. T-shirts, mugs, mousepads, hats, face masks, or anything else you like immediately becomes marketing opportunities for your YouTube channel.
Once you've got an audience and the products, you just have to put them together. Plug your goods in your videos and provide a link to your store.
Affiliates make a small commission when someone signs up for something. The most famous is the Amazon Associates affiliate. If we recommend you buy a specific type of camera on Amazon and provide you with a link, we'll get a small percentage of the sale if you decide to buy it.
But there are thousands of websites you can become an affiliate marketer for. Clothing companies, web hosting providers, online retailers of every description, or software companies offer affiliate programs. Once you start looking, you'll see them pop up everywhere.
To participate, you simply join the program and feature the product in your content. You provide your unique link, and if your viewers make a purchase, you'll start earning. Most affiliate programs require that you disclose the relationship in your video and video description.
YouTube is widely used to promote products, so if you have a popular channel, you'll likely be able to find sponsors. Sometimes they'll find you, but most of the time, the YouTuber will reach out to the companies to see if they'd be interested in a partnership.
Influencers on YouTube are similar to those found on other social media platforms like Instagram.
It's always best to stick to products that you genuinely recommend using. The more authentic your sponsorship and influencer efforts, the more effective they'll be.
The most famous crowdfunding site is Kickstarter, but there are others as well. Here, folks with great ideas and no money push their pitches to the public. If the public likes what they hear, they'll pay to let you have a shot at doing what you want to do.
To make this work, you create a campaign on the crowdfunding site and push it on your YouTube channel. Maybe your campaign is for a YouTube movie you want to write and produce. Or maybe it's for a super cool product you'd like to sell in your store.
Generally, Kickstarter projects are physical items that people pre-purchase at a special price. Some of the best new products to come out in the last few years have come out this way.
The most famous fan-funding site is Patreon. The idea here is that you have fans who want to help support you. So instead of worrying about ad clicks or merch sales, you simply get support via cash payments. To make it work, your supports will want special VIP access to your content. Many YouTubers release their content early to their supporters. They also host live events or chats with supporters only or even in-person meetups.
The nice thing about sites like these is that they allow you to focus on the content instead of the marketing efforts. Every little bit helps, so encouraging funding in even small amounts is a great way to fund your YouTubing.
License Your Content
If you're sitting on a video that you think will go viral and might grab some interest, you can license it. This is the same thing that photographers do when they take a newsworthy picture. If you've got a video you want to see on the nightly news or The Weather Channel, YouTube allows you to license it to them.
Finally, you can use YouTube as a simple way to get traffic to your store or website. While that might seem like a round-about way to making money from YouTube, it's essential to see the big picture. You may one day become a YouTube Partner and rake in the ad revenue. But if you already have a successful web business, then using YouTube to drive traffic there and general sales leads is the smartest use of the platform.
Tips to Make Money From YouTube
All of this talk of views, clicks, and subscribers might have you reaching for your video gear. But before you do, it's a good idea to go in with a plan. While there is plenty of opportunity on YouTube, there's also lots of competition for viewers' attention.
Here are a few tips for building your fan base and finding success on YouTube.
Find Your Niche
With such an enormous bank of users, you need your videos to stand out. As is the case with all businesses, the best results come from finding a niche you can specialize in. Finding your topic and theme for video content doesn't necessarily mean you need to do something that hasn't been done. With so many videos uploaded to the site, that would probably be a tall order anyway.
The real beauty of specializing in a niche market is that a niche enables you to hone your skills in one area and become the go-to expert. In other words, you don't have to be the first one to do something; you just need to do it better than others are doing it. If you can't be better, you should at least make your content easier to find and more likely to get clicks! Here is an article on how to create great content online. You might get some tips on crafting content for your channel here too.
Make Longer Videos
Videos that are ten minutes or longer tend to do better on YouTube because the people watching them are more likely to hang out on the site longer. The longer they're there, the more likely they are to watch complete ads or be engaged in the content. Remember that the YouTube algorithms favor hours of watched content as a metric rather than the number of subscribers alone.
Getting a viewer to hang out that long means you need to be producing excellent content, though.
Create Engaging Content
So how do you get viewers to hang out and watch your videos? It's a simple formula: make a video about something they want to watch and produce the video exceptionally well.
The first half is all about engagement. The topic matter needs to connect with them. It needs to answer a question they have, or entertain them in some way.
