How Do You Make Money With Youtube? A Beginners Guide

As the world is getting more digital, there are more and more different ways you can make money without having a physical shop.

One of the most trusted online platforms that let you earn good money is YouTube, with over 2 billion active users around the world.

How much money you can make with YouTube depends on a combination of how much you know, how good you are, and how willing you are to work.

This is because the platform provides you with different ways to earn. So, your ability to explore these different opportunities is what determines your reward.

It is not a get-rich-quick scheme, so making money on YouTube requires a lot of time and effort.

But with time, good quality, and consistency, there is no limit to what you can achieve. This article will show you how much you can earn on YouTube and what exactly to do to earn your dream income.


How Much Money Can You Make With YouTube

From a few dollars to millions of dollars, different people make different amounts of money with YouTube.

Between June 2019 and June 2020, 9-year old Ryan Kaji earned an estimated $29.5 million, making him the top-earning YouTuber according to Forbes.

The young YouTuber runs a channel that features toy reviews and DIY videos of science experiments.

He currently has over 25 million subscribers and his videos have amassed more than 47 billion views. Obviously, that’s a huge number for a channel that started just in 2015, and it must have taken a lot of effort to reach that stage.

It doesn’t mean that every YouTuber earns as much as Ryan anyway. There are millions of channels that earn a few hundred dollars per month, or even less.

There are also several others who are yet to start making money with their YouTube channel.

In essence, there’s no limit to how much you can earn as a YouTuber. It all depends on how well you understand the system and how much work you are willing to put in.

If you see it as a side hustle and work on it once in a while, you’ll definitely take more time to earn like another person who makes it a full-time job.

Different Ways To Make Money As a YouTuber

YouTube offers different means of generating income via the channel. The most popular way is through ad views, but that’s not the only way. Let us consider some of these methods in detail.

#1. YouTube Partner Program

Becoming a YouTube partner grants you access to the platform’s other special features through which you can make money apart from ads. As a partner, you can cash in on different features which include:

  • Ads income
  • YouTube Premium
  • Super chat
  • Channel membership
  • Merchandise shelf

YouTube Ads Income

The popular idea people have is that you make money when people watch your YouTube videos. Technically, that’s true, but how exactly does it happen?

You actually earn money on your videos through ads and not directly from your video views. YouTube places ads before, during, or after your video contents, and you get paid each time a viewer views or clicks those ads.  

Depending on your monetization preferences, ads placed on your videos can either be skippable, non-skippable, bumper ads, or overlay ads. Each type of ad has its YouTube specifications as to how the viewer must interact with it to earn you money.

However, not all your video contents may be suitable for ad placement. Inappropriate language, violence, adult content, and other similar elements may make your contents unsuitable for ads. So, ensure you follow the guidelines for advertiser-friendly contents if you want your videos to attract ads and get paid.

You must also understand that your earnings through YouTube Ads are a “shared earning”. The platform takes about 45% of the ads revenue, leaving you with 55%. But that’s still a whole lot of money if you generate enough views.

YouTube Premium

Subscribers of YouTube Premium get some special features that are not available to regular users. A notable feature of this package is that it lets subscribers watch any length of video contents without ads.

Also, YouTube Premium users can download a video they want to watch offline later and are also allowed to play videos in the background.

When a premium subscriber watches your videos, YouTube pays you some money. The good news is that you don’t have to create any special content for that. So, it’s just like an extra stream of YouTube income.

Super Chat

Some YouTube subscribers pay to have their messages stand out during your livestreams. This is another way you can earn as YouTube pays you for each of your subscribers that use this feature.

Channel Memberships

If you offer members-only perks on your channels, YouTube can let members join your channels via payments to be eligible for these offers. You can make money from this too, but you need to ensure that you’re eligible.

Merchandise Shelf

This feature allows you to showcase your official branded products to your viewers if you’re eligible. YouTube provides different options for this; you can pin an item on your livestreams, showcase products on a store tab in the channel homepage, etc.

How to Monetize Your YouTube Channel via YouTube Partner Program

When you become a partner, you will be able to monetize your channel and start earning. However, there are some basic requirements you must meet to be able to activate monetization on your account.

First, your channel must have up to 1,000 subscribers within the past 12 months. Again, you must have accumulated up to 4,000 watch hours within the same timeframe. This might sound like a huge milestone, but with the right steps and push, it might turn out easier than you think.

To set up your account for monetization, follow these simple steps:

  • Log in to your YouTube account and click the Account icon on the top right corner of the window.
  • Select YouTube Studio, click on Other Features and select Monetization.
  • Carefully go through the terms and conditions for the YouTube Partner Program. 
  • Click on Agree to proceed.
  • Connect your Adsense account. Note that you must link your YouTube account to a Google Adsense account to be able to monetize your channel. So, you can create a new Adsense account if you don’t have one. 
  • Also, note that you must link your account to only one approved Adsense account. That means that even if you have multiple channels, you can link them to a single Adsense account.

When you apply to become a YouTube partner, your application is placed under review for some time. The review basically allows YouTube to crosscheck your channel to be sure it fulfills all the required policies and guidelines. As soon as your application is approved, you can go ahead and set up your monetization preferences and activate monetization on your videos.

2. Paid Promotions

If you grow your channel to have a sizeable audience, you can earn money through paid promotions. This is a form of affiliate marketing via YouTube. As the name implies, you get paid for promoting other people’s businesses on your channels.

Companies can pay you to promote a particular product related to the niche of your channel. For instance, if you run a tutorial channel that teaches recipes, a kitchen utensils company can pay you to market their items in your videos. You can drop the link to the purchase page on your video description, or display it somewhere in your video.

You can also promote a product by doing a positive product review. You can make a video that tells a story related to a product and market the product in the process. This style is common with comedians.

