What is YouTube Monetization? As YouTube is part social media and part search engine and is the second most used search engine online (after Google), so videos posted to YouTube are easily sourced and listed for easy discovery.
Unlike other social media platforms though, it is possible to make money from YouTube with YouTube monetization.
This process of making money has changed over the years. so while it is no longer possible to simply sign up and begin making money right away, there are plenty of opportunities available to eventually build up a following and earn money with videos uploaded to YouTube.
YouTube represents the internet’s definitive home for video entertainment and education while powering a grassroots creative economy. But for all the platform’s ubiquity and name recognition, much confusion still abounds around the actual viability and process for creators establishing income-generating channels. Thanks to advances in digital commerce infrastructure however, YouTube now enables over two million channel operators earning reliable advertising revenues–with tens of thousands surpassing six figures annually.
Yet while the barriers to entry have lowered considerably—whether as a professional side hustle or full-time business—achieving sustainable YouTube monetization absent going viral requires an entrepreneurial commitment to serving a clearly defined niche with consistent, high-quality programming. This demands insightful production planning rooted in data analytics plus mastering channel monetization features and alternative revenue streams available to seriously-focused creators.
This comprehensive guide examines the modern YouTube creator journey – unpacking the platform’s infrastructure supporting ad and fan funding while providing tactical advice for optimizing essential authority rankings fueling scalable earnings. Let’s demystify the path to transforming creative passion into life-changing income through strategic video channel management and community building.
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Table of Contents
What is YouTube Creator Studio?
It is easy to create a YouTube account. For anyone who already has a Gmail account (or any other Google entity), half of the job is already done. To create the account, an individual needs to head over to the YouTube website and select the “Sign Up” option, in the upper, right hand corner. From here, they can sign-in with their Gmail account. If a Google account is not yet active (or if a new one is desired), the individual just needs to follow the prompts, type in a username and password, and then confirm everything.
Now, there are many people on YouTube who do not want to upload content. They just want a profile so they can subscriber to other stations, comment on channels and interact with other users. For those individuals, nothing else needs to be done. However, for anyone who is interested in posting videos to YouTube, there is a Creator Studio feature.
When clicking on the profile icon in the upper right corner of the YouTube screen (after logging in) a user has an option to open the “Creator Studio.” This is where an individual can upload new videos, monitor current video performance, editing videos and so on. When the new page loads, if no videos are up yet they have the “Upload Video” option. If there are videos currently present, they can see all of the current views and watchtime. It also shows subscribers, the rate of subscribers over the last 30 days, and the money they have made over the last 30 days.
The Creator Studio feature becomes the person’s channel headquarters and is where they will editing, alter, delete or add future content moving forward.
What is YouTube Monetization Requirements
YouTube has changed the monetization requirements a few times over the years. However, the most drastic changes started up earlier in 2018. These changes affected a number of smaller channels and will affect those just starting up their YouTube accounts moving forward.
The standard requirements to now make money off of YouTube is a channel needs to have at least 1,000 confirmed subscribers and at least 4,000 watch time hours over the past 12 months.
The at least 1,000 confirmed subscribers means these subscribers cannot be fake. If YouTube finds out someone created fake accounts to boost numbers, or that someone went to a “buy subscribers” website and purchased these fake subscribers, YouTube will not only not count these subscribers, but there is a change YouTube will ban the creator account as well. It’s important to not test YouTube on this as it is very good at identifying these fake subscribers.
On the other end…
On the other end, it is necessary for a user to have at least 4,000 watch time hours within the past 12 months to be eligible for monetization. Now, this doesn’t need to be over the course of an entire 12 months. It can be in less time. If someone makes the 4,000 watch time hours over a single month that works too. However, the minimum is 4,000 hours over a year. For anyone who wants this broken down on a month to month basis, this equates to 20,000 watch time minutes per month.
Similar to the subscriber numbers, it is very important for a user to not try and influence their own numbers. They cannot simply watch their own content on loop. YouTube can monitor IP address and where view time comes from. If it discovers the watch time is from the user’s home address (or all from a singular address), it will flag the content and either remove the watch time minutes or block the account all together.
