Last year was supposed to be the year of video for many bloggers, the year we started making money on YouTube and other video-sharing sites. Then YouTube threw a big middle finger to small channels with less than 1,000 subscribers, making it harder to make money.
But is the change in YouTube's advertising policy an issue? Should the fact that you won't be able to run ads on your videos keep you from making money on the world's second most popular search engine?
Let's look at how much money people make on YouTube, from YouTube celebrities to smaller channels like you and me. Then I'll show you how to make money on YouTube regardless of how many subscribers you have and income sources for your videos that will make many times over what YouTube ads pay. Watch the video and get all the details below!
The table here shows how much different channels make on YouTube per video view. You first notice that not all channels are created equal when it comes to making money on YouTube. For example, channels in finance and other highly monetizable topics make more money in ads, while kids' channels and other hobby topics don't make as much. Don't worry, though. I'll show you better ways to make money on YouTube later in the post.
|Channel||Niche||YouTube Pay||Views||YouTube Pay per View Average|
|Reezy Resells||Amazon Biz||$8,851.77||789,252||$0.01122|
|Let's Talk Money!||Money||$29,803.01||2,700,000||$0.01104|
|Wealth Hacker Jeff Rose||Money||$75,149.41||8,569,819||$0.00877|
|Maryjane Byarm||travel vlog||$13,871.78||2,600,000||$0.00534|
|Reyes the Entrepreneur||Entrepreneurship||$6,867.42||1,825,806||$0.00376|
|John Hicks||Bikes vlog||$39,371.19||10,909,946||$0.00361|
|Dr Jake's Very British Reviews||Lego||$2,401.00||932,235||$0.00258|
|Damian Keyes||Music biz||$740.89||345,652||$0.00214|
|Matt Taylor Variety||vlog||$1,963.46||1,005,528||$0.00195|
Here's the scoop on how to make money on YouTube…but the power is in the details, so don't just read the summary!
- A survey of YouTube channels found the average payout per view was just $0.004…which means you're not going to get rich on YouTube with ads.
- Learning how to make more money on YouTube means seeing how famous YouTubers do it and turning your channel into a business.
- That means creating multiple income streams like courses, sponsorships, and affiliates to make more money from your channel.
Click to reserve your spot at the FREE YouTube Quick-start Webinar! I'm sharing three strategies that helped me grow my YouTube channel and double my business income. I guarantee they WILL work for you. Seats are limited for the webinar, so make sure you reserve yours.
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What Happened with the YouTube Advertising Change?
So if you haven't been active on YouTube yet, you might not have heard about the new change in advertising policy. It all started in 2017 when advertisers complained about ads appearing on racist and low-quality videos.
Protecting the money rather than its video creators, YouTube instituted a policy that channels would need 10,000-lifetime views before they could make money on ads embedded in the videos.
It didn't help.
Complaints kept coming in from advertisers of low-quality videos and questionable channels, so YouTube drastically increased the requirements starting this year.
Video creators now need 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 hours of watch time over a 12-month period. Both of these are extremely high hurdles.
I've analyzed over 200 YouTube channels and found creators with less than 1,000 subs get an average of three to five subscribers for every video uploaded. That means between 200 and 300 videos before you're likely to reach enough subscribers to qualify to make money on your videos.
YouTube is even kicking channels with 1,000 subscribers out of the program because of the 4,000-hour requirement. If the average watch time per video is around three minutes, you need a constant stream of videos and new views to hit that 240,000 minutes each year to stay in the program.
Taking all this together, can you still make money on YouTube…even if you're a small niche channel?
How Much Money Does YouTube Pay You for Advertising?
To see why I could care less about the change in YouTube's advertising policy and how to make money on your videos, you have to start with how much YouTube pays for ads.
Most bloggers start making money with Google Adsense on their blogs. The pay sucks, averaging between $0.006 and $0.015 per page view, but it's quick and easy. However, to get into the YouTube partner program, you need 1000 followers. That can be a problematic audience target to reach, and many channels never get to that monetization point.
YouTube ad rates are even worse.
YouTube shares 55% of its ad revenue with video creators and books an average of $7.60 per 1,000 ad views. That means you get about $4.18 for every 1,000 views of ads shown on your videos.
That's just $0.0042 per view and doesn't even count if someone clicks off the ad before a specific time has passed.
