You can earn a small amount or grow your channel to be worth millions of dollars. But how do YouTubers make money? Here’s what you need to know.
More and more people are searching for ways to make money online. Through video marketing on YouTube, you can begin to build a following, promote your brand, sell merchandise, drive traffic to your website, and more.
Optimize Your YouTube Channel to Make Money
Without going into all the technical aspects of setting up your channel from scratch, there are several things to pay particular attention to so that you can make the most money on YouTube.
- Use your About page to the fullest, implementing smart copywriting to get and keep viewers’ attention.
- Take full advantage of your video descriptions, making sure they’re keyword-rich, and then use those keywords in your video.
- Add a 30-60 second trailer for your channel
- Create organized playlists to encourage more engagement and length on site.
- Publish long videos, and also take advantage of Youtube’s newest feature, YouTube Shorts, that promote videos of 15 seconds or less, which you can pack with valuable information, tips and tricks, or entertain.
Ways to Monetize Your YouTube Channel
There are multiple ways to bump up your income and earn money by starting a YouTube channel. But the amount of money you make will depend on the way you monetize your channel.
Even those who work full-time jobs can take on YouTube monetization as a side hustle. When you can, build subscribers and views, which you’ll need to become a YouTube Partner, where you can earn money on YouTube, the world’s second-largest search engine, in several ways, including:
- Ads placed through Google AdSense
- Affiliate programs
- Merch Shelf
- Promoting your services
- Offer subscriptions to your channel
- Use YouTube in conjunction with your blog
- Become an influencer with sponsored videos
- Sell Your YouTube Channel
YouTube Monetization with AdSense
Before you can earn ad revenue on your YouTube channel, you’ll have to meet a few requirements.
Your channel must have reached at least 4,000 public watch hours in the past year.
Additionally, you’ve got to have more than 1,000 subscribers, have your channel linked to your Google AdSense account, and have your channel reviewed by YouTube experts to make sure it meets the guidelines and terms of service.
Once you’ve been accepted into the YouTube Partner program, you can allow ads to run on your channel.
To handle monetizing your YouTube channel, you’ve got to be at least 18 years old or have a legal guardian.
Affiliate Income from YouTube
Affiliate marketing is one of the more popular methods of monetizing YouTube.
To be an affiliate marketer means that you promote other businesses’ products or services and then take a small share of the sale.
You facilitate the sale by finding the customer to buy the product, but you don’t have to handle products, shipping, or returns. You don’t have to be a famous social media influencer to do well with affiliate sales when you take advantage of video marketing.
The Merch Shelf with the YouTube Partner Program
As an established member of the YouTube Partner Program, you can access The Merch Shelf, where you can sell products to promote your brand.
Many YouTubers use print-on-demand products that offer merchandise like hats, tee shirts, coffee mugs, and more.
Selling branded items on YouTube won’t, in and of itself, make you wealthy.
According to SellMerch.org, if your channel has at least 11,000 subscribers, you can expect to sell around half a dozen items per month. You can expect an average monthly profit of approximately $70, or about $840 per year.
But the real value in the Merch Shelf is that you spread the word about your brand.
Promote Your Services on YouTube to Make Money
When you’re offering a service instead of a product for sale, YouTube is a remarkable way to generate more leads. By providing highly valuable content that educates the public about your industry, you draw more interest — and more trust — from people who may become prospects.
For example, if you owned a hair salon, you could publish a series of videos and tutorials about hairstyles, such as:
- Up-do Ideas
- How to Style Shoulder Length Hair
- How to Properly Condition Your Hair
- Best Vitamins for Healthy Hair
- Top Ten Hair Products
Offer Memberships and Subscriptions to Your YouTube Channel
YouTube offers members of its Partner Program the opportunity to monetize their channels with memberships and subscriptions, which it launched in 2018.
There are three ways to make money on memberships and subscriptions.
Membership: You can charge a monthly fee for users to access exclusive content on your channel, as well as other perks.
YouTube Premium: When you post a video watched by a YouTube Premium member, you earn a small commission on their premium membership.
Super Chat and Stickers: Another way to attract paid subscribers to your channel is Super Chat. This feature is for when you’re broadcasting live. By subscribing to Super Chat, members have their comments highlighted and featured longer for maximum visibility.
Use YouTube with Your Blog and Social Media
YouTube is a remarkable resource on its own for digital marketing, but it’s even more powerful when used in conjunction with your blog.
Your blog and your YouTube channel promote one another and give you multiple opportunities to educate, entertain, and inspire web viewers to learn more about your products or services.
In a few steps, you can embed your YouTube videos into blog posts with related subjects. For example, you might create an educational video on YouTube about your business and then write a blog post about the same topic.
Embedding a video on your blog encourages users to stay on your website longer and engage with your content by watching the video. Both of those actions increase your page’s authority in search engines.
You can then promote the video on its own or market the article from your blog on social media sites.
