Whether you’ve never posted a video on Youtube before, or you’ve been working for years to grow your channel, understanding how to make money with Youtube is crucial to continuing growth. With multiple Youtubers achieving multi-millionaire status, doing Youtube full-time has become a lucrative opportunity not only to pay the bills, but also to get rich. You can do the following to make money on and through your platform on YouTube.
1. YouTube Ads
This is the most basic and obvious strategy for making money on Youtube. This method is simple and requires low overhead and almost no labor beyond making the video itself. However, it’s not a great one to rely on as a main method of revenue.
Revenue made from Youtube ads comes from a few sources. Combined, these sources make up what’s called an RPM or revenue per mile. RPMs basically denote how much money you can make from Youtube itself. You might also hear about CPM or cost per 1,000 impressions. The main difference between CPM and RPM is that CPM includes Youtube’s revenue share, while RPM is your take-home after Youtube’s share is cut. CPM includes only Youtube ads and Youtube Premium, while RPM also includes the following:
- Youtube Ads
- Youtube Premium
- Channel Memberships (minimum 1,000 subscribers)
- Merch Shelf (Merch Shelf is a feature that lets you sell merchandise that you showcase)
- Super Chat
Money from Youtube analytics tends to be the lowest among the strategies listed here. As of February 2022, CPMs are normally around $2/thousand people. We saw them range anywhere from $0.25 to $5. To make $500/month, you’d have to generate 500,000 views/month.
While this may eventually be a sustainable form of revenue generation, if you stack multiple forms of revenue, you can make a lot more money with that many views, and you can also hit $500/month with fewer views. Youtube analytic revenue should be seen as more of a perk than a solid stream of revenue.
2. Super Chat
Super Chat is a feature that Youtube added in 2017 as a means of competing in the live-streaming service wars. This is a donation feature that allows viewers’ comments to be highlighted and pinned to the top of a streamer’s chat during a live stream. There are pros and cons to revenue generated from Super Chat.
Pros of Super Chat: Revenue made from Super chat can accumulate quickly, especially if you’re doing a lot of live streaming. This is a unique source of revenue that really can’t be made in any other way, as viewers can’t normally pay to be noticed by a creator. Plus, if you’re a good live streamer, and you pay close attention to the people who use Super Chat, you can quickly build up a strong Livestream following that will help you add Super Chat revenue regularly.
Cons of Super Chat: Some videos and channels just aren’t built for live streaming as much as others. For example, gamers can easily Livestream a game, monitor a chat, and regularly have large numbers of viewers, even if they’re doing the same thing repeatedly. People may be more likely to use Super Chat during this type of streaming because more people are likely to comment, and viewers may be more willing to pay to get noticed. This is less likely to be the case for something like tutorial or review channels, where everybody will need the video at different times as they need help, or consider a product.
While Super Chat might seem like it’s built for large channels with easy live streaming abilities, it can also be effective for small channels too if you have something special that you can do on Livestream. Be creative with what you do on Livestream. For example, if you do painting tutorial videos, consider live streaming yourself working on a project or speedrunning a painting.
Finally, if you’re going to work on Super Chat generating regular revenue, invite your viewers to participate. Viewers want to know that they’ve heard, and love the feeling that they’re connecting with somebody that they watch online. Invite them to be a part of the channel by encouraging participation, especially during live streaming.
Also, make their money worth it. After you invite people to participate in your channel, make sure that they get rewarded for participating. You could consider giving shoutouts to people who donate, or you could interact with them on a more intimate level. That way, they’ll feel great because they’ll feel even more connected to you!
3. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a great opportunity for both big and small channels to begin bringing in larger sources of revenue. You can likely make more off of affiliate marketing than you can from ad revenue. At its core, affiliate marketing is basically making a commission for something that you advertise on your channel.
This is slightly different from sponsors, which we discuss below. With a sponsorship, you’re getting paid just to advertise, and the amount you’ll be paid is less likely to be dependent on how many sales you generate. With affiliate marketing, how much you make is directly correlated to how much you’re influencing the number of sales of a product.
Affiliate programs are abundant. Most companies that offer products or services of any kind are willing to make deals for affiliate marketing if they don’t have any setup. So if you’re in a niche field, or want to create a partnership with a business, don’t be afraid to reach out and see what kind of opportunities are available. Affiliate marketing is a win-win in almost every case!
If you’re looking for opportunities to simply make easy money with affiliate marketing, check out Amazon Associates, which has millions of products available for affiliate marketing. All you have to do is choose what you want to market, and Amazon takes care of the rest.
You might be thinking that affiliate marketing won’t work because not that many people are interested in your recommendations with bigger Youtubers also being affiliates, but that’s not always the case. Forbes suggests that 82% of people are likely to follow micro-influencers recommendations. There’s almost no downside to becoming an affiliate marketer, so give it a shot!
One quick tip for affiliate marketing: pick products that line up with your content and your audience. I.E., if you review outdoor grilling equipment, don’t recommend makeup/doll brands to your viewers. If you’re an expert in a field, people are more likely to take your recommendations for products in that field. You can be an affiliate marketer for anything, but you want to offer your audience products that they’ll be likely to buy and use. Plus, if you offer good recommendations, that could be a reason for more people to follow you!
