How Much Do YouTubers Really Make?
If you’ve been here before, you know me. I love discovering alternative ways to make money from home or online. For the past few years, I’ve been researching flexible online jobs, and becoming a YouTuber is one of these work-at-home options that has consistently stood out.
After all, YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, with over 2 billion active users. And people watch over 1 billion hours of YouTube per day, more than Facebook video and Netflix combined.
With these fascinating YouTube statistics alone, I really believe that YouTube is a great platform for making money.
I’ve researched this income opportunity to learn:
- How much do YouTubers make
- What it takes to start monetizing a YouTube channel?
- How do YouTubers make money?
- What are the highest-paid or most lucrative Youtube niches?
If you’re dying to know the answers to these questions, then this post is for you. 😊
How Big is YouTube?
As most of us know, YouTube is a Google-owned video-sharing website. But how big is YouTube exactly?
Today, YouTube as we know it is the largest video-sharing platform. According to Oberlo, YouTube has over two billion monthly active users from around the world.
YouTube is also the second-largest social media platform. Seventy-nine percent of internet users say they have a Youtube account and the average viewing session lasts more than 40 minutes.
Finally, most marketers believe that YouTube has incredible marketing powers. Eight out of 10 marketers believe that YouTube is a powerful marketing platform.
These statistics alone tell us that YouTube is indeed very significant in today’s age.
The good thing is, even content creators can piggy-back on YouTube’s influence and popularity and make money creating YouTube videos.
How Much Do YouTubers Make: Top-Earning YouTube Channels
So, how much do YouTubers make and do YouTubers make more money than bloggers?
I get this question a lot, and I think there are no real answers to these questions. Just like blogging, you could make from nothing to millions per year from YouTube.
Your earnings from YouTube largely depend on how many times your video content has been consumed or viewed, and other factors such as your niche and monetization strategies.
According to Forbes, YouTube’s top 10 content creators earn at least $10 million dollars per year!
Want to know who are the top earners on YouTube? Here is a rundown of the highest-paid YouTubers!
1. Ryan’s World
Ryan Kaji, the eight-year-old boy behind this toy review channel is the highest-earning YouTuber for two years in a row. According to Forbes, Ryan earned $26 million and has over 25 million subscribers.
Ryan’s channel started out with unboxing toys, but it has now branched out to educational videos as well. With so many subscribers, Ryan’s videos get millions of views. He also has one video that has earned 1.9 billion views!
Ryan also now has his own show at Nickelodeon and his own clothes and toys line.
2. Dude Perfect
Dude Perfect is a channel ran by five guys. They’ve become famous for doing comedies, stunts, and breaking world records. Dude Perfect has an estimated net worth of $65 million and their channel now rakes in over 52 million subscribers. Today, Dude Perfect has become a multinational sports and entertainment conglomerate and their followers continue to increase, thanks to numerous endorsements. They’ve also released their own mobile app and a show on Nickelodeon.
Anastasia Radzinskaya is the girl behind the channel called Like Natsya which currently ranks as the third highest-earning channel on YouTube. Anastasia’s channel started out with unboxing videos, but it later showcased her experiences and visits to different amusement parks when they travel. Her parents left their day job to focus on Anastasia’s channel, which later proved to be profitable, as it’s now earning $18 million annually. She has four channels, and Like Nastya is the biggest with almost 60 million subscribers.
This comedy duo runs four YouTube channels. Their friendship goes way back to first grade and they both ended up being engineers. However, they have a deep passion for comedy, so they started a YouTube channel in 2014.
They have four channels, but the most notable one is the Good Mythical Morning, a talk-show type of channel that now has over 16.4 million subscribers. They earn roughly $17.5 million each year from YouTube. And thanks to YouTube, Rhett and Link also earned from commercial endorsements for brands like Gillette, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Coca-Cola.
5. Jeffree Star
If you’re fond of makeup, you’ve probably heard of Jeffree Star. Jeffree is passionate about makeup that he dedicates his entire channel towards it alone. You can find makeup reviews, challenges, and tutorials there. He has a whole tribe of makeup enthusiasts that follow his channel, which now has over 18 million subscribers.
