Are you an avid YouTube user? Do you have a passion for creating and sharing video content with the world? If so, you may have wondered if making money on YouTube is possible. From monetizing your videos to building a loyal fanbase, come down the rabbit hole with me and learn how to make money on YouTube.
If you’ve been on this blog before, it’s no secret to you that I am always on the lookout for alternative ways to make money to get rid of the typical 9-5 job.
And YouTube has been on my watch list for quite some time. The more I watched YouTube channels (and the more I had to keep pressing Skip Ads), the more I became interested in how much money YouTubers make.
I do believe YouTube is one of the best platforms to make money today.
Videos are much easier to watch for some topics than reading long posts (keep reading, please, my friends, lol).
And they entertain.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the top YouTubers are real stars making millions of dollars every year.
YouTube is the 2nd most-visited website in the world, according to SimilarWeb.
Two billion people log in to YouTube every month.
Google made a whopping $29.4 billion in ad revenue in 2022! And a big chunk of this money goes directly into YouTubers’ pockets.
So how much do YouTubers make?
Google pays 55% of its AdSense revenues to publishers. This means for every $100 an advertiser pays to watch YouTubers’ videos, Google gives them $55.
Highest Paid YouTubers in the World
According to Forbes, this is how much top YouTubers made in 2022:
#1. MrBeast – Earnings: $54 Million
#2. Jake Paul – Earnings: $45 Million
#3. Markiplier – Earnings: $38 Million
#4. Rhett and Link – Earnings: $30 Million
#5. Unspeakable – Earnings: $28.5 Million
#6. Nastya – Earnings: $28 Million
#7. Ryan Kaji – Earnings: $27 Million
#8. Dude Perfect – Earnings: $20 Million
#9. Logan Paul – Earnings: $18 Million
#10. Preston Arsement – Earnings: $16 Million
How do YouTubers make money?
When I started my blog five years ago, I didn’t believe it was possible to make money blogging. I thought you could just make a few hundred dollars a month at most.
What happened 3 months later came as a shock and a complete surprise. I made over $3,000 after only 3 months! ($3,878, to be precise).
So all these people who keep saying it’s possible to make money online are not lying?
I really couldn’t believe it.
And YouTube is no different.
Like bloggers, YouTubers can have several income streams. And how much YouTubers make depends entirely on their ability to exploit the system.
Simply uploading a video on YouTube, adding a 5-second advert at the beginning, and hoping for the best isn’t going to cut.
The YouTubers that make real money are much more strategic than that.
5 Top Ways to Make Money with YouTube
1. Google Adsense
Pretty much every YouTuber makes money with what’s called Google Adsense. Google places ads on YouTubers’ videos, and depending on the quality of the video, the niche, and the number of ads you have running, YouTubers can make money.
The amount of money you’ll make with ads as a YouTuber also depends on the time of year. For example, many companies spend a huge amount of money during Q4 (October, November, December) in the run-up to Black Friday and Christmas.
What is CMP?
CPM means Cost Per Mille (with Mille meaning 1000 in Latin). CPM is the amount Google Adsense pays on average for every 1000 views on YouTube.
There are many speculations about how much YouTubers make with ads, but the simple answer is that ad revenues depend on several factors, and there isn’t a clear answer. I know YouTubers who make as little as $1 per 1000 views and others who make over $15 per 1000 views.
What is the average CPM on YouTube?
The average CPM is between $3 to $10.
Some of the factors that can influence how much YouTubers make with ads:
- Location: If most of your audience is in the US, Canada, or the UK, you will make more money than if all of your audience is in Honduras. As simple as that. Google Adsense has divided countries into three tiers. Any countries in Tier 1 will earn more money than those in Tier 2 and Tier 3 (here, you can find a list of countries by tier if you are interested).
- Demographic: Advertisers love to target a very specific audience. This can include age, gender, and interests. If your channel is too broad and appeals to anyone, you might struggle to get a high CPM.
- Video topic: Some particular niches on YouTube are in high demand because there is little quality content, and advertisers are prepared to pay over the odds for a placement. Some of these niches are banking, insurance, and mortgages. This is why personal finance channels or investment channels usually have a high CMP compared, for example, to a food or travel channel.
