How to make money on YouTube

How to make money on YouTube


For beginners, making money won’t be your foremost reason for starting your YouTube channel, but subsequently, the opportunity presents itself for you to start earning once you gain a good number of audiences.

Today, Popular YouTube stars have become self-made celebrities. These celebrities are people who have gained an audience simply by creating engaging video contents targeted at teaching, entertaining, reviewing, and being awesome online.

Most of these screen celebrities we know today do what they do in order to scratch an itch for creating things, and presenting these in front of an audience.

For beginners, making money won’t be your foremost reason for starting your YouTube channel, but subsequently, the opportunity presents itself for you to start earning once you gain a good number of audiences.

Now, let’s look out some of the things you need to know about making money on YouTube.

Also see: How to build your personal brand on LinkedIn

Getting to understand your audience on YouTube

One of the foremost important aspect of YouTube is building your audience because this is what puts you in a better position to monetize your content in different ways. This can only be achieved if you’re ready to take full advantage of the opportunities you’ve got if you understand the makeup of your audience.

So, for YouTubers looking to monetize their YouTube channel, it’s important to create a niche for your channel and to gain higher position, you’ll be willing to work with brands looking to focus on specific audiences (we’ll talk more on this).

In understanding your YouTube audience, It’s Important to pay close attention to these things:

  • The gender of your audience – to ascertain if it focuses toward one particular group
  • Know the age range you audience falls into
  • Also pay attention to geographic location i.e. countries or cities where your videos are mostly watched
  • The overall engagement of your audience or “watch time”

With all this demographic information at hand, you’ll have a far better understanding of your own audience and this will help you to work better with brands. These demographic insights are mostly pulled from your YouTube analytics, but to match your channel against others, try YouTube analytic tools like Social Blade.

Since we’re done with this, let’s start talking about the various ways you can make money on YouTube channel.

How to make money on YouTube

It’s true that your audience can unlock your YouTube channel’s earning potential just like we’ve with Instagram and bloggers, but we’re also looking at making money through various ways on YouTube and this goes beyond getting paid for views on your YouTube channel.

Below are some ways to make money on YouTube:

  1. The YouTube Partner Program
  2. Selling products or merchandise
  3. Crowdfund your next creative project
  4. Audience support through “Fan funding”
  5. License your content to the media
  6. Work with brands as an influencer
  7. Become an affiliate marketer

Let’s go ahead to take a deeper look into the above-mentioned ways:

  1. The YouTube Partner Program

One of the first YouTube revenue streams you’ll get to exploit is ads. Whether you would like to make money on YouTube without creating videos or as a content creator, joining the YouTube Partner Program and monetizing your channel takes some important steps.

You’ll need to comply and follow all of the YouTube’s monetization policies and also live in or within the region where the YouTube Partner Program exists. You’re qualified to apply for monetization once you’ve hit 1,000 subscribers and above 4,000 watch hours over the past one year.

Here’s the way to apply for monetization on YouTube:

  • First, open and sign into the YouTube account you would like to monetize.
  • Nest thing is to click on the icon for your account in the top right corner.
  • Click on the YouTube Studio.
  • On the left menu, select Other Features > Monetization.
  • Read and comply with the YouTuber Partner Program terms.
  • Next, create a Google AdSense account, or you can simply connect an existing one to your channel. (You need an AdSense account to get paid YouTube.)
  • Set up your monetization preferences.
  • Once all this is done, go back to the dashboard and click on the Analytics tab on the left side. From that point, you’ll simply choose Revenue from the tabs just at the top, then scroll right down to the chart Monthly Estimated Revenue to get an insight into your predicted YouTube revenue.

Let’s answer some Frequently asked questions under this:

How many views does one have to get to before getting paid on YouTube?

The number of views you get on one video content doesn’t determine the revenue earned. For instance, if your video gets up to a thousand views but nobody watched or clicked on the ad, you won’t make any money. This is due to YouTube’s criteria for billing advertisers: a viewer must click an ad or watch the ad fully (10, 15, or 30 seconds) for you to get paid.

Thankfully, with the launch of YouTube Premium, Youtubers do not need to depend on advertisers in order to create engaging contents to get paid.

Now, you might want to ask, what is YouTube Premium?

YouTube Premium is simply a paid membership program that permits fans to observe and support their favorite content creators without ads. Not much has changed for creators as they’re going to get paid for contents consumed by non-members on YouTube alongside content on YouTube Premium.