4. Services Based on Content
The next three all fall into a similar category: they are all things that you create and offer to viewers. However, there are subtle differences that can help you create a wide-reaching channel and increase your number of streams of revenue.
First up is offering services related to the content that you offer. Services differ from the other two because they require your individual input and expertise. If you host a channel that teaches tennis tips, you could also offer individual or group lessons to people around your area.
If you have a review channel, consider becoming a product-tester for products in your area of expertise. Whatever it is, you’re doing something that not many other people could do. As a Youtuber, don’t be afraid to use your influence for a positive impact. Youtube can be a tool to market service.
Another service that you could offer as a Youtuber is video-editing or content creation. Many Youtubers edit their own videos before uploading, and this is a viable skill that many people need. You could even offer video-editing courses for beginners, or edit other Youtubers’ videos! Taking the time to learn how to edit at a higher level could mean not only more views for your channel but an opportunity to work getting paid by other Youtubers as well.
5. Products Based on Content
Aside from services, you can also offer products related to your content. These products can come in many forms. If you run a cooking Youtube channel, you could create a cookbook, or sell recipes. If you do fitness-related content, you could offer workout plans. You could even set up membership payments for a subscription service to something unique that you offer.
Now you might be thinking, “But those products already exist, and people will just go to the bigger channel for stuff like this.” That is not always the case. If people are following you, it’s because they believe you have some sort of unique value. Once you create that value, they’ll be more likely to buy from you than you might imagine. This is true for the next revenue strategy as well.
The difference between merchandise and content-based products is that merchandise consists of very general objects–coffee mugs, t-shirts, stickers, etc. They are more universal and less unique. This is where you can “build your brand” and help people become real fans.
Your merchandise should still relate back to your content, even if it does consist of more generic items. Something as small as a logo that you use consistently, or a catchphrase could be enough to make your merchandise uniquely yours. Again, know your audience.
Amazon allows you to sell your merchandise easily. Merch by Amazon is a great way to begin exploring your merchandise opportunities. Pretty much all you have to do is upload a logo or other artwork that you want to be printed, set a list price, and Amazon will take care of the rest. Similar to affiliate marketing, you’ll get paid royalties on every product that you sell.
Crowdfunding is another way that you can build up a stream of revenue through YouTube. When people think of crowdfunding, they tend to think of Go Fund Me, charitable causes, or startup ventures. However, crowdfunding can become a sustainable source of revenue for content creators as well.
Crowdfunding can work in two ways. First, viewers can pay for a subscription-based service, where they will be offered some sort of benefit for their subscription, such as early or exclusive access to content, the ability to interact with the creator on a closer level, or ad-free content. Second, the other option is to have viewers pay per piece of content. This is a popular option for creators that don’t upload content as regularly. Patreon offers both forms of crowdfunding.
Don’t feel like you’re having to beg or grovel just because you’re using a crowdfunding service. Often, people want to help creators create. There’s no shame in having to make money in order to create something and do what you love–everybody needs money, and money can help you fulfill your mission. When you have a crowdfunding account, you can advertise it on YouTube.
8. Sponsored Videos
Getting sponsored is one of the best ways to generate revenue on YouTube for good reason. Sponsorships tend to offer better money for easier advertising, and your revenue generally isn’t based on the number of products sold. However, there are usually stricter thresholds for when companies will begin offering sponsorships.
While this can vary, and there are opportunities for smaller sponsorships (particularly in niche fields), 5,000 subscribers is a good number to shoot for. This is the minimum threshold required to get connected with Famebit, which is a service that connects sponsors and creators. Social Bluebook is another service that can provide creators with statistics that can be shared with advertisers in order to facilitate sponsorship relationships.
9. Build Your Own Website
This can work in tandem for many of the above opportunities (e.g., you can sell merchandise on your own website), but it can function as a stream of revenue in and of itself as well. Online advertisers care about web traffic, and if you can get your followers to visit your website and show that you have regular web traffic, you could get advertisers to pay you directly for advertisements. Taking out the middle-man for advertisers can mean a lot more money in your pocket.
However, running your own website can be a hassle, and services that run a website for you can be expensive. Be aware too that not all website-builders (like Wix and WordPress) allow advertising without taking a cut. Nonetheless, it might be worth jumping through the hoops in order to advertise directly for a company, particularly if your web traffic is large enough to attract interest for advertising.
10. Email List
This final option ties closely with most of what we’ve talked about above. Email lists will rarely generate revenue by themselves. However, they can be a good opportunity to increase web traffic, can tie in closely with affiliate marketing, increase customer/viewer loyalty, and can help you sell your own products.
Sending out a regular email might seem like a tall order, but not all email lists need to be consistent. For larger, modern enterprises, weekly emails may be necessary. For smaller businesses, sending out emails with deals, new products, or new content may be enough to make a difference.
Remember, your goal is not to get everyone to buy everything; it’s to maximize your value as a YouTube creator and utilize that value to generate more revenue so that you can continue increasing your value.