- Video length: The length of your video can influence how many ads you can place, potentially doubling or tripling ad income. If your video is over 10 minutes, you can enable ads to be shown in the middle of the video (mid-roll), not just at the beginning. Wondering why some YouTubers just talk and talk about nothing for the first few minutes without getting straight to the point? Now you know why!
- Ads skipping: Every time someone skips ads, YouTubers don’t make any money. If you always skip ads, think again. If you want to support your favorite channel, you might want to let the ads play until the end at least a few times a week.
Want to see some real CMP examples?
Example of real CPM earnings in the Personal Finance niche:
Graham Stephan shared how much he made with Google Adsense in December 2019. With 7,781,430 views and $126,054.41 in ads revenues, his CPM was, on average, $16.19. A lot more than the average estimated $3 to $10!
Example of real CPM earnings in the lifestyle Vlogging niche:
Shelby Church shared how she improved her CMP in 2019. In January 2019, she only earned as little as $1.55 per 1000 views. By creating videos above 10 minutes, she was able to add more mid-roll ads, and in just 6 months, she has increased her CPM to $4!
This shows that if you want to make money on YouTube, you must be strategic and intentional with every video you create.
2. Affiliate marketing
YouTubers often recommend a service, product, or company they use, and they get a commission if someone signs up or buys something.
The most popular ways to make money with affiliate marketing are:
- Creating a video reviewing the product you are trying to sell.
- Creating a video in which you recommend the product.
- Casually using the product you want to sell and linking to it.
You will generally find affiliate links in the video description.
Affiliate marking is a great way to generate passive income from a YouTube channel.
After all, people are already watching and would probably love to know what brands YouTubers wear or what books they read.
Adding links doesn’t cost anything to YouTubers, but if they have a good following, they can make hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a month with affiliate marketing.
Once you reach a good level of popularity as a YouTuber, a great way to cash in on that is to create your own products.
And this can come in 2 main forms:
You can create your own brand and sell limited-edition merch, including t-shirts, stickers, mugs, bags, hats, prints. You name it, you can sell it. Big YouTubers like PewDiePie or Dude Perfect make millions of dollars a year selling merchandise alone.
Merchandising can become a much bigger revenue source than ads.
For YouTubers with an engaged audience, a great way to make more money is to sell a digital product or educational product related to the channel.
Here are a couple of my favorite examples:
- Boho Beautiful: my favorite yoga channel has several at-home fitness programs you can buy.
- Graham Stephan: started his YouTube channel to share his real estate journey and has now launched courses on becoming a real estate agent and how to start a YouTube channel (after he amassed over 1.5 million subscribers in just a couple of years).
Signing up for sponsorships is pretty common for big channels with lots of subscribers. But if a YouTuber has a small channel with high engagement and quality content, it’s possible to land sponsorships by contacting companies directly.
How do sponsorships work?
Companies are always on the lookout for channels that fit their target audience. They pay YouTubers to promote their brand or product/s in a video or series of videos.
How much can YouTubers earn with sponsorships on YouTube?
On average, YouTubers charge brands anywhere from $10 to $50 per 1000 views.
For YouTubers with over 1 million subscribers, sponsors can pay anything from $5,000 to over $20,000+, depending on the niche and the deal. This can quickly add up if you can bag a few sponsorships a year as a YouTuber.
Another way to make money is to ask for a donation.
YouTubers typically use platforms like PayPal or Patreon.
Patreon is a crowdfunding platform: YouTubers fans can make monthly donations to access special content and videos based on a membership level. For example, for $5 a month, you might get access to a Q&A live video, and for $10, you could be able to view exclusive bonus content.
This helps fans feel part of a smaller supportive community and allows YouTubers to continue creating great content without constantly worrying about the money.
Most profitable niches on YouTube
The competition is massive, with over 500 hours of video uploaded every minute on YouTube.
But this is true in every successful business.
If you want your YouTube journey to be successful, you need to decide what niche you want your channel to fall into.
Some of the most profitable niches on YouTube are:
1. Product Reviews
Unboxing and reviewing products is a very lucrative business for YouTubers. Just make sure you go into a specific sub-niche like toys, tech gadgets, backpacks, etc. With reviews, you can make big bucks with affiliate marketing too.
Just look at the top 10. Six out of ten channels started out as gaming channels (although some have moved away from that). Gaming is a super popular niche, and it’s perfect if you know how to show off your skills.