Some may ask…
Some may ask the question of how many views do you need to make money on YouTube. It no longer has anything to do with views. While the number of views is helpful to a user looking for popular content, this is not a metric used to determine how much money someone makes (or when they will make money). YouTube found that someone watching a video for five seconds shouldn’t count as a view. That’s why it is all about how long people watch content, and not the number of views.
It may take a while to reach the 1,000 subscriber and 40,000 watch hours within a year, but once this is obtained, it is possible to begin making money off YouTube.
How Do You Monetize Videos on YouTube?
In order to begin monetizing a YouTube channel, after it reaches all the necessary subscriber and view time amounts, a user needs to have their Google AdSense in place. If they already use an AdSense account for other advertising making opportunities on a website or in other areas of the Internet, this account can be used. If not, they need to sign up for a Google AdSense account.
Creating the account is straight forward. After heading over to the AdSense page, a user needs to select to create an account. With the already existing YouTube/Gmail account, this is done in a few short steps. It is necessary to authenticate the account now using either a cell phone or through an email, although cell phone text message is the preferred way of doing this (this helps Google ensure a single user does not have a large number of AdSense accounts).
Once the AdSense account has been created, the individual needs to head back over to their YouTube account and select the Creator Studio option. While in the Creator Studio page there is a “Monetization” option (usually listed on the left side of the page). Here, the user is able to then input their Google AdSense code. This is not the user name of the account. Every AdSense has an associated code that is input. This can be copied from the AdSense account (usually listed under the profile name after logging on) and then added to the required space on YouTube.
YouTube will then authenticate the AdSense and connect the profiles together. If the YouTube page has already reached the necessary subscriber and view amount numbers the account will begin to make money. If, however, the user has not yet reached the necessary threshold, YouTube will hold onto the AdSense information and authenticate everything once the necessary numbers have been reached.
What Is YouTube Monetization: How Much Money Can You Make?
Once it is possible to begin making money on YouTube, one of the most common questions is how miuch does YouTube pay for your videos. This answer isn’t as straight forward as it might seem. There are a number of different factors at play when it comes to determining how much money a person will receive.
For starters, this is where the number of views can help. YouTube does provide money information based on the amount paid by the number of views. A view counts as someone who remains on the channel for at least five seconds (which is enough time for the first ad to begin playing). There are different advertisement options on YouTube. The first is a commercial that plays at the beginning/end of a video. The next is a visual ad that might appear over the lower third of the video during playback. The third is an ad that appears on the side of a YouTube channel, when viewed from a desktop. Different kinds of ads pay different amounts.
Additionally, the popularity of a particular channel has a big role in the amount of money someone makes. Naturally, the more popular a channel is the more someone will want to advertise on it, which means someone with a million subscribers and who averages over a million views per video will make more money than someone with a thousand subscribers and a few hundred views per video.
The content of the videos plays a role in how much someone can make off of YouTube as well. When advertising on social platforms like Facebook, a business will “bid” on specific keywords. They more they are willing to pay the more likely the advertisements will appear with the given keywords. This is true with YouTube as well. Some content and some keywords are deemed as a greater value, which means advertisements appearing on these channels will pay more, which gives the account holder more money.
If someone interacts with an advertisement on a channel this helps increase the amount of money someone makes off of their channel. A person should never interact with their own ads (YouTube can see this and will remove the money made). With all of these variables in place, it’s nearly impossible to tell someone what they will make. However, it can range anywhere from $1 to over $10 per 1,000 views.
YouTube And You
Over time, it is possible to make money with monetization on a YouTube account. While it isn’t possible to just sign up and begin making money right away, once all of the requirements are met, YouTube Adsense turns on and it begins allowing users to make money. Because of the new requirements though, someone hitting the requirements will likely now make more money than they would have before, as fewer channels now have monetization.
So it will take a bit of time and effort to take advantage of the monetization opportunity, someone who puts in the time will eventually make money from YouTube monetization.
