There are other ways besides AdSense to make money on YouTube. The growing creator economy has developed a variety of ways to make money on YouTube. And while some methods offer a lower barrier to entry than ad revenue, there is no substitute for quality content and an engaged audience.
If you can tap into your creative side and are willing to put in a lot of effort, you may be able to make money on YouTube, too. Here are some methods you can explore.
How to get paid on YouTube
Reach 1,000 subscribers and apply for the YouTube Partner Program 2.
Let’s get this out of the way. The biggest hurdle to joining the YouTube Partner Program is getting over the 1,000 subscriber threshold. Once you do that, the door to ad revenue opens.
There are some additional requirements before you can become a partner:
- Your videos must meet the site’s advertising guidelines and have logged over 4,000 hours of valid public viewing in the last 12 months.
- You must reside in an eligible area.
- Must have a Google AdSense account.
Once you meet the requirements, you can apply by clicking on your profile and navigating to the “monetization” section.
As a YouTube partner, you can earn money through ads, partner benefits and features such as Super Chat, which allows viewers to pay to have their messages highlighted during a live broadcast.
How many YouTube views does it take to make money?
You don’t get paid for each video view. Instead, you get paid for how many times someone views or clicks on an ad that appears in your video.
Although the payout varies, the average YouTube channel can expect to earn about $18 per 1,000 ad views. This translates to between $3 and $5 per 1,000 video views if the percentage of ads actually viewed is taken into account. This is an example for visitors from Canada and the United States. The cost per click may be different from country to country.
When do you start making money on YouTube?
You get paid once your balance reaches $100. Let’s say it takes about 1,000 video views to earn $4 from viewers who have watched the ads. You would need 25,000 video views to earn $100 from those ads.
If you have a small channel, you may only get paid every few months. You also need to familiarize yourself with how Google, which issues AdSense payments, handles taxes based on the country you live in and the country your audience lives in.
Sounds like a long way to go …
Here are some other ways to make money on YouTube before you even reach 1,000 subscribers.
2. Become an affiliate marketer.
Affiliate marketing is perhaps the most convenient way to monetize your YouTube traffic, especially if you plan to make product review videos. It works like this:
- You find a company or a seller with an affiliate program, such as Amazon Partner, and ask to join.
- Once accepted, you’ll use their process to create custom links to the products you plan to feature in your videos.
- Demonstrate, review or reference products in your YouTube videos, and paste your custom affiliate marketing link(s) in the description field when uploading.
As a brand affiliate, you will earn a commission when a viewer clicks on your custom link and purchases the product.
While Amazon Associates is a great way to make money on Amazon, there are countless other opportunities. Search affiliate marketing sites like ShareASale, ClickBank or systeme.io for potential business partners and products to showcase. You can also search your favorite brands’ websites for information on how to become an affiliate directly from the source.
Remember to properly inform your viewers of your affiliation with the featured brand(s), and be sure to direct them to the “link in the description” when recording your video.
3. Create sponsored content through branded offers.
Getting a branded offer, also a form of affiliate marketing, is another way to earn revenue on YouTube: companies interested in your channel’s audience can sponsor your videos or offer product placement deals in exchange for revenue.
The key word here is “audience,” which means that these types of offers are more likely to come your way when you develop a respectable following. As your channel grows, you can either contact the brands you want to work with directly or use resources like the aforementioned affiliate marketing sites to find business partners that complement your style of content. Sometimes it’s the brands themselves that approach you.
With offers from brands, you can receive lump sum payments, earn a commission per sale or get the product or service for free.
Please note: if you have a referral or use product placement in a video, you must inform YouTube by checking a box in the advanced settings tab of your video manager to indicate that your video contains a paid promotion. Don’t mess with YouTube to keep your channel active!
4. Create and sell your own product or merchandise
If you have products or offer a service that is relevant to your audience, publicize it and provide links in your videos. For example, designer Marques Brownlee, of the popular tech review channel MKBHD, leaves a link to his own line of T-shirts and accessories in every video he posts.
Selling a physical product may require buying materials or finding a manufacturer, but you can also sell digital products online, such as e-books, art prints or virtual courses. Set up a secure payment system before you advertise your products or use a platform like systeme.io to sell your products.
Incentivize selling: Although creating your own products can be much more difficult than offering those of other companies, you may make more money this way, as you will keep most of the profits as the product owner.
5. Use crowdfunding
Crowdfunding is another monetization method you can use to manage your channel and generate revenue with YouTube. There are two main types of crowdfunding: recurring and project-based. In the former, which is more suitable for content creators, channel followers pay a small subscription fee to get perks and/or an exclusive access level.
More subscribers means more revenue. Incentives such as one-on-one video chats, private lessons or products can entice viewers to subscribe. Patreon is a popular crowdfunding platform and serves as an additional source of income for many video creators, musicians and other artists with a more than modest audience.
If you have an idea for a project that needs financial support, a project-based crowdfunding campaign is the way to go. Start with sites like Indiegogo, Kickstarter or GoFundMe.
How much money can you make on YouTube?
This question is complicated. The answer is similar to the music industry landscape. Just like bands and artists who hit it big and amass an exponential fan base, YouTube stars with millions of subscribers make the most money, easily reaching seven figures.
Creator Stevin John, of the wildly popular children’s channel Blippi, earned $17 million in 2020, thanks in large part to the 8.2 billion views and 27.4 million subscribers he has amassed on YouTube. That kind of success is more the exception than the rule, but don’t let that discourage you.
Sean Cannell, co-author of “YouTube Secrets” and founder of the Think Media channel, advises new YouTubers to bet on affiliate marketing as the best way to make money early on. In a 2021 video article, he claims that it’s possible to make $500 a week with the right niche and strategy.
Build an audience and earn more in the long run.
YouTube offers opportunities for everyone, but it’s not a get-rich-quick platform. It takes time, effort and an engaged audience to make money on YouTube. The good news is that, with a little motivation and a lot of practice, you can find ways to earn before the coveted 1,000 subscriber threshold.
Keep these tips in mind to get started:
- The more videos you create and upload, the easier it will be to reach the threshold of viewing hours.
- The more you target your content to a specific audience or niche, the more likely your viewers will be to subscribe for more.
- Thoughtful and entertaining videos are more likely to get views on YouTube, so it pays to put some effort into planning and production.
- Don’t forget the power of a specific title and a prominent thumbnail to grab the viewer’s attention.
- Also, don’t forget to take care of your video descriptions by including relevant keywords.