A big part of starting a vlog is not just to become a famous YouTuber (I know you want it, don’t deny it) is to also make money on making something fun. Since YouTube is the big platform where people hang, monetization on YouTube could be a good thing to know.
Fantastic for you, I have crafted an article (with my bare hands) on how monetization on YouTube works. This article should clarify the questions you have, and the requirements needed to be able to monetize your videos.
YouTube is owned by Google. Google happens to be the world’s largest search engine and they also run the most profitable ad network out there. Basically, a business can go to Google AdSense and signup to have their ad featured. Google AdSense ads are then displayed across a network of websites and YouTube channels.
If you opt into the monetization program, you will have ads shown to your viewers alongside your video content. In return, you’ll get paid a few pennies for all the people who watch the ads. If they engage with the ads, meaning they click on them and go to the advertiser’s website, you might make a little extra money too.
YouTube Partner Program
In the early days of monetized YouTube, any video you published could be monetized by checking a little box during the publishing process. Today, however, the program has had to get stricter. You see, a lot of people were publishing junk content and then monetizing it to make a buck.
In an effort to keep the platform clean and high quality, YouTube is now changing the requirements of who is eligible to join the YouTube Partner Program. If you aren’t a member of the YouTube Partner Program, you will not profit from video monetization.
By being a partner, you can enable ads to show on your videos in turn for a small cut of the profits. You’ll also earn money for premium YouTube subscribers who watch your videos.
If the program is available in your country, you can apply to join. You’ll have to reach 4,000 watch hours and 1,000 subscribers before you’ll be considered for the program. Once you reach the threshold, your channel is going to be reviewed on multiple marks to make sure it meets the Creator Policies and all the guidelines YouTube sets forth.
If you keep up with any vloggers on YouTube, you probably have taken note that many are complaining they aren’t eligible for monetization any longer. Even if they meet the 4,000/1,000 requirements, if their content is in any way considered controversial or potentially “not advertiser-friendly”, they have likely been removed from the program.
YouTube has set up these policies to please advertisers who don’t want their ads shown alongside potentially political or controversial content. So, if you have a channel about current events or anything that may be considered controversial, you’ll probably be bumped from the program.
YouTube Partner Program Update on January 16, 2018
YouTube is constantly updating the program guidelines to make sure YouTube remains a cheerful and quality place to locate entertaining and informational video content. In January 2018, they made new updates to the Partner Program.
In addition to updating their policies for the content that’s eligible for monetization, they also added the watch hour and subscriber requirement. Keep in mind that this isn’t total watch hours, you need to have 4,000 or more watch hours in the past 12 months along with 1,000 subscribers to considered for the program.
Here’s what YouTube said about the update:
[pullquote align=”normal”]This is part of an effort to strengthen our requirements for monetization, so spammers, impersonators, and other bad actors can’t hurt our ecosystem or take advantage of creators while continuing to reward those who make our platform great.[/pullquote]
You can also read more about this update in their blog post that they posted on their Creator Blog here.
How Many Views Do You Need to Make Money?
Once you are eligible for the program, you may find that the AdSense revenue isn’t quite as much as you may have once thought. There are calculators out there that can estimate how much you’d make if a video gets this many views, but they are mere estimates. The “best” one is the one of Influencermarketinghub.com, which you can find here.
In actuality, you are going to get paid a lot more per view/impression if you have a larger audience who regularly engage (like, comment) on your videos. In general, newer, smaller channels will get paid less per view/impression. As your channel grows, you’ll notice you’re getting paid more per view/impression and that’s because advertisers will bid more to be featured on larger, more popular channels and videos.
There are also other factors that will affect your channel’s monetization revenue. For instance, the number of videos you have monetized will exponentially affect how much money you profit each day/month. The more videos you have displaying ads, the more ads you’ll be able to serve to viewers. More videos also mean more exposure, which means increased subscriber count.
You’ll notice that the length of your videos will also play a role. YouTube is currently reconsidering allowing ads on videos under a certain length. Generally, as a vlogger, 10 minutes is a good length to shoot for and that seems safe based on the current monetization standards.
Other Ways to Make Money on YouTube
Up until the point that you’re eligible for monetization, and then as your ad revenue slowly climbs, you’re likely going to want to find other avenues of earning money from your YouTube channel. There are actually multiple ways that you can make money through YouTube, without being part of their Partner Program.
Affiliate marketing is by far one of the more common ways for YouTube creators to make money. Basically, you’ll feature products in your videos and then include a link to them in the description. People who are interested in purchasing the product may use your special link, and then in return, you’ll get a slice of the profits should they choose to purchase it.
If affiliate marketing sounds profitable to you, you should join a free platform like Commission Junction, Share A Sale, or even Amazon’s affiliate program. You will need to disclose affiliate links anywhere they are placed and, when you are getting paid to feature a product or service, you need to disclose that to your viewers.
Say that you vlog about your job as a website designer. Your video descriptions might feature an affiliate link to website design service, web hosting, and similar services that you could sell. Find affiliate programs that are perfectly fitted to your niche if you want to increase your chances of getting clicks and sales.
Another way to make money by promoting a product or service is through a direct sponsorship from a company. In many cases, companies are willing to pay YouTubers to talk about their product or service, even if you don’t have a big following yet. Many brands are looking for micro influencers in a specific niche who would be willing to review or promote their brand in their next video.
Usually, a sponsorship will get you a fixed payment up front while creating the video. You may also get a free product from it or a free subscription to the service in return for promoting it.
Finally, you might choose to sell merchandise to your subscribers that will help promote your brand and give you a means for making extra profit on the side. Plenty of vloggers try this tactic successfully, selling hats, t-shirts, and hoodies with their face, handle, and/or funny quotes and sayings on them that relate to their channel.
You can also take the merch approach a step further, selling gadgets that you feature on your channel and things that relate to your niche. For instance, if you have a vlog about cake decorating, you might sell branded cake decorating tools in your store. This makes it really easy for you to promote your store in your videos by saying, “These are handy to have, you can pick some up at …”
In whatever way you choose to monetize your channel, just make sure that you aren’t always giving a sales pitch or making your subscribers feel like you are selling to them constantly. An occasional mention is okay, but constant promotion will make your channel seem like an ad for your store rather than a real vlog that offers value.
Obviously, you want to profit from your channel, but don’t ever forget what really matters: making quality content for your viewers! As long as you stay true to yourself and true to your channel’s main goal of creating fun and informational content about your life’s passions, you’ll find that the revenue streams gradually build themselves up as your subscriber base does the same.