Worse still, the average of how much YouTube pays on ads isn't the same across all channels. So all channels are NOT created equal in the eyes of YouTube!
I researched 24 channels on the platform, watching their “How Much I Make on YouTube” videos. I pulled out their views and ad income, then noted the channel topic. I found a massive difference in how much some YouTubers make compared to others.
You can see that finance and entrepreneurship channels can do well, with YouTube paying upwards of a penny per view on videos. On the other hand, vlogs, gaming, and lifestyle channels don't do nearly as well, with an average closer to $2 per 1,000 video views.
I know it's a lot of numbers but stick with me for a second to see just how crappy a deal this is.
If you publish two videos weekly and get an average of 500 views each, an extremely ambitious goal for a small YouTube channel, you'd still make less than $20 a month at the best rates.
DON'T CLICK OUT IN FRUSTRATION!
Before you throw your hands up and give up, You can make money on YouTube. I'm showing you this ad income not to frustrate your YouTube channel goals but to prove that you need to focus on other income sources to make real money on the platform. First, let's look at some famous examples of YouTubers making big bank, and then I'll show you how to make the real bucks.
Want my three favorite strategies for growing a YouTube channel? I'm doing a free webinar on growing subscribers fast and growing your channel into a legit business that reaches millions. I've reached over 3.5 million people with my channel, and these three tricks helped me the most.
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How Much Do Famous YouTube Celebrities Make?
Everyone gets pulled into the myth of making money on YouTube by the millions made by very few YouTube stars. Of course, they do not always share the exact income, but estimates are pretty easy to come by, with the top ten all making more than $10 million a year and thousands of dollars every time they upload a video.
Six-year-old Ryan of ‘Ryan's Toy Review' is estimated to make $11 million by opening and playing with toys in videos for his 10 million subscribers. I think my 5-year-old son is responsible for about half of the views on the channel. Ryan and his parents have been masterful at finding different revenue streams, from his own line of toys to licensing and a contract with Nickelodeon.
Daniel Middleton is estimated to have made $16.5 million by playing Minecraft in videos for his 18 million subscribers.
But think about those numbers. NBC gets about 18 million viewers for its Sunday Night Football broadcasts, the #1 rated show on TV. If the show were on YouTube, it would make just $1.2 million for the 17-game season…
YouTube celebrities are getting millions of views on each video and making a fraction of what they would earn on traditional media. You have to reach nearly 12 MILLION PEOPLE a year with your videos to make YouTube a full-time job based on what you make with ads.
There are dozens of famous YouTubers making millions of dollars with nothing more than a smartphone. But, of course, the same thing can be said for any social media platform, from Instagram to TikTok, you can make money on social media, but you need to know how to turn it into a business and target the income streams that work.
How to Make Money on YouTube – the Real Way
Making money blogging or on YouTube has never been about selling advertising space. I'm always amazed when I read a blog post and have to scroll through four ad blocks within the content. It's so annoying, and how much is that blogger making off the ads?
Making real money has always been about finding the income sources that pay more, the income strategies that don't depend on millions of monthly views.
It's no different in making money on YouTube. Not only will finding the best income sources help you make more per view, but integrating a few of these into your content strategy will help diversify your income, so you make a consistent paycheck every month.
Why Making Money on YouTube Means Different Income Sources
I know I'm talking a lot about the WHY of making money on YouTube, and I'll get to the HOW pretty soon (I promise). I want you to understand why this all works to make you more money, so you have a better idea of how to put it all together.
The reason multiple income streams will make you more money on YouTube comes from a couple of different ideas.
First is that most online income streams are volatile from month to month. You might push one hard on marketing and make a few thousand one month, but then next to nothing the next. Having multiple income streams from courses to affiliates and sponsorships means you'll always have something to pay the bills. It will smooth out your overall monthly income from your channel.
Some of these income streams will also work together to help make more money. For example, you can charge some sponsors a base fee plus affiliate commissions to make more than you would with just one model alone.
How much you make on YouTube from any of these will come down to factors like how often you upload a new video and how quickly you can grow your channel, but anyone can make money.
3 Ways to Make Money on YouTube
I want to highlight three ways to make money on YouTube, specifically how much you can make each month. These are my favorite YouTube income sources because they're easy to set up, and even smaller channels can start making money.
