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$700 million. That’s the amount of revenue that top YouTuber Mr Beast – aka Jimmy Donaldson – brings in every year from his YouTube channel and Feastables food brand, according to Time Magazine

While Mr Beast is one of the highest earning YouTubers around today, more creators than ever are making big money from YouTube. And there are now even more ways to make money from your own YouTube channel.

Ready to get in on the action? We’ve rounded up the top 10 ways to make money on YouTube, even if you don’t have a massive, Mr Beast-level subscriber count. Whether you’re curious about starting a YouTube channel or you already have a thriving following and you’re ready to monetize, you’re in the right place. 

Follow along or skip ahead:

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The basic steps to get started on YouTube

Chances are you already know how YouTube works – but just a heads up, before you can start to make money on YouTube, you need to set yourself up with an account and YouTube channel

Your channel is your public-facing page where you’ll upload all your videos. Choose a unique name for your channel, upload a profile picture, and add a description. You can add links to your other sites – including your website, blog, online store and social media channels. Once you’ve done that, you’re all set with the basics to start making money on YouTube. 

Whatever stage of the content creator journey you’re in, we’ve got all the details you need to learn how to make money on YouTube and build a booming business from your content. Let’s get into it.

How to make money with the YouTube Partner Program

The key to generating most YouTube-managed revenue from your channel is to join the Youtube Partner Program

The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) is YouTube’s official avenue for creators looking to make money on YouTube. It’s how you generate money from ads on the platform while also opening up other revenue opportunities like Super Chat and Super Thanks.

The program has strict eligibility requirements for creators looking to join – but in June 2023 YouTube lowered the bar for entry to the YPP to make it easier for more YouTubers to make more money.

To qualify for the YPP, creators in eligible countries like the US, UK, and Canada now need to have: 

  • 500 subscribers
  • 3 videos published publicly in the last 90 days
  • And either 3,000 watch hours in the past 12 months OR 3 million YouTube Shorts views in the past 90 days

If you live outside the countries included in YouTube’s list, you’ll need to meet higher entry requirements to join the YouTube Partner Program. 

For all other creators, you’ll need:

  • 1000 subscribers
  • Either 4000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months OR 10 million eligible YouTube Shorts views in the past 90 days

To join the YouTube Partner Program, creators also need to:

  • Have a linked AdSense account
  • Follow all the Youtube channel monetization policies 
  • Live in a country where the program is available 

Once you’ve won some subscribers and had your application approved, you’re set to start making money with YouTube. 

Here are the top 5 ways to make money from the YouTube Partner Program.

  1. Advertising revenue

The simplest way to make money through the YouTube Partner Program is with ads. 

The process is straightforward – when people watch your videos, you’ll receive YouTube-managed revenue from the ads attached to them. The more people watch your videos, the more money you’ll get.

On average, Youtubers make between $2-$12 per 1000 views. However, the exact ad revenue you’ll earn depends on a range of factors – including time spent viewing the ad, if viewers clicked on the ad, the number of subscribers you have, and more. 

It’s up to you to choose the kind of ad you want to have on your videos, as well as how many ads are attached to every video. While more ads generate more revenue, keep in mind that the viewer experience matters – too many ads and your audience might get frustrated, leading to lower engagement. Try to find the right balance for your viewers.

The money you can earn from YouTube ads varies hugely depending on your subscriber count and engagement rate. For example, top YouTube channel Ryan’s World made an estimated $29.5 million USD in 2021, with over 36 million subscribers and view counts ranging from 40 million to 500,000 views.

It takes massive engagement to generate such massive revenue on YouTube – but there are many more YouTubers with fewer subscribers that still make a decent amount of income from ads every month. 

YouTuber Macy Savannah has over 50,000 subscribers and approximately 2,000 to 300,000 views on each video. She reported making between $1500 – $3500 per month from ad revenue alone in 2021. 

Macy also leverages other income streams on YouTube, such as sponsorships and product placements. According to Business Insider, Macy earns approximately $1200 – $2400 from brand sponsorships each month.

  1. Channel memberships

Another top way to make money on YouTube is to create members-only content.

YouTube offers creators the chance to set up channel memberships and charge viewers a monthly subscription to join. In return for their subscription, your members get access to exclusive perks on your YouTube channel.

To earn money from YouTube channel memberships, you’ll need to create and publish at least one perk (and max 5 perks) such as:

  • Members-only videos
  • Members-only Shorts
  • Members-only livestreams
  • Members-only live chats
  • Members-only community posts

You can also create custom channel badges and emojis for your members to use in video comments and livestreams. 

