If you are passionate about a particular topic and have interesting ideas you want to share, perhaps your online business can benefit from content creation on YouTube. All you need is a decent camera and a video editing program.
But how do people make money on YouTube? Do they receive a payment from YouTube directly into their bank account?
Well, it’s not that simple. The ways of monetizing your video content go beyond mere content creation and regular uploading.
Continue reading to learn about different ways to generate income from your online business and YouTube channel.
How To Make Money on YouTube – The Basics
The common misconception about YouTube is that you upload your videos and magically get revenue. While this is true to some extent, the ‘magic’ part doesn’t exist. You have to put in the effort and enable different monetization options.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to run to Google for help. We’ve thoroughly researched this topic and compiled a list of monetization options for your YouTube channel.
1. Google AdSense
YouTube is owned by Google. In the same way that Google distributes ads to websites and blogs, it puts ads on videos that meet specific requirements. In fact, all content creators that have ads displayed on their videos have signed up for Google AdSense.
AdSense is Google’s own advertising program that gathers ads from advertisers and distributes them to content across the internet. Every YouTube video has ad space. So, signing up for AdSense will enable you to sell that ad space.
Fortunately, you don’t have to search for advertisers and offer them your ad space manually. Google will do that for you. All you have to do is create an AdSense account by following these instructions. Once you do that, you need to become a YouTube partner.
2. YouTube Partner Program
For Google to put ads on your video content, you’ll first need to become a YouTube partner. However, this is not as easy as signing up for AdSense. You first have to meet the following requirements:
- Your channel needs to have more than 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months
- Your channel must have at least 1,000 subscribers
- Your territory has to be eligible for YouTube monetization
From these requirements, you can assume that you need to create and upload valuable content regularly. The 1,000 subscribers mark will be hard to reach. But once you get to that number, you’ll most likely already have 4,000 watch hours.
Monetization Features of YouTube Partnership Program
Generating passive income through ads is only one way of making money on YouTube. With the YouTube Partner Program, you’ll gain access to more monetization features.
3. Channel Memberships
If you enable the channel membership feature, viewers can pay a monthly fee in return for special perks.
For instance, the YouTuber Rudy Ayoub will review your music on his channel if you purchase a paid membership. There are four tiers of membership, ranging from $2 to $20 per month, which provide different perks. Of course, those who opt for the highest membership will get the most valuable bonuses from Ayoub.
You can showcase merch on your videos. Academy of Ideas, a channel that creates content around various philosophical and societal phenomena, displays only T-shirts. This is to prove that you don’t need to have ‘salesy’ content to sell. Viewers who find your content relevant and identify with its values will want to have more of what they already like.
Bear in mind that YouTube enables you only to showcase your merch. You need to set up an online store or have merch sites sell your merch to make conversions.
5. Live Video
If you’re comfortable speaking in front of a camera to an audience, you can make money through live videos. How?
During your live video, viewers can write comments. However, there are usually too many viewers posting comments in the chat stream. So, the comments typically get lost quickly, and the video host (you) doesn’t get to read each one of them. Because of this, YouTube viewers can pay you directly for their comments to appear at the top of the chat stream.
For example, Rick Beato occasionally goes live. Since he has more than two million subscribers, he always has a few thousand viewers in his live videos.
Some of them want Beato to hear what they have to say and are willing to pay for their comment to be highlighted in the chat stream. Others simply wish to express their gratitude and want Rick to acknowledge them.
Additional Ways of Making Money on YouTube
Up until now, we’ve covered traditional ways of making money on YouTube. Now let’s take a look at some practices of making additional income.
6. Sponsorship Deals
The video content you upload falls within some niche. If you are a fitness instructor who creates workout videos, your content falls within the fitness niche. On the other hand, if you do smartphone reviews, your channel belongs to the tech niche. The list goes on and on.
If you already have a significant number of subscribers and upload content regularly, you can create sponsored content. This can be a brief presentation of a product at the beginning of your video. Or, you can dedicate an entire video to promotion.
In his 19 Songs Based on Classical Pieces video, David Bennet notifies the viewers in the first few seconds of the video that Primephonic has sponsored the video. Sponsored videos like this also have the ‘Includes paid promotion’ watermark at the bottom-left corner of the video.
Content creators, especially those with a supportive fanbase, can receive money directly from their fans. It takes a lot of time and effort to make a high-quality YouTube video. Sometimes it can be costly as well.
Not only does the content creator have to shoot and edit the video, but they also need to invest in expensive recording equipment. Thus, viewers can support their favorite channels by making donations via crowdfunding platforms.
Patreon is the most popular one among content creators. Viewers can click on a Patreon link in the video description and go to that channel’s Patreon page. For example, Adam Neely puts a link to his Patreon page in the description of each video, together with other relevant links.
