Earnings on YouTube: a guide to how to monetize content

Earnings on YouTube: a guide to how to monetize content

Today YouTube is not only about cat videos, jokes or travel videos. All kinds of specialists – from cooks to entrepreneurs – find themselves on this platform, sharing their knowledge and experience in an interesting and accessible way. Many also receive financial compensation for the creation of their content.

How do you make money on a video hosting service with 400 hours of video uploaded every minute? We have collected different ways of monetization for those who are ready to break into Youtube.

How to monetize via YouTube affiliate program

This is one of the most popular and easiest ways to make money on YouTube. In this case, you don’t create the ad itself, but only give you permission to place it. You decide when, how and how much of it will be shown during your video, e.g. will it be a commercial only in the beginning or at any time, will it be possible to rewind it or will you have to watch it till the end, etc.

But you can’t choose which ads to show. But don’t worry: YouTube strictly selects ads and doesn’t skip commercials about illegal goods or services (e.g. casinos or escorts).

In this way, you can make money from Google AdSense ads and/or YouTube Premium subscriptions (if your video is viewed by a user who has paid for an ad-free subscription, YouTube will share with you a percentage of the cost of the subscription).

In order for you to monetize your content as a YouTube affiliate, your channel must meet several conditions:

  • A minimum of 1,000 subscribers;
  • A minimum of 4,000 hours of video views over the past year.

The number of video views is not taken into account, so as not to encourage scamming. In general, these are quite feasible conditions, especially if you are already running or plan to run your channel on a regular basis.

How do you know if you can already monetize your videos with an affiliate program? In your Youtube Studio, a green dollar icon will appear next to your videos, and when you upload a new video, you’ll be asked for information about ad formats and the number of ads.

How much and what Youtube pays for

First of all it’s worth mentioning that YouTube doesn’t pay for views of your video in principle but for so called commercial views – when employer’s goal is reached (it might be displaying ads till a certain second or even clicking on a link). That is, if the viewer while watching your video instantly missed the ad or irritatedly closed the tab – you won’t get any money.

There is no fixed cost for the number of impressions, because it depends on a number of factors:

  • the thematic niche of the channel,
  • Its audience (geographical location, its demand among advertisers),
  • the quality of the video and its coverage,
  • the number of commercial impressions of the ad,
  • type of advertising, the depth of its viewing by users, the number, etc.

On average, you can earn $1 to $3 per 1,000 ad impressions. Keep in mind that your income is only 55% of what the advertiser actually pays (the rest – the commission of the affiliate program). Bloggers with English-speaking audience earn significantly more – an average of $7.60 per 1000 views.

You can withdraw the money you earn when your income exceeds the $100 mark. In general, although it’s an easy way to monetize YouTube videos, it’s not very profitable.

What is MCN: pros and cons

MCN (multi-channel network), or media network, is a third-party organization that helps you monetize your YouTube channel by providing additional promotion tools, technical support, simplified withdrawal of money, advice and educational activities on the topic of promotion and monetization in YouTube. For their work media network takes a percentage of your earnings. Each media network has its own percentage, averaging 30%.

To become part of a media network, you need to meet a number of requirements. Each MCN has its own requirements, but they usually concern the number of subscribers and hours of content viewed per year.

The advantages of working with MCN:

  • Many convenient options for withdrawing funds (which is not the case with direct monetization through Google AdSense) to electronic money systems;
  • transparent income reporting system;
  • Advice on marketing and promotion of your YouTube channel + training materials;
  • opportunity to work with major advertisers.

Cons of working with MCN:

  • Working through a media network “eats up” most of the earnings that could be obtained by working with Google AdSense directly (and you can earn through a media network not only on advertising Google AdSense, but also, for example, on advertising integrations);
  • Assistance in the promotion (advice and training materials) can be of low quality, as a result not giving the expected benefit.

Bottom line, if you have a small YouTube channel that is not yet attracting advertisers, and monetized through Google AdSense, then working with a media network will not bring much income.

Method #2: How to make money on YouTube using ad integrations

This is another popular way among youtubers to monetize content that allows you to make money on your YouTube channel. You advertise a product or brand and get paid for it.

You can do this in several ways:

  • product placement (when you advertise a brand’s products without naming it – for example, by demonstratively drinking coffee from a mug that clearly shows the logo and brand colors of a particular brand);
  • recommendation / review (when you advertise something that you have personally used and can share your experience – for example, a review of a new device)
  • native ads (an ad designed by a blogger in a way that generates interest as much as the content itself, because it’s integrated into the video as naturally as possible)
  • ad insertion (an ad that is not related to the subject of the video and is integrated into the video with special designations that it is an ad).

It’s a mandatory condition of YouTube to label ad integrations. To do this in your personal cabinet, when uploading a video, you need to put a check mark next to the “Video contains paid ads” option. It’s important not to overload your video with ads (if you don’t check this box, YouTube will add its own ads in addition to yours).

