How do YouTubers make money? Learn the top 6 ways

Ever gone down a YouTube rabbit hole of luxurious travel videos and wondered how Creators afford it all? You’re not alone. How do YouTubers make money? We’re here to reveal all. 

In 2019, just 10 top YouTube channels made a total of $162 million. When done right, being a YouTuber can be a super rewarding career, but it also requires tons of hard work and creativity.

So if you’re thinking of making a name for yourself and getting a piece of the YouTube pie, check out some of the best ways to make the megabucks: 

1. Let native ads do the work

One of the most popular ways for YouTubers to make money is through a YouTube AdSense partnership. Here, YouTube pays you a portion of the revenue when someone clicks on an ad embedded in your video. Here’s an example of an ad from Udemy on the YouTube channel, Aaron and Claire.

YouTube ad revenue

To earn revenue from native YouTube advertising, you need to be a part of the YouTube Partner Program. But it’s one thing to be eligible for the Partner Program and another thing to actually make money from it.

To cash in on ads, make sure you create high-quality content that will drive plenty of views and clicks. For this, you need to:

  • Choose a topic that’s of interest to your target audience.
  • Edit your videos to make them more engaging. You could add text overlay, sound effects, and graphics as needed.
  • Set the mood using the right background music. Using a popular music platform like Lickd will help viewers engage with your soundtrack. Check out the following video from filmmaker, Peter McKinnon to see how music and sound effects add a fun element to the video.
  • Add thumbnails that instantly catch the eye and make people want to click on your video.

Lickd platform

2: Be the face of brand commercials

For YouTubers who’ve achieved mainstream popularity, there’s also the option to make money by appearing in traditional ads. The video below shows a commercial from Olay starring Lilly Singh, aka Superwoman on YouTube.

If you plan on appearing in a brand commercial, always consider the product’s relevance to your channel and personal brand. Does it align with your brand identity or channel voice? Otherwise, you could risk coming across as a sell-out and losing some of your fans.

3: Land a brand sponsorship

Even if you haven’t gotten big enough to achieve mainstream popularity, you still have a way to make money from working with brands. With the increasing adoption of influencer marketing, many brands are looking to partner with influential YouTubers who’ll feature their brand or products in their videos. But note that you still need significant viewership and engagement to land a brand partnership.

You’ll probably get better results if you seamlessly integrate the brand or product mention into your content, but if that doesn’t work for your channel, you can still get paid for just mentioning products. For instance, the YouTube channel, Polyphonic regularly creates brand-sponsored videos in which they mention the sponsorship at the beginning of the video. But the actual content doesn’t necessarily feature the brand or product. Here’s an example:

4: Sell cool merch

If you’ve built a strong community of fans, you should also consider selling merchandise to monetize your YouTube fame. A lot of YouTubers make money by selling t-shirts, hats, and knick-knacks featuring their channel name, slogan, and/or catchphrase.

For example, Chef John who runs the YouTube channel, Food Wishes has a merchandise store where he sells t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, and phone covers featuring his quotes.

YouTube merch shelf

5: Get your fans to chip in

YouTubers can also make money by collecting donations from their channel viewers. YouTube recently came up with a channel membership program, which allows viewers to join your channel by paying a monthly recurring fee. This gives them access to members-only perks like exclusive videos, live chats, badges, and emojis.

YouTube channel membership

This is an excellent way to make money, but it comes with a few eligibility requirements. For instance, you need at least 30,000 subscribers to join the program.

Even if you don’t qualify, you can still get fan funding through platforms like Patreon. This allows you to collect fan donations and in exchange, provide your “patrons” with exclusive perks.

6: Get entrepreneurial

Once you’ve built a decent following, you can also use your influence to start your own business venture outside of the platform. You could write a book, develop a product line, or create tutorials and personalized training courses. For example, Jeffree Star came up with his own highly successful makeup brand after building a name as a YouTuber.

Now that you’ve got an answer to your question on how do YouTubers make money, why not get started by creating your own channel. Remember that quality content is everything, so start with that and look to grow your viewership before monetizing your channel.

Content and SEO Marketing Manager

Back To Top