Jeffree makes around $17 million each year as a YouTuber. Jeffree also runs his own makeup line called the Jeffree Star Cosmetics.
Preston is a gaming channel run by Preston Arsement. He started his YouTube career in 2012. Today, he runs four gaming-related channels on YouTube, earning him over $14 million annually.
He also started to do friendly prank videos which his fans love and also earns seven-digit figures from running Minecraft servers.
This channel is run by an American YouTube by the name of Mark Fischbach. He’s known for his commentaries on gaming videos as well as comedy sketches, parodies, and other forms of entertainment.
His channel has over 26.1 million subscribers and earns him around $13 million per year. Markiplier also ventured out to merchandising, selling high-end clothing to the gaming community.
Felix Kjellberg, the man behind this channel, is a 30-year-old comedian and philanthropist renowned for his Let’s Play videos.
The channel was born in 2010, and experience substantial growth in the next few years. His videos initially focused on gaming but have also branched out to comedy. PewDiePie has a whopping 105 million subscribers and raking in $13 million in annual income.
9. Dan TDM
Daniel Middleton runs the YouTube channel Dan TDM (The DiamondMinecart). The channel focuses on gaming content, particularly Minecraft and Fortnite. His channel is recognized as one of the top YouTube channels in the UK and even won a number of Kids’ Choice Awards.
Apart from his channel, Daniel also makes money from his New York Times Best Seller graphic novel and doing live tours around the world. Dan TDM currently has 23.3 million subscribers that earn him around $12 million annually.
Evan Fong, a Canadian internet personality, runs the channel VanossGaming. He creates videos on various gaming content and is better known for his superb editing skills. His channel currently has over 25.1 million subscribers and makes him $11.5 million annually. Apart from Vanoss Gaming, Evan is also a voice actor, creative director, music producer and runs his own clothing line.
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How Much Do YouTubers Make: Lucrative Youtube Niches
I believe that picking a niche is crucial to your success on YouTube.
Advertisers in some niches are willing to pay more, and therefore the rate per thousand video views vary from one niche to another and even from one channel to another.
I know that in blogging, some niches are far more lucrative than others and can make you money in many ways. This blog, for instance, does not only make money from the ads you see on my site, but also from companies, products, or services I endorse. The same applies to YouTubers.
I got curious about which YouTube niches pay the most money as compared to blogging, so I did some research to find out.
It’s interesting to know that some of the most lucrative YouTube niches may not generate the same results in blogging.
For instance, the humor and gaming niches seem to do better with video content than written content. However, food, technology, and health and fitness can be very lucrative in both video or written formats.
That being said, I think it’s really important to do good research and come up with a niche that you are not only passionate about but can also bring you lots of money.
As per my research, here are some of the top YouTube niches, and examples of channels that are making the most money in these niches.
Beauty and Fashion
There’s a whole industry dedicated to both beauty and fashion, so it’s not surprising to see a good deal of communities subscribing to these niches. Beauty and fashion influencers can talk about the newest trend in skincare, makeup tutorials, product reviews, and more.
Creators and their income:
Jeffree Star – approx. $1.4 million per month
Nikki Tutorials – approx. $42,849 per month
A lot of people turn to YouTube for entertainment, making the humor niche quite a hit among the viewers. Some of the most popular humor video formats include pranks, comedy skits, and fun challenges.
Creators and their income:
PewDiePie – approx. $1,079,628 per month
Jenna Marbles – approx. $83,131 per month
This niche is also quite profitable, considering that most people would want to find reviews of a certain device or gadget before making the decision to purchase. Tech niches also include discussing the features of a product in detail as well as relating first-hand experiences of using the item.
Creators and their income:
Unbox Therapy– approx. 5 million per year
Take a look at the top earners above and you’ll find that half of them are in the gaming niche. In this niche, you could include game tutorials, reviews, commentaries, gaming live streams among others.
Creators and their income:
VanossGaming – approx. $900,000+ per month
Markiplier – approx. $1 million per month
If you love cooking and have great recipes to share, then this niche might be great for you. Food/cooking is competitive but this niche is also so broad that you can choose from a lot of sub-niches to target a more specific group of people. You can create content around paleo, vegan, keto, Asian and more.
