How To Make Money on YouTube (& Eventually Get Paid)
If you’re looking to make money on the Internet, YouTube should be one of the things on your list. According to Hootsuite, as of 2020, it has 2 billion logged-in monthly users. That doesn’t even include those who have no YouTube accounts but devote hours of video watching.
If you check out other YouTube statistics, you’d be convinced something can be done to earn.
But what exactly can you do to make money on YouTube? If you’re going to make money off the platform, it’s best to know the ways you can earn with your YouTube channel and maximize all profit-making options.
In this article, we’ve compiled a bunch of tips from the best resources and organized them in a way that it will be easier for you to understand. So let’s begin.
I. How to Earn Money as a YouTube partner
YouTube has a program that allows video content creators to earn money via advertisements and views. The YouTube partner program allows you to place paid ads in your videos. This is the most common way to make money on Youtube.
As in any partnership, the profit is shared between YouTube and the content creator. There are a couple of basic hurdles you need to jump through to become a partner. The main two are:
- 4,000 watch hours on your channel in the last 12 months
- A minimum of 1,000 subscribers to your channel
Since your video has a target audience, advertisers targeting the same people will pay to place YouTube ads in your content. The ads can be from small businesses, large corporations, or anything in between.
When a viewer clicks on it and watches it, YouTube, which bills advertisers, pays you. However, even if the video got views, you still wouldn’t get paid if the ad got no views.
Apart from the video monetization benefits via ads, the program provides you access to YouTube Premium. YouTube Premium, sometimes known as YouTube Red, is based on paid membership. In short, people pay to watch videos from their favorite content creators without the ads. Content creators are paid based on how many members watch the content.
Other features of the program include:
- Creator support teams: YouTube’s creator support teams can help you troubleshoot and fix bugs or issues with your account and resolve content ID and rights management issues. You can even get YouTube marketing tips on how to get more viewers.
- Copyright match tool: This allows you to find reuploads of your original videos on other YouTube channels. You can decide what action to take should there be a match using YouTube Studio.
It’s relatively easy to submit an application to the program. All you need to do is sign in to the account you wish to monetize, and follow instructions. What is more challenging is meeting the minimum requirements of eligibility.
Here is a full list of the minimum requirements, according to YouTube itself:
- The YouTube account should follow all YouTube monetization policies.
- Live in a country or region where the program is available.
- YouTube videos should have 4000 watch hours in the last 12 months.
- Channel should have more than 1000 subscribers.
- You should have a linked Adsense account.
As you can see, there is no minimum number of videos you need to create to monetize your channel. The guidelines are based on how many views you have and how many subscribers. So don’t think you need to create lots of content.
In fact, one of the highest-paid YouTube stars makes just 12 videos a year.
Once you’ve reached YouTube’s threshold, though, you’re good to go. The obvious question you are probably asking is, “how much can I make through ads?”
Youtube Monetization Calculator
YouTube has a pretty generous ad policy in place. However, don’t expect to make a living from Google Ads unless you are getting millions of views.
Here’s a quick guide to YouTube monetization rates:
- YouTube pays 68% of their AdSense revenue to publishers. This means you get $68 from every $100 spent by an advertiser
- The rate an advertiser pays is usually somewhere between $0.10 to $0.30 per view.
- An average YouTube channel will receive around $18 per 1,000 ad views. This equals around $3-$5 per 1,000 viewed videos
As you can imagine, you need a lot of views to earn an income from Google Adsense. Google will pay out any income you earn from Youtube Ads through the AdSense platform. Follow the steps outlined in this guide to create an AdSense account.
So now we’ve looked at one of the most common ways to earn money on Youtube, let’s cover how to get paid on Youtube.
II. Score Bucks With Fan-Funding/Crowdfunding Options
YouTube also allows you to generate revenue through viewers. Think of these as donations.
Since you don’t force them to pay an “admission” fee to watch your videos, people who want to see more of your good content will be inclined to “fan-fund” you so that you can sustain what you do. Viewers who think you pitched a good idea for a video project can “crowdfund” you too.
There are other benefits you can derive from the fan-funding option too. Since you interact with your fans in real-time, you drive up engagement rates, and this can lead to fan loyalty.
The more you engage your fans, the more money you are likely to receive.
Here are some popular fan-funding and crowdfunding options:
- YouTube’s Super Chat: You can use this fan-funding option when you live stream video content. As you go live on the social media platform, fans who liked your content can comment in the chatbox. Their comments are pinned for a set amount of time in the video chat stream. This depends on how much they pay. This model works well when you’re playing video games live, for example.
- YouTube Channel Memberships: Premium membership is an option available to select channels. As the name implies, subscribers pay a membership fee to access exclusive content and other paid perks.
- Patreon: This is one of the most used fan support platforms out there. Patreon is a membership platform where you can offer perks to fans who support you. It’s one of the most widely used platforms.
- Tippeee: You can accept one-off and recurring donations.
- Kickstarter: This is one of the most well-known crowdfunding sites. It’s important for you to set a goal that you can reach.
Of the options listed above, Patreon is probably the best option for quick monetization. The video below walks you through how to create a Patreon account.
If you do decide to go the crowdfunding or fan-funding route, make sure you follow these best practices:
- Deliver on your promise: You might request money from your audience for a variety of reasons. Regardless of why you asked for money, make sure you deliver on what you offered. Nobody likes to feel like they’ve been conned.
