What started as an online video sharing platform by three PayPal employees, YouTube has grown into a $15 billion-a-year business. Co-founder Jawed Karim published the first video, “Me at the zoo.” The platform has over 800 million videos now.
YouTube users, both content creators, and viewers are worldwide. To put things into perspective, almost half of the global internet users access YouTube every month. It has 2.1 billion users worldwide watching videos ranging from how to do “things” and gardening to comedy, music, and entertainment industry.
Based on the user base and popularity, YouTube is one of the best platforms to make money online. If you enjoy creating content and want to earn extra money following your passion, you should learn how to make money on YouTube. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll show you different ways of making money on YouTube and a bonus tip on how you can make money on YouTube without making videos.
Let’s first get the basics out of the way. These are the minimum setup you need to start making money on YouTube.
The first and foremost you’d need is a YouTube channel, assuming you already know your channel category. YouTube channel is the place where all your content lives.
Now, please do not confuse it with a YouTube account. Anyone can have a YouTube account, but you need a YouTube channel to upload and share videos.
A Google (Gmail) account will help you register for a YouTube account. Once you have a YouTube account, you can create a channel.
Create And Upload Videos
Creating and uploading videos is one of the significant ingredients of becoming a successful YouTuber.
Content is the key.
However, it is not the most challenging part. If you’ve narrowed down your niche in your expertise industry, content ideas come readily. Also, the contents do not have to be perfect.
Fineness evolves through repetition.
You can refer to the top YouTubers’ early videos to understand the power of consistency and perseverance. The YouTube stars consistently upload videos and are always aiming to produce better content. The willingness to learn and apply can take your channel to a new level.
Relevance is a significant element of the content’s success. Viewers find content through a search query within or outside YouTube. Therefore, you should upload search engine optimized videos using the relevant title, description, thumbnail picture, tags, hashtags, and category.
Setup a Google AdSense Account
Google manages ads on websites/blogs and YouTube through Google AdSense. You must associate your YouTube channel to an approved Google AdSense account to get paid. Google AdSense will hold your payment till the threshold and then payout through direct deposit or mail-in check.
Participate in YouTube Partner Program (YPP)
YouTube Partner Program (YPP) is a partnership agreement between the content creator and YouTube to the YouTube’s terms and conditions for video ads. You must join the YouTube Partner Program to start monetizing your channel. You can join the program through YouTube studio.
YouTube does not allow everyone to join its partner program. Your channel must meet the following requirements to be eligible for YPP:
- The YouTube channel must have over 1,000 subscribers
- It must accumulate over 4000 watch hours within the last 12 months
- It must have a linked AdSense account
- It must accept YouTube’s monetization policies
- You must live in a country or region where YPP is available and
- Your channel should not have an active community guideline strikes
Once you are on board with the YouTube Partner Program, you can enable display ads on your videos. Your channel will start earning revenue immediately with little to no setup time.
Different Ways To Make Money on YouTube
While YouTube ad revenue may be the majority of all earnings, it is not the only way to earn money on YouTube. There are many creative ways to make money on YouTube. Below, I’ll discuss six effective ways of making money on YouTube and the YouTube ads.
YouTube advertising revenue is the primary method of making money on YouTube. Once you’re eligible to monetize your channel, you can start generating revenue through display ads. There are four different video ad types based on the ad format. They are:
- Skippable video ads that viewers have the option to skip after 5 seconds
- Non-skippable ads that are 15 to 20 seconds long with no skip option
- Bumper ads that are 6 seconds long
- Overlay ads that show up only on computers and cover 20% of the video
Based on their internal algorithm, YouTube determines the ad type to display on videos. The content creator has no control over the display ad besides turning it on or off for monetization.
How Much Money Do You Make Per 1,000 Views on YouTube?
The earnings per 1,000 views (RPM) depend on video length, content category, language, and geographical location. It ranges from a few cents to 15 dollars. RPM represents the total earnings based on the video ads. It is not the amount content creators receive.
YouTube only pays 55% of the net revenue through ads and takes 45% of the share.
YouTube does not pay per video views, although a video with million views has higher earning potential than the one with fewer views. The total monetized playbacks determine the creator’s earnings rather than mere watch time.
Nevertheless, ads are still the easiest way of making money on YouTube. Once set up, it becomes a semi-passive, if not wholly passive, income source. You’ll make money while sleeping.
Affiliate marketing has been around for decades. It comprises earning an online referral commission through an affiliated brand or product recommendation. The referral may be a sale, sign-ups, leads, or downloads.
Affiliate marketing is one of the quickest ways to start making money online. You can get started with it immediately with no products to sell, zero-cost sign-ups, and a relatively short wait time.
YouTube provides an incredible platform to promote affiliate links. You can add affiliate links to your video descriptions during uploads right away. You can get started right away, even if the channel is pending YouTube Partner Program approval.
“How to” channels and product review channels produce the best results with affiliate marketing. They already have videos related to the products and can make honest recommendations. You can earn commissions through sales.
Channel memberships are another great way of supplementing your YouTube earnings. It is a YouTube channel subscription feature that lets your loyal fans join your channel for a monthly fee. You can offer subscription perks and levels to the fans. It can be anywhere from immediate access to the member-only contents, live streams, and community posts to badges and emojis.