You could also increase your income if you set up a blog for your recipes for people who prefer written content. It only costs $2.75/ month using this host, the same company I used in my first two years in blogging.
Creators and their income:
Tasty – approx. $300,000 per month
Laura In The Kitchen – approx. $113,000 per month
Health and fitness
Some niches may be trendy, but health and fitness will always remain a staple. People always seek information about health-related matters, so creating videos around this niche can be a wise idea. You could include health tips, exercise videos, and diet-specific recipes, etc.
Creators and their income:
FitnessBlender – approx. $15,818 per month
Blogilates – approx. $12,576 per month
Other lucrative niches
Teaching other people can be profitable too. Whether you’re a pro at crafting, cooking, or doing home improvement projects, the tutorial niche can be quite lucrative too.
New products are launched every day, and brands are looking to hype their new products to generate more attention. Unboxing, the process of taking a product out if its box and a YouTuber giving it a first impression, can be a good income earner too. Companies usually send out PR boxes to well-established influencers, but if you’re just starting out, you need to spend your own money to get ahold of the product.
Are you more interested in writing content than creating videos, and want to make money from it?
Blogging is one of the best ways to make money from writing! If you want to create a blog like the one you are reading right now and you want to learn how to make money from a new blog, then read this detailed blogging tutorial! I’ll show you how I grew this blog from absolute scratch without previous experience and how I started making a full-time income blogging!
How to Make Money On YouTube: The 5 Monetization Strategies
So, how do these channels make money on YouTube? Let’s take a look at the five basic ways to monetize a YouTube channel!
1. Ad Revenue
The first, and probably the most popular way, to make money on YouTube is through ad revenue. YouTube ads come in different formats:
- True View Ads (In-stream or in-display ads) – these are skippable pay-per-view ads. You will only get paid if viewers viewed the ad for at least 30 seconds, or in its entirety, or if the viewers engaged with the ads’ CTA.
- Pre-roll ads – these are non-skippable pay-per-click ads that appear before, mid-roll, or after a video.
- Bumpers – these are six-second non-skippable pay-per-view ads.
How it works:
First, you need to have a YouTube channel and post some videos in it. To start monetizing your videos, you need to sign up for a Google AdSense account so that Google can place ads in your videos. The ads you get depend on your niche and the quality of your videos. You will split your ad earnings with Google: you get 68% of the income, while Google gets the rest.
How much do YouTubers make per view?
How much you earn from ads can depend on a lot of things. Often, it is computed in CPM or cost per mille (in layman’s terms, this is the cost per thousand). This refers to the amount you receive for a thousand views of the ads placed in your video.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, YouTubers can earn an average of $3-$5 per 1,000 views after YouTube takes its cut. It’s also worth noting that CPM can vary per country. Countries with better economies such as the US pay higher CPMs. Other factors that influence CPM include:
- length of the video
- ad engagement
- how many people skip the ads
- how many ads there are on a video
- type of advertisement
The cost of an ad view is based on an auction between advertisers based on views. Advertisers have to bid a minimum of $0.01 per view. The actual rate an advertiser pays varies based on the factors above.
You need to accumulate at least $100 in your account before you can withdraw your ad earnings.
How Much do YouTubers Really Make? Sample Computation
So, how much do YouTubers make from ads when they have at least 1 million subscribers? For a channel that has 1 million subscribers and that makes 2 videos a week, it could earn:
$5 x 1000 x 2 (videos) = $20,000 per week from display advertising. This is a conservative computation as many YouTube channels earn an average of $18 per one thousand views.
2. YouTube Affiliate
Just like in blogging, another great way to make money on YouTube is through affiliate marketing. With affiliate marketing, you can earn a commission by promoting products through their affiliate links. This is a passive way to earn money on YouTube, and if executed correctly, your earnings can compound over time.
How it works:
To make money from affiliate marketing, you partner with companies and simply endorse their products or services on your videos. I see lots of YouTubers do this in an unboxing video, product reviews, tutorials, and more.
In blogging, we simply mention these products or services in our posts, but on YouTube, you may place those affiliate links in the video’s description box.