YouTube Premium pay creators based on the number of members that watch their content. YouTube Premium can be said to be a secondary revenue earned in addition to what you’re already earning through ads.

Even though the setting up is simple, making money through YouTube Partner is way far from the revenue stream you can create for yourself on YouTube.

Why it’s important to look beyond ads for revenue on YouTube

Just recently, YouTube received a lot of backlashes because of its decision to be more transparent about ads on the platform and what should qualify as “advertiser friendly” content

This decision scared a lot of creators due to the type of contents they post and these would make them lose out on the ad revenue that supports their channel,

According to the new policies YouTube created, your content could get excluded from ad revenue if it includes any of the following:

  • Contents that suggest sexual things such as partial nudity and sexual humor
  • Violent contents like display of great injury and events associated with violent extremism
  • Languages that are inappropriate such as harassment, vulgar languages and profanity
  • Promotion of hard drugs and substances that should be restricted, including selling, use, and abuse of such items
  • Events or subjects that are sensitive and controversial such as subjects associated with war, political conflicts, natural disasters, and tragedies, even if graphic imagery isn’t shown

But the truth is that YouTube has been demonetizing content that it doesn’t deem fit as advertiser friendly since 2012 via an automatic process even with issuing a warning or without the content creator’s knowledge.

Today, things have become better as creators are notified when their content are flagged because it defiled one YouTube policies and creators can also contest if they fell it isn’t right.

Advertising could be a standard means of generating passive income for creators, but the major disadvantage is that YouTube’s parent company, Google, gets 45% of the ad revenue.

YouTubers are advised to explore other revenue streams to sustain their creative hobby.

2. Sell products or merchandise

There are so many products to sell which will assist you in making money through your YouTube channel. Selling merchandise like tea mugs, tote bags, t-shirts, tote bags and other items is actually beneficial beyond revenue.

The earnest truth is that Merchandise increases your exposure by helping to put your online brand and personality out into the offline world and deepens the connection that exists between you and your fans as most fans will “buy” into what you’re doing.

Take for instance Roman Atwood who sells a spread of merchandise in his store under his name “Smile More brand”.

Selling branded swag is simpler than it’d seem initially.

You can also order designs tailored for specific products, like t-shirts, using freelance sites like Fiverr and it has been made affordable.

And when it involves handling orders for instance, you’ll integrate your store with services like Oberlo or one among the various print-on-demand providers that lookout for shipping, fulfillment, and customer support, letting you reap all of the advantages of a print-on-demand business that simply demand less effort on your part.

There are existing merchandizing networks creators can partner with like DFTBA (Don’t Forget to Be Awesome). But also, it’s important to know that you’ll be competing with other YouTubers and you’ll have less control over adding products, offering discounts, integrating your content, and every one of the benefits that comes with owning your own ecommerce site.

Creators can go further to manufacture and sell their own items and powering their business through their YouTube channel just like some hair brands do and this can be done by creating DIY(Do-it-yourself) videos. This is a two-way gain for both your channel and business because you get to have:

  • Traffic is consistently driven to your store due to your content engine
  • You get increase the trust of your audience which was earned by regularly serving them your own brand of content free of charge

3. Crowdfund your next creative project

When money seems to be a challenge for the execution of project, crowdfunding is a great way for it to be achieved. For instance, if as a creator you need support in either buying better equipment, hiring actors, or to foot the cost of covering a shoot, you’ll call upon your own audience through the crowdfunding community to assist you and that’s if your idea is convincing enough.

So many crowdfunded projects we’ve seen mostly supply a “sneak peek” or “trailer” that draws the attention of people which makes them excited. It’s advisable to shoot a short video that explains your projects because this gives a taste of what it’ll be.

One among the popular crowdfunding sites with a proven history of campaigns from Youtubers include Kickstarter. This site is a well-known crowdfunding sites, great for funding cool products and artistic projects. It’s important to set an attainable funding goal and make sure to meet that goal. 

Indiegogo is another alternative site just like Kickstarter and it gives more flexible funding options

4. Audience support through “fan funding”

Apart from crowdfunding a project, we also have “Fan funding” streams to source donations from your audience.

Every creator on YouTube contributes their voice to the internet without forcing their audience to pay for subscription. So, if your contents are interesting and engaging, your audience won’t mind to support you on an ongoing project. Fan funding platforms provide creators with a platform to get their content and also interact with their most loyal audience and reward for their constant support.

Using Patreon to make money on YouTube

This is done by creating more long-form written content than the normal YouTube videos and this can be a great example of receiving support from the Patreon community.

