Making money on YouTube

January 6, 2021

When most social media marketers, advertisers, and businesses think about making money on YouTube, they’re typically thinking about an indirect approach: Using paid ads to drive users to their site to drive sales. With plenty of great features like YouTube shorts, this is always a solid option.

But when it comes to actually making money on YouTube itself, there are ways to turn views into actual revenue. This is how you have 'YouTubers' making hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars, including the eight-year-old from Ryan’s World who has made approximately $26 million USD

In this post, we’re going to discuss how you can make money on YouTube to generate active income without even needing to make direct sales from your site.

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How to Monetise Your YouTube Channel 

When it comes to making money on YouTube, you really have several options, but two will be the biggest focus.

The first is enabling ads to run on your videos. If enough people watch (and we’ll talk about how many in a minute), this can generate significant revenue.

making money on YouTube with an example of YouTube ads

The other main option is to accept sponsorships or affiliate commissions to promote or review products from others. This is where you have YouTubers who are influencers like Milabu mention a specific product like a brand of hairspray and are paid to do so. If you build up a significant following with hundreds of thousands or millions of engaged subscribers, you have a better chance of catching the attention of branded sponsors. 

Creators can also sell memberships to subscribers (which allow them to purchase emojis or digital badges from your brand) and sell branded merchandise through their channel. For accounts with large followings these can be great revenue paths, though they require ongoing effort.

Let’s take a look at the two most common options: Enabling ads on YouTube and using sponsored promotions.

How To Enable Ads on YouTube 

In order to enable ads on your channel, you need to meet the following criteria:

● Your channel needs 4,000 public watch hours in the past 12 months

● You must have 1,000 subscribers 

If you meet this criteria, you can enable ads by going to your Creator’s Studio and then finding ‘Monetisation’.

making money on YouTube with monetization

Once you do this, you’ll need to accept their partner terms, request an AdSense account, and set monetisation preferences. Your monetisation preferences allow you to determine if you want all videos to be able to run ads after your channel is approved, or if you want to only monetise select videos.

After you’ve completed the above steps, your channel will go under review. This typically is a relatively quick process, and you’ll hear by email within a month or so.

How to Track Earned Revenue on YouTube 

Tracking earned revenue on YouTube is easier than ever before thanks to their new-and-improved ‘Revenue’ tab in their analytics section.

You can see an example of a blank analytics tab here, as we don’t monetise our videos, but you can get a solid idea of what you can learn.

You can see how much revenue you’ve earned within a set period, along with your top earning videos, the ad types that resulted in the most revenue, and your playback-based CPM.

How to Set Up Paid Promotions on YouTube Videos

After you’ve begun to attract an impressive subscriber list, sponsors will soon follow, interested in paying you to promote their product.

If you do choose to go the paid promotions route, it’s not enough to just mention that it’s a promotion and then to drop a link (affiliate or otherwise) to the product itself.

YouTube requires you to identify all videos containing paid promotions, including product placements, sponsorships, or endorsements. When you’re uploading the video, you’ll see the option to check a box to acknowledge that the video contains some sort of promotion and compensation. Once you do, YouTube will put a ‘paid promotion’ tag on the video.

Every now and then creators try to avoid this, hoping their customers will just buy more without thinking twice, but advertising law in many countries and on YouTube’s platform requires disclosure.

Four Tips to Attract More Subscribers on YouTube 

Making money on YouTube is directly tied to your number of subscribers. It’s why ‘how many views do I need on YouTube to make money?’ is such a common question.

You only need 1,000 subscribers, but the more views you can attract, the more you’ll earn from ads, and the more you’ll likely earn from potential sponsorship deals, too.

Here are a few strategies that will help you increase your YouTube revenue by attracting more subscribers: 

● Collaborate with other influencers or YouTubers to increase exposure. If you can have other influencers appear in your video, they’re likely to share it with their own subscribers, drawing new attention back to you.

● Create high-quality content that offers value. If your content is valuable and aligns with the search intent of the keyword people are using to find your videos, you’ll likely build a stronger following quickly.  

● Don’t just promote everyone. If your followers realise that you’re willing to promote anyone who will pay you $50 to do so, you’ll lose their trust quickly. If possible, be selective about what tools, products, and brands you’re willing to promote; your own reputation depends on it, too. 

● Share your videos cross-platform. If you already have a decent following on other social media platforms, make sure you’re sharing links to your new videos there. It’s an outstanding way to expand your reach while tapping into already-existing warm audiences.

Final Thoughts 

Monetising your YouTube channel offers a potential goldmine, allowing you to leverage a free platform to earn substantial revenue over time. The key to making money on Youtube, however, all comes down to gaining enough subscribers and attracting enough views to actually be able to monetise properly.

Take some time to implement growth strategies on your YouTube channels so that monetisation is possible. With so much potential for earnings, there’s no downside to doing so, and it can help you promote your brand along the way.

Free video training: How to grow a business from $0 to $100k per month using social media marketing.

3,000+ views and counting

About the author 

Jonathon Tanner

Jonathon Tanner is the Co-CEO of Social Media College, Australia's leading educator and trainer for social media. He co-authored the Diploma of Social Media Marketing, the world's first and only Australian Government recognised course in social media marketing, delivered by 25 leading colleges and TAFEs across Australia, and articulating into several Bachelor programs at Australian Universities. His deep expertise in social media spans content marketing, social media strategy, 15 different social media networks, paid social advertising, personal branding, email marketing, and social media conversion. Jonathon has also co-founded several other businesses, as well as spending 12 years as a management consultant specialising in mergers & acquisitions for private equity firms, growth strategy, and operational improvement. Jonathon holds a combined Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Sydney.

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