Last Updated on December 8, 2022
YouTube has been a powerhouse platform for years, and according to statistics, there is no sign of it slowing down. In 2020 alone, YouTube generated approximately $19.7 billion of revenue with more than 2 billion people accessing the platform each month.
This social media juggernaut has provided many opportunities for content creators and business owners worldwide.
On the surface it might seem like an obvious way to make money on YouTube is through advertising. And while it is possible to make some money this way, it’s by no means the only way.
So if you’re thinking about starting your YouTube channel as a source of income, or you’re already on the platform and haven’t figured out a way to make money from it yet, stick around because I’m about to show you some creative ways you can earn an income from YouTube.
Ready? Let’s fly!
Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links that may provide a small commission to me at no cost to you (it will buy me a cup of coffee though 😉). You can read more about the affiliate disclosure in my affiliate policy.
- 1. Become a YouTube Partner.
- 2. Compliment Your YouTube Channel.
- 3. Sell Your Personal or Brand’s Merchandise.
- 4. Take Advantage of Affiliate Marketing.
- 5. Use Live Streaming.
- 6. Don't Neglect YouTube SEO.
- 7. Become a YouTube Influencer.
- How Many Views do You Need to Make Money on YouTube?
- Can a Beginner Make Money on YouTube?
- Who is the Highest Paid YouTuber?
- How Many Subscribers do You Need to Make Money on YouTube?
How to Make Money on YouTube
The great thing about YouTube these days is that you don’t need to be the next Spielberg or high-profile influencer to create an awesome channel. To get the most out of your channel, you need to find your purpose.
Are you doing it just for entertainment? Perhaps you’re looking to teach something? Whatever your reasoning for pursuing a career online, you need to be consistent and provide plenty of value to your audience.
1. Become a YouTube Partner.
This is the most common way people start off their money-making journey with YouTube.
By applying to become part of YouTube’s partner program, you get access to more ways to monetize your channel rather than just from video ads alone.
To get accepted into the YouTube partner program, here are the requirements:
- Head over to the account icon in the top right corner, then click on YouTube studio. Then go to Other Features -> Monetization.
- Follow YouTube’s monetization policies.
- Live in a country where the program is available.
- Have a clean account with no community strikes.
- Have more than 4,000 public hours watched in the last 12 months.
- Have more than 1,000 subscribers.
- Have a Google Adsense account linked to YouTube.
Once you’re approved, you can start to access more premium features from YouTube, including channel memberships, super chat functionality, and YouTube premium revenue.
If you don’t quite have the requirements to be eligible for the YouTube partner program right now, don’t worry you can still make money from ads. Just make sure you link your Google Adsense account so that you can get paid.
Of course, this is the most passive way to make money online, and for most content creators is really just the icing on the cake. To make it even more hands-off, you can implement social media marketing tools to help get the word out.
2. Compliment Your YouTube Channel.
By starting a blog that you can gain traffic from and partner with the largest search engine in the world, why not double down and have another channel that leverages the second-largest search engine to bring in additional revenue?
Blogging allows you to get more personal with your audience when compared to a YouTube channel. You can do this via email lists, a members area, and forums.
The idea here is that you can send traffic from YouTube to your blog and vice versa. It helps your audience connect with you and raise brand awareness through a number of touchpoints.
To do this, make sure you mention it in both the video itself and to “check out the description below” the video (where you’ll have your link to your website).
Finally, contrary to popular belief, you don’t own the content you upload to YouTube.
Imagine if you woke up one day and realized your entire channel had been taken off the platform or YouTube simply stopped existing.
I guess the first thing you would do is freak out. However, if you had something else to fall back on (such as a blog), then you have already created a way for income to continue coming in while you figure out what has happened and get back to creating awesome videos.
3. Sell Your Personal or Brand’s Merchandise.
With YouTube, you have the potential to reach millions of viewers all over the world. If you’re into vlogging and actually enjoy it, you can focus on making YouTube the most important platform for your marketing strategy.
Aim high and take the chance.