Affiliate advertising is a good start but still not the best income source for bloggers and video creators. I make an average of $0.09 per page view from affiliates. That's from people clicking through to an affiliate and then signing up for the service.
Sure, it's harder to get an affiliate commission than to get someone to click on an ad, but the payout is much higher.
Making money with affiliates on YouTube works the same way it does with a blog.
- Find three or four affiliates that speak directly to your target audience that solve a common problem.
- Create a video reviewing the service and how it helps users or integrate the affiliates into your YouTube video ideas
- Create a demonstration video specifically for your audience
- Interview other users of the affiliate
- Copy your affiliate link in the description of the video, preferably within the first few lines
Sponsored videos are another way to monetize your YouTube channel without relying on embedded ads. Again, this works the same way as sponsored posts on your blog.
Talking with other video creators, I've found an average rate of between $0.05 and $0.15 per view for sponsored videos. So if you get an average of 500 views for each video, you can charge a sponsor about $50 to mention them during the video.
That's more than 20-times what you'd make from YouTube advertising! But, of course, you can make even more if you can prove your YouTube video promotion strategy to sponsors.
The final way to make money on YouTube, which should also be your goal in blogging, is to create your own courses and products. Any time you remove the advertiser and connect directly with your viewers for your products, you will make more money.
These can be quick products like self-publishing and printables and higher-value products like video courses. For example, if you can convert just one viewer in every 1,000 views to your $250 video course, you'll have made $0.25 per view…more than 59-times what you would make with YouTube ads.
Ultimately, a lot of how much you make on YouTube comes down to your channel growth. Growing subscribers and increasing your income are inextricably linked, so you need to look for ways to expand on YouTube to make more money.
In this video, I detail three strategies I used to grow my community from zero to over 75,000 subscribers in less than 18 months!
How Much Money Can You Make on YouTube?
So answering the question here, I hope you understand now that you can make A LOT OF MONEY on YouTube, even with a small channel.
We didn't talk much about growing subscribers on YouTube in this post because I wanted to keep it about making money, and it's less about your sub count than you might think. It's not the size of your channel but how engaged your community is and the product strategies you're using.
For example, I did a collab with a YouTube creator with just 15,000 subscribers but managed to make over $18,000 over the last year with products, affiliates, sponsorships, and ads… On the other hand, I've also seen channels with hundreds of thousands of subscribers barely making enough to cover their editing costs.
As a rule of thumb, I've found a worthy goal to reach for is to make your subscriber count in dollars annually. I don't know why it works, but the numbers seem to come out. Every time I look at how much a channel has made over the last year, the ones actively trying to make money, it very often seems close to their subscriber count.
Of course, this isn't a hard rule and you aren't a failure if you're making less than your sub-count. Nevertheless, it's a good start when trying to make money on YouTube.
Recap for Making Money from a YouTube Channel
Anyone can make money on YouTube; you don't need a massive channel with a million subscribers or even waiting to pass YouTube's 1,000-subscriber advertising requirement. Making money means leveraging other revenue streams that don't depend on getting millions of views.
The best way to do this is to follow the example of famous YouTubers and see how they make their millions. Visit any big channel, and you'll see shout-outs to their merch and affiliates. They'll give a 30-second mention to sponsors or pitch their book. It's on these multiple income streams that YouTubers get rich!
It's easiest to start with your own products, especially books because you can start these even as your channel grows. You'll get sales from Amazon and YouTube and can make money on a small channel.
Reach out to sponsors and affiliates you see on similar channels and offer partnership deals they can't pass up. Of course, you might have to offer a lower price starting, but it will get your foot in the door and get you making money fast.
If you're serious about growing a YouTube channel and making this a legit business, click and check out Crushing YouTube. Get every secret I used to grow my YouTube channel from zero to 75,000 subscribers in less than 18 months!
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Making money on YouTube doesn't have to depend on advertising, and it certainly doesn't mean being held back by new YouTube advertiser policies. So stop being restricted by how much YouTube pays on ads! Instead, learn how to make real money with your videos using the income sources that make more money per view.
Read the Entire Series on How to Make Money on YouTube
- Find out how long it takes to get 1000 followers and join the partner program
- Find out how much sponsors pay YouTube channels
- Help! Why are my YouTube views dropping?
- How to create subscriber and other goals for your YouTube channel
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.