It took me quite a few years to catch on to what a massive platform YouTube had become.
Though it was officially launched in 2005 as an online space where people could upload homemade video of themselves and their friends, it quickly blew up and was acquired by Google in 2006. Then, backed up by the power of G, YouTube was able to negotiate tons of deals that would allow not only users to upload videos with copyrighted music and material but that would eventually force movie studios, television networks and music labels to make the move to the platform, uploading their official content there.
Don’t get me wrong ― I used to watch so many No Doubt video clips on YouTube (I still do). But I didn’t catch the rise of that other niche that would soon make up the majority of YouTube channels we see out there today: the YouTuber creator channels.
Nowadays, there are tons of YouTubers making very specific content on their channels. From that guy who cooks homemade pasta to that lady who dresses like an 18th-century woman, YouTube has it all. And the most appealing part of it is that those creators actually earn money from YouTube.
But how does that work, exactly? How can you make money on YouTube? Is having a YouTube channel still worth it? Is it really possible to earn money there?
Read on to find some answers!
📹 How can you earn money from YouTube?
There are two big ways you can make money on YouTube: one of them involves monetizing your content and your channel, and the other one involves, well, not doing that. We’ll cover both of them in this post, so let’s start by focusing on the first option.
If you’re serious about cultivating a strong following and making YouTube one of your main income sources, then you’ll need to build your channel with one goal in mind: enabling monetization.
This will allow you to officially turn your YouTube channel into a sales channel. It’ll also allow you to join the select club of YouTube content creators that get to use all the different tools and resources available to make money on the platform.
In order to make that happen, you’ll need to qualify for the YouTube Partner Program (or YPP, to keep it short and sweet) ― and this is usually where things get tricky. Up until last year, any creator that wanted to join the YPP needed to meet the following criteria:
- Be compliant with YouTube monetization policies
- Hit 1,000 subscribers
- Have 4,000 public watch hours over the last 12 months
To put it mildly, those are pretty hard numbers to achieve ― not least because YouTube has become an increasingly competitive platform.
Just take Canada, for instance: a recent polling made by Statisa revealed that around 33 million Canadians watch YouTube. That’s great news because it means that your target audience will probably be a part of those millions of viewers, right? So you’ll have plenty of chance to earn money with YouTube.
But also, how do you convince those millions of people to watch your videos? If you’re a small garment store, for instance, how can you compete with the big guys like Herschel or Beyond the Rack?
It’s tough. But one of the most exciting things about YouTube is that, unlike many other platforms out there, it is increasingly adapting to make room for the new demands their creators and their viewers are pushing for.
So hear me out: there’s no denying that becoming a YouTuber with millions of followers is not as easy as it was back in the day, when people didn’t have to think that much about the videos they were uploading.
But that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing because it creates the opportunity to innovate in terms of the format and the content you’ll be putting out into the world.
If you want proof, just take a look at YouTube Shorts. When it came out in 2021, many were quick to dismiss it as just a TikTok rip-off that wouldn’t last, but it has since become some of the most in-demand content inside the platform, earning millions of views every day.
Its success has become so obvious that YouTube was forced to expand its YPP eligibility criteria. As of 2023, you can also qualify for the YPP if you:
- Have 1,000 subscribers
- Earn 10 million public Shorts views in the last 90 days
Granted, those are still some pretty high numbers. But they are also great news for entrepreneurs and creatives that are wondering how to make money on YouTube because Shorts is a much more palatable format than the longform. It’s easier to go viral, for instance, and you don’t need as much pre-production as you would with a traditional video.
Cool, right? You can learn more about YPP in the video below:
📰 If you’re interested in more TikTok content, check out the resources below:
- Use TikTok Business to Build your Power Business Community
- What is TikTok for Business and How Can It Help eCommerce Merchants?
- How to Blow up Your Business on TikTok
- How to Get More Followers on TikTok
📰 You can also check out how to build a strong following on other social media platforms:
- Writing the Perfect IG Bio to Attract Followers
- How to Create Interactive Posts That Engage on Social Media
- Reaching Customers by Brand New Social Media Testing Strategy
Where should you start if you want to make money on YouTube
If you’re really intent on making money from your YouTube videos, the first thing you need to do is create a YouTube channel.
No, really. Creating a channel is an important step, and it’s not one you should take lightly ― because that’s where you’ll be prompted to come up with some pretty important things, such as your YouTube handle, which also serves as your channel’s URL.
Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:
- If you already have a Google account linked to your business, just use that to log into YouTube.
- Click on “Create channel” and wait for the pop-up to come up. There, you’ll be able to upload your picture and decide on your name and handle. Remember that you need to come up with an exclusive name; otherwise, you won’t be able to move forward with the creation process.
The handle is also the URL for your channel, so make sure to name it properly. The best way to go is to use your own brand name. You can also update it later on if you like, but don’t forget that whichever name you choose will have to follow the requirements listed below:
- It can include underscores, hyphens and periods
- It should have between 3 and 30 characters
- Is cannot be a phone number
- Is cannot be URL-like (for instance, /best-ecommerce-platform-2023)
- It needs to follow YouTube's Community Guidelines
See the video below for a quick step-by-step:
Having a YouTube channel is also a plus because:
- YouTube grew a lot over the past years. YouTube was already pretty big, but it blew up during the pandemic. And it also changed some of your customer’s viewing habits, because Google found out that about 13 million Canadians have now switched to watching YouTube content directly on their TVs, moving away from their computers and smartphones. This is something that you need to be mindful of when you start creating your own YouTube videos.
- Video content has become the new normal. Gone are the days of overly long Facebook posts. Just a couple of months ago, Statisa found out that videos are the most popular type of content online ― in fact, they are watched by 92.8% of internet users worldwide. This is great for people intent on learning how to make money on YouTube because it’s proof that video content is the way forward.
📱If you still like Facebook and your audience is fairly active there, you might want to check these out:
- Optimize Your Global Store Front with Facebook Shop at Shoplazza
- Reach Billions of Customers by Selling on Facebook Shop with Shoplazza
- Use Facebook Live To Increase Your Sales!
- How Facebook Shops Can Help Your Ecommerce Business
📹 The specifics on how to make money on YouTube
Okay, now that we’ve covered the baby steps, let’s dive into some of the tools you’ll be using to make money on YouTube after you enable monetization on your channel.
The resources below will all become available to you once you’re approved on the YouTube Partner Program, and you’ll be able to access each of them on the dashboard of your YouTube account. Its official name is YouTube Studio, though, so keep that in mind.
1. Earn money from YouTube with paid ads
Paid ads are the most established way for creators to earn money from YouTube, which is just another way of saying that they’re a super competitive niche for you to invest in. Ads can also be pretty costly, so if you’re not ready to sacrifice part of your revenue for paid traffic, it might be best to consider some of the other tools that we’ll see next.
Generally speaking, though, YouTube currently supports six different types of ads:
- Bumper ads: These ads are the best option for people who want to figure out how to make money on YouTube with ads and are willing to make the investment to really boost traffic. Bumper ads can have up to 6 seconds and are played before, during or right after a video. They can’t be skipped, which means they’re short, sweet and a surefire hit.
- Masthead ads: These are special ads and you should only use them if you really have the budget for it. Masthead ads are those videos that show up right at the top of the YouTube home feed. They usually show up with the sound off and can last up to 30 seconds.
- Outstream ads: If you’re looking to make money on YouTube by targeting a mainly mobile audience, go with outstream ads. This format is mobile-only and usually starts with the sound off but can generate nice results in terms of mobile outreach.
- In-feed video ads: These are usually displayed as thumbnail images of your video, together with some one or two lines. They can appear in different parts of YouTube and should be inviting enough so that the user clicks on your video.
- Skippable in-stream ads: Ads that appear at the beginning, in the middle or right after a video. They can be skipped after the user watches 5 seconds of them.
- Non-skippable in-stream ads: Ads that can also be displayed at the beginning, in the middle or right after a video. They can have up to 15 seconds, and the user cannot skip them.
2. Use channel memberships
If ads aren’t really your thing and you’re looking for a more organic way to make money on YouTube, you should definitely try out channel memberships.
These memberships work almost like a Patreon or a “fan club” for your YouTube channel because they allow your fans and subscribers to contribute with a monthly membership fee to support your content. In return, you can offer all kinds of different rewards that vary according to the price point of the contributions.
Here are a few ideas to earn money from YouTube with channel memberships:
- Offer exclusive content or an early preview of special videos you’re making
- Offer some perks or special merch, such as special-edition mugs or shirts
- Partner with brands your fans really like to create some special giveaways
You can check some more premium tips on how to make money on YouTube by using channel memberships on the video below:
📰 If you’re interested in creating a YouTube account but you also want to know more about branding, check out the links below:
- What is Branding? A Quick Guide to Building a Brand Identity
- Protect Your Brand with Shoplazza
- How Do I Build My Brand Image?
