Ten years ago, YouTube didn’t exist. Now, it has exploded into a household name across the globe. Consider the following:
It reaches more 18-34 year-old US adults than any cable network
One hundred hours of video are uploaded every minute
Over one billion unique users visit Youtube each month
- Google owns Youtube so the video’s you create when optimized correctly will rank very highly in the search engines
- Youtube users use Youtube like a standard search engine and it gets more traffic than Yahoo, and Bing combined making it technically the 2nd biggest search engine in the World even though it is a video sharing site.
Clearly, YouTube has grown by leaps and bounds in the less than a decade it has existed. And, just as with any other website, radio or television station, its massive following has opened the gates for lucrative advertising deals. That’s why many videos begin with a brief commercial, as the channel has been monetized by its owner, typically due to its large following.
With this in mind, regular individuals like you have literally made six-figures by simply uploading content while in their pajamas! But, to be clear, where some succeed, many fail.
Let’s discuss the basics of YouTube advertising and how much you can really make on the site.
How to Set up Ads
You’ll need an AdSense account to get started. While you technically can start running ads on your videos without AdSense, you must obtain an account at some point to get paid. If you don’t already have one, click here.
Then, you’ll need to sign up for the YouTube Partner Program. To do so, you must have at least one video approved for monetization and meet certain other eligibility requirements. Then, complete the following steps:
Visit the “Monetization” tab in your account settings
Click “Enable My Account”
Follow the directions to accept the Monetization agreement
To enable an ad on a specific video, click the “Monetization” tab on the upload page and the “Monetize my video” checkbox. Select which ad formats you’d like to use. Then, click the “Save changes” button. At this point, your video will be reviewed and you may be asked to submit proof you own all commercial use rights to the content before ads begin to appear.
Will I be Rubbing Elbows with Bill Gates Anytime Soon?
According to YouTube, thousands of channels generate six figures each year. Unfortunately, that’s just a drop in the bucket, since there are millions of creators on the site.
While Korean pop artist PSY has become an instant star and has already earned $870,000 from YouTube ads alone for just one song (source: Huffington Post), the average person doesn’t strike it rich on the site. YouTube ad revenue is often a supplemental income, although some manage to make a living off it.
How Much Can I Really Make?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, YouTube Partners typically earn $7 per 1,000 views. Note that, for various reasons, not every viewer will count toward this figure. For example, if a given commercial only targets U.S. residents, that South African teen who watches you wrestle your dog won’t see the ad.
Also, according to WhatIs.com, sponsors only pay for the following types of ads under the associated conditions:
In-display: only when viewers opt to watch an ad
In-search: any ad a viewer begins to watch
In-slate: only those that are chosen by the viewer
In-stream: must be viewed for at least 30-seconds (or entire ad, if shorter)
So, let’s use in-stream advertising as an example. According to Softpedia, 70 percent of viewers watch the pre-roll ads featured in this type of advertising. At this rate, 1,428 views would earn you $7 (70% of 1,428 = 1,000).
To earn larger sums of money, you’d need the following amount of views in this example:
$100: 20,400 views
$500: 102,000 views
$1,000: 204,000 views
Now, if you want to make a full-time living off this – say, by generating $4,000 per month – you’d need well over 800,000 views. Of course, this doesn’t all have to come from one video, but you’ll still need to generate interesting content to attract large amounts of viewers.
Note that your experiences may ultimately differ from this example, although it should give you a sense of how much you can realistically expect to earn.
Do you think you can make some big bucks on YouTube or will you pursue it as a side gig?
John Gower is a writer for NerdWallet, a site that helps you save money by “doing the homework for you.”