- Make an engaging channel trailer: You need to maximize exposure of your pitch so that your crowdfunding or fan-funding campaign can be successful. The best way to do this is to make an engaging channel trailer, as this will be one of your most viewed videos.
- Link to your campaign page: you should link to your campaign page below your videos where appropriate. Also, mention the campaign or your goals at the start and/ or end of each video.
Fan-funding and crowdfunding are two of the most popular ways to make money on Youtube.
III. Get Paid As An Affiliate Marketer
One of the ways to make money on YouTube is by selling brands as an affiliate marketer. This is where you get a commission of every sale made through your recommendations. It’s the same principle that I use to make money providing software deals through a Google Chrome extension.
Affiliate marketing works particularly well if your YouTube channel is devoted to reviews of products. To earn a commission, you just need to promote the product or service on your videos.
To find good affiliate products or services to work with, reach out to brands in your niche that offer affiliate programs. You can also form partnerships by recommending products or services you use.
The easiest way to start out as an affiliate is to join an affiliate program. Most paid services run affiliate programs. An obvious example is the Amazon affiliates network, where you can earn up to 10% per sale. Other platforms include things like Clickbank and JV Zoo.
It’s normally pretty easy to discover if a platform has an affiliate platform. A quick search on Google of “company name + affiliate” will usually provide the result you’re after.
If you decide to sign up your YouTube channel as an Amazon affiliate, try Unbox Therapy. They use affiliate links of reviews of the product on Amazon in your video descriptions. If any of your viewers clicks on the link and makes a purchase, you earn an affiliate commission.
If the product or service you want to support does not have a clear affiliate program, you can:
- Do a search of each brand and relevant people. You can use LinkedIn, for example, or other social media platforms.
- List down the email addresses you get with the corresponding name and position of the person in the company.
- Use an email verification tool to verify the email address. This is important since you want to get the correct email address.
- Once the email addresses have been verified, compose an email.
- Send your pitch.
You probably won’t need to go through those steps. As I mentioned previously, most affiliate programs are simple to find, and you can easily sign up.
IV. Generate Revenues As An Influencer
Another way to make money on YouTube is by working with brands as an influencer. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, an influencer is one who has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others.
This is because of their “authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience.”
Influencers generally have a massive following in a particular niche. Aaron Marino, also known as Alpha M., is an example of an influencer on YouTube. He is known for his videos on men’s lifestyle and has 5.83 million followers as of February 2020.
Influencers can take advantage of their position by recommending brands they like to their followers. The brand will pay the influencer for the exposure. The revenue is not tied directly to sales.
According to Ager, influencer marketing is the highest-paid platform for brand partnerships.
A mid-level influencer, for instance, can charge a brand roughly $20 per 1000 subscribers. The fees can quickly add up.
So how can you engage in influencer marketing on YouTube? To start off, add your channel to programs where you can get discovered by brands. Below is a list of a few of the popular platforms:
- Grapevine Logic: This is one of the more popular influencer marketplaces. The good thing about it is you only need 1,000 followers to join.
- Famebit: This one requires at least 5000 followers.
- Crowdtap: This one has no restriction on the number of followers you should have to join. In Crowdtap, brands assign you with content creation tasks. In exchange, you can get money or rewards.
When you work with a company, be transparent. When talking about a sponsored product, let people know the product was sponsored. Having a high level of transparency with your audience removes the “deception” factor.
When Alpha M. promotes brands, he explains the product comes from a “video sponsor:”
V. Save Money From Selling Merchandise
Selling products directly to your audience is an obvious means of generating revenue. You can create a product line and capitalize on the success of your channel to make money on Youtube.
Take Emily Dihle as an example. Her YouTube account Emily Noel, which focuses on makeup, has a huge following. She has over one million subscribers. She launched and now promotes a makeup line, called Emily Edit, through her channel.
The thing about selling your own products is that it not only generates revenue, it also generates offline exposure. This is also a good way to attract more subscribers to your channel.
Branded products that almost any Youtube creator can sell include:
- Tote bags
Start with one product line and promote it on your videos. Then you can expand. If you have an entire product line, you can sell your products through an eCommerce site.
VI. Get Money By Licensing Content to Media
Media outlets recognize the power of social media. They comment on emerging trends and discuss viral content.
In theory, creating viral content is simple: all you need to do is create good content. In practice, though, it’s a different story. Here’s a list of some of YouTube’s videos that made it to the viral list for “inspiration”:
- A baby gnawing on the finger of his brother who is crying,
- A cat wearing a T-shirt while playing the piano,
- A sneezing Panda,
- A baby dancing to “Single Ladies,”
- Otters holding hands.
Then, with a bit of luck, your viral clip will be the next best thing.
How to Make Money on YouTube — Final Thoughts
The thing about YouTube is it’s literally a goldmine. However, it would be a mistake than to fixate on creating content without optimizing the other opportunities to earn.
In order to do this, you can craft a business plan around your YouTube channel, too. When you do this, there are many tools at your disposal. The most common way to make money with YouTube is generating ad revenue.
Unfortunately, this is incredibly competitive and results in a low income relative to your number of views. Because of this, your best options for making money on YouTube all involve creating revenue directly from your fans.
This includes crowdfunding, selling merchandise, and affiliate selling.
Whichever combination of these you choose, advertising revenue should then be used to supplement this income, as your audience grows. If you do this, there’s no reason your YouTube career shouldn’t thrive.
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Nico is an online marketer and the founder of Launch Space. He helps companies develop their digital marketing strategies. He’s worked with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to startups, helping them to develop content marketing strategies that align with their business goals.