To build a closer connection with your community, you have the option to offer members extra perks like Member Milestone Chats where they can send one special message per month in your live chat to celebrate how long they’ve been a member. YouTube also lets you create a Member Recognition Shelf where you can pin your top members’ avatars on your channel page.

Rachana Phadke Ranade is one of the top earners using YouTube memberships to generate revenue from exclusive content. According to the Youtube Blog, she earned over $100,000 from YouTube memberships alone in 2020 through her financial literacy channel. 

Rachana offers exclusive financial advice to her Pro Investor Members, including monthly ‘Stock of the Month’ videos and discounts on her finance-focussed online courses.

  1. Super Chat, Super Stickers and Super Thanks

If you’re looking for ways to engage your audience and earn more money on YouTube, take advantage of Super Chats and Super Stickers on your livestreams or Super Thanks on your videos and Shorts.

Built to be fun and interactive, Super Chats, Super Stickers, and Super Thanks are all ways for your biggest fans to show their support in your live chat and your comments – and another way for you to generate income from your content. 

Your viewers can purchase Super Chats, Super Stickers, and Super Thanks as a way to connect with you and catch your attention. Here’s a quick break down of how they work: 

  • Super Chat: A paid message that makes a fan’s comment more colorful and eye-catching during a YouTube livestream.
  • Super Sticker: A paid animated graphic that your fans can use in livestreams to stand out.   
  • Super Thanks: A paid way for viewers to show their gratitude on your YouTube videos with a distinct, colorful comment.

The maximum dollar value a user can spend on Super Chats, Super Stickers, and Super Thanks is $2000 in one week. That means you can receive $2000 from one of the options above or a combination of all three.

Musician Harry Mack uses YouTube’s Super Chat features to generate revenue from his livestreams, encouraging fans to suggest words for him to include in his freestyle raps. According to Business Insider, Harry earns between $4,000-$8,000 on his monthly livestreams.

Harry also generates revenue from his 2.7 million channel subscribers by selling merchandise in his online store and membership subscriptions via Patreon.

  1. YouTube Shopping

YouTube has made it easier for creators to sell products via their channel with a range of YouTube Shopping. 

Set up YouTube Shopping to get a Store tab on your channel and put your products front and center on your page. You can sell your own branded merchandise to fans, as well as products from other brands. YouTube Shopping also lets you tag specific products in your videos, Shorts and livestreams so fans can shop directly from your content. 

With YouTube Shopping, you can link to your products in the following places: 

  • In your video descriptions
  • In a product shelf below your content
  • With the Shopping button directly in your content 
  • In your channel’s Shop tab

YouTube Shopping makes it simple and straightforward for your viewers to shop the products they see you wearing, using, and reviewing. 

YouTube’s spring 2024 update also made it possible for creators to curate a selection of products into Shopping Collections. Your Collections will appear in your product list, Store tab, and video description, allowing you to create specific, seasonal, and shoppable catalogs for your viewers.

With a whopping 3.6 million subscribers, Lucas the Spider uses their channel Store to sell their own branded merchandise – including t-shirts, backpacks, and phone cases. While the exact income the channel generates is unknown, Variety reported Lucas the Spider earned over $1 million in just 18 days from selling a Lucas the Spider plushie. The channel also generates revenue from YouTube ads, sponsorships, and brand partnerships.

In April 2024 YouTube expanded its Shopping features to include a new Affiliate Hub in the YouTube app. The Affiliate Hub is designed to help established creators find affiliate partners for their content – it includes a list of current Shopping partners, commission rates, promo codes, and more.

To use the YouTube Shopping affiliate program right now, you need to:

  • Be based in the US
  • Be part of the YouTube Partner Program
  • Have more than 15,000 subscribers
  • Not be a music channel or a Made for Kids channel
  • Not have any active Community Guideline strikes

All commission rates are displayed in the Affiliate Hub and vary according to each product. You can check the percentage you’ll earn from every product you sell in the Hub and use YouTube Analytics to keep track of your affiliate revenue.

  1. YouTube Premium revenue

If you’re part of the YouTube Partner Program, you can also earn money from YouTube Premium subscriptions. 

YouTube Premium is a paid option that gives subscribers the chance to enjoy an ad-free viewing experience. YouTube Premium also gives viewers tools to download your videos for watching offline and a background play feature, so they can watch videos while using other apps and when their screen is locked.

YouTube Premium now costs $13.99 per month to purchase for viewers. When Premium members view your content, a portion of their membership fees go to you as the creator. You can review your Premium watch time, views and earnings through YouTube Analytics.