There are clever ways to create videos that don’t require your face or your voice. Have you ever those “top ten” videos or videos that stitch together clips from a show. For example, “Top Ten Golden Buzzer Moments” or “Funniest Cats of 2020.”
These videos are created from YouTube’s creative commons, meaning you can legally take clips from shared videos and blend them to create one compilation of your own.
The goal is to create content that goes viral — something worth being shared.
You can then monetize those videos with Adsense, subscriptions, and merchandise. Or, ultimately, when you reach the right plateau, you can sell your channel to cash in on significant earnings.
Another fun way to cash in on YouTube is by playing video games, which is a major draw in the YouTube community and can attract a loyal audience who is happy to subscribe to watch you play.
Become an Influencer and get Paid by Sponsors
When you’ve built a mass following in the thousands, with video views in the millions, it’s easy to attract businesses who want to pay you to promote their products.
Super-stardom used to be reserved for elite actors and actresses on the big screen, then on the television screen, and now to a point where anyone with a smartphone and the X factor can become an instant sensation, obtaining fame virtually overnight. All it takes is one video gone viral to build impressive momentum.
As an influencer, which means you’ve got between 50,000 and 100,000 subscribers, you can earn anywhere between $500 and $5000 per sponsored video.
Sell Your YouTube Channel
There may come a time when you no longer feel the passion or drive to create videos consistently or manage your YouTube channel.
Or, you may decide to invest in creating a channel for the sole purpose of selling it later. When your numbers line up, you can make anywhere from thousands of dollars to millions.
Based on the niche of your content, the size of your audience, and your engagement metrics, you can put a valuation on your channel of three times its yearly profits.
On average, serious YouTubers can earn around $57,000 per year. There are some creators who earn as little as 25¢ per 1,000 impressions, others who make as much as $5.00 for 1,000 views, but the average is around $1.00 per 1,000.
And if you decide to sell, you could earn tens of thousands of dollars all the way up to the millions, based on the quality of your channel.
The amount of money you earn on YouTube depends on how well you incorporate its features with those of your website or blog, the quality of content you publish, how well you market your content, and whether or not that content has the power to go viral.
YouTube analyzes your channel to assess its performance over the course of 12 months, during which time you must amass 4,000 hours of watch time, 20,000 views, 1,000 subscribers. After that, you can begin watching the dollars roll in.
If you’re using YouTube to push traffic to your website and generate sales from your website, you could start making money almost immediately.
However, if you’re banking on the YouTube Partner Program where you can earn with Adsense, affiliate sales, merchandise, memberships, and more, then you can expect to wait at least a year before seeing an ROI of time and creativity, during which time you build your video library and your following.
Ninja, Markiplier, Liza Koshy, Ryan Kaji, and MrBeast have all earned their place in YouTube celebrity status, as has Logan Paul. Now in his twenties, Logan Paul became a multi-millionaire through his YouTube endeavors, which he began tinkering with in his backyard when he was ten.
The eight-year-old mastermind behind “Ryan’s World” is reportedly worth more than 25 million dollars, and other young YouTubers rank up there with him.
On the flip side, some of the most well-known YouTubers are between 80 and 100. Clara Cannucciari, age 98, earned her celebrity status by sharing videos about Great Depression cooking. Also a cooking celebrity, Mastanamma is 106 years old and has hundreds of thousands of views. And, rising to fame due to her loving relationship with her grandson, Lill Droniack, age 98, continues to draw new followers.
To perform well monetizing your YouTube channel, you’ve got to tap into the right subjects. Here are the top ten most popular categories on YouTube:
Comedy, Educational videos, Fashion, Favorites or “Best of” videos, Gaming, How-to videos, Product Reviews, Sports, Unboxing videos, Vlogs
There are ample ways to make money on YouTube, but the most successful people have learned to tie together all of the techniques to generate multiple streams of income through the mega multimedia channel.
Make sure your channel’s foundation is properly set up, paying attention to detail to all of your profile’s features. Establish the required amount of watch time, followers, and subscribers to establish yourself as a YouTube Partner, which allows you to monetize the site.
Connect your YouTube channel to Google AdSense. If you’re an affiliate marketer, make videos about the products you sell. Design and sell merchandise to promote brand awareness. Sell memberships, subscriptions, and cash in on YouTube Premium members.
Use your channel to educate people about your product or services or offer attention-grabbing entertainment. And, should you build the momentum and the desire, you could sell your channel for an ROI in the millions.
There are people from every station of life, a diverse collection of young and old YouTubers who make money, some of them in the millions, from their passion for video creation.
Lori Ballen is a real estate agent in Las Vegas. She’s a digital marketing specialist, speaker, and marketing coach and loves to share her “Ballen Method” to generate website traffic and leads online. Lori’s specialties are SEO content writing (ranking on the search engines), social media strategies, and affiliate marketing. Need a website? Contact Lori’s brothers Jeff and Paul Helvin at Ballen Brands.