For your promotion videos, you can get paid per video, per number of views, per purchase, or using any other metric. It all depends on your deal with your client.

It is best practice to promote products or brands you actually believe in. Also, consider what your audience might be interested in, and very importantly, ensure you abide by the YouTube regulations. Beyond the pay, remember that sustaining and growing your audience is also key to more earnings.

How do you get promotion deals? You can send proposals to clients who might be interested in your audience. As you get more recognition and influence, clients may also approach you by themselves.

#3. Sell Products & Services

YouTube can be a good platform to market your products and services if you do it the right way. Apart from displaying your stock on the Merchandise Shelf we discussed earlier, you can use your channel to drive traffic to your store.

If you run an eCommerce website, for instance, you can post marketing videos of your products on your channel. Such videos that can attract potential customers include:

  • Product reviews
  • Unboxing experience videos
  • How-to tutorial videos
  • Customer satisfactory testimonial videos.

Remember, the goal is to convert your audience to potential customers. You can post links to your eCommerce website or even the address to your physical store on your video descriptions. You can also embed the links in the videos as long as you don’t violate YouTube regulations.

#4. License Your Content For Media Use

Blogs and news outlets are always looking for vital contents to generate more traffic. Most of them would not also mind paying for contents as long as it gives them what they want. 

You can maximize this opportunity if you have viral videos that are peculiar to you on your channel. You can grant these media the right to use your content and get paid for it. To make your contents more visible to potential clients, you can list them on a marketplace such as Jukin Media.

#5. Brand Influencer/Affiliate

If you already have the required fame and audience, you can hit a deal with a particular brand to promote them. This is very similar to paid promotions. This might work best for you if you’re a celebrity in a particular field, or you have an audience you can easily influence. 

For instance, you can become a brand influencer for a fashion company. If you’re a popular face, your fans can purchase a product just because you posted yourself wearing it or say a few words of endorsement. 

How To Promote Your YouTube Channel

Now that you have seen the different ways you can make money with YouTube, what’s next? Well, you can only earn your dream income if you take the right steps in action.

Almost everything about your earnings on this video platform depends primarily on your visibility and content quality. So, it is vital that you learn how to grow your audience and create good content. Here are a few tips to help you.

#1. Choose Your Niche and Stick To It

One of the best ways to gain recognition on social media is to be known for a particular thing. If you mention an online store, for instance, you’re most likely to think of Amazon first. If you think about online courses, Udemy will most likely ring a bell immediately

In the same way, you can build your channel around a niche and become popular with it. If you optimize your account this way, you are more likely to pop up when people search for keywords around your niche. This is an important SEO hack.

#2. Know Your Target Audience

When you have decided on the niche you want to major in, the next step is to find out who exactly needs that kind of service. This will help you figure out what you need to do to appeal more to them.

For instance, if you offer online programming courses, you’re most likely to host more college students than businessmen. If you post videos about babies and baby care products, you will have more women visiting your channel than men.

To have an idea of what to expect and what to do, you can look up the channels of your competitors, especially the ones with the results you’re seeking. Check out the contents that generated more views and engagements and study them to find out why.

If you’ve posted some videos already, YouTube Analytics is a great tool you can use to find out these metrics for yourself. Also, consider the locations or regions where you had most engagements. If you already have a good number of subscribers, it is not a bad idea to carry out surveys to find out from them the areas you need to improve on.

#3. Post Engaging and SEO- Optimized Contents

As emphasized earlier, different kinds of audiences favor different kinds of content. When you discover your audience, it only makes sense that you tailor your videos to suit their demands.

Also, it is important to pay attention to SEO requirements. When you uphold SEO best practices, it will be easier for your contents to rank and appear on web searches related to your channel.

For instance, Google has a video tab where it displays video contents particular to the keywords in a user search. Most of these videos are YouTube videos, and it’s an easy way to draw traffic to your channel.

Some of the elements of SEO you have to pay attention to in your video uploads include:

  • Title: The title of your uploads matters a great deal. It is one of the top things search engines check to rank contents on the web. The closer your title matches user searches, the higher your chance of ranking high. Ensure that your titles contain keywords about your content. You can research the most searched keywords related to your content using tools like
  • Thumbnails: Beyond SEO, this is another key area of attraction. Ensure that your thumbnails and cover photos are as attractive as possible. For SEO, even the filename of your thumbnail helps identify what the video is about.
  • Video Description: You don’t have to tell a long story to make a good description. This is another place to target major keywords. Make it as enticing as attractive as possible, but be sure to stick within the applicable regulations.

#4. Post Contents with The Right Video Length

The average attention span of an adult internet user is about 8 seconds. What this implies is that people can get easily distracted or pissed off if your contents are not engaging enough or if they appear too long.

For instance, an average YouTube user will prefer to watch a 4-minute clip on a topic rather than watching an 8-minute video of the same topic. This means that you have to communicate your value in the shortest and most precise way. If the video must be long, then you must keep it very engaging and interesting. 

#5. Promote Your Channel on Social Media

Beyond the quality of your contents and your SEO efforts, social media is another good means to generate YouTube traffic.  You can share your YouTube link with your friends, groups, pages you belong to. You need to be careful in doing this anyway so as not to violate people’s privacy and discretion.

Facebook and Instagram are the two leading social media platforms with the most active users. You can maximize this by creating a page where you can grow your audience on these platforms and redirect them to your channel.

While creating the pages on Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms, it is best to use the same page name as your YouTube. This will make for easy identification in case your fans and members want to identify you on YouTube.


Making money with YouTube can be easier than you think if you know the right steps to take. Although you might not get immediate results, the effort will definitely be worth it when it eventually begins to pay. If you follow the guidelines in this article, you can rest assured that you’re on your way to earning your dream income via YouTube.

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