YouTube is considered as the second largest search engine in the world. It sits just behind its parent company, the largest search engine you will find on the Internet– Google. For this reason, there is no doubt why a lot of content creators use this platform to try and make money.
The video-sharing platform has thousands of content creators who constantly upload videos on the platform. Apart from that, it also has millions of active users every day. Thus, it became easier for content creators to earn views, subscribers, and engagement.
Back then, earning money on buying YouTube views is pretty straightforward. You only have to upload attention-grabbing content on the platform. Once it garners a lot of views, you will get a share of the advertising revenue.
However, things are different now. Content creators now have access to several ways to monetize their content. Apart from advertisements played within their videos, content creators can also have corporate sponsorship from major brands, have fan funding, and merchandise sales.
Now the question is, how do people use YouTube to start earning money. Well, there are a couple of ways.
Earn Money on YouTube Through Google Ads
Joining the YouTube Partner program is the first step to earn money on YouTube. This partnership program provides creators with access to special tools, including monetizing their content using Google Adsense.
To qualify for the YouTube Partnership program, a content creator must have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and accumulate a total watch time of 4,000 hours over the prior 12-month period.
Moreover, YouTube monetizes content via display, pre-roll, and other advertising formats. On the other hand, advertisers pay based on impressions and clicks. YouTube gave 55 percent of a video’s revenue from ads to content creators. It then takes the remaining 45 percent for itself.
It is important to note that content creators must abide by the advertising guidelines implemented by YouTube. Videos that contain adult content, foul language, and other subjects that are not suitable for everyone will be demonetized. Meaning, no ads will be played within them. Such can include discussion of sensitive events like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brand Sponsorship As Another Source of Income
Brand sponsorship is a lucrative form of advertising. For digital marketers, brand sponsorship is also known as “influencer marketing.”
In making money on Youtube, a brand or a company will pay a content creator to promote them in a video. For example, during the early days of Michelle Phan’s YouTube career, she was able to get the attention of the cosmetic brand Lancome due to her trending makeup tutorials. For this reason, she got a brand sponsorship deal, allowing her to get another source of income other than the YouTube Partnership program.
As of 2019, over 700 agencies help match brands with social media influencers on various platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. For instance, Famebit, an agency that is affiliated to YouTube, takes 10 percent of all the sponsorship fee that it brokers.
Fan Funding and Channel Membership
Channel memberships are another popular way of monetizing a YouTube channel. Followers and fans make recurring monthly payments when they subscribe as a member of a particular channel. In return, they will get access to bonus content such as emojis, badges, live chats, special videos, and other content.
Content creators who have already reached 30,000 subscribers can enable channel membership as a form of monetization on their account. Also, third-party services such as Patreon help content creators to monetize their fan base through monthly memberships. Top content creators get as much as $40,000 each month from fan funding.
Selling Merchandise to Followers
Content creators can also sell up to 12 merchandise items to their audience by enabling the merchandise sales feature in their account. For instance, Jeffree Starr could make millions by selling eye shadow palettes, lipsticks, and highlighters to his fans.
Best Practices for YouTube
To increase the chances of attracting viewers and followers, content creators must follow the best practices for YouTube. Of course, the fundamental best practice for YouTube is to create rich and engaging content.
Viewers come to YouTube to find a source of entertainment. There is a great chance for your video and channel to get viewed and shared by creating great videos.
Besides, it is worth noting that YouTube values videos that get high engagement. A high engagement also means an increase in your video’s chance to rank higher in the search results.
Moreover, you can also increase viewership by optimizing your videos for YouTube search. Optimization includes using the Google keyword planner to look for words or phrases that many viewers search for. Creators should then integrate those keywords into their titles, video descriptions, and tags of the YouTube video page.
Furthermore, promoting YouTube videos using social media and paid advertising is another excellent way to generate more traffic to the video.
What are the Challenges in Terms of Revenue Generation
Even when a content creator has already followed the best practices for YouTube, there are still some challenges that they will face. At the end of 2018, YouTube only charges $10 to advertisers for the median cost per thousand (CPM) ad rate. But since content creators are paid based only on monetized views, and not on total views, the effective CPM they earn can be far lower.
Regardless of the challenges that YouTube content creators face, individuals who can create videos that attract a significant and loyal following can still make a substantial income on the video-sharing platform.
Forbes said that the highest-paid videos on YouTube allow its creators to earn almost $20 million per year. This is the reason why a lot of people chase this seemingly bottomless source of income.