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How to make money on YouTube by selling directly to your audience

As well as making money from the YouTube Partner Program, there are plenty of other ways to earn more from every video you make. Here are 5 strategies you can use to sell directly to your audience and open up new revenue streams for your YouTube channel asap.

  1. Sell merchandise 

Creating and selling your own merchandise is a popular way to make money on Youtube. In fact, the top 20 YouTube merchandise sellers made a combined $29.9 million USD in 2021. That’s a lot of hoodies.

While YouTube Shopping provides a page on your channel for displaying and selling your merchandise, YouTube won’t create the products for you. That’s up to you to organize. Most YouTubers partner with companies that specialize in branded merchandise, such as Printify or Spring

These companies offer a catalog of items that you can customize to your brand, including mugs, clothes, stickers, and more. The process is simple – create your design, upload it to the platform, and then the merch company takes care of order fulfillment, printing, and shipping.

Many companies offer the option to host your store within their site. Or if you’d prefer to have your own site, you can use a website builder like Shopify or Wix to set up your store. 

YouTube channel Dude Perfect makes an estimated $500,000 per year from selling merch via their online store. The sports-centered channel has a link to their store in their YouTube bio so viewers can easily find and shop their products. They also have links prompting viewers to “Shop the Dude Perfect store” in the descriptions of all their videos and include mentions of their store in their content too.

Dude Perfect sells a mix of clothing like fleeces, t-shirts, and hats. But they also have additional, unique products like signed and branded basketballs. This is a great example of Dude Perfect knowing their target audience inside out. 

Try to think of unique items related to your brand to sell to your target audience. You know them best – so create products you know they’ll love.

  1. Create branded content 

If you’ve ever seen your favorite YouTuber featuring a specific product in their videos with a link to buy it, chances are they’re getting paid for that content.

A key part of making money on YouTube is partnering with brands for sponsorship.. Branded content simply means creating videos that promote a brand or product in exchange for payment.

There are a few different ways to partner with brands on YouTube:

  • Product reviews: Brands send you their products to feature or review in your videos, either as a full sponsored video or a sponsored mention. These reviews can be paid or unpaid (but you keep the free products).
  • Affiliate sponsorships: You promote a brand’s products in your videos and earn an affiliate commission for every purchase viewers make using your unique affiliate link.
  • Paid YouTube sponsored videos: Get paid to create full dedicated videos around a brand’s specific product or service.

Mentioning brands in your videos can be really lucrative, depending on your subscriber count and the deal you’re able to secure.

According to Statista, earnings from YouTube sponsored videos vary widely according to how many subscribers you have. Here’s a rough guide:

  • 1,000 to 10,000 subscribers – up to $850 per video
  • 10,000 to 50,000 subscribers – up to $2,200 per video
  • 50,000 to 500,000 subscribers – up to $5,800 per video
  • 500,000 to 1 million subscribers- up to $16,200 per video

If you’re a new creator, you’ll usually need to reach out to companies and inquire about partnering with them to secure your first sponsorships. But when your channel starts to gain traction, brands will be more likely to reach out to you – especially if you have examples of sponsorship content on your channel.

Look for companies related to your niche that you know sponsor YouTube videos. For example, if you run a beauty YouTube channel, get in contact with makeup or skincare brands.

Some companies that commonly sponsor YouTubers are: 

You can also sign up for influencer websites that connect creators with brands offering sponsorships and affiliate programs. Here are a few examples:

Millennial Farmer – or Zach Johnson – has built a following of over 1 million subscribers with his honest, informative videos about farming in Minnesota. The majority of money earned from the Millennial Farmer brand comes from YouTube ads and branded content, including sponsorships from Farmers Business Network, John Deere, WD-40, AGCO, J&M Manufacturing, Walls Clothing, Lumax, May Wes Manufacturing, and more. 

While the exact amount Millennial Farmer earns from sponsorships is unknown, CNBC estimates the channel could bring in between $5,000 and $15,000 per branded post. Zach Johnson also reported earning at least 5 times more from his social media content than from the crops he grows on his farm.

Related: How to Get Sponsored on YouTube

  1. Use product placement 

One specific type of branded content you’ll often see on YouTube is product placements. Product placements are a top strategy for making money on YouTube.

Product placement simply refers to putting products in your videos that a company paid you to use. So if you had a cooking-focussed YouTube channel, a knife brand could pay you to chop vegetables for your latest recipe using one of their new knives.

There are a couple of different types of product placement – including:

  • Passive placement:  When a product is not at the center of your video – it’s just in the shot, mentioned in passing, or used as part of a wider story or scenario.
  • Active placement: When an advertised product is the focus of the video – for example how-to tutorials and reviews. A good understanding of your target audience is needed for active placement videos to work well.