3. Super-everything to earn money with YouTube
It’s been at least two years since Super Chat and Super Stickers became an official part of the tools a YouTube Partner can use in order to monetize their content.
They’re basically tools that can be activated during a live stream (which we’ll cover in just a sec), allowing your fans and subscribers to stand out among the rest of the followers. They kinda work like this:
- With Super Chat, your fans can purchase a chat position, pinning their comments right on the top of your livestream’s chat. The higher the value they pay, the longer their comment will be up there.
- The Super Sticker works a bit differently: when activated, your fans will be able to highlight their comments with special colors and then pin them to the top of the chat.
4. Don’t shy away from live streams
Live streams are a great option if you’re not interested in creating longform YouTube videos, but you’re still looking for alternatives on how to make money on YouTube.
One of the best things about live streams is that you can do it either on your PC or on your smartphone, and you can also interact with your followers in real time. This is a great format for creators that want to cultivate a more organic, no-frills persona on the platform.
Just remember to keep a close eye on the comments, because they might require moderation. And to make sure your fans know when your stream is taking place, remember to properly announce it on your social media and on your email marketing campaigns.
💣 Pro tip for those of you out there that want to earn money from YouTube: Try creating special live streams as a bonus for your channel members.
You can also turn your live streams into workshops. For instance: If you sell plants online, create special live streams where you show how to pot or repot your plants, how to arrange them so that they go with the house decor, and so on.
5. How to make money with YouTube Shorts
Shorts are the best alternative for anyone who does not have the budget to invest in professional videos for their YouTube channel. Wanna know why?
Because you don’t need a fancy camera or an expensive mic. You can create videos using nothing but your phone.
Shorts also have a great, catchy feel to them, which makes them the perfect fit for brands that are:
- Aiming at a younger target audience: Younger generations, and specially teens, love a good viral video. If you can match the perfect viral moment with your brand’s tone of voice and message, you’ll increase your chances of catching their attention.
- Selling products that make a visual impact: Whether you’re selling cosmetics, wireless headphones or sneakers for the occasional jogger, show them on Shorts. That can be a great way to attract possible buyers because they’ll get to see your products in action.
💣 Great news for entrepreneurs that want to know more about how to make money on YouTube: As of February 2023, a YouTube Partner can also earn money from ads that are viewed between Shorts.
6. Activate YouTube Premium
Cultivating YouTube Premium subscribers is also a great way to make money on YouTube.
YouTube Premium is a paid version of YouTube that allows subscribers to watch videos without having to deal with all those ads that are always popping in. The membership also grants the users access to YouTube Kids and YouTube Music.
For a creator, joining YouTube Premium means that:
- You’ll be making your content available without ads―but only to those members who are paying for the Premium subscription.
- Your watch time will likely increase because YouTube Premium allows subscribers to download videos and watch them offline too.
- You’ll amplify your ad revenue because YouTube currently collects revenue from Premium fees and then distributes it among creators based on how much time subscribers have spent watching your content.
📹 Making money on YouTube without the YouTube Partner Program
The topics we covered above are all specific to making money on YouTube after you’ve enabled monetization―which, as we now know, can only happen after you qualify for the YouTube Partner Program.
However, if you want to find out how to make money on YouTube without being a part of the YouTube Partner Program, fear not: there’s also tons of ways for you to do that.
The only thing you need to remember is that if you do follow some of the strategies listed below, you won’t be receiving money from YouTube directly but rather using YouTube as a channel to create authority and build your following―which you can then turn into buyers.
1. Try affiliate marketing
If you’re still on the fence about investing time and money into growing a YouTube channel to display your brands and products, why not try affiliate marketing?
Affiliate messaging and YouTube videos pair really well together, mainly because creators have a knack for advertising and promoting good products. And doing that on YouTube is also pretty interesting because you’ll be dealing with video content, which means you’ll be able to really display all the benefits of the product you’re promoting.
2. Become an authority
Affiliate marketing is not for everyone, and if that’s your case you can also specialize in creating a channel that caters to a very specific YouTube audience: people who have the same interests as you or who want to follow the same professional path you’re on.
In this scenario, you’ll ideally become a specialist in a specific area and then create videos where you talk about the pros and cons of a certain profession, give tips on how to get started and even, perhaps, go live so you can answer questions directly.
