YouTube is the second most popular website in the world. Every day, people spend over 1 billion hours watching videos on YouTube. The average time spent on the platform is 40 minutes. You don’t need to have an impressive subscriber base on your channel to monetize it. All you need to do is build a loyal audience, create engaging content, and select the best way to drive the ROI of your YouTube content. Read below about the best strategies to monetize your YouTube channel.
How much can you earn on YouTube?
In 2019, the number of YouTube channels generating six-figure profits grew by 40%. For channels with five-digit revenue, the increase was 50%. Don’t expect the money to start flowing the moment you publish your first video. The road to success is long. First, you need to develop a strong audience and gain their trust. Second, you will need to publish compelling content regularly.
Your earnings will depend on several factors:
- Number of subscribers;
- User engagement (views, likes, comments);
- Themes from your channel;
- Geography (ad revenues vary between countries);
- Monetization method (read more below).
Take a look at the 10 highest-paid YouTubers of 2019:
- Ryan’s World ($26 million). The life of a 9-year-old boy who enjoys unwrapping gifts, playing games, performing science experiments, making video clips, and much more.
- Dude Perfect ($220 million). Five friends doing extreme and sporty tricks and stunts.
- Like Nastya ($18 million). The life of a 6-year-old girl who likes amusement parks, games, toys, and gifts.
- Rhett and Link ($17.5 million). The adventures of two comedians.
- Jeffree Star (17 million). Singer, stylist, and flamboyant makeup artist sharing makeup techniques and talking about his personal life.
- Preston ($14 million): Vlog about video games.
- PewDiePie ($13 million) Games and travel.
- Markiplier ($13 million): Funny video games, skits, parodies, and other types of entertainment.
- DanTDM ($12 million). Another vlog about video games.
- Mr. Beast ($12 million). Philanthropy, stunts and expensive pranks, and real-time entertainment.
Ways to monetize your channel
There is no one-size-fits-all method to earn passive income from your YouTube content. Our tip is to choose 2-3 monetization strategies and use them together for a better result.
1. Affiliate Marketing
By using this monetization method, you will earn money from the ads shown to your viewers. To qualify for the YouTube Partner Program, your channel will need to have at least 1,000 followers and 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months. If you’re already eligible, go ahead and sign up for AdSense. See how:
Log into your YouTube account, click your profile icon in the top right corner and select “Creator Studio”. Then choose the “Monetization” option from the menu on the left. Read and accept the Partner Program terms. Create and set up an AdSense account.
In order to benefit from the affiliate program, your YouTube channel must meet the fundamental requirements of the YouTube community. Here are some of the rules:
- Your channel must not violate copyright laws.
- Your channel must not contain adult content, scenes of violence, bad language, etc.
- Your channel must not promote alcohol or drugs.
Content creators earn 55% of the advertising revenue they generate. The remaining 45% goes to YouTube. Your earnings will depend on advertiser terms (Price per view vs Price per click), geographic region, channel themes, and other factors.
To get a general idea of how much you can potentially earn, go to the Analytics section of your account and click on “Estimated Monthly Earnings”. You can also roughly estimate your potential earnings using these online tools. However, keep in mind that affiliate marketing on YouTube alone doesn’t make much profit, so it’s best to combine this method with other monetization strategies.
When you run a crowdfunding campaign, you receive donations from people who support your project.
By running a crowdfunding campaign, you can raise money for a specific purpose, for example, buy new equipment, make a music video, launch your own bag line, open an animal shelter, etc. As a thank you for the help, donors are usually rewarded with a small gift, discount, promo code, and other perks.
We recommend using Kickstarter, a leading crowdfunding platform. Sign up for Kickstarter, create a page for your project and promote it on your YouTube channel. Make an engaging intro video to engage users. Keep your audience updated on how the fundraiser is going. Make an exciting video in which you talk about the gifts and bonuses that donors will receive. Do your best to get people interested in your project and encourage them to make a donation.
Recurring crowdfunding is a way to financially support the existing project in which your target audience is emotionally invested. Most of this project includes exclusive or entertainment content, for example, educational videos, travel guides, video game reviews, music videos, etc.
A good way to manage recurring crowdfunding is through Patreon. It is a dedicated platform where your sponsors – or patrons – will be able to donate any amount of money starting from 1 dollar. In exchange for the donation, your users will be able to enjoy your content on YouTube.
