Getting sponsors for your YouTube channel can be so frustrating! You hear about influencers like Mr. Beast bagging six- and seven-figure deals from sponsors, and you want some of that!
So you do some research. You look around to find the companies doing sponsored videos in your niche, put together your contact list, spend an afternoon on the phone, and get shut down.
The common refrain is, “We've got a great affiliate program. We'll send you a link.”
I surveyed real YouTubers, and it shows how much sponsors pay and how to make more money!
Don't get me wrong. I love my affiliates and booked over $7,000 in commissions last month, but the goal here is the certainty of a sponsorship. Every YouTuber is tired of creating a fantastic video for an affiliate, sending hundreds and even thousands of targeted clicks their way, and then hearing crickets chirp!
Besides getting pigeonholed into the affiliate program, the problem with negotiating sponsorships is that YouTubers don't know what they should ask. We're limited to knowing what sponsors pay YouTubers by our individual experience.
So I surveyed YouTubers on the Facebook groups I'm in and asked how much they charge for sponsored videos. I asked how many subscribers they had and the average number of views videos were generating. We've only gotten 15 responses so far (yeah, my stats nerd brethren, I know that's not a great sample), but I'll be updating the post as we get more input.
Got a YouTube channel? Take the survey here.
Let's look at the data and how much sponsors are paying YouTubers. Then, I'll share some tips for getting more money from sponsorships.
Who is Getting Sponsorships on YouTube?
Respondents ranged from new channels with no subs to one with more than half a million. It was great seeing some of those more prominent channels add their experience, and we got some great insight into how the star YouTubers negotiate. The median channel size of respondents was 16,000 subscribers.
Average views per video over the last three months ranged up to 72,000 views though most channels were quite a bit smaller. The median views per video for respondents was 3,600, and I was excited to see that even some of the smaller channels could negotiate deals.
Most of my YouTuber friends are in the personal finance niche, which skews the data. For example, a third of the respondents were explicitly in the frugality/budgeting niche, while 60% counted on the broader personal finance topic. However, we received a few responses from others, like DIY, live streaming, cooking, and lifestyle.
How Much Can You Make on YouTube with Sponsors?
I first asked, “When you negotiate for a flat fee with no affiliate commission, how much do you generally agree on for a price per video?”
Answers ranged from $100 to nearly $4,000 per video. I've created a dot plot below showing the average views per video and how much the YouTuber charges for a sponsored video. There were only eight responses here (Again, don't laugh, stats nerds. I know it's not a good sample), but it's interesting how well the linear trendline fits.
Responses ranged from about $0.035 to $0.15 per average view, with a median of $0.089 per view. I had to average some responses as the YouTuber provided a range of $1,000 to $3,000 per video. I'll update the chart as more data comes in, but that $0.09 per average view generated is pretty close to the few guidelines I've seen from other data.
Of course, this will differ depending on your niche, but it seems a good place to start negotiating for sponsorships is between that $0.05 to $0.15 per view range.
I also asked YouTubers, “For videos where you negotiate a blended payment, fee plus affiliate, how much do you charge for the fee portion of the payment?”
There were fewer data points here than for the other question so I won't embarrass myself with a dot plot, but the fee portion generally ranged from $200 to $750. However, a few larger channels were charging thousands of dollars per video even when receiving an affiliate commission.
Add your experience to the survey here!
What Are The Two Main Sponsorship Types?
There are two main types of sponsorships that brands pay Youtubers for. These are fully integrated videos and sponsored mentions. The difference between the pay for these sponsorship types comes down to the amount of effort required of a creator and the value a brand sees in a full integration vs. sponsored mention.
With fully integrated videos, think about how a TV commercial typically highlights a product. Most commercials don't just mention the product and move on. They create a scene, create room for the viewer to see the need for a solution, then show the product. This takes work. Brands pay well for this kind of integrated approach.
With sponsored mentions, it is just that. The creator will mention the product with a short blurb from the brand to do a sponsored mention. Brands usually pay $20-30 per thousand views for these mentions.
How to Make More with Sponsors as a Social Media Influencer
The most promising point from the data is that fee-based sponsorships are possible, even in a niche like personal finance, where affiliate partnerships are the norm. So not only can you negotiate a small fee to supplement the affiliate payout, but it's possible to find sponsors that will provide all compensation for a flat fee.
Most YouTubers don't realize that besides a budget to pay out affiliate commissions, almost every company will also have a ‘branding' budget they can spend for marketing. This budget is more of a discretionary account they can use to spread the brand message, even if they cannot easily measure the return as in an affiliate program.
And that idea of branding is hugely vital for YouTubers. Your videos live forever, and even the viewers who don't click through to a sponsor hear and see that sponsor's message that another viewer could need just one more touch-point with the company's brand to convince them to click through and become a customer.
Also, unlike a blog post where readers immediately see the brand's link to click through, it's not so easy with a video sponsorship. Instead, viewers engage with the message but may not even know the link is there and may go straight to the sponsor's site with a Google search.
Position yourself as an influencer in your specific niche. You might want to identify a small pond to be the biggest fish in. This will allow you to land sponsorship deals because you will be the premier content creator for your audience. The highest-paid Youtubers establish themselves as the leader in their niche.
A 5-Step Process for Negotiating Sponsored Videos
Fortunately for YouTubers, there is a process you can use to bring out your channel's value and negotiate for more money in sponsored videos.
- Measure the median views your new videos are receiving. The median is a better measure than the average, which is skewed higher by your runaway videos. I usually look at videos more than a week old but no older than three months to measure median views.
- Use click-through rates on videos with affiliate links to find an average CTR. If you don't have CTR data…and you REALLY should start, typical is between 4% to 7% for sponsored videos.
- Find how much a sponsor or a related company is offering for affiliate payouts per conversion. You can use experience or search in an affiliate network like CJ Affiliates.
- Use conversions-per-click data from your affiliates to estimate the number of conversions from your average views per video and CTR if you don't have data on conversions-per-click, estimate between 3% to 5% depending on how interested your community might be in the product.
- This data gives you a great idea and measurable proof of how much your videos are worth to a sponsor.
At least I would start negotiating a few hundred dollars above this estimate. But, first, it allows you to negotiate lower and still make good money. Also, though, remember that your video is worth more than just the base number of conversions you drive. The trust you've built with your community means many of your viewers will follow you into the brand even if they don't click through your link in the description.
Don't forget you can add extras like an email newsletter, social media postings, and blog posts transcribed from the video to get more from a sponsor. These videos last forever and can be a massive benefit to any brand. So understand how much your channel is worth and how important you are as a social media influencer!
6 Top Tips To Get More Sponsors
The fastest way to improve your income potential for your Youtube channel is to get more sponsors. Creators who successfully make a living on Youtube are great at selling and displaying their value to sponsors.
- Know your target audience: If you know who your audience is, you can communicate this with potential sponsors and highlight how it overlaps with what they are looking for in an audience.
- Consistently create high-quality content: Brands will recognize creators consistently putting out top-tier content. They understand that your audience will too, and audiences place more trust in creators who publish high-quality content.
- Create a media kit: Your channel should have a media kit. This can be a simple pdf that outlines data about your audience, their profile, and the services offered to sponsors.
- Increase average video watch time: Brands want to know how engaged your audience is. There is no faster way to show them this than with a solid average video watch time on your channel.
- Offer product placement: One tip for selling more sponsorships is to offer product placements or integrations. This is time on your channel to talk about their specific product.
- Reach out to brands: Don't wait for the lucrative sponsorship opportunity to come to you. Work on your outreach campaign by finding the brands that likely want to connect with your audience.