In other words, people paid for the game before it was even made. So, you should think about ways of monetizing your content outside your YouTube channel.
Ideas for Making Money on YouTube
All these monetization options seem relatively easy to implement. But what if you don’t have an idea where to start? What types of videos should you make?
Here’s a list of channel examples that can give you an idea for your own channel.
People love buying stuff. But before they buy any product, they usually want to see how it looks and whether it’s fit for their purposes. This is why product review channels can thrive on YouTube. It doesn’t really matter which niche you choose. You can review anything from sneakers to chocolate.
What you’ll need are a decent camera and good research skills. Also, you should pick a niche. For instance, if you review smartphones, stick to reviewing smartphones only.
In this way, you can build an audience more quickly. There will always be videos relevant to the one they’re already watching, so they are more likely to watch those as well.
You’d be surprised to know how many people don’t know how to work in Microsoft Word or Excel. This applies especially to older generations who didn’t grow up with a computer beside their bed. Also, some people among the younger population are not tech-savvy and need assistance when working in some basic programs.
Teacher’s tech is an excellent example of such a channel. It consists of tutorials for YouTube, Google Sites, Filmora, and more. Jamie Keet, the channel owner, got 450k subscribers from making these kinds of videos.
The best part of program tutorials is that you don’t need a camera at all. A screen recorder software and a microphone are your toolsets for creating program tutorials.
For some reason, people love seeing other people react to things. You can create reaction videos on virtually any topic. SSSniperWolf is particularly good at making reaction videos on random acts, although her channel revolves mainly around gaming.
But if you’re a music lover and believe that your opinion on music is valuable, you can create reaction videos on songs that you’ve never heard before. No Life Shaq reacts to both music videos and songs. And he has gained almost three million subscribers from doing that.
However, creating reaction videos may be easier said than done. You need to have a strong personality and feel free to express your opinion. People want to see someone who is expressive and can, well, show their reaction.
If you believe that you lead an exciting life and have a lot to share, maybe vlogging is for you. Buy a decent camera, download editing software, and you’re all set.
What should you record? Everything you do. How you surprise your friends. Where you take your dog for a walk and why you like it.
The coffee that you always buy at Starbucks and why it’s the best. Vlogs give you the freedom to create any content you want. CaseyNeistat counts more than 12 million subscribers from vlogging.
However, you can create vlogs as additional videos on your channel. This lets your fans learn more about you and see what you do in everyday life. Glenn Fricker from SpectreSoundStudios reviews music gear and software. In addition to his content, he created a few vlog videos in which he visits Thomman, the largest music store in Europe.
The gaming market will be a business worth $200 billion by 2023. This means that there is an enormous interest in video games. PewDiePie rose to fame by recording himself playing video games. He uploaded his first video in 2010 and now counts over 100 million subscribers.
Soon, he became a YouTuber and not just a gamer. This means that he started exposing his personality more and more as the years went by.
But you can still make gaming videos even if you don’t feature yourself on camera. StealthGamerBR uploads only gameplay videos. The main characteristic of this channel is that it’s solely focused on stealth games like Dishonored, Hitman, Assassin’s Creed, etc. This can help build a more dedicated fanbase that values StealthGamerBR’s gaming skills.
YouTube SEO – Best Practices
YouTube has its own search engine. If you want your videos to pop up first in a YouTube search, you need to optimize them properly.
How will users find your video? By targeting keywords, of course.
Thus, you want to conduct keyword research before you decide to upload your video. You can start by entering relevant keywords in the YouTube search bar and see the suggestions. However, this method is helpful only for brainstorming keyword ideas.
To see if your keywords are relevant, try using Google Trends or SEMRush. Many people don’t know this, but when you run a keyword search in Google Trends, you click on ‘Web Search’ and select ‘YouTube Search.’ With this, you can find how well a keyword performs on YouTube.
Adding relevant tags is another way of categorizing your videos. You can insert additional keywords in tags so people can find your videos more easily.
Have you noticed that many YouTubers ask you to leave a comment on their video? Do you wonder if they really care about your opinion? Some probably do, but the sad reality is that they primarily interact with you in the comments section because it improves the engagement rate on their videos.
Engagement tells YouTube that your video is valuable, so the algorithm is more likely to push it to new audiences. Consider inviting your viewers to leave a comment and share their opinion.
Add your own captions. YouTube can put automatic captions, but they are far from perfect. The best thing about captions is that YouTube will crawl and index them, which gives your video an SEO boost.
Rename your video file before upload. The trick is to align the name to the keyword for which you want to rank on YouTube. For instance, if your video is about ‘best SEO practices,’ you should rename your file to ‘best_seo_practices.mp4.’