Whether you plan to sell hoodies, mugs, or whatever merch you have in mind, this is not just a way to make money, but it also helps connect you with your audience. This is your opportunity to get diverse with your social media marketing, and remember that even Drake sells t-shirts.
Before you go off and manufacture products, create a poll to see what merchandise your followers would actually want. It would be a total shame if you had created a t-shirt line and no one bought it. Now you would be left with all these t-shirts that nobody wants.
However, if it all goes well, you can link your website or a Shopify store to handle your orders on a larger scale.
Selling merch can be more profitable than just creating videos but still, you can jumpstart everything by promoting it on your YouTube channel.
As with your Youtube video quality, your merch should follow suit. Create products that can enhance your brand’s reputation. Never let your merch drag down your Youtube channel.
Think of it as a reward to those who follow and watch your videos while earning simultaneously. That’s a win-win situation for everyone!
Notable YouTubers Selling Merch:
- PewDiePie sells t-shirts, hoodies, and other items.
- DudePerfect sells hats, hoodies, bottoms, jackets, and accessories.
- Ryan Kaji of ‘Ryan’s World’ sells toys and other items.
4. Take Advantage of Affiliate Marketing.
Video advertising revenue may not always be your most profitable option to make money on Youtube. Being creative means that you need to mix and match options to get that much-needed financial lift.
Affiliate Marketing takes it up a notch. This may be a typical social media marketing strategy, but it provides many benefits if properly applied.
Being an affiliate marketer allows you to earn a portion of the sales from the product that you have featured or promoted without the customer paying any more money than they would if they went directly to the company itself.
Marketing agencies do not depend on their own channels to distribute or promote their products. Instead, they find it more beneficial to pay YouTube channel owners with a solid following to promote for them.
Affiliate marketing is arguably one of the best ways to earn money, especially if your channel has an established following.
But, even if you have a smaller following, this can still be a lucrative way to make money. You just need to come up with a proficient marketing strategy to target specific people.
To benefit from this strategy, sign up with different companies that offer affiliate programs. Make sure that they offer items closely related to your channel’s niche. Target products that offer the most value for your audience.
Be sure to always include the product affiliate link in the video description section. The best outcome you could get is if the product you are promoting has a high conversion rate coupled with a high commission.
Just be careful that disclosure is a requirement if you want to earn on YouTube via affiliate marketing. All you need to do is declare that you have a clear affiliate relationship with the product’s manufacturer and that you will earn a commission from it if they click the link.
5. Use Live Streaming.
Live streaming can be an effective strategy to generate money on YouTube. You can earn by enabling ads plus utilizing the Super Chat option within your YouTube Partner account.
However, a more creative way to earn a following is by conducting live-streaming sessions. People love this feature because it gives them a sense of what’s happening in ‘real time’.
As we have seen above, selling merchandise or affiliate products can help your revenue stream, however, give it a little more of a twist and market offers while your live audience watches your stream.
This is a more direct form of interaction, and you are better connected to your audience. It’s all about engaging with them. Welcome them as they enter the room. Pin their stickers to the chat for a specified amount of time, depending on how much they pay.
The best way of getting engagement with your audience would be to offer something exclusive. Let them know how they will benefit from watching you live and get an advantage over others who don’t follow your stream.
For example, anyone who subscribes to your channel can donate a monthly fee and become an exclusive member. In return, they’ll get access to members-only content or custom emojis and badges they can use whenever you’re live streaming to make them stand out.
You can also opt to include limited-time promos or different types of discounted rates with a special code. This strategy can help your viewers get hooked and look forward to more live streams in the future.
To help with setting up a schedule, marketing automation software can take care of all of those selling tasks so you can focus on creating the best content.
6. Don’t Neglect YouTube SEO.
There are plenty of video creators out there who don’t consider YouTube search engine optimization a factor when it comes to earning money from their YouTube channel.
On the face of it, YouTube might appear to be a place that hosts video content for you to consume for hours on end.
Because Google actually owns YouTube, you should treat your YouTube videos in the same manner if you wanted to rank on page one of Google itself. That is, consider a user’s search intent and then make sure you are using your target keyword in the title, video descriptions, and tags.
