Did you know that YouTube paid its content creators more than $30 billion between 2019 and 2021?
A recent report by Oxford Economics found that YouTube’s total economic impact in the US was $16 billion (equivalent to 345K jobs) in 2019.
In short, making money on YouTube is not only possible, it’s a hugely profitable business that’s empowering millions of entrepreneurs, companies, and small businesses around the globe.
So how can you join this global revolution and claim a share in the YouTube economy?
In this article, I’ll share nine different ways you can make money by creating high-quality Youtube content.
Let’s get started.
Before discussing various Youtube monetization methods, let’s quickly find out how much money the top YouTube channels made in 2020.
#10 | Jeffree Star | Earnings: $15M | Total Views (2019-20): 600M | Total Subscribers: 16.9M
#9 | David Dobrik | Earnings: $15.5M | Views: 2.7 billion | Subscribers: 18M
#8 | Blippi (Stevin John) | Earnings: $17M | Views: 8.2 billion | Subscribers: 27.4M
#7 | Nastya (Anastasia Radzinskaya) | Earnings: $18.5M | Views: 39 billion | Subscribers: 190.6M
#6 | Preston Arsement | Earnings: $19M | Views: 3.3 billion | Subscribers: 33.4M
#5 | Markiplier (Mark Fischbach) | Earnings: $19.5M | Views: 3.1 billion | Subscribers: 27.8M
#4 | Rhett and Link | Earnings: $20M | Views: 1.9 billion | Subscribers: 41.8M
#3 | Dude Perfect | Earnings: $23M | Views: 2.77 billion | Subscribers: 57.5M
#2 | Mr. Beast (Jimmy Donaldson) | Earnings: $24M | Views: 3 billion | Subscribers: 47.8M
#1 | Ryan Kaji | Earnings: $29.5M | Views: 12.2 billion | Subscribers: 41.7M
Those are just the top ten highest-paid channels. But thousands of other YouTubers are consistently generating a sizable income by publishing high-quality content on their channels.
You can be one of them.
Let me show you how.
There are many different ways to make money on YouTube, as I’ll show you in this article.
But all of them will only work when you consistently create high-quality content on your channel.
The number one reason most people never make a sizeable income from YouTube is that they create content for a few weeks or months and throw in the towel.
You need to be patient and consistent if you want your channel to grow.
For example, it took Marina Magilko, who owns three YouTube channels with 1M+ subscribers, 240 days (almost a year) to reach 1000 subscribers on her channels.
But the great thing about YouTube is that once your channel starts gaining momentum, the subscribers and views start coming in much faster.
Getting to your first 10K or 100K subscribers takes much longer than the next 100K.
Why? Because as the number of videos grows on your channel, their collective viewership keeps increasing and fuels the growth of your subscriber base.
This is why you need to patiently create content for the first few months before your channel starts getting noticed.
And once the views start coming in, you can use any of the following methods to make money from your content.
The most popular way to make money with YouTube is through the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).
The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) is a monetization program that allows content creators to earn money through advertising on their YouTube videos.
When you become a YouTube Partner, you allow YouTube to run ads during your videos. If a viewer watches an ad on your video for at least 30 seconds or clicks a link in the ad, you earn a certain percentage of the advertising fees.
How much can you earn as a Youtube Partner? Ryan Kanji, the highest-earning YouTuber last year, made almost 90% of his YouTube earnings from the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).
What makes the YPP even more attractive is the type of ads YouTube shows.
In its early years, YouTube used to show ads based on a video’s content. But now, it shows ads based on the viewer’s interests and browsing patterns.
As a result, the engagement level of such ads is much higher, resulting in higher earning for YouTube Partners.
The YouTube Partner Program is open to everyone who meets the following conditions.
- Live in a country/region where the YouTube Partner Program is available.
- Have no active Community Guidelines strikes on your channel.
- Have more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months.
- Have more than 1,000 subscribers.
- Have a linked AdSense account.
Once you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply to the YouTube Partner Program.
Applying to the YouTube Partner Program is relatively easy.
Step 1: Sign into your YouTube account.
Step 2: Click on your account icon on the top right of your screen and click YouTube Studio.
Step 3: In the YouTube Studio, click on Monetization in the left menu.
Step 4: On this page, you get a snapshot of your performance against the eligibility criteria for the YouTube Partner Program.
For example, in the screenshot above, the channel has completed 1000 subscribers and has zero Community Guideline violations. But it still hasn’t completed 4000 watch hours which is required to join the YPP.
This means the channel will have to wait till it meets all the requirements. You have the option to enable an email alert from YouTube when you qualify for their partner program.
Step 5: Once you get the qualification email from YouTube, head over to the Monetization section of your account, and agree to the YouTube Partner Program Terms & Conditions to apply.
Step 6: You’ll need an active Google Adsense account to join the YouTube Partner Program. Apply for an account here if you don’t already have one.
