You don’t need thousands of subscribers to make money on YouTube. Learn the income sources that make real money.
Last year was supposed to be the year of video for many bloggers, the year we start making money on YouTube and other video sharing sites.
Then YouTube threw up 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 really 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 the 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, income sources for your videos that will make many times over what YouTube ads pay.
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 the 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
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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 being shown 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.
Even YouTube channels with 1,000 subs are being kicked 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.
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 certain time has passed.
Worse still is that average
of how much YouTube pays on ads isn’t the same across all channels. 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. What I found is a huge difference in how much some YouTubers make compared to others.
I put the video below together explaining how much YouTube pays and how advertising isn’t your best source for income on the platform. I also share five hacks to make more money with YouTube ads.
You can see that finance and
entrepreneurship channels can do really well, with YouTube paying upwards of a
penny per view on videos. 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
a week and get an average of 500 views on each, an extremely ambitious goal for a small
YouTube channel, you’d still make less than $20 a month on the
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 be focusing on other income sources to make real money on the platform. Let’s look at some famous examples of YouTubers making big bank and then I’ll show you how to make the real bucks.
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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 a very few YouTube stars. Exact income isn’t always shared 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 was 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 is being paid on traditional media. You have to reach nearly 12 MILLION PEOPLE a year with your videos just to make YouTube a full-time job based on what you make with ads.
There are dozens of examples, famous YouTubers making millions of dollars with nothing more than a smartphone. 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 really 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, 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 streams of income 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 a few 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 and specifically how much you can make each month. These are by far my favorite YouTube income sources because they’re all 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 it is to simply 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 to the video, preferably within the first few lines
Sponsored videos are another way to monetize your YouTube channel without having to rely 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 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! You can make even more if you’re able to prove your YouTube video promotion strategy to sponsors.
The final way to make money on YouTube, and this should be your goal in blogging as well, is to create your own courses and products. Any time you remove the advertiser and connect directly with your viewers for your own products, you are going to make more money.
This means quick products like self-publishing and printables as well as the higher-value products like video courses. 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 growing your income are inextricably linked so you need to look for ways to grow on YouTube if you want 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
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 so much the size of your channel but how engaged you community is and the product strategies you’re using.
For example, I just did a
collab with a YouTube creator that has just 15,000 subscribers but has managed
to make over $18,000 over the last year with products, affiliates, sponsorships
and ads…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 good goal to reach for is to make your subscriber count in dollars
annually. I don’t know why it works but the numbers just 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 anyway, it very often seems to be close to their
Of course, this isn’t a hard-rule and you aren’t a failure if you’re making less than your sub-count. It’s just a good place to start when trying to make money on YouTube.
Recap for Making Money from a YouTube Channel
Anyone can make money on YouTube and you don’t need a huge channel with a million subscribers or even to wait to pass YouTube’s 1,000 sub advertising requirement. Making money means growing quickly into other revenue streams that don’t necessarily 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 own 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 as well as YouTube and can make money on a small channel.
Reach out to sponsors and affiliates you see mentioned on similar channels and offer partnership deals they can’t pass up. You might have to offer a lower price starting out 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 through 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!
Get Your Copy of Crushing YouTube on Kindle or Paperback
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. Stop being restricted by how much YouTube pays on ads! Learn how to make real money with your videos by using the income sources that make more money per view.