Engagement is essential in two ways, but they go hand-in-hand. First, your description and thumbnail need to engage people enough that they click on your videos and start watching. Like all good teasers, your thumbnail and description need to be on point.
Secondly, your videos themselves need to be engaging enough to make them want to keep watching.
Create High-Quality Videos
The second half is all about your video production skills. Plenty of YouTubers start basic and gradually learn more as they go along. But the one thing that ties top-tier YouTube earners together is that they are making extremely high-quality content.
To get started, think of your YouTube videos like movies or TV shows. Some editing is a must. Here is a list of 16 Best Video Editing Apps for 2021 that will help you create awesome videos on the go. Good lighting and steady camera angles are must-have elements. While not required, thinking through a script and shot list like a professional can help you make better content, too.
The last thing that successful YouTubers have mastered is consistent posting. Nothing helps build your subscriber base and a collection of fans better than providing them with more and more content. One video every week should be considered the minimum.
How Much Money Do YouTubers Make?
When looking at how much you can make from YouTube, it's essential to realize that the top earners get some money from every source that they can. None of the folks listed below are just YouTube premium members. They're also pushing merch, driving sales at web stores, receiving promotional sponsorship deals, and probably also crowd or fan-funding.
When it comes to specifically ad revenues on the platform, you can make two types. CPM, or cost per thousand views, and CPC, or cost per click.
How much money can a YouTuber make per video? CPM ads require that your viewers watch the ad for more than 30 seconds, which doesn't happen often. CPC ads are paid for based on how many of your viewers actually click the advertisement. Per view, the average on YouTube is $0.18. Since Google keeps 45 percent, your take is about $9.90 for every 1,000 views.
How many views are needed to get paid? Before they pay out your account, you've got to have earned at least $100. To do that, you'll have to have had about 20,000 views if you receive the average of $5 for every 1,000 views. Your mileage may vary, however.
How much money do you make per subscriber? YouTube doesn't really care how many subscribers you have. Everything on the site, and all of the methods of payment and monetization, are based on engaged viewers.
Still, subscribers are good to have because they show that you have a fanbase. If you have 100,000 subscribers, it'll be easier to get 1,000 views when you push out new content. Subscribers are also more likely to be engaged viewers who stay and watch the video to the end, participate in the comments, and click ads.
YouTube's Top Earners
Here's a look at the top earners on YouTube to give you an idea of how much money do YouTubers make.
Ryan Kaji started his channel in 2015 as Ryan's ToyReview. It has grown to be YouTube's top-earning channel for three years in a row, raking in more than $26 million annually. He's got 28.8 million subscribers. Besides the channel, Ryan has a clothing line and now has his own show on Nickelodeon. When the channel started, Ryan was four. Now at the ripe old age of nine, Ryan's channel is a mover and shaker in the toy industry.
Five guys form the Dude Perfect team. The channel combines sports and comedy in one channel. With more than 55 million subscribers, they earned $20 million in 2020.
Brothers Jake and Logan Paul are the legendary sibling rivalry of YouTube. They both have their own YouTube channels, and they both come in the top ten highest earners. They both have had controversies over the years, and both of their channels tend towards edgier content.
Daniel Middleton is a gamer and author who has made a name for himself playing Minecraft and Fortnite. He has 24.7 million subscribers and makes as much as $16.5 million each year.
Star began on MySpace and created his own cosmetics line. He's the owner of Jeffree Star Cosmetics, and his channel has 16.6 million subscribers.
PewDiePie's real name is Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, and he's the YouTuber with the highest number of followers. He does gameplay and vlog videos. One of these YouTube channels has the coveted Ruby Play Button. PewDiePie is worth $15.5 million.
Mark Edward Fischbach is a gamer with over 28.6 million subscribers. He also creates comedy and vlog content.
Compared to many other options, making money on YouTube is one of the most tempting side hustles on the internet. The audience is enormous, and there are plenty of opportunities to stand out amongst the crowd. If you have good video production skills and something interesting to vlog about, it never hurts to try!
Also since video has become the core of user experience, you can also create a well-structured website that showcases your online portfolio in a clean, minimalist way. The templates available on Pixpa are personalizable and can be adapted to your needs. The pages are designed to work with both static images and previews of embedded videos or films on YouTube or Vimeo. To make an organized structure, you can add separate galleries for each project to showcase them in detail. Your website will represent your style of work and attract a larger audience and inquiries.