Step 7: Your application will go into manual review and, if your channel doesn’t violate any of YouTube’s content policies, you’ll get a positive response in 15-30 days.
That’s it! You’ve successfully joined the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), where you can make thousands of dollars every month through advertising on your content.
The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) has other monetization plans, such as YouTube Premium and Super Chat.
However, most of your earnings would still come from the regular advertising program.
If you’re an online course creator or an e-learning professional, YouTube is an ideal platform to generate leads for your business, add students to your funnel, and drive more sales.
Unlike the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), selling courses on YouTube doesn’t have any eligibility criteria.
You only need to consistently publish high-quality content, establish authority on your topic, and persuade your viewers to buy from you.
Numerous online course sellers are already doing it.
For example, here’s a weight loss expert launching his new course through YouTube.
So how exactly can you launch an online course on YouTube?
Here’s how it works.
YouTube will be your primary traffic source where you’ll publish free content to grow your audience, build your subscriber base, and establish you as an authority in your niche.
Once you’re a credible expert on your topic, persuading your subscribers to buy from you becomes much easier.
When it’s time to launch your course, you’ll set it up using an online course platform and simply share its landing page link with your audience on YouTube.
Ken McElroy, an investment expert, is among the countless course sellers who successfully used this strategy.
He has built authority in his niche by publishing hundreds of free videos that answer all the questions of his target audience.
He launches his course once or twice a year by announcing it on YouTube and other social media platforms.
In short, YouTube is a place where you can demonstrate your expertise and build authority in your niche since it’s the world’s second most popular search engine.
Once you have a sizable audience base, you can redirect it to your course landing page when you launch your product.
Affiliate marketing is among the most popular ways to make money online and on YouTube.
If you’re not familiar with affiliate marketing, here’s how it works.
You promote someone else’s products to your audience and earn a commission on every sale you refer.
Why is affiliate marketing such a popular business model? Because consumers do not trust advertising anymore and seek authentic third-party reviews before buying products online.
According to research, 9 out of 10 consumers check online reviews before a purchase decision. Similarly, 54.7% of consumers check at least four reviews before buying a product.
If you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche by publishing high-quality YouTube content regularly, you can easily persuade your audience to buy your recommended products.
While there are many branches of affiliate marketing, here are the two most profitable types you should pursue.
Become An Amazon Associate
Amazon Associates is the world’s most popular affiliate marketing program that allows you to sell products in every niche under the sun.
While Amazon’s commission rates are pretty low compared to other affiliate programs, its product variety and conversion rate make it the best affiliate program by far.
So whatever niche you’re in, you can find Amazon products to promote as an affiliate to your audience.
For example, if you’re a weight-loss consultant and regularly publish videos on fitness, healthy diet, juicing, etc., you can recommend the best juicers to your audience from Amazon.
To create successful affiliate content, don’t try to sell the product at all. Instead, help the buyer find the best solution for their needs.
In the case of juicers, show them various types of juicers, share their pros and cons, and help them reach the right decision.
Place your affiliate links in the video description from where your audience can purchase the product.
Promoting various SaaS products and other software types is a hugely profitable niche within the affiliate marketing business model.
Again, don’t try to sell the product.
Instead, find the most useful SaaS products in your niche and show your audience how they can achieve different business goals using them.
For example, here’s a video that shows how marketers can use SEMRush, a leading SEO tool, to find lucrative search keywords.
You can find the creator’s affiliate link in the video’s description.
Sponsored content is another popular way YouTubers make a lot of money.
It’s similar to affiliate marketing in the sense that you’ll promote someone else’s product. However, unlike affiliate marketing, you don’t get paid for generating sales or leads with sponsored content.
Instead, you partner with a brand and charge a one-time fee to create a video about their product or service.
You can start doing sponsored content even with a few hundred subscribers. However, you’ll be able to charge more money as your subscriber base and influence grows.
You’ll find sponsored content in all kinds of niches. For example, here’s a sponsored recipe video that uses a specific brand as an ingredient.
The most engaging sponsored content doesn’t directly promote or sell a brand. Instead, it naturally makes the brand a part of its process.
So, how do you find brands for sponsored content opportunities?
When a YouTube channel starts growing, brands often reach out themselves for sponsored content. However, you could also pitch your channel to the brands that actively invest in digital marketing channels.
Secondly, sign up to influencer marketing platforms like Izea, Upfluence, and other similar sites that connect brands with content creators.
As your YouTube channel grows and you start building authority in your niche, many of your subscribers will reach out to hire your services.
For example, if you create content about real estate investment, people may want to hire you to manage their portfolios.
Similarly, if your channel is about website design, brands may reach out to you for hiring your design services.
You can use YouTube to set up your own agency business by hiring people to do the work for you, while you keep growing your YouTube channel.
YouTube is also a great place to launch your coaching and speaking career.