Channel membership is only available to eligible content creators that are part of the YouTube Partner Program. Kids’ channels do not qualify for the YouTube membership feature.
YouTube Patreon is another method third-party membership program. Patreon supports creating membership levels with perks for sign-ups like YouTube channel memberships. Content creators use Patreon to receive donations from their fans.
YouTube Merchandise (Merch) Shelf
A merch shelf displays content creators’ branded merchandise on their YouTube channel. This YouTube feature allows creators to sell their merchandise to potential customers without leaving their channel.
It is available only to the creator with more than 10,000 subscribers and is eligible for monetization.
You can activate “Merch” under the “monetization” section on YouTube studio. YouTube lets you organize your shop through third-party platforms like Spreadshop and Spring and then connect them to display products.
Promote Business and Drive Dales
YouTube is the second largest search engine. Over 2 billion users are on the platform every year. Therefore, it is a perfect platform to promote your product or service.
YouTube attracts businesses to showcase their products, educate potential customers, generate leads, and drive sales. Business YouTube channels help companies to reach a larger audience. It will eventually help you convert visitors into customers.
Super Chat and Super Stickers
Super chat and super stickers are highlighted text and emojis that a viewer can select and send to the content creator for a fee during live streams and premieres. The Super chat text or Super sticker emojis are pinned to the top of the message and displays the sender’s name and donation amount in color (Color depends on the donation amount).
Super chat and Super stickers promote interaction between the content creators and fans. It also provides an additional source of income for the creator during the live stream. It is one of the fun ways of making money on YouTube.
YouTube Premium and Shorts
YouTube Premium is a paid subscription program where subscribers enjoy ad-free YouTube content. That does not mean YouTube will not pay content creators for the views from paid subscribers. YouTube will share the revenue with the content creators. The content creators make money even if no ads are displayed.
YouTube premium has features like video downloads and background play. Viewers tend to consume more content if they’re not interrupted by ads. It is also beneficial for the content creator because they also make money for background plays and downloads.
Youtube has set up a YouTube Short Fund of $100million to reward creators for creating engaging YouTube Shorts. The best part about the fund is that you need not be eligible for the YouTube Partner program. By taking out the minimum subscriber threshold requirement, YouTube made it easier for anyone to compete for the fund. A creator can get anything from $100 to $10,000 through YouTube Shorts.
How To Make Money on YouTube Without Making Videos?
It might come as a surprise for most because, technically, you must create your videos to upload to your YouTube channel for monetization. While this is generally true, you do not have to make your own videos for YouTube.
Stock Footage and Free Audio Library
Many stock footage websites are available online, either free or nominal subscription-based. Like videos, you can find websites with huge audio libraries. YouTube also has a free audio library that you can use for any videos without restriction.
If you pair the stock footage with free audio and/or add voice-over, you’ve got an excellent video to upload on your YouTube channel and start monetization.
YouTube Videos Under Creative Commons License
YouTube creative commons (CC) license permits the content creator to use the video on YouTube with a credit back to the original creator. Without any copyright strikes, the creator can edit, add, modify, and upload to their YouTube Channel. The content creator can monetize just like their videos.
You should select high-engagement videos under creative commons to earn money from the ad revenue. YouTube’s database has huge trendy videos under creative commons license that you can download, tweak and re-upload to your channel.
As I discussed under the Basic setup above, you have to make sure the video is discoverable through the search by adding relevant titles, descriptions, and tags. Trending videos provide a boost in views. You know these contents work because they are already performing well.
Fair Use on YouTube
Based on YouTube, “Fair use” is “a legal doctrine that says you can reuse copyright-protected material under certain circumstances without getting permission from the copyright owner .”The term “fair use” is contextual, but basically, the work of commentary, research, teaching, and news reporting falls under fair use in the United States.
You can build a YouTube channel using clips from popular movies, songs, research, or news reporting under fair use.
Disclaimer: This is not legal advice, and you should seek one if you are not sure about any content to use under “fair use.”
Movie reviews and analysis videos are top-rated on YouTube. Socialblade estimates “Screen Rant,” a YouTube channel on entertainment, makes estimated earnings between 100K and 1M US dollars. The channel discusses plots, theories, and reviews about the movie with jump-cut clips from the film itself, and he has been able to do it without any copyright strikes.
The Bottom Line
YouTube is an excellent platform for starting a side hustle and generating extra income. It gives you an option to take your passion to the internet world free of cost. You can get started immediately with no upfront cost. Once the channel grows, the side hustle can become a full-time income.
All modern smartphones are equipped with video recording capabilities enough for the YouTube platform. You can become a YouTuber without leaving your day job. It is incredibly flexible and does not cost a thing to get started. And now you know how to make money on YouTube; you might as well try it out.
Ram is an Engineer by day and a personal finance blogger by night. He shares his tips and tricks on earning, saving, and growing money through his blog, Dollar for Cent. He uses his analytical and problem-solving skills to tackle money problems, find deals, and increase wealth. He loves his day job but believes our lives should not be location-bound and time-constrained. He documents his financial journey and hopes to reach financial freedom.