What You Should Know About Making Money from YouTube

Someone recording a video for YouTube.
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    YouTube has about 1.9 billion users that log in to the platform every month. This means half of the internet uses the app. At the same time, there are about 500 hours of content posted on YouTube every minute. People from around the globe watch hundreds of millions of hours every day on YouTube. 

    To add to these overwhelming stats, YouTube has many self-made millionaires today. These stars earned an audience due to their video creation regarding entertainment, reviewing brands and products, educational programs, and showcasing their talents. Many YouTube celebrities had to start from scratch to get to where they are today. Their continuous creation of content in this content-obsessive world brought success.

    So, you may wonder; does a content creator get paid for their videos? How to monetize YouTube? And how much money can you make on YouTube? This article will be a guide to all you need to know about making money on YouTube.

    Key Takeaways

    • You can start making money on YouTube when you qualify for the YouTube Partner Program.
    • YouTube is the highest-paid platform in influencer marketing.
    • To avoid irritating your subscribers with promotional content, you can add the promotion links on your video descriptions, as a YouTube card, or integrate promotional content smoothly into your videos.

    The YouTube Partner Program

    The YouTube Partner Program gives special access to unique tools that can help you monetize on YouTube. To qualify for the YPP, you need to have met the following requirements:

    • Have 1000 subscribers
    • Have a watch time of about 4000 hours over the last 12 months
    • Set up an Adsense account
    • Complied with the rules and regulations of YouTube

    After entering the program, you are well on your way to making money on YouTube.

    Ways to Make Money on YouTube

    The following are different ways you can make money on YouTube:

    • Google Adsense
    • Sell merchandise
    • Become an influencer
    • Become an affiliate marketer
    • Get followers to pay you
    • Go for crowdfunding
    • License your content

    Google Adsense

    One such important monetization tool is Google AdSense. Once you join the YouTube partner program, YouTube can place ads on your videos as they deem fit. With this, you get to monetize your YouTube videos.

    You can adjust this feature to either function per video or not i.e. you can decide to add the ads to a video or disable them. The ads placed are paid based on clicks and impressions. Revenue generated is split into two parts by YouTube. They give the content creator 55% of the ad revenue while taking the remaining 45% for themselves.

    To get ads running on videos, content creators must ensure to have complied with advertising rules. If a video contains foul language, violence, harmful controversial information, or adult content, it will not have ads placed in it.

    Sell Merchandise

    Those in the YouTube partner program can sell items to their viewers by activating this feature in their channel accounts. Some top YouTubers have made millions from merchandise sales. For this to be a success, you will need a good merchandise sales strategy.

    Your merchandise must represent your content and what your audience wants. Whether it is a t-shirt, bag, or coffee mug, it should benefit your subscribers beyond revenue generation. You wouldn’t want to post items on your merchandise shelf that are not available at that moment, so you need to have a trusted manufacturer and wholesale supplier.

    In most cases, you can create a separate website to handle the purchases of your merchandise. You could also promote your merchandise in your YouTube videos. You can add your merchandise store links to your video descriptions. With this, you get to monetize on YouTube.

    Become an Influencer

    You do not have to be on TikTok or Instagram to become an influencer. As an influencer, you help brands advertise their products or services in your YouTube videos. One of the best advantages of this is that you do not give YouTube any percent of your earning. You discuss with brands directly and they pay you. No wonder, this monetization method is the most popular way for YouTubers to make money. 

    In 2019, it was researched that more than 700 companies employ influencers on YouTube platforms to promote their brands. Another study showed that YouTube is the highest-paid platform in influencer marketing. This is because more expenses are incurred when creating videos for YouTube than on other social media platforms. 

    There are influencer marketplaces that you can add to your channel to enable you to get brands to discover you. Some of these influencer marketplaces include:

    • Grapevine Logic: With only 1000 subscribers on your YouTube channel, you can join and partner with them.
    • YouTube Brand Connect: This is the most popular influencer marketplace. There is a wide range of brands you will get to work with. You will need to have 5,000 subscribers to join this marketplace.

    Become an Affiliate Marketer

    You can decide to become an affiliate marketer for brands by reviewing their products and getting commissions from sales generated through your channel. If you have a loyal follower base, you can capitalize on that and encourage your followers to visit specific brand stores and product pages. Then you can get a percentage from sales made through affiliate links on your video descriptions. 

    Get Followers to Pay You 

    This strategy has a few different monetization options. Here are some of them:

    • Use super chat
    • Channel subscriptions

    Use Super Chat

    In 2017, YouTube added the Super Chat feature. This feature is available for YouTube partners when they live stream. Your followers who want their comments to be visible on your live stream will pay some amount to you. 

    Channel Subscriptions

    YouTube allows your followers to pay you to become members of your channel. Your subscribers make a monthly payment to you in exchange for extra content or member-exclusive incentives.