3. Fitness & Health
With gyms closed during Covid-19 and people trying to figure out how to work out from their living rooms, fitness became a super-popular niche, and it still is. And I am one of those who jumped on the trend even before the pandemic. I always used YouTube to stay fit. If you want to save money and stay fit, there isn’t anything better than starting with free YouTube videos.
4. Prank & Entertainment
People watch videos to switch off their brains and have fun, and any entertaining video or harmless pranks will be a hit on YouTube.
5. Personal finance & Make money online
I love personal finance on YouTube: surprise! The great thing about this niche is that advertisers are prepared to pay over the odds, which means you need fewer views to make money, and your CMP will be higher.
Comedy is one of the fastest-growing niches on YouTube. According to YouTube, comedy was still one of the hot topics in 2020. If you know how to make people laugh, you should consider this niche for your channel.
7. Food & Cooking
Who doesn’t love watching people cooking a decadent chocolate cake? Everyone seems to be on a diet these days, and if you can’t eat it, you can at least watch it.
8. Fashion & Beauty
This is one of the biggest trends on YouTube, with talented make-up artists and creators showcasing what’s possible. From make-up hacks to fashion tips, millions of people watch these types of videos every day.
9. DIY & Craft
Craft and DIY are great ways to switch off your brain and use your hands, which is why these channels are so popular.
10. How-to videos
If you love to help people solve problems, how-to videos can have great success. Things like “How to wrap Christmas presents” or “How to cut your own hair” get thousands of searches every day.
How much money do YouTubers make per view?
There is no right or wrong answer here. Many people try to guess what the average YouTuber makes based on the number of views. But the reality is that many factors are at play, including the niche you pick, the quality and length of videos, and your viewers’ location.
Plus, you must remember that YouTubers get paid only if people watch ads until the end or click on them.
The average YouTuber earns between $0.003 to $0.01 per view.
How much money do YouTubers make per 1000 views?
Advertisers pay anything between $3 to $10 for every 1000 views.
How much money do YouTubers make per million views?
It’s pretty hard to estimate how much YouTubers make per million views. Using the average CPM, they could be making anything between $3,000 to $10,000. But when YouTubers reach this level of view, they are most likely able to make more money using affiliate marketing, merchandising, or sponsorship, making it harder to estimate exactly how much they really make.
When does YouTube start paying you?
You can start to monetize your YouTube channel when you:
- Reach a minimum of 1,000 subscribers
- Have 4,000 hours of watch time
Both within the past 12 months period.
Is it worth starting a YouTube channel in 2023? And how long will it take you to make money?
In my opinion, yes, yes, yes!
If you love creating videos, there is no better time to start a YouTube channel than today.
Advertisers spend more money on the platform every year, and if you are ready to put in the hard work, you could start monetizing your channel within 3 to 6 months.
You will not get rich overnight, but you can create a great engaged community and earn a good amount of money within your first year.
But before you decide to start a channel, remember that you have to:
- Create high-quality and engaging content.
- Post regularly (at least once a week, more if you want to grow fast) to keep your subscribers engaged and please the YouTube algorithm.
- Create captivating thumbnails to make people pick your video above the others.
- Learn SEO and plan your content with research on topics and keywords, to get a chance for your videos to be found.
- Engage with other channels and with your subscribers.
- If a topic does well, create more videos around that topic.
- Be consistent and work hard: you need to treat your channel as a business, not a hobby.
And above all, focus on something you are passionate about. I can’t stress this enough.
People will see your face and hear your voice. You need to be engaging and entertaining. And you can only do that if you love what you do. If your only reason to start a YouTube channel is to make money, you will fail.
Are you ready to become a YouTuber star?
Now that you know exactly how much YouTubers make, are you ready to start your own channel?
There is a lot of money to be made on YouTube, but you need to be prepared to work hard for it, like with any other business.
You can’t just expect to upload a couple of videos and make big bucks.
You need dedication, determination, and willingness to invest at least 20-30 hours a week for a year to give it a good shot.
But if making and editing videos and talking about a specific subject for hours are your passion, give YouTube a shot!
Let me know if you have started a channel in the comment!
AND…After writing this article, I did start my own Gathering Dreams YouTube channel! Come and check it out and click that subscribe button to see how it goes!
We all start from ZERO.