The conventional best practices of SEO still stand when trying to rank your YouTube videos. First, create high-quality content and then gain links to it.
One thing to note here is that this is should be part of your long-term strategy. SEO does not happen quickly but find other YouTube channels to pair up and make videos with, and you could see an increase in your own channel sooner.
This leads me to…
7. Become a YouTube Influencer.
Having even just one viral video that makes its way around the internet can lead to some interesting collaborations to make money from your YouTube channel.
Even if you’ve got 1,000 followers, you can still benefit from sponsorship deals. Influencer rates range from $20 per video up to $20,000+ per post. Some even charge per thousand views.
Media outlets will even seek out videos to use on their own channels. For this to happen, though, make sure you include a proper business email in the back end of your YouTube account for them to contact you on.
Once you strike a deal, it’s good etiquette to be transparent to your audience that they are being advertised to. In fact, FTC in the United States has guidelines along with Google’s own Ad Policies to keep you legally safe.
How to Make Money on YouTube FAQ
How Many Views do You Need to Make Money on YouTube?
There’s no definitive answer to this question since it varies depending on the niche, content quality, and a variety of other factors.
However, in general, you’ll need at least a few thousand views per video in order to start making money from advertising revenue. And if you want to make a full-time living from YouTube, you’ll likely need to generate millions of views per month.
Can a Beginner Make Money on YouTube?
Yes, you can make money as a beginner.
However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
It takes time and effort to build up a viewership and generate consistent income from YouTube ads.
The best way to make money on YouTube is by creating content that people want to watch and that attracts advertisers.
Therefore, it’s important to invest in quality video production and marketing efforts to help your videos reach a larger audience.
There are many different ways to make money, so it’s important to explore all of your options and find the approach that works best for you.
Who is the Highest Paid YouTuber?
According to the latest estimates from Statista, Ryan Kaji is the highest-paid YouTuber with estimated annual earnings of $29.5 million (2020). Other top earners include Mr. Beast (Jimmy Donaldson – $24 million), Dude Perfect ($23 million), and Mark Fischbach ($19.5 million).
What’s interesting about this list is that it features mostly comedy channels, as opposed to channels devoted to gaming, fashion, or DIY tutorials. This reflects the growing trend of brands and advertisers paying top dollar to reach Millennials through social media influencers.
And as YouTube continues to grow in popularity, we can expect these numbers to only increase.
How Many Subscribers do You Need to Make Money on YouTube?
1000 subscribers is a good benchmark to aim for if you’re looking to make money on YouTube. That’s because YouTube pays a percentage of its ad revenue based on how many people watch your videos. And, with around 1 billion active users, there’s a lot of potential viewers to reach.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that there are other ways to make money on YouTube beyond ads.
You can also sell merchandise or products related to your channel, or offer paid subscriptions that give YouTube premium subscribers exclusive access to your content.
But, no matter what route you take, having a large and engaged subscriber base is essential for generating consistent income from your channel.
Making money on YouTube can be tough for new content creators, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need expensive equipment or fancy editing software if you come up with an idea that is entertaining enough.
If you’re just starting out, consider making a daily vlog where people will tune in every day to see what happens next. Another option could be creating tutorials like makeup tips or how-to DIY projects that are fun and interesting for viewers who might not know much about the topic themselves yet.
To grow your channel and increase revenue from the standard advertising funnel, try and get creative with monetization strategies like branded content or product placement videos. You’ll be surprised by how many opportunities there can be when it comes to making money off of video production.
The key is to be creative and have fun. If you are not having a good time producing content for your channel, chances are no one else will want to watch it either.
Just remember that success in this business takes time and commitment, so don’t give up if you’re not seeing immediate results, and don’t be afraid of experimenting while building your brand.
It’s time to be the pilot of your life and not the passenger.
Which creative way was your favorite, and which one are you going to try first?
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Chris Bournelis is a blogger, search engine optimization, and content marketing specialist. He has been working in the online business since 2015. Join him here at ChrisBournelis.com for the best SaaS reviews and tips to get the most out of your online business.