3. Online sales
Selling online is one of the most common methods for a YouTuber to make money. Already have a product line? Excellent! Now you just need to find a smart way to showcase and promote your products in your videos. For those who still don’t know what to sell, here are some ideas!
- Put bluntly, ask followers which products they would be interested in. It can be literally anything: mugs, t-shirts, snacks, smoothies, smartphone cases, scarves, etc.
- Think through every aspect of production and shipping to make sure you can really do it. Calculate the ideal price per unit.
- Avoid launching multiple products at once. Start with one or two items. If sales skyrocket, go ahead and expand your product line.
- Think about where your customers will buy your products. Sales can be made on a dedicated website, landing page, or e-commerce store like Etsy, eBay, Amazon, etc. Don’t forget to add a link to your product page in each video.
- Make your advertisement. Make a video showing how your product works and how it can solve your users’ problems. Post testimonials from satisfied customers. If you’re in the clothing business, make beautiful videos with models demonstrating your collection. If you’re selling spices, post video recipes and share smart storage tips. Creating the illusion of limited resources is a proven technique that never fails to deliver great results. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to put into practice: just tell your followers to hurry up because the product is running out of stock. Experiment with different promotion ideas to find the ones that work best for your audience.
4. Sponsored Content
The best thing about this strategy is that you don’t have to share your profits with YouTube. This scheme works like this. You choose a brand and sign an agreement to promote their products or services in your YouTube videos. Additionally, you will need to post referral links to the company website and/or social media in the description of your videos. Each time a customer clicks on the link or purchases the product (depending on the terms of the contract), you will receive a percentage of the sale amount.
Here are some tips:
- Find a good, reliable brand to work with. You can contact companies directly or join a dedicated marketing platform that brings together advertisers and content creators, for example, FameBit. Make sure you and your chosen brand have similar audiences. Also, pay attention to the number of followers of the company and their level of engagement.
- Be honest with your audience. Avoid promoting products you’ve never tried or don’t like. If the truth is revealed, you risk undermining the trust of your followers. As a result, your YouTube channel will lose its revenue-generating potential.
- Tell your followers that the video contains sponsored content and tag it with the hashtags #sponcon or #ad. Maintaining sincere and transparent relationships with your audience is critical to your success.
Nano-influencers (500 to 5,000 followers) tend to earn around $315 from an ad video. For most influential YouTubers with 30,000 to 500,000 followers, revenue per video is $782.
5. YouTube Premium
If you are part of the YouTube Partner Program (see Section 1), you can benefit from this monetization scheme. Chances are, some of your viewers are YouTube Premium subscribers who pay to watch ad-free YouTube videos. As a content creator, you can also take advantage of their views!
Your earnings will depend on the number of views and the duration of each one. (To see these and other stats, go to the Analytics section of your YouTube profile.) As with the Partner Program, you can count on around 55% of the monthly subscription fee paid by your YouTube Premium viewers.
More tips for staying connected
Starting a YouTube channel is just part of the business. You also need to keep increasing your follower’s engagement, tracking stats, securing your content, and promoting your channel.
Know your audience
Deeply understanding your audience’s needs is the essence of a successful YouTube channel. Without it, you won’t be able to make profitable partnerships with brands. Get in the habit of analyzing your channel stats. Keep finding out more about who watches your content. What is the age range of your audience? Where do they live? How much time do they spend watching your videos? Also, do surveys by asking your followers what kind of content they would like to see on your channel.
Insert your brand in protect your content
Develop a distinct visual identity for your YouTube channel. This is a great way to increase awareness of your channel and establish an emotional bond with your follower base. Use your logo as your profile picture. Also, create eye-catching colors and fonts to complete the visual identity and use them in your cover image and in the opening of your videos.
Protecting unique content from copyright abuse is another important task that is often overlooked by budding YouTubers. Add a watermark with your logo to each of your videos. Don’t know where to get one? Use Shopify‘s branding generator to build your brand!
Promote your channel
For maximum reach, promote your YouTube channel on other online platforms:
- Share a link to your YouTube channel on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
- Add a link from your channel to your website and subscribe to your newsletter.
- Collaborate with other Youtubers whose audience is similar.
In addition to creativity, monetizing your YouTube channel requires good marketing knowledge. Keep up with the latest YouTube trends. Find out what content your audience is interested in. Create exciting new ways to present your video content. Finally, promote your channel to keep your subscriber base growing. The more valid views you have, the greater the earnings you will receive!