Where to look for advertisers?

The number of subscribers you have on your channel, which makes it attractive to advertisers, depends on the niche. If you have a narrow-themed channel with the target audience the advertiser wants, you will already be interested if you have a few thousand subscribers.

If you only develop your channel, you can try to cooperate with advertising exchanges. You only need to upload your advanced channel statistics to the exchange, after which your profile is displayed on the site. You may be selected for advertising integrations, and after your order is executed exchange will transfer you the payment, and take 5-15% commission. Media networks also help in the search for advertisers, if you work with them. Well, many brands directly reach out to bloggers who are interesting to them.

The main advantage of this method of monetization – a high level of income (for example, advertising integration in a video of Ukrainian blogger-millionaire can cost $ 4000-5000).

But keep in mind that with this:

  • you need to know your audience very well in order to preliminarily estimate which ads will “go for it” and which will not;
  • You will have to spend time negotiating and discussing the terms of cooperation if you work with an advertiser directly;
  • there is a risk of losing audience loyalty if you fail to make high-quality ads or contact an advertiser with a bad reputation.

Method #3: Crowdfunding/Sponsorship

This monetization option has become especially popular in 2020. Its essence is to enable your loyal audience to support your channel financially.

There are two options for support: sponsorships and crowdfunding.

Sponsorship subscription. This is a monthly payment of a certain amount from subscribers, in return for which they receive not only video content, but also additional bonuses – such as the ability to personally interact with you, access to closed content, souvenirs, etc. Yutub takes a 30% commission on the cost of the subscription. In some countries, this feature is not yet available. For a list of countries where youtube sponsorship is available, follow this link.
Crowdfunding, or donations. This is when subscribers have the opportunity to transfer you any amount of money at will. Such a variant of earnings is now available to everyone. It is enough to indicate in the description of the channel and each video where you can transfer the money.
This kind of monetization is worth considering only as an additional method, because it is unlikely to bring a normal income, even if you have a millionth channel. And it will not allow you to plan a stable monthly profit. But as an extra bonus for your efforts and the opportunity to gauge audience loyalty, this option is fine.

Method #4: Additional monetization through affiliate links

You must have seen the videos where the blogger first advertises and then asks people to place an order using the link provided in the description of the video. This is affiliate or affiliate-marketing, where the blogger earns a commission from each order made and paid through his referral link. In this case, he is not paid for the advertising integration itself – only for its results in terms of the number of orders and their average check. A blogger’s commission depends on the terms of an affiliate program and can be as high as 20-70% of each order.

It is important not to abuse the number of such links. It is better to find 2-3 partners and collaborate with them on an ongoing basis than to keep looking for new ones and risk audience loyalty.

Way number 5: selling your products / services

This way of earning is similar to the advertising integration with brands, only you sell for your own benefit and act as both advertiser and blogger. This option is often resorted to by major youtubers with a loyal audience, who have “proven themselves” in paid advertising collaborations with companies.

On the plus side, it is relatively uncomplicated because the blogger can delegate the production of goods and services to others. From the disadvantages – you can miscalculate with the assortment, tire out the audience with advertising and do not get any profits.

How much really earn on YouTube.

Alas, but here it is difficult to give any exact or even minimal figures, because there are too many factors that affect income from YouTube. In any case, the possible earnings are the bigger, the more loyal subscribers the channel has, and the more videos have coverage and engagement.

In total, how much can you earn on YouTube using the above ways of monetizing content?

YouTube affiliate program: about $1-3 per 1,000 views. This is a stable, but not very lucrative earning option.
Advertising integrations with brands. This is probably the most promising option for earning in YouTube – one integration can bring a millionaire blogger about $4,000-5,000. And how many of them will be in a month depends only on the youtuber.
Affiliate links: income depends on the number of paid orders on your link, for each of which you get 20-70% depending on the terms of the partner.
Sponsored subscriptions or donations. For youtubers-beginners will not work, because here the income depends on the loyalty of the audience and its number. This can be as little as $0 per month, as well as a couple of hundred or thousands. For example, the YouTube channel “Telebachennya Toronto” earns 7.5 thousand dollars on donations.
Selling their goods and services. As in the case with donates, the income depends very much on the quality and quantity of the audience, and the products themselves. You can reach earnings of several thousand dollars a month, or you can miss out on products and earn nothing.


Blogging on YouTube is a gamble for the future. You will not make a lot of money right away, and the fact that it will come out even after 1-2 years of active blogging. You will not have crowds of advertisers, while there will not be many thousands or many millions, and most importantly – a loyal audience. So the first time you can count only on a small income from advertising with AdSense, which is more likely to be a bonus for effort than decent pay for your work. But if you’re ready to play the long game and see going to YouTube as an important and necessary step in its development – then, of course, go ahead, try, start, and let everything work out for you!

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