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Latest YouTube Creator Economy Statistics:
Recent milestones around the YouTube creator ecosystem and monetization include:
- Over 2 million channels now participating in the YouTube Partner Program to earn advertising income, up 25% year-over-year
- Top 5% of channels account for over 85% of total ad revenue indicating power laws. However, over 15K channels now surpass $100K annually
- Over 140,000 channels boast 1+ million subscribers representing immense influence and middle class Creator economy viability
- Average RPM rates (ad revenue per 1,000 views) range from under $1 for gaming/vlogs up to $4+ for finance and over $25 for medical/specialty topics
- SuperChat direct viewer tipping has channeled over $1 billion to creators since launching in 2017 supplementing ad revenue
YouTube Partner Program Account Monetization Checklist:
- Validate account in good standing with no strikes for copyright, dangerous content etc
- Optimized channel metadata and quality thumbnails established
- 4000 public watch hours achieved over the previous 12 months
- 1000 subscriber minimum threshold crossed
- AdSense account connected for payments
- Agree to YouTube advertising policies and community guidelines
Alternate YouTube Monetization Models
Memberships – Fans pay a monthly fee for exclusive member badges, custom emoji, video content etc. activatable from YouTube Studio dashboard. Example: Marques Brownlee offers a $4.99 per month membership level
Merchandise – Video creators can upload shirt, hoodie and other product designs viewable below videos for fans to purchase from integrated partner Teespring straight from watching video pages. Higher production quality merch recommends using best-in-class vendors and coupon partner servicestailored for creators.
Affiliate Links – Include textual descriptions and banners with affiliate links to featured products underneath videos within underlying metadata. When viewers click and purchase, creators earn attractive commissions from retail partners. Clear disclosure on paid recommendations for trust and compliance.
What Is YouTube Monetization: Optimizing Ad Earnings Best Practices
- Collaborations expose potentially millions of fans from fellow creators to your content and channel increasing authority. But ensure complementarity.
- Consistency keeps fueling the algorithm – set dependable upload schedules aligned to audience habits signaled within analytics.
- Clear calls to action in videos and supporting text guides next behaviors from likes to comments to channel subscriptions driving authority metrics.
- Spotlight cards linking to other videos helps binge viewing propelling cumulative watch time metrics used by recommender algorithms. Playlists organize content themes effectively here too.
YouTube Monetization FAQs
Q: How exactly is my ad revenue calculated?
A: Based on a few factors – advertiser CPM bid rates based on audience, watchtime, retention, video length etc. Google keeps 45% of sales. RPM metrics in Analytics summarize performance.
Q: When will I receive monthly payouts?
A: Payments distributed on the 21st of each month after YouTube takes 45% rev share cut. Must reach $100 threshold for bank transfer.
Q: Can I transfer my channel ownership/ad earnings?
A: Channel original owners can transfer to others through Google AdSense approval ensuring continuity of earnings and ownership of creative content.
Q: Should I join a multi-channel network (MCN)?
A: For newer channels, MCNs promise promotion help, copyright management, merchandise platforms etc in exchange for 5-30% of ad revenue. Weigh value vs rev share sacrifices carefully.
YouTube Monetization Expert YouTube Commentary:
“Gaming remains oversaturated for breakout potential today – greatest opportunities exist creating longer commentary debating societal impacts of technology fused with smart entertainment.” — Marissa Rutledge, Tech Commentator, 1.4M Subscribers
YouTube Monetization Conclusion
In conclusion, YouTube’s immense reach and sophisticated analytics dashboards make video entertainment production one of the most viable emerging small business models and side hustles if creators relentlessly connect with defined niche audiences.
However, flawless execution across watch time and loyalty plus content innovation and consistency determines monetization success over get-rich-quick hopes. By taking an entrepreneurial, business-focused approach to channel development and collaboratively fueling a niche community, creators can build both impact and income.
The platform continues to add new ways like SuperChats or channel gifting allowing fans to directly invest in programming through unlocking exclusive interactions and content based on monetary tips. But first priority remains relentlessly producing inventive programming matching subscriber interests through personal authenticity around topics you live daily rather than chasing algorithms with topical fads.
Lean into YouTube’s unparalleled analytics to optimize preference-aligned episodic formulas generating anticipation for next installments. Build programming excellence and distribution virality first – diversified monetization and partnership second. With billions of aggregate hours streamed daily and seemingly infinite appetite for personality-driven episodic video guidance around everything from esports to exotic cuisines, seize the invitation to meaningfully impact lives doing what you love through the camera.