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Creating and running a YouTube channel is one of the most creative, challenging and rewarding projects you can undertake online these days. 

For most creators, their YouTube channel is a hobby and a true labor of love. However, sometimes you hear of YouTube stars like MrBeast, who makes an estimated $14 million a year on YouTube ads alone, not counting sponsorships or merch sales, and you think, “Why not me?” 

Monetization is a big topic for creators big and small. Whether you’re just starting out on the platform or you’re planning to get into YouTube, you might wonder how to join the YouTube Partner Program and how much money per view on YouTube you can expect to make. We got you!

Here’s a quick guide on how to earn money on YouTube from ad views.

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For other ways to leverage your growing YouTube channel, take a look at our previous article: 10 Ways You Can Make Money on YouTube

Does YouTube pay per view?

The short answer to this question is: Yes, but not per video view. YouTube pays creators for ad views on their channels.

Here’s what that means.

The standard way to make money from your YouTube channel is to let YouTube run ads on your videos. But you don’t just create a channel and wait for the revenue to roll in. To start making ad money, you need to join the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). 

The YouTube Partner Program verifies creators and gives them access to monetization tools. You can imagine that there are lots of channels on YouTube that show copyrighted or low-quality content that wouldn’t be a good match for advertisers. That’s exactly what the YouTube Partner Program is trying to filter out. 

There are a few minimum eligibility requirements to join the YPP: 

  1. Adhere to the YouTube monetization policies
  2. Live in a region where YPP is available
  3. Have no strikes for violating YouTube’s community guidelines
  4. Get more than 4,000 public watch hours in the past 12 months
  5. Have more than 1,000 subscribers
  6. Create a Google AdSense account

Once your YouTube channel becomes eligible for the YouTube Partner Program, you can sign the partner agreement and connect your AdSense account. Your channel will then be reviewed by YouTube, which might take up to 30 days. 

After your YouTube channel gets approved, you’ll be able to access and turn on monetization features in settings.

Note: Not all features might be available to you, either because you don’t yet have enough subscribers (e.g. merch shelf requires at least 10,000) or because YouTube moderators decided to place certain restrictions.

A common misconception is that YouTube pays for video views. In reality, creators get paid when people watch YouTube ads (so per ad views). No ads = no payments (regardless of how popular your video is).

When you’re in the YPP program, you get granular, per-video control over which content is monetized. So you can turn off ads on videos that are not a good match for advertisers. 

For every ad that runs on a specific channel, YouTube takes a 45% cut of what the advertiser pays for the placement. The creator gets the remaining 55%. 

So, how many views to make money on YouTube do you need? 

How much money do you get per view on YouTube?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could estimate the exact amount of ad revenue you’d make every time someone watched your video? Sadly, YouTube algorithms are more complicated than that, and you can only calculate YouTube money per view revenue in averages. 

A good rule of thumb is that videos (with enabled ads) that get more views make more money than those with fewer views. However, a lot depends on the category your video and channel fall under, your niche, and even your location. 

For example, videos about making money online, real estate, personal finance and technology tend to be paid better than videos about pranks, fitness or lifestyle. 

Why? Because AdSense is an auction-based advertising engine, and some keywords that advertisers bid on are worth more than others. We’ll touch more on this at the end of the article. 

Another factor in calculating revenue based on video views is just that some people don’t see any ads at all. Over 40% of users reportedly use ad blockers. While not all ad blockers work with YouTube, this is a growing trend that will continue to have an impact on creators’ earnings. 

Additionally, there are over 50 million YouTube Premium users today who pay a monthly subscription fee and don’t see ads on YouTube videos at all. Instead, creators get paid based on how much YouTube Premium users are watching their videos. 

So if you put all this together, how many views on YouTube do you need to make money? 

Between $2 and $12 per 1,000 views

Analyzing data from Google’s AdSense calculator as well as self-reported earnings from creators across industries, we can see that your potential ad revenue can be 6 times higher if your video is in a category with competitive keywords, and your viewers don’t use ad blockers to skip ads. 