Finding a company to partner with for product placements is very similar to finding a company for sponsorships. You can easily search for brands that regularly do product placement on YouTube because creators legally have to disclose if they’re doing a paid promotion. 

If you notice text on a YouTube video that says “Includes paid promotion” that means the YouTuber has partnered with a company to sell something to the viewer through product placement or sponsorship. 

Top tip: If you’re part of the YouTube Partner Program and have more than 15,000 subscribers, you can use the YouTube Affiliate Hub to find a list of brand sponsorships and affiliate opportunities with suitable products to feature in your videos. 

YouTubers Rhett and Link have an estimated combined net worth of $40 million thanks to their comedy YouTube channel. The pair did an extremely successful product placement video with Buick where they showcased the car brand organically throughout their “Get Off The Phone Song” video, resulting in 14 million views. 

Video embed: https://youtu.be/nfUD0WhE264

If you do decide to try out product placements as a way to make money on YouTube, make sure you’re familiar with the laws regarding the disclosure of paid promotions in your region. In the US, for example, you must disclose that you’re being paid to feature specific products. Check out YouTube support for more information.  

  1. Build your own digital products 

Selling digital products to your subscribers is a fantastic way to bring more value to your followers, as well as building another stream of income for your business. 

There are a huge range of digital products you can create, including:

  • Online courses
  • Masterclasses
  • Templates
  • Checklists
  • Ebooks

YouTube is an effective way to generate demand for your digital products. The best part? You don’t need to have a huge subscriber count to earn money from selling digital products via your YouTube channel. All you need is an audience of people who are interested and invested in your niche.

To make purchasing your digital products an easy choice for viewers, make sure you’re delivering genuinely valuable content that’s tailored to your target audience. That means delivering more value than what you’re currently giving away for free on your channel and tailoring your offering to your niche. 

Shelley Paulson grew her equine photography business by creating hugely successful online courses to help beginners improve their equine photography skills. Since launching her course with Thinkific, Shelley has made over $35,000 in revenue – and that number is growing every day.

Shelley markets her courses primarily through her YouTube channel. The photographer credits posting on YouTube consistently with building her following and her revenue. She was then able to use the organic growth from her channel to sell her digital products. 

On her YouTube channel, Shelley offers tips on camera settings and basic equine photography tutorials. But crucially, she doesn’t go too in-depth or provide step-by-step instructions on how to succeed in equine photography – she saves that juicy content for her online course, which she promotes on her channel. 

For help getting started with your first online course, check out our top 10 steps to building a wildly successful online course. 

Related: How to Create Digital Products

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  1. Monetize your community

If you want to monetize your YouTube and set up a solid, reliable stream of recurring revenue, you need to build a community.

Building your own community gives you more control over your audience and your business. Rather than relying on YouTube and other social media platforms for your business, creating your own community space gives you ownership over your followers. The result? You’re in the driver’s seat – with less risk if your account gets blocked, hacked, or bypassed due to algorithm changes.

Most community platforms let you create different tiers of membership at different price points to monetize your audience. You can also create different perks for each membership tier, so fans can choose how much they want to pay to access your content. 

Many YouTubers use community-building platforms like Patreon to monetize their channels. Patreon offers your top fans the chance to access exclusive perks through a monthly membership, while giving you more daily contact with your community.

Patreon is one of the best-known community sites around but there are loads more community platforms to choose from to help you earn more from every follower you have. Check out our pick of the top online community platforms here.

Some popular members-only perks you can create for your members include: 

  • Bonus content
  • Early-bird access to your primary content
  • Merchandise
  • Coupons
  • Access to exclusive polls
  • Recognition of your members

Each of these perks delivers extra value to your audience – and in return, you get predictable, recurring monthly revenue from their subscriptions.

YouTube channel Kurzegasagt – In a Nutshell creates animated educational videos on YouTube. While they’ve found huge success winning over 17.9 million subscribers, they also use Patreon to monetize their audience. 

Video embed: https://youtu.be/_27eD49ePQE

Their Patreon subscriptions are affordable for their viewers – the lowest tier is just $3.14 per month, making it an easy choice for people to subscribe. The group is reported to make over $16,470 per month from Patreon alone. 

Ready to start making money on YouTube?

From ad revenue to sponsorships, there are loads of ways to make money on YouTube. If you’re creating videos for YouTube, you need to be monetizing your content to help you earn more and grow more with YouTube.

The best part? It’s now easier than ever to create digital products like online courses and masterclasses to monetize your expertise and open up new revenue streams for your business, while offering your audience something truly valuable and unique.

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This blog was originally posted in February 2022, it has since been updated in May 2024.