How Much Do YouTubers Make? Our Behind the Scenes Look at Earning Potential

Are you thinking about starting another stream of revenue for your online business? Maybe you're an influencer who wants to expand your reach with video content. Perhaps you are merely curious about the financial aspect of your favorite channels. No matter why, you have probably asked yourself this question: how much do YouTubers make? 

YouTube earnings aren't as clear-cut as you might imagine. In part, this is because there is a lot of variation in traffic between channels. Another piece of the puzzle to consider is other ways that YouTubers make money from their content. 

If you find yourself wondering how your favorite channel does financially or are eager to start your own, here is what you need to know. 

Not Everyone Earns Money from Their YouTube Channel

How Much Do YouTubers Make? Our Behind the Scenes Look at Earning Potential

Before we can dive into the specifics, it's important to note that not all YouTube creators earn money from their videos. Especially for channels that are just getting started, there may not be any type of established revenue streams coming in. 

In fact, you may not even be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program until your channel has reached certain benchmarks (which we'll cover in just a minute). 

Many companies might not be willing to take a chance on a newbie content creator for sponsored posts, but you could make some small income from affiliate marketing if your audience is loyal. In the beginning, don't expect to make much money from your YouTube channel until you qualify for Google ads. 

Requirements for Earning on YouTube Videos

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How Much Do YouTubers Make? Our Behind the Scenes Look at Earning Potential

If you want to earn money solely based on the views of your video content, then you need to qualify for the YouTube Partner Program. Even YouTube stars had to start from a place of relative obscurity before they made it big. 

The YouTube Partner Program requirements are quite clear, but they aren't exactly easy to reach. There are separate qualifications depending on whether your most viewed content is in the form of longer videos or shorts. 

For those who make traditional videos on YouTube, you will need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past year. Alternatively, you could have 1,000 subscribers and 10 million public shorts views in the last 90 days.

Average YouTuber Revenue: How Much Do YouTubers Make?

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How Much Do YouTubers Make? Our Behind the Scenes Look at Earning Potential

Let's say that you are well on your way to qualifying for the YouTube Partner Program. How much money do YouTubers make when they hit this momentous threshold? 

You might be able to earn a comfortable living doing nothing but creating videos with all of your new spare time. Keep in mind that for top channels, a lot of work goes into making new videos, editing them, and posting them to the platform, as well as interacting with followers. 

According to Zip Recruiter, the average YouTuber makes about $65,999 annually ($5,499 per month). 

Another way to think about how much YouTubers make is to consider it based on the number of views of their video ads. Most estimates place this at around $0.018 per view. For every 1,000 views of your video ads, you could make roughly $18.

Some niches may see a higher average YouTube pay rate with some estimates going as high as $0.03 per view (or $30 per 1,000 views).

Cost per Impression or Cost per Click?

Which type of ad revenue is more likely to earn money on your YouTube channel: cost per thousand views (CPM) or cost per click (CPC)? There are a couple of caveats to note about both types of ad revenue generated from a given video. 

First, let's take a look at CPM. 

In order to make money on YouTube from advertisement viewing, your audience will need to actually watch the ad that plays before your video. They should watch 30 seconds of the ad on the average video. If you have a short video, they only need to watch half of the ad.

That being said, more people are likely to view the ads versus clicking them.

Now, let's look at CPC. 

YouTubers make money from these ads only when someone clicks and interacts with the ad. Can you think of the last time that you clicked on an ad from your favorite YouTube channel? Chances are, it's been a while. Only a small percentage of viewers will click on an ad unless it promotes some seriously engaging content. 

Creators can have both types of ads on their videos, but CPM is a little easier to bank on as it plays as an embedded video before, during, or after your content. On the other hand, CPC ads are typically displayed in the area around the video itself. 

What Influences What YouTubers Make? 

Some of the things that influence what YouTubers make are largely out of your control. Let's take a deep dive into two of the most influential pieces of the puzzle when it comes to answering the question of the hour: how much money do YouTubers make? 

Location

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How Much Do YouTubers Make? Our Behind the Scenes Look at Earning Potential

What country are most of your viewers from? While your location as the content creator doesn't play into your earnings through the YouTube Partner Program, your audience does factor into what people are willing to pay YouTubers for their advertisements. 

Generally speaking, audiences based in the United States tend to earn more money for content creators than those based in other parts of the world. Still, you will have some variation in pay in the US based on region. Some European countries will yield equally high returns. 

That being said, countries that don't net as much in ad revenue include places like India and parts of the Middle East. 

Think about where you want your audience to be located before you start making video content. You may not make much money on YouTube without an audience in some of the higher-paying countries.

Niche

How many people are likely to watch your videos? It depends on whether you have a successful YouTube channel in a niche that people care about (check out this article on how to find your YouTube niche). Advertising revenue is a lot easier to generate when you create content in an area where people spend their free time consuming that content. 

Small Business Trends lists the top 10 YouTube niches as:

  • Gaming channels
  • Funny videos
  • Music videos
  • ASMR
  • Education
  • Life hacks
  • Personal finance
  • Lifestyle videos
  • Sustainable fashion
  • Software reviews

That isn't to say that you can't be successful with videos in other niches, but these tend to be the highest-performing videos on the YouTube platform. 