Why? Because you’re already doing both of these things on your channel. Why not turn it into a separate business and diversify your income?
For example, Chris Ducker, an entrepreneur and author, used his YouTube channel to build a thriving coaching and speaking career.
Numerous other YouTubers have also transitioned into coaching and speaking businesses based on the authority they built with their Youtube content.
If you’ve built a sizable YouTube subscriber base, selling your own merchandise using Shopify or a Woocommerce store can be a great idea.
I specifically mentioned Shopify because it makes the process of building and growing an eCommerce business much easier.
For example, you could connect your Shopify store to sell T-shirts, mugs, caps, and other merchandise using a print-on-demand service like Oberlo.
This is how Roman Atwood, a famous YouTuber with 15 million+ subscribers, launched his merchandise brand.
Selling merchandise works really well for personal brand channels with highly engaged audiences.
Here’s how you can set it up.
Step 2: Start a Shopify store and integrate it with Oberlo.
Step 3: List your designs in your store.
Step 4: Announce your merchandise on your YouTube channel and promote it in your videos by adding your store’s link in the description.
Step 5: When a customer places an order in your store, Oberlo fulfills and ships it directly to the customer.
Step 6: Oberlo deducts the product cost from the customer’s payment and credits the profit to your Shopify account.
All this happens backstage, which means your customer never knows that you’re using a print-on-demand service for your merchandise supply.
Suppose you’re a travel vlogger who’s shot stunning video footage of unseen places or run a viral content YouTube channel with unique videos. In that case, you can easily make thousands of dollars by licensing your work to different news channels and media companies.
In fact, many media companies will reach out to you themselves if your content interests them.
You can also upload them to a site like Jukin Media, where you can make hundreds of dollars per license for your video content.
For example, this video of a sliding dog got featured on several news channels and websites thanks to its viral nature.
Fan funding is another monetization method that more and more YouTube content creators are using these days.
It’s basically a way to crowdfund your YouTube channel by offering monthly memberships to your YouTube subscribers who want to support your work.
With over 200,000 members, Patreon is the most popular platform YouTube creators use for fan funding.
In addition to your regular YouTube content, you can offer your members exclusive content to provide additional value.
BuyMeACoffee, Hy.Page, Tribe, etc., are other platforms you can use to grow exclusive fan funding groups to support your work.
You’ve heard of real estate flipping and even website flipping, right? YouTube channel flipping works the same way.
You grow a YouTube channel, publish high-quality content regularly, increase your subscriber base, and start generating income from it.
And then you sell it to someone for 30x-60x your monthly earnings.
That’s YouTube channel flipping, and it’s becoming a huge business these days.
While you can flip any kind of YouTube channel, specific niches are more suited to flipping than others.
For example, channels that share informational content without showing anyone are easier to flip because their audience doesn’t bond with the creator.
Similarly, channels exclusively publishing affiliate content and making a regular income are easier to sell than personal channels.
If you’re serious about YouTube flipping, here’s a really good strategy to follow:
Grow your main YouTube channel based on your personal brand with a loyal audience. Then create a side channel and use your main channel’s reach to grow its audience.
But make sure it’s not based on your personal brand like your main channel.
Once that channel has a few thousand subscribers and starts making money, sell it to the highest bidder.
This way, you can keep your main channel and use it to grow and sell multiple channels on the sides.
You need to reach 1000 subscribers and complete 4000 hours of watch time in 12 months to qualify for the YouTube Partnership Program, enabling advertising on your content.
There’s no requirement for minimum views for other monetization methods like affiliate marketing, sponsored content, etc.
There’s no fixed answer to this question because YouTube’s advertising rates vary with industries and regions. However, based on the industry averages, you’ll need around 500K views to make $1000 from the YouTube Partnership Program.
You can earn money on YouTube through advertising by joining the YouTube Partnership Program, selling affiliate products, publishing sponsored content, launching your own merchandise, and various other methods.
Making money on YouTube requires consistency and hard work. You’ll be competing against thousands of other content creators, so you need to create high-quality videos that engage your viewers and provide them value.
If you’re starting a YouTube channel from scratch, you need to be prepared to consistently create high-quality content for at least 6-8 months (unless one of your videos goes viral) to start seeing results.
As soon as you complete 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours (in 12 months), you’ll qualify for the advertising program on YouTube.
Again, there’s no fixed answer to this question because YouTube considers multiple variables in determining a video’s advertising fees. But on average, a YouTube channel would need close to a million subscribers to make $100K a year.
Making money on YouTube becomes much easier when you build a loyal audience around your channel. Once you have enough subscribers who consider you a niche authority, you can route them to various platforms like an eCommerce site, your course’s landing page, or an agency site to sell them your products and services.
Let me know if you have any questions about making money on YouTube.
I’ll be happy to respond to them in the comments section.
By Jawad Khan for Learning Revolution