Can You Really Make Money on YouTube?
Are you looking for a lucrative side hustle or full-time gig? Try this one out: Learn how to make money on YouTube.
Because it’s one of those online places, you go to find everything!
If you want a re-cap of a sports highlight from last night, or even ten years ago, you can find it. If you want to learn how to fix a household issue or sell items on eBay, you go to YouTube. Or, if you’re an avid fisherman and you want to learn a new technique, YouTube is your place.
YouTube is an infinite source of information. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google.
It’s also a phenomenal vehicle of entertainment. If you have a niche interest (like ultimate Frisbee) or you want to watch a clip from your favorite childhood television show, YouTube has a seemingly limitless inventory of this type of content.
For Your Business
As a business professional, YouTube can come in handy if you’re seeking a way to learn and use a new program or online tool you’ve never used before. It’s the place to find whatever it is you need or are looking for.
Some find it unbelievable that the people behind the content that is on the YouTube platform make serious money off of their videos.
It’s worth admitting that when we first considered that some YouTubers were making millions of dollars, it floored us. We couldn’t conceptualize how short videos were generating such a massive amount of money for their creators.
When you look into the details of how YouTube content creators monetize their efforts, it all starts to make a little more sense.
So, to help you better understand how much YouTubers make, we’ve broken it down into a 5 step guide.
How to Make Money on YouTube
We will outline the specific tactics that creators use to generate an income from vlogging.
- Some of the techniques come down to good marketing skills.
- Others are simply a mind-boggling method of appealing to the niche interests of the masses.
In either case, it’s a complicated process to become rich off of YouTube.
Here’s how many of the vloggers have made this accomplishment into a reality.
Step 1: Monetizing Your YouTube Channel
The first step toward making money on YouTube is monetizing your channel. While a decade ago, this was an easy process, now it is a bit more complicated. Due to the sheer volume of content made and posted to the platform, there is an application process associated with monetizing a YouTube channel.
The main requirements of the application process are that an individual channel has at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watched video in the past 12 months. That sounds much easier than it is.
Do you happen to know 1,000 people who would subscribe to a YouTube channel you’ve created?
Chances are the answer is that you don’t, and that’s the case for most people. Consider the fact that most of the people who you are well acquainted with may not share your identical interests or the willingness to subscribe (even though it’s free) to your channel. People can be funny about their online presence, and often would rather not publicize their interests.
That leaves a creator to the process of finding an audience interested in the videos they are making. Not only does the channel need to be entertaining, but the audience who views it also will need to feel they are receiving valuable content.
The group of individuals who are watching your video must feel as though they are gaining something from viewing what you’ve created. Whether it’s a good laugh or you’ve taught them some information that they did not previously know, this is the foundation of creating a target audience to support and subscribe to your YouTube channel.
Additionally, despite the content, you are creating being “good” or value-based, it must appeal to enough people that it warrants them to share your videos and watch it several times. This is how a vlogger will amass 4,000 hours of watched content.
Doing the Work
It takes an incredible amount of time to generate 4,000 hours from 30-second to 5-minute video clips.
Usually, there have to be a ton of videos on your channel, to warrant your content being popular enough to share and watch. The commitment by the YouTuber is not limited to creating good videos. It extends to the process of actually creating many good videos that people want to watch and share.
Once a content creator accomplishes earning their 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours watched, they’re eligible to apply for channel monetization. That involves the exchange of money for driving traffic and viewers to YouTube and the creator’s channel.
The payment for this can change A LOT. It can depend on if your content is the type of content that YouTube wants to associate their brand with. If the regulators on the platform aren’t thrilled with what you’re doing, they can demonetize your video, or reduce the payment they pay you.
They have the right to do this regardless of how many people watch your video or subscribe to your channel. Take Logan Paul, for example. He is a popular content creator with a very successful YouTube channel.
However, recently, he posted a controversial video of him exploring a forest in Japan. In the forest, he found an individual who had passed away. He included his footage in his video, which many viewers, including YouTube regulators, found to be distasteful. Paul’s video and channel suffered significant demonetization, as well as the loss of sponsorship.
Which brings us to our next step in YouTube monetization.
Step 2: Google AdSense
Once you have reached 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours, you can apply for Google AdSense to monetize your channel.
Google AdSense is a service that helps YouTube channels earn money through ad placement. If a creator is looking for a method to increase their income through the use of their channel, they can apply to become a member of Google AdSense.
AdSense provides them the opportunity to receive payment in exchange for the placement of a brief video ad. If you watch YouTube regularly, you’ll notice that often, at the beginning of the video, you’ll watch a short advertisement. Sometimes these ads are in the middle of the video, too.
Google AdSense bridges the gap between content creators and advertisers. Google works on behalf of the content creator to find advertising agencies that want to put their promotional content into a video. The highest paying advertising company wins the spot.
Google AdSense also works on behalf of the advertiser. They want to find a spot for their content on a channel that drives a high volume of viewer traffic.
Google AdSense does the footwork of finding advertisers and places to advertise their products. Somewhere in there, everyone reaps a profit. The content creator receives payment for offering an ad spot on their channel. Likewise, the advertiser generates passive sales through product placement, and Google AdSense takes their cut of the cash as well.
All in all, it’s a straightforward method for creators to earn income through their YouTube channels.
Step 3: YouTube Sponsorships
While every aspiring YouTuber’s goals are to monetize their channel with Adsense, ads may not be the most lucrative way to make money.