A good example of how to be a friendly authority is Fran Meneses, a Brooklyn-based illustrator that has a channel dedicated to a pretty cool mix of her private life, her work life, and everything in between. In the video below she talks about how illustrators like her can make Patreon work.
3. Transform your YouTube channel into an online store
This one is definitely the way to go if you're looking to earn money with an online business.
While Shopping on YouTube is a tool that’s only available on the YPP, it’s worth noting that you can easily turn your YouTube channel into a really cool and interactive storefront for your shop.
Also, keep in mind that having a YouTube channel will allow you to create a lot of versatile content―which is also great for business because it’ll help you expand your reach.
Here are a couple of ideas to inspire you:
- Create videos of product reviews that show your product in action to help you drive sales.
- Showcase new arrivals, such as your brand new jewelry collection.
- Promote partnerships and other projects that you’re excited about, such as your green marketing initiatives.
- Go live with influencers or brand ambassadors to amp up your following.
- Show some behind-the-scenes footage of new product launches to create some hype.
- Share customer stories to strengthen your bonds with your own community and drive customer acquisition.
💣 If this is something that interests you, then you should definitely check out our ecommerce solutions. You can launch an online store on Shoplazza in just a couple of minutes and start selling right away!
4. Don’t forget the video descriptions
Video descriptions tend to get a bit overlooked, but the truth is they can be of great help for YouTube influencers who are just starting out.
Here’s why: they’re usually the only chunk of text that will be anywhere near your video, so this means that you can optimize them in order to attract new subscribers and deepen your bonds with fans that are already part of your community.
To make sure your content is actually helpful to your readers (and inviting enough to make new viewers subscribe to your channel), you can:
- Optimize your text with SEO and hashtags to improve your chances of being organically discovered on Google Search and YouTube search.
- Include relevant links to your other social media accounts and to your store.
- Provide limited-time offers and promo codes for viewers who follow a special CTA, such as signing up for your mailing list.
- Use emojis, arrows, line breaks and other formatting tricks to make the reading experience more palatable.
🤓 Check out how Shoplazza uses video descriptions on YouTube:
5. Info cards are your friends
Info cards are another great tool for people interested in learning how to make money on YouTube, mainly because they invite your viewer to watch a bit more of your content without being too pushy. You can also create these cards for free on YouTube Studio, which is great.
There are four different types of info cards that you can add to your videos:
- Channel info card: This option allows you to link to other YouTube channels and is great if you’re looking to build partnerships on the platform.
- Playlist info card: You can link to a whole playlist of videos that belong to your channel, a great fit for creators who are already working with different topic clusters.
- Video info card: You’ve probably seen them already, especially if you’ve been watching our YouTube videos. It’s those little thumbnails for other videos, like this:
💣 There’s also the link info card, but that option is restricted to YouTubers who are on the YPP. This info card allows you to add links to external websites, so it’s a great tool for entrepreneurs selling digital products and other items that can be purchased directly through a link.
6. Switch to different formats
When the time comes to earn money from YouTube, remember that you can definitely reap some good rewards if you decide on a YouTube strategy centered around creating content that is different yet appealing.
A good way to do that is creating podcast videos. The idea is pretty simple: instead of releasing your podcast episodes on audio platforms only, you record videos of you recording the podcast and then release them on YouTube. This way, people will listen to your podcast and give you those views that are so important for your metrics.
And, speaking of metrics…
📹 Metrics to keep an eye out if you want to earn money from YouTube
Entrepreneurs who are keen on learning how to make money on YouTube should also keep a close watch on some of the metrics reported directly on their Youtube Studio dashboard.
Below you’ll find a quick overview of the most important ones:
- CPM: the cost your advertiser is paying for 1,000 ad impressions
- RPM: how much money you’ve earned per 1,00 video views
- Views: total number of times a video was watched
- Ad impressions: how many times an ad was viewed on your video
- Estimated playbacks: how many times your video and the ads in it were watched
- Estimated revenue: revenue that’s coming in from all your monetization efforts
- Estimated ad revenue: revenue from the ads on your videos
Another thing you should probably start thinking about is Google AdSense. This is the tool through which you’ll receive your YPP payment, and to make sure that happens smoothly, you’ll need an AdSense account.