If you select the crowdfunding route, make sure you follow some of the best practices. Firstly, create transparency on how the money will be spent. This will definitely get your fanbase to be invested in your story or mission, and make they buy into your idea.

Secondly, offer your fans enticing rewards for better pledges. The more you’re able to convince them that they’re getting more for being loyal, the more likely you’re to get donations and better pledges.

Some of the popular fan funding options include:

  • YouTube’s Super Chat – Super Chat is simply a feature you use when doing live streams on YouTube. It allows you to create a kind of tipping jar for your viewers to donate whenever and however much they wish to contribute. You’ve to set up your YouTube channel for advertising as we’ve outlined above.
  • Channel memberships – With this feature, viewers can support your channel by subscribing to a monthly payment plan in exchange for members-only perks. Almost like the Super Chat, you want to be a neighborhood of YouTube’s Partner Program to access this feature.
  • Patreon – The membership platform makes it easy for creators to get paid. For as low as $1/month, fans can subscribe to their favorite creators and receive exclusive rewards.
  • Tipeee – This platform allows you to get a mixture of both one-off and recurring donations.

There is a buy Me A Coffee feature that enables creators and artists accept donations and membership fees from their fans. It’s referred to as “#1 Patreon Alternative,” with over 250,000 creators. The difference is that it’s easier to accept payments with Buy Me A Coffee at a flat 5% fee for all features (versus up to 12% for Patreon), and payouts are made instant.

5. License your content to the media

If for instance you made a video that went viral with mass appeal —say, a funny clip featuring your cat—you can license your content in exchange for money.

A lot of content creators like Morning shows, Tv news outlets and online news site can reach out to you for rights to use your video if it went viral.

Your videos can also be listed in a marketplace, like Juken Media, where your content is going to be paid easier for viewers to view.

One time a video of a man and his dog went viral, a lot of media outlets wanted access to it and this will surely fetch you a lot of money.

6. Become an influencer and work with brands

In our world today, a lot of brands are investing largely on influencers marketing and spending a good amount of their budgets on influencers who’ve already won the loyalty of their audiences.

This creates a huge opportunity for you as a creator if you get the proper deals and negotiate well.

A YouTube marketing expert, Brendan Gahan recommends establishing your baseline flat fee by watching the amount of views your videos typically get and thereby multiplying it by about 5 to 15 cents per view (this what most brands are willing to pay for YouTube ads).

Below is a list of prices for influencer marketing according to a data from WebFX:

  • Over 10,000 subscribers get paid $200 per video
  • Content creatore with 100,000 subscribers get paid $2000 per video content
  • YouTuber with over 1,000,000 subscribers get paid $20,000 per video content

So, all these depends on your leverage, your audience demographics, quality of your content, and how unique and profitable your channel is—you’ll be able to negotiate a far better deal if the brand is a good fit.

It is also important to be transparent with any brand you’re partnering on brand-sponsored content and not endorsing anything you don’t actually like or believe in, and being upfront with your audience about why you’re doing it.

Various marketplace you can add your channel to so that brands both big and small can easily see you:

  • Grapevine Logic – one among the most popular influencer marketplaces, you simply need 1,000 followers and above to join.
  • Channel Pages – Here you can partner with other YouTubers for a brand
  • Crowdtap – This marketplace issue “tasks” in exchange for money and other rewards. There’s no restriction on the number of followers you have before joining.

Some influencer marketplaces provide you with free products. While others are known for having big brands who are willing to pay more. Maximize the opportunities that best fit your needs. But make sure you join as many marketplaces as possible in order to maximize visibility.

7. Become an affiliate marketer

Affiliate marketing simply means earning a commission by promoting a product or service made by another brand. You’ll become an affiliate marketer for brands and these includes placement on products, endorsements, or other sorts of content. However, you’ve to disclose your partnership deals to your viewers in your videos.

Affiliate marketing works perfectly for YouTubers who review products as a part of their YouTube content. Since there’s no risk involved on the brand’s end (they only pay once they make sales). There’s usually a low bar to getting started.

Some of the popular affiliate marketing programs include ClickBank (offers 1% to 7o% commission, counting on what the seller sets). Amazon’s Affiliate network (earn up to 10% per sale). You can reach out brands in your niche that are running their own affiliate programs. Which isn’t uncommon in the ecommerce space.


YouTube requires a lot of dedication, consistency and patience to be able to grow and make money. So, it’s important to find and take advantage of the income growth opportunities. Find the best suit for yourchannel’s niche, purpose, and financial goals.

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