Whether or not an individual achieves the monetization of their channel, there is the possibility of receiving sponsorships. YouTube sponsorships are similar to sports sponsorships. The concept is that if the content created is reaching an audience of people that a sponsor takes an interest in, they’ll offer to sponsor the YouTuber in exchange for the promotion of their product.
We brought up sports sponsorships as a comparable.
For example, many pro athletes receive sponsorships from top athletic wear brands such as Nike or Under Armor. In the world of YouTube, it works the same way. However, content creators may be sought after from sponsors in all different areas with a variety of products and interests.
An area in which a LOT of YouTube creators have found great success in is video games. Whether it’s recording themselves playing the game or commenting on the gaming of others, millions of dollars of income are being paid to content creators of this genre. Part of these successful YouTuber’s profits come from sponsors who have an interest in furthering their products in the video game world.
The most successful video gamer in Ireland is a YouTube game commenter named Sean McLaughlin. His gamer name, Jacksepticeye, better know as McLaughlin. In 2018 alone, he generated a $16 million profit (Wow) from his role and sponsorships associated with his YouTube content creation.
Step 4: Transforming a YouTube Channel into Other Opportunities
YouTube is an excellent method for aspiring individuals to earn a reputation and jumpstart their careers. Many performers have created content on YouTube to generate an audience to view their craft. Doing so allows them to gain popularity within the general public. The end goal is to receive views by companies or individuals who can offer them opportunities to perform.
Gone are the days in which Norma Jean has to pack up her small suitcase and take a bus to LA or NYC. Now, instead of relocating and going on endless casting calls, aspiring performers can create a channel full of their work. If they exert the effort into creating enough content (while monetizing it), they have the chance to develop a broad enough audience that talent agents may contact them for opportunities.
That method has worked well for several individuals in a variety of industries. For example, Laura Cleary is a popular YouTube comedy creator. She has a variety of characters and sketches that she created over several years that warrant a solid following of those who want to see Helen’s newest tactic to “smash.” ten
Multiple Income Sources
This platform for her performances allowed her to expand into other methods of income generation — these including sponsorships with Fab, Fit, Fun boxes, and a recent book deal. Her initial presence on YouTube enabled her to expand into other fields, allowing her to monetize her efforts in more than one area.
Another example of a YouTube content creator who earned other opportunities from their channel is the popular children’s toy commenter, Ryan. Ryan started his YouTube journey as a 6-year-old, reviewing toys on his channel. His audience gradually expanded to allow him to become popular enough that toy companies approached him to create products.
Today, if you walk into popular stores such as Target and Walmart, you’ll find sections dedicated to “Ryan’s World Toys,” a product line that generates an enormous income for this 7-year-old and his family.
Step 5: Playing By The Rules
Despite the creative freedom that YouTube offers, there are rules to follow. Much like we mentioned above with Logan Paul, if you fail to play by the laws of YouTube, you will face severe consequences and a significant cut to profits. To assure individuals are making as much money as possible on YouTube, they must follow this list of rules.
Some of the rules include YouTube’s strict policy against hate speech. Individuals are not allowed to speak out against others in a negative way due to their race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation.
YouTubers must also refrain from violating copyright laws, such as the use of popular music. There is no monetization for anyone who includes the latest top 10 hits in their video. Videos may not feature any graphic violence or disturbing or disgusting video footage.
This last one is a bit open-ended, but the bottom line is that if there is a question if the content may violate this rule, the best rule of thumb is to exclude it.
Finally, YouTube will not stand for the release of users’ personal information. This rule and all the other rules create a safe, creative environment for those who are creating content. It also protects viewers who come to the site for specific content. The rules assure that viewers won’t run into something they do not want to see.
How Much Money Can You Make on YouTube?
So, we’re not going to ignore the elephant in the room. We realize we didn’t accurately hit the nail on the head with answering the question of how much YouTubers make. The truth is that there is not a standard, measurable average income for a YouTube content creator.
Those who create a channel on YouTube and push their content have the possibility of earning millions per year. However, they also have the option of making nothing. For some, that range is fine. Many creators only have the intention of creating YouTube content for the good of others. They are good-hearted and want a means to distribute valuable information to viewers. Or, they are only seeking an outlet to display their artistic creations.
For some, though, YouTube creates the possibility of cultivating a career based on specific interests or hobbies. It’s a creative thinker’s dream, to make money from doing what they are passionate about. When that passion evolves into opportunities that extend beyond YouTube and into the career field of their choice. it’s even better.
The Bottom Line
To find the most profitability on YouTube, content creators must follow the steps outlined above to achieve financial gain. Much like anything else in life, earning your way in this industry is the product of dedication and hard work. In other words, you can’t just slap any old video onto the net and expect the dollars to roll in.
YouTube is also a career that comes with enormous risks. With the constant evolution of modern technology, there is no guarantee that YouTube will be a platform of significant popularity in 5 years or even one year. The reality is that YouTube may be a thing of the past in as short a span as six months. Therefore, those who aspire to generate an income as content creators must do so with the knowledge that they may need to evolve with technology, or not depend on the income long term.
However, for today, YouTubers are achieving heights of high profitability and success as well as continuing to broaden their areas of expertise. So, if you’re someone who thinks you have something valuable, entertaining, or beneficial to share with the world, do not hesitate. We may be writing about your YouTube success in a year. So, get to work!
This article originally appeared on The Money Mix and has been republished with permission.
Michael has worked in the financial services industry for nearly 20 years. He lives in rural PA with his wife, two children, and too many animals. Michael shares his experience, unique insights, and profiles inspirational success stories at Your Money Geek.