Why Subscriber Count Doesn't Influence Pay – But It Helps

Once you reach that initial 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours, it's important to note that your subscriber count doesn't actually influence your pay — but it does help! YouTube subscribers are likely to come visit your channel every time you're finished uploading videos. 

They are committed to their channel memberships, and yours has been added to their list of favorites. 

Because you have more people tuning in to your channel, you have the ability to make money on YouTube when they come back. Oftentimes, loyal channel members will watch the ads in their entirety so that their favorite creators can earn a decent living. 

Once you reach that landmark million subscribers mark, many people point out that it becomes easier for others to find your videos. In turn, this allows you to get more views of your ads and make more money. It's a great cycle, but it starts with getting those first few people to sign up for notifications. 

Get Seen with Optimized Videos

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How Much Do YouTubers Make? Our Behind the Scenes Look at Earning Potential

How can you make sure that you get more eyes on your videos? It starts with choosing the best topics and then optimizing the overall channel to be favored by the YouTube algorithms. On your own, this can be clunky and time-consuming.

This is why many YouTubers turn to TubeBuddy

It's YouTube certified with an easy-to-use interface, and it can save you tons of time. 

TubeBuddy has a keyword research tool built into the platform to help you with SEO so that your videos are more likely to show up in YouTube's search engine results pages. It streamlines your process, offers bulk processing for creating tons of videos, and gives you a detailed look at your analytics. 

For more information on how TubeBuddy can help you, be sure to view our full TubeBuddy review here. 

Other Ways to Increase YouTube Earnings

It's important to note that you don't necessarily need a million subscribers to increase how much you can earn with YouTube. Other streams of revenue can be equally helpful when it comes to bolstering your YouTube channel. 

Let's take a closer look at three of the top ways to supplement that Google Adsense revenue. 

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a great way for YouTubers to make money in the early days, before they meet the YouTube Partner Program requirements. This allows you to promote products or services that you really love in exchange for a kickback from the company you promote. 

You could do this in the form of review videos of your favorite products, encouraging people to purchase items using the links in your description. You can also link to items or services in the description of your videos for items that you used (think of items you use regularly that are high-ticket, like your camera equipment or microphone). 

For more information on what affiliate marketing is, see our full guide here. 

In addition to affiliate marketing, you might also create sponsored videos. This is a prime example of when you can review a product in detail. A company will pay you to create video content surrounding their products or services. 

The pay for this can be quite lucrative, especially compared to what you'll make with an Adsense account. Revenue generated from sponsored videos is usually $10 to $50 per 1,000 views.

Established YouTubers make more money in this arena, as with most things. 

Merch

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How Much Do YouTubers Make? Our Behind the Scenes Look at Earning Potential

Last but not least, you could also create merchandise sales that will improve your income. You can use print-on-demand companies like Printify to create t-shirts, hats, jackets, and just about anything else your audience is willing to pay for. 

Keep in mind that you will need a website to direct people toward if you intend to sell your own merchandise with your branding. 

Top Earning YouTube Channel Creators

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How Much Do YouTubers Make? Our Behind the Scenes Look at Earning Potential

Have you ever wondered how much do YouTubers make and thought about your favorite channels? Let's take a quick glance at what your favorite creators are really making, according to Forbes – the answer just might surprise you!

  1. MrBeast: $54 million
  2. Jake Paul: $45 million
  3. Markiplier: $38 million
  4. Rhett and Link: $30 million
  5. Unspeakable: $28.5 million
  6. Nastya: $28 million
  7. Ryan Kaji (Ryan's World): $27 million
  8. Dude Perfect: $20 million
  9. Logan Paul: $18 million
  10. Preston Arsement: $16 million

If you have wondered whether it's possible to really make a full-time income using a Google Adsense account and other revenue streams with your videos, these successful YouTubers make plenty of money through their videos and content. 

Final Thoughts: How Much Do YouTubers Make? 

Are you ready to start making more money? Your success on YouTube depends on finding creative ways to start making money, whether that means affiliate marketing or Google Adsense videos. You need to make sure that you optimize each and every one of your videos using tools like TubeBuddy. 

This enables people to find them quickly and easily when searching for content that is just like what you do, whether that's unboxing videos, reviews, or helpful life hacks in your area of expertise. 

How much do YouTubers make? It really depends on how much time and effort you put into building your subscriber count and creating high-quality content. But it's more than possible to earn a solid income on YouTube with some of these tips! 

Tran Danh
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Tran Danh

I'm Tran Danh, the author behind Smart Passive Income (SPI), a blog dedicated to online business and entrepreneurship. I started this blog in 2008, following in the footsteps of Pat Flynn, the founder. Being one of the leading business blogs globally, SPI attracts over 2 million readers each month. Through my content, I aim to assist individuals in generating passive income from various online sources. Join me on this transformative journey as we delve into the world of online business and uncover the strategies and tactics that have led to tremendous success for myself and countless others.

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