In general, your CPM (cost per thousand views) can range between $4 and $24 (depending on your region and industry). But 1,000 video views are not the same as 1,000 ad views. A good rule of thumb is assuming that only half of your views across the board will be monetized. That said, somewhere around $5-7 per 1,000 views would be the average across all industries. 

It’s also important to point out that these calculations are done per video, so scaling your video posting schedule is a good way to make more money. 

Between $120 and $800 per 100,000 views

As your channel grows, your ad revenue won’t necessarily scale linearly with it. Some people won’t be as engaged — more of them will only watch short clips of your videos or stop watching altogether once they see an ad. 

So it’s reasonable to assume that your CPM for video views would go down to somewhere between $1.2 and $8, or $120 to $800 per 100,000 views. 

Between $1,200 and $6,000 per 1,000,000 views

Getting a million views on a YouTube video is every creator’s dream. Once you reach that milestone, you don’t just create videos as a hobby anymore — you can call yourself an actual influencer and monetize your audience in many ways aside from running ads on your channel. Think influencer marketing (i.e. sponsorships), channel memberships, selling online courses, or live streams with donations. 

As far as ad revenue goes, it’s unlikely that your CPM would fall below $1.2 once your channel is this big and influential. You can expect to make up to $6 per 1,000 views. This means that your estimated earnings would be $1,200 to $6,000 for every million views on the videos you post. 

That said, when you start consistently going over a million views per video, you will likely be making enough money to turn your YouTube channel into a full-time career. 

Factors that affect how much you make on YouTube (money per view)

We mentioned above that your ad revenue on YouTube is controlled by the AdSense platform. The process works similarly to the ads you see next to blog posts or even the Google search itself. 

On Google, keywords like “local dentist” can cost up to $100 per click because every potential client is valuable to a clinic in the long term and the competition is stark. 

In a similar way, if your video is related to something that advertisers are ready to have a bidding war over, you’ll get higher CPM and more revenue as a result. 

There are three things to keep in mind if you’re trying to optimize your YouTube channel for revenue: 

  1. Who is your audience: What are their demographics and purchasing power?
  2. What is your niche and how unique are your videos?
  3. How competitive is the advertising market around what your videos are about? 

For example, you can expect to have a much higher CPM on ads if you offer expert opinions on investment strategies or new business ideas than if you run a channel with pranks. 

Another factor that will affect how much money you make per video is the type of ads you allow on your channel. There are also various types of ads on YouTube: 

  • Skippable ads (after 5 seconds)
  • Non-skippable ads (15-20 seconds in length)
  • Bumper ads (up to 6 seconds at the beginning of the video)
  • Overlay ads (text banner only)
  • Back-to-back ads (for videos longer than 5 minutes)

You can control which of these ads are displayed and where they are placed (pre-, mid- or post- video). Since these settings affect engagement levels, they will also result in different CPM payouts. 

Thinking of gaming the YouTube ads? You’re not alone. YouTube is the second most popular website in the world right now, attracting billions of people every month — so it’s very tempting to look for ways to make your content more advertiser-friendly. 

But YouTube is a very complex and ever-evolving platform, with advanced algorithms that demonetize content that doesn’t give its viewers what they want. 

The best strategy we can suggest is creating the most authentic and engaging content you can. That way you’ll organically get more views over time and the YouTube algorithms will turn to your favor.

Monetize your YouTube following with online courses

Looking for more ways to monetize your YouTube channel? Consider creating an online course and share more in-depth information with your most engaged viewers. If you need a platform that will help you build, market and sell online courses, try Thinkific

Thinkific is an easy-to-use tool for online course creators. Anyone can create a video-based course on Thinkific in less than a day, using an intuitive drag-and-drop editor and a library of professionally designed templates. No tech skills required. Try Thinkific for free today.