    Only YouTube partners who have more than 30,000 subscribers can enable this feature. Patreon, a 3rd party service has proved to be of help to content creators in monetizing their fan base through monthly membership programs. This means of monetization on YouTube has earned many top YouTubers as much as $40k per month.

    Go for Crowdfunding

    Sometimes, you might have good content ideas but there is no money for execution. This is where crowdfunding comes in. Whether you need to improve your video quality by buying a new camera or hiring actors, you can ask your followers to help out. To motivate your followers, give them a preview of what your idea will be like if it gets proper funding.

    Several popular crowdfunding websites can help you with this. A popular one is Kickstarter. It has funded many one-off projects for content creators. Remember to have a set monetary goal to achieve and create a strategy on how to get followers to help out.

    License Your Content

    If one of your videos goes viral, every media house will want to get their hands on it to play it for their followers. If you have not licensed your content, these media firms will use your video for free. Fortunately, media companies are aware that they will need to pay for the rights of using licensed videos. So, you have another way to make money on YouTube.

    The following are some steps you should follow when licensing your content:

    • Keep your contact information updated: You can never tell when one of your videos will go viral so be prepared for anything. Put your email account on your About page so that people can reach you for business inquiries.
    • Sign up for any video rights marketplace: Check online for different video rights marketplaces and choose the one with a good reputation. Jukin Media is one place you can sign up to. The marketplace has a large catalog of videos. For example, they have a catalog called newsworthy; if you have any major news footage about a disaster or anything, you can add it to the catalog.

    How to Monetize Without Annoying Your Followers

    Many of the strategies on how to monetize YouTube involves the promotion of brands or crowdfunding campaigns. When YouTubers deviate from their original content to promote brands, it could become irritating to their viewers. Make sure the promotion of brands or campaigns in your videos will not affect the quality and integrity. Here are some other things you can do to avoid annoying your followers:

    • Add product links to your video descriptions
    • Adding youtube cards to your videos
    • Take your promotions to other social media platforms

    Add Product Links to Your Video Descriptions

    You can add your merchandise store link, Patreon page, crowdfunding campaigns, or other revenue-generating links to your video description. You can create engaging and high-quality videos and direct your viewers to check your video’s description. 

    Adding YouTube Cards to Your Videos

    Another thing to add is YouTube cards. YouTube cards are pop-up cards that appear during videos to catch the attention of your viewers. Make sure the YouTube cards are added in a way that doesn’t distract the audience from your original content, rather make it come up when it is most appropriate.

    Take Your Promotions to Other Social Media Platforms

    You could use other platforms to promote brands or your campaign funding. Remember, the more platforms you pass this information on, the likelier it is for many to see it. So go beyond YouTube in your social media marketing strategies.


    The most compelling force of many content creators is their passion for creativity. This creativity brings joy to many. Ironically, this passion results in a means to make money for the content creator. By being able to maintain audiences’ attention, YouTubers create content that attracts crowds.
    With an entrepreneurship spirit, you can get to explore different ideas on how to start an online business with your creativity.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Does the content creator get paid for their videos?

    No, they are not paid for the videos they upload. Neither do such videos automatically become monetized. For you to make money on YouTube, you would need to qualify for the YouTube Partner Program and enable monetization in your YouTube account channel settings.

    Who will be my target audience?

    If you want to make money on YouTube, you need to know who your target audience would be. Before creating content, you will need to know what niche your channel is and how saturated your niche market is.
    If you have already started creating videos, you need to keep the following questions in mind:

    • What gender does my video content attract the most?
    • What age ranges do most of them fall in?
    • What area, city, or country watches my videos the most?
    • What is my overall watch time?

    With this information in mind, you will understand your audience better, make your video content better, increase watch time, and start monetizing YouTube videos. 

    How do I make money on YouTube?
    You do not need to have more than a million subscribers before making money on YouTube. To monetize on YouTube, you need to have followed the following rules:

    • You must have 1000 subscribers on your YouTube channel
    •  Your videos watch time hours must be about 4,000 over the last 12 months
    • You have complied with all YouTube policies and guidelines.
    • You have an AdSense account.

    In addition to this, you must be at least 18 years of age and live in a country where the YouTube partner program (YPP) is available.

    How much can you make on YouTube from ads?

    Money generated from ads is on a cost-per-click or view basis. The advertiser gets to choose which is preferable to them. A view is counted if an ad is watched either for 15 or 30 seconds.

    Typically, a view costs 18 cents. If you have 10,000 views and 10% of your viewers watched the ad, you can expect to make $180.

    So the amount earned is based on the number of times ads run on your videos and are interacted with by viewers. With millions of viewers every month, this can add up to a substantial amount. This means that YouTube does not have a guaranteed specific income-earning under its partner program.

    With other available means of monetization on the platform, there is still no specific income that a content creator may earn. It could be more than $10,000 a month, it could be less. Whatever the income is, YouTube is the best platform to generate a steady income.