Include the main keyword in video descriptions as early as possible. If your video is titled ‘Top 10 Apple Pie Recipes,’ your video description could start with a sentence like, ‘In this video, I will show you the best apple pie recipes. The ingredients you need…’
If you have dozens or hundreds of videos on different sub-topics, consider creating playlists in which you will group videos that fall within a specific category. Not only will you help viewers find more relevant content, but you’ll also increase your watch time.
Posting regularly is a must, no matter what type of channel you own. Whether you post three videos per week or one video every month, make sure you upload videos regularly. Failing to do this will harm your SEO. More importantly, you may lose subscribers who faithfully wait for your videos.
Sharing is Caring
If you care about your YouTube SEO, then you need to share your videos. The initial view boost that you’ll receive will tell the algorithm that your content is valuable. Therefore, share each video you upload on all your social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, etc.).
You can also pitch to blogs that are in the same niche as your YouTube channel. If your content is relevant, then this is a win-win situation. They have new content ideas, and you get a portion of their traffic.
If you still haven’t got enough answers on ‘how do people make money on YouTube,’ let’s go through a few common questions related to this topic.
How Many Views Do You Need to Get Paid on YouTube?
To get paid at all, your channel first needs to fulfill the requirements for the YouTube Partner Program. Then, you need to generate at least $100 from views.
However, the exact view counts your channel needs to have for you to get paid depends on the ads’ performance. In simpler terms, it depends on ads, not on views. Google AdSense determines the cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-thousand-views (CPM) of each ad it puts on your video. Most channels eligible for monetization earn between $3 and $5 per 1,000 views. So, your channel needs to generate 20k-33k views for you to receive those first $100.
How Much Does a YouTuber With 1 Million Subscribers Make?
There is no simple answer to this question. The revenue of a YouTuber depends on the factors we’ve described earlier, but mainly on ads. The more content you have, the more ad space you create for Google. For instance, channel ‘A’ with 500k subscribers can generate more income if it has more video views than channel ‘B’ with one million subscribers.
On the other hand, if you’ve enabled other monetization options, you’ll get additional income which may sometimes amount to a larger sum than what you get from selling your ad space. Subscribers are more likely to purchase monthly memberships, merch, and support you on Patreon, thus adding to your YouTube revenue.
Who is the Highest-Paid YouTuber?
The highest-paid YouTuber is – believe it or not – a nine-year-old boy from Texas. His name is Ryan Kaji, and his YouTube channel is called Ryan’s World. The channel was first called ‘Ryan’s Toy Review’ and only later switched to ‘Ryan’s World.’
At first, Ryan’s channel contained only toy unboxing videos. The first video ever uploaded dates back to March 2015. Later, Ryan’s World started uploading educative videos for kids like ‘How tsunamis are formed?‘
In 2020, Ryan earned almost $30 million from YouTube alone. This ‘child influencer’ has also made $200 million from branded clothing and toys. As you can see, even the highest-paying YouTubers think about monetization options outside YouTube.
Do YouTubers Still Get Money if You Skip Ads?
Yes and no. In truth, it depends on what type of ad the viewer is watching and at what point do they decide to skip the ad. So, let’s cover two ad skip scenarios so you can get a better understanding of when YouTube collects money from displaying an ad.
If you click on the link in the video, you’ll be redirected to a page. When you return to YouTube, you’ll need to skip the ad to continue to video. In this case, YouTube will count this as an ad click, and the video owner will get money.
If the ad is longer than 30 seconds and you watch it for at least 30 seconds, the video owner will get paid.
In all other cases, the YouTuber won’t get paid.
How to Enable Monetization on YouTube?
Whether you want YouTube to put ads on your videos or not depends on you. The only prerequisite is that you’ve signed up for the YouTube Partner Program and got approved. Once you’ve become a YouTube partner, you can allow YouTube to put ads on your videos by following these steps:
- Log in to your YouTube channel
- Click on the account icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
- Go to ‘YouTube Studio.’
- Select ‘Content.’
- Check the videos you want to monetize.
- In the black horizontal toolbar, click ‘Edit.’
- Click ‘Monetization.’
- Click ‘On.’
- Click on ‘Update videos.’
- Check the ‘I understand the consequences of my actions’ notification.
- Click ‘Update videos.’
Now, this applies only to monetization through ads. You can also enable monetization via channel memberships, merchandise, and Super Chat & Super Stickers. All these options are located in the ‘Monetization’ section of your YouTube Studio.
Hard Work Pays Off
If making money on YouTube was easy, everyone would be doing it. In reality, it is a complex process that requires various skills, effort, time, and dedication. Don’t expect any overnight success. You need to create quality content and upload it regularly.
Now that you know how people make money on YouTube, you should know where to start. We’ve given you a sufficient number of ideas that you can expand on. Now, it’s up to you to grab that camera and do something creative.