When a viewer clicks on the link, he or she is directed to a third-party site where the product can be purchased. Once the purchase has been completed, you earn a commission.
How much you earn from YouTube affiliate marketing depends really on a number of things, such as your number of followers and conversion rate.
Conversion rate refers to the percentage of your audience who clicks on the affiliate link and makes a purchase. The higher your conversion rate, the more money you can earn from YouTube affiliate marketing.
How much do YouTubers make per video as affiliates?
Your commission also depends on the product you’re promoting. Amazon, for instance, pays their affiliates 1-10% in commission for every product sold.
As an affiliate marketer, whether via YouTube or a blog, building trust with your audience is of utmost importance.
Endorse or promote products that you truly use or believe in. When you do it for the sake of the income, you may lose your touch with your audience and they will be less likely to purchase the product.
3. Brand sponsorships
Brands are always looking to get more exposure among its target audience, and one way they do it is by partnering with YouTubers for sponsored videos. This partnership is more effective if you have a huge following and your channel falls under the same niche of a potential brand. For instance, mom YouTubers may earn from sponsored videos that promote baby products.
One of the best ways to find companies to sponsor your videos is by searching your competitors (or similar) channels and see which videos are “sponsored.” You are required to disclose sponsored videos so by doing a simple search in more established channels, you would know which videos are sponsored by a company. Contact the company and email your media kit.
Another way to get sponsorship is to sign up with influencer networks such as Izea.com and RealClever.com. I have mentioned more influencer networks in this blogging guide here so check it out if you want to learn more.
How it works:
You partner with a company to promote their products and services in a video. You can talk about the product’s features and their benefits to the customers, and get paid for it.
The income for brand sponsorships varies wildly. It’s possible to earn at least $10 for every 1,000 views of a sponsored video. If you have a good number of subscribers, you could earn even more.
According to Learning Hub, a sponsored video that reaches over 1 million views allows the content creator to earn between $10,000 to $50,000. So, can you imagine how much do YouTubers make a year from brand sponsorships alone?
I know it is often tough to land corporate sponsorships if you’re still new on YouTube and only have a few following. Create quality content and grow your channel. It’s also better to stick to your niche. As your following improves, you should start attracting brands looking to advertise their products on your YouTube channel.
Once you’ve managed to establish quite a reputation on YouTube and built a brand for your channel, you can now consider earning through merchandise. What’s great about selling merchandise is that you get to give your brand more exposure, even offline. Your followers get to see your brand outside your YouTube channel.
How it works:
Earning through merchandising is easy: sell products carrying your brand. These can include pens, mugs, shirts, caps, bags, and more.
If you’re working under a niche, you can promote more specific products related to your niche. For instance, if you’re a beauty enthusiast, selling your own line of make-up products, brushes and accessories can be a fantastic idea!
Tip: It is not recommended to sell merchandise too early in your YouTube career. Focus on building a good number of followers first and establishing trust with them.
5. Crowdfunding / Donations
Crowdfunding is the process of appealing to your audience to donate to your channel to keep it going or to contribute to a project.
How it works:
If you’re a small YouTuber and you aren’t earning enough from ads, crowdfunding can be an option. You can appeal to your audience to support your channel or project by giving financial donations. This might seem unpopular, but it actually works even if you have a small YouTube community. Many people are willing to donate to their favorite YouTubers if they’re happy with the content.
How to Start Monetizing Your YouTube Channel
How do you start making money on YouTube? Let’s take a look at the requirements to start monetizing your channel.
YouTube has some very specific requirements when it comes to monetizing a channel.
First, you need to have at least 1000 subscribers.
Next, you need to reach 4,000 hours of Watch Time for the last 12 months. Watch Time refers to the amount of time people spent watching your videos. Once you’ve hit these two requirements, you can already apply to monetize your channel.
Also, note that the YouTube Partner Program is only available in select countries. Make sure to check whether it is available in your country so you can monetize your channel.
Experts’ Tips on How to Grow Your YouTube Channel
There’s tough competition on YouTube. According to Tubics, there are over 31 million channels on YouTube as of 2019. Content creators are also uploading over 500 hours of video content each minute.
