How much do Youtubers really make?
If you’re like most of us, you’ve done a quick Google search on ways to make money online, and becoming a Youtuber has turned up several times. It sounds pretty good, right? You get paid to do something you love, receive praise from millions of fans and work on your own schedule.
But is this a side hustle really for you? How easy is it to monetize? How much do Youtubers make, and how do they do it exactly? Here are answers to your questions.
How do Youtubers make money?
Youtubers make money through 4 main ways:
1. Ad Revenue
Google places ads on Youtube videos and keeps 45% of the advertising revenue. That leaves 55% to you, the video creator.
In order to make money through ads on YouTube, you need to apply to the YouTube Partner Program.
You have to have more than 1,000 subscribers to your channel and over 4,000 watch hours total to be accepted in the program.
This means that smaller creators won’t see ads on their videos for awhile but can make good money once they reach the threshold.
It takes about one month after reaching the threshold to hear back from YouTube regarding your acceptance into the program.
A Youtube channel with a lot of subscribers and high engagement can get companies to sponsor their videos. Companies are always looking for ways to gain exposure, and Youtube is the second largest search engine with about 1.9 billion monthly users. It’s a perfect platform for companies to promote products or services to potential customers.
3. Affiliate links
Like a blog, a Youtubers can be approached by a company and be asked to review a product. The Youtuber then reviews the product in a video, describing the features and why viewers should buy the product or service.
In the description there’s a direct link to the site where they can buy the recommended product. These links are specialised to the Youtuber and if the viewer buys the product or service, the Youtuber receives a sweet cut of the price.
The cut is typically 2-4% of the sale price but can be more depending on the affiliate product and program.
If the Youtube channel has a very strong following and popular brand, it can also make money by selling t-shirts, tote bags and hats with the brand name plastered all over it. Fans can then easily recognize each other when wearing these promotional products.
5. Fan Perks
YouTube has recently rolled out two perks that fans can pay for:
- Membership benefits
- Highlighted comments in chat
Your fans can pay extra to be a member of your channel and receive special perks. They can also have their comments highlighted in chat above everyone else’s comments.
These are relatively new features and not available to all channel creators.
It also depends on how devoted your fans are and if they will pay for the premium benefits on your channel.
Most fans are used to getting content for free so this can be a hard sell if you don’t have a strong brand following.
Learn more about how much you can earn from YouTube membership perks here.
Related post: How much do Instagrammers make?
What a Youtuber salary is really like
The truth is that the majority of Youtubers don’t make much. The real picture is different than the dream that is sold to us.
This German study shows that about 97% of aspiring Youtubers won’t make more than $12,140 per year. Those who are in the top 3% make an average advertising revenue of $16,800 per year – which is still not very much.
For the details when it comes to advertising:
- For every $100 an advertiser pays, Google pays $68 to the publisher
- The average rate an advertiser pays per view is $0.18
- On average a Youtube channel receives $3 -$5 per 1,000 ad view.
How much does Youtube pay per subscriber
Youtube uses something called CPM or ‘Cost Per Mile’ to measure the cost per 1,000 views or impressions. The typical CPM for a Youtuber ranges from 20 cents to $10 per 1,000 views. But as we said previously, the average channel will get $3 – $5 per ad view, and $1.5 – $3 per 1,000 views.
Youtube pays their subscribers per view, rather than per subscriber. This makes Youtube a fairer playing field so smaller channels can still generate income regardless of their subscriber count.
- If one of your videos gets 1,000 views, you can make up to $3.
- If one of your videos gets 10,000 views, you can make up to $30.
- If one of your videos gets 100,000 views, you can make up to $300.
- If one of your videos gets 1,000,000 views, you can make up to $3,000.
That’s not a guaranteed amount but an estimate based on typically CPMs. Your own earnings may vary.
Highest paid Youtubers
So yes, most of Youtubers don’t make much. But out of curiosity, how much do the highest paid Youtubers actually make? Collectively, you’ll be astounded to hear that the top 10 earning Youtubers earn more than $180 million per year. Here’s a list of the highest paid YouTubers:
1. Ryan ToysReview: $22 million
Ryan, the 7-year-old host, started making toy reviews and his parents have been documenting them since March 2015. They now have over 18 million subscribers, and he’s helped double the family’s earnings from 2017.
Kids love watching Ryan unbox and reveal his new toys (that parents end up buying).
Ryan and family will make over $500,000 per month reviewing toys.
2. Jake Paul: $21.5 million
Both Logan (see #10 below) and Jake Paul are Youtube stars in their early twenties.
Jake releases daily vlogs and rap videos, and has over 18 million followers.
The brothers gained their internet fame from the social media network Vine – where Jake Paul had over 2 billion views on his content.
Jake, like many other YouTube stars, monetizes on other social media platforms as well including Instagram.
3. Dude Perfect: $20 million
Dude Perfect is a sports channel with videos features trick shots and stunts. It’s run by five guys from Texas A&M University. Many of their tricks have gone viral and they’ve appeared several times on television.
4. DanTDM: $18.5 million
Middleton started growing his audience by streaming Minecraft videos. He recently took part in Disney’s ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’. He now does world tours and has his own personal apparel brand.
5. Jeffree Star: $18 million
Star has more than 13 million subscribers with just 300 videos. His channel kickstarted along with his makeup brand, Jeffree Star Cosmetics. He mainly has videos about beauty tips and tutorials.
Beauty is another big niche on YouTube.
6. Markiplier: $17.5 million
Fischbach started his channel after a series of personally devastating events. He was studying to become a biomedical engineer, and now makes millions from his channel.
- How I Make $3,500 Per Month Freelance Writing On the Side
- 11 Etsy Shops Created in 6 Weeks for the Etsy Mastermind
7. VanossGaming: $17 million
Fong’s channel mainly produces editing, original art along with comedy. He recently started his personal clothing line and self-produced music.
8. Jacksepticeye: $16 million
McLoughlin started off working with Disney, specifically Disney XD, a TV channel for children. He also works as a host for live events and tours around Europe and the US.
9. PewDiePie: $15.5 million
Although PewDiePie has suffered a decline in sponsorships due to accusations of racism and anti-Semitism, he still manages to increase his earnings in 2018. He has the channel with the most subscribers with over 92 million.
His subscribers watch him play and give commentary over video games.
10. Logan Paul: $14.5 million
Logan along with his brother suffered from a scandal in Japan, but his channel still racks up subscribers and earns a large income. He promotes his own personal merchandise and makes money from celebrity appearances.
Logan Paul also has a presence off of YouTube and has expanded into other channels and mainstream media.
How much do you think YouTubers make?
Our conclusion is that most do not make much but there are the 1% that are making millions.
The best approach to making money on YouTube seems to be to not rely on advertising dollars alone and to diversify into other challenge including: Affiliate Marketing, Sponsorship, and Merchandise.
It also makes sense to choose a niche where you can stand out. Don’t try to copy other creators in larger niches unless you have a unique value proposition that makes you stand out.
What do I need to get started on YouTube?
Some creators get started with low-quality videos recorded on their phones but professionals use lighting kits to gain subscribers early.
The light makes the video look more professional.
- This inexpensive ring light from Amazon for more stationary vloggers.
- This lighting studio for everyone else.
It doesn’t actually cost anything to get started on YouTube beyond the equipment. Might be worth giving it a try and seeing if you can make it big (while knowing it’s a long-shot).