I’m sure you have seen a viral YouTube video. They come in all shapes and sizes—from super popular songs like “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” to a funny grumpy cat, someone falling down, or even something completely off the wall like Ylvis’ “What Does the Fox Say?” video. What do they all have in common? Well, these posters all made a ton of money on YouTube when their videos went viral.
So let’s find out how to make money on YouTube.
Making a lot of money on YouTube is not as easy as you might think. There are a lot of hurdles to overcome in the process. It’s definitely not a way to get rich quick. However, if you have a hobby, are really good at a particular activity and would like to help people, are funny, or even if you just want to have some fun, YouTube is a great option to cash in some extra bucks doing something you love.
The first and probably most obvious starting point is set up YouTube account. You should have an idea of the types of videos that you want to upload. Next you’ll want to Enable monetization and sign up for Google AdSense.
Enabling monetization means that you agree you will only upload video content that you have the rights for and that you will play by the rules (such as not watching your own video over and over to boost ads). Google AdSense is the way you set up your payment information for when you actually start making money. I’ve posted links in the show notes of today’s episode so that you don’t have to hunt around for these links.
Next up you’ll want to become a YouTube Partner. This isn’t as hard as it used to be. In the past, to become a YouTube partner you had to have some 15,000 hours of your video watched at any point in time. The benefit here is that you can upload more than 15 minutes of video, which may help on some video projects. You also get analytics tools and some more advanced editing tools.
Now that you have monetization setup, along with Google AdSense, and YouTube partnership, you’re ready to go.
Types of Ads
Next let’s break down the types of advertisements on YouTube. You’re probably familiar with them if you watch any amount of YouTube videos. There’s the bottom text based ad that is displayed at the bottom of your video, and then there is the clip that plays at the beginning of your video. You can select which of these ads your video can have, and it might make a difference depending on your audience or how much revenue your video brings in.
The way advertising works with YouTube is probably one of the most complicated things that comes with trying to make money off of YouTube. The real estimate comes out to about $7.50 per 1,000 impressions. The difficult part is actually defining the word ‘impressions.’ The only time you make money on YouTube is when someone interacts with your ad or when it leaves an ‘impression’ on them.
This means that if someone skips an ad, or is running an ad blocker, then you don’t get paid for that view. This makes estimating the amount of views a video has and how much a user makes off of the video very challenging. It also depends if it’s a video ad at the front of your video, or just a box at the bottom of your page; this determines how many people interact with your ad and the amount of money that can be made.
At the end of the day, though, there are a lot of variables that can affect just how much you can make on YouTube. Your audience has a lot to do with the type of ad that would work best. For example, if you are making short funny videos, it’s probably best to not include a 30-second ad at the beginning—a viewer might just skip right on by. Luckily, YouTube has an analytics page that you can use to see just about every measurable aspect of your video—from demographics to time of day watched and location.
Now let’s talk about how to actually make videos that can generate money on YouTube. The first and most important thing is that you want your videos to be about something you are passionate about. If you’re not passionate, it will show in your videos—plus you’ll have less incentive to make them as time goes on.
I recommend coming out with normally scheduled videos at whatever interval you are comfortable with, whether that’s once a month or once a week. If you come out with regular videos, viewers are much more likely to ‘subscribe’ to your channel. Subscribing means that the user has started following you; if you post a new video. he or she will see it. This is a great way to build an audience and get some regularity to your viewership.
Make sure your videos are short and high quality. Unless you are doing targeted tutorials, or have some reason to keep your video on the long side (anything over six minutes), I recommend keeping it short. Even if you have to break the video into multiple parts, it makes the content more easily digestible by the viewer, which increases the likelihood it gets shared.
For example, a funny video that’s 10 minutes long will have lower odds of being shared by a user who might tell his or her friends “you have to see this!” You’re aiming for something short, with a clear message, clear audio, and decent editing. A little bit of thought in the beginning could pay large dividends down the road.
Next, you’ll want to keep the momentum of your video going. You don’t just get in a boat and paddle once and hope to get where you want to go. You have to keep paddling and marketing your video. This could be as simple as commenting back to comments people have left for your, commenting on other people’s videos, or sharing your video on Facebook or Twitter. Really any way that you can drive people to watch your video is beneficial.
Also, you can get more views, and drive more traffic to your video, by joining a YouTube Network, which is really just a group of videos. The idea is that by combining a lot of similar videos together, you’ll attract more views and make more money.
However, networks sometime have fees associated with them, or they ask to own your content or any number of other requirements. I personally don’t think that it is worth joining a network and going through all the trouble. I would first try making your own videos and revenue on your own. Once you have some experience to go shopping and to see what networks are out there, what they provide and what they ask of you. If you are curious though here’s a link to the top networks out there.
At the end of the day, the best videos you can make involve something you love. Find a unique skill or space that you occupy and make videos for niche. This is the best way to get started and try your hand at making money with YouTube!