With all that frenzy going on at YouTube every single minute, the question still remains: can you still make money on YouTube?
The answer is a resounding yes! However, just like blogging, it takes effort and some time to succeed on YouTube.
As a blogger, I can see a lot of similarities between growing a YouTube channel and a blog. YouTube and blogging are very similar in many ways, even in terms of monetization.
Digging deeper into how to grow a YouTube channel, I’ve found these valuable tips that might help you as you start your channel:
1. Take baby steps and learn as you go.
What did I do to grow my YouTube channel?
I started posting even if no one was watching, providing value by doing FREE Etsy critique for my target
audience, started giving, giving, giving, giving before I asked for anything. I was consistently recording 5-7 videos per week while still juggling my side hustles and started learning more about YouTube and how it worked.
The more I did these things with no expectations and no timeline simply
because I love doing it, the more I got comfortable creating videos,
talking, and even now recording myself.
If you really want to start that business and you’re stuck on analysis
paralysis, I suggest just to take the leap and learn as you go. You don’t
have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.
2. Be consistent
Consistency is important in any hustle, and that includes making money on YouTube. According to this article on USA Today, YouTubers need to “flesh out topics and start creating fresh content on a regular basis.”
3. Focus on your niche
One mistake that I often see many bloggers commit is “not having a niche.” They just blog about anything under the sun, or just simply blog about themselves, barely offering value to their audience.
The fact of the matter is that majority of internet users use search engines like Google to seek solutions or be entertained.
I think this applies to YouTube, too. After all, YouTube is also a search engine like Google. People go to YouTube either to be entertained or inspired, to find information, or to seek a solution to a problem.
That said, it is important to have a niche to be able to attract a more specific group of people. Create valuable content around that niche to establish yourself as the “go-to” person each time they need “solutions” relating to your niche.
4. Don’t focus on the money (yet)
YouTube is not a get-rich-quick scheme. According to Viewership, if you want to learn how to make money on YouTube, the first step is to actually stop thinking about the “money.”
Instead, focus on creating quality videos, create your own personal brand of content, and be consistent with your style and tone.
Having a deep understanding of your brand will help you to create more authentic, honest, passionate video content. – Viewership.com
Create a Sense of Community with Your Viewers
The Content Marketing Institute emphasizes the importance of building a loyal YouTube audience.
Without engagement, it would be too easy for them to click “unsubscribe.”
Respond to comments posted on your videos. Acknowledge your subscribers’ support by liking their comments and saying thank you for taking the time to watch. You could also include them in your videos by asking for their feedback or answering their questions. Subscribers are often thrilled at the mention of their name or a screenshot of their message from their favorite YouTubers.
How to Become a Better YouTuber: YouTube Online Courses
Fortunately for aspiring YouTubers out there, there are now several YouTube courses you can take to succeed on this platform. You can gain new knowledge, acquire new skills, and develop a better understanding of YouTube with the following online courses:
$199.99 $15.99 92% off
This online course by the Video Creators teaches you how to brand and position your channel, engage with your audience, and video content strategy.
Dubbed as the first-ever academy for online influencers, this course by Jump Cut shows you the five stages to creating viral content, starting with social media secrets all the way to monetizing your channel.
$199.99 $10.99 94% off
This Udemy course teaches you how to reach 1 million views, foster engagement with your audience, build your YouTube brand, and how to sell products and services on the platform.
This course was created by YouTUBE Creator Academy will demonstrate the nitty-gritty of earning an income from YouTube Ads.
Are You Ready to Make Money on YouTube?
Now that you know how to make money on YouTube and how much do YouTubers make, you’re probably already thinking of starting your own YouTube channel! Congrats on taking that first step!
It may take real commitment to succeed on YouTube, but I believe that it’s really worth considering most especially if you enjoy or are interested in creating video content.
The great thing about this “job” is that you can be your own boss: you can film your own ideas, execute the video the way you want it to and post content whenever you like.
Your income potential with YouTube also has no limit, and you can work from anywhere and anytime. These are some of the reasons why I put this income-generating idea at the top of my list of the best online jobs that you can start even without money.
Have you ever thought of YouTube as a way to earn money? Let’s connect in the comments.