You can learn more about this and all things related to an AdSense account on the video below:
📰 Wanna know more about some other Google solutions? Check out this list of resources:
- Transfer Google Ads Account with Simple Steps at Shoplazza
- Everything You Need to Know about Google Performance Max
- What are the Best Practices for Optimizing a Landing Page for Google Ads?
- How to Run a Google Performance Max Campaign for Your Shoplazza Store
- Google Ads: Smart Holiday Campaign Strategies
📹 Pro tips to up your videos and your earnings on YouTube
You should also know that even an average YouTube channel can and should strive to put only top-notch content on the platform, no matter how small its number of followers might be at the start.
This is important because it will help you curate your channel and publish videos that people are actually interested in seeing. It also can’t hurt to be professional right from the start, right?
So here’s a couple of things to keep in mind when you start uploading videos:
- Add video chapters: Video chapters help break your content into smaller “chunks”, each with an individual preview. They’re a great solution if you’re looking to optimize your viewer’s watching experience, because they allow people to just jump directly to the chunk they’re interested in watching.
- Take good care of your thumbnails: Video thumbnails are an extremely important part of your channel’s aesthetics, but they also play a crucial role in helping you make money on YouTube. The more attractive and catchy your thumbnail, the higher the chances of convincing people to click on them and watch your video.
- Create playlists: A playlist works as a cluster of videos, and though pretty much everyone on YouTube can create them, YouTube Partners such as yourself can really take advantage of this format to compile specific playlists. This will help viewers navigate your content and drive your channel’s watch time metrics.
- SEO the hell out of your video: Those title and description fields aren’t there just to take up space. They exist to help people find your content, so make sure to optimize them according to important parameters, such as your target audience’s search intent.
- Use that video elsewhere: After a video is uploaded to your channel, share the link to it on your social media, your mailing list and in your blog. This can bring you some good results, especially because the more you share your video, the more content you generate on your other profiles and the higher the chances of your followers engaging with you on YouTube.
📹 The long and winding road to likes and subscribes
The road to monetization can be long, and it absolutely requires a lot of hard work. However, when done correctly, it can create the perfect opportunity for you to expand your business and your brand’s reach.
But remember that learning how to make money on YouTube is just the tip of the iceberg. Now is the time where you put all that reading into action and start planning, scripting, recording, editing, thumbnailing and SEO-ing.
📰 If you wanna know more about how to expand your ecommerce business, you might want to check out the resources below:
- Explore Your Latin American Market with Shoplazza
- Hidden Ecommerce Markets
- How to Promote Your Online Store to Get Traffic
📹 Make money on YouTube: A quick FAQ
We covered a whole lot of topics that are really important for any video creator and budding YouTuber, but I bet there are still a couple of burning questions that you have about how to make money on YouTube.
Below you’ll find the answers you’ve been searching for. Just remember that exact numbers are hard to come by, especially because everything related to YouTube depends on a bunch of different elements and variables.
How much money does a YouTuber make?
The math for that will have to take into account a lot of factors, such as:
- Number of videos uploaded weekly or monthly
- Subscriber engagement
- Number of views each video gets
- Ad revenue and other income streams from monetization efforts
Generally speaking, you’ll be looking at anything between $1,800 and $4,000 per month.
How many views do you need to make money on YouTube?
You need to have either 4,000 public watch hours over the last 12 months (for traditional videos) or 10 million public views in the last 90 days (for Shorts). With that, you’ll become partly eligible to qualify for the YouTube Partner Program, which will allow you to monetize your content and make money.
How much does YouTube pay for 1 million views?
A million views are not easy to come by, and there are lots of YouTube Partners out there who are still dreaming of someday reaching that golden milestone. The exact amount that YouTube pays is also hard to pinpoint because it depends on many factors such as watch time (how many minutes of the video people actually saw) and the number of ads displayed on the video.
A general estimative put out by Forbes states that a YouTube video with a million views can generate about $5,000 ― but that’s rounding up, so it’ll be safer to work with something like $2,500.
How much money can you make on YouTube?
This is another case where the best answer we can give you is: it depends.
It depends on your ad revenue, the number of YouTube Premium members that watch your videos, and whether or not your fans tune in to watch that live stream and interact on the Super chat. It also depends on your AdSense metrics and the value of your views.
How many subscribers on youtube to make money?
To earn money from YouTube, you’ll need to hit 1,000 subscribers. That way, you’ll become partly eligible to enroll in the YouTube Partner Program, where you’ll have access to a bunch of resources that allow you to monetize your channel directly on YouTube Studio.