If you’re looking to make money online, YouTube is one of the best places to do it. The platform is one of the most popular websites in the world, with nearly two billion active users each month. These viewers watch over one billion hours of videos every day.
With that many people watching so much content, there is a massive potential audience that you can tap into.
This is why many businesses, influencers, and individuals use the platform to generate revenue.
The great thing about YouTube is that there isn’t a specific formula that you need to follow to get money out of the site. In fact, there are tons of ways you can use your YouTube channel to make money.
When you think of making money with YouTube, your first thought likely goes to advertisements.
While this is a popular way to monetize a channel, video creators can also get revenue from selling products, getting sponsorships, affiliate marketing, or using YouTube to get people to your website or other external platforms.
This guide will show you the best ways to make money with YouTube, including examples of successful YouTube videos.
Best Ways to Make Money From YouTube
- Make Money From YouTube Ads
- Make Money From Affiliate Marketing
- Sell Your Own Products
- Make Money From Sponsorships
- Direct YouTube Traffic to Your Website
1. Make Money From YouTube Ads
First on our list of how to make money with YouTube is to use YouTube Ads.
YouTube allows advertisers to create video ads that are shown at the beginning and during videos on the platform. Advertisers pay for the service and YouTube gives you, the video creator, a part of the proceeds.
How to enable ads on your YouTube videos
The YouTube Partner Program is how you’ll enable and monetize ads on YouTube.
To make money through the YouTube Partner Program, you’ll first need to meet the eligibility requirements. Beyond following all the YouTube monetization policies and living in a country where the program is available, this includes:
- A linked Google Adsense account
- Having over 1,000 subscribers
- Having over 4,000 public watch hours
- Having no active Community Guidelines strikes against your channel
Once you meet these requirements, you can complete your Partner Program application from your YouTube Studio dashboard by going to the Monetization section. From there, you’ll sign the Partner Program terms and connect your Adsense account.
After you finish the application, YouTube will review your account and get back to you in about a month with a decision.
How much money can you make from YouTube Ads?
We did our research to find some real statistics from YouTubers (in different niches) that report how much money they earn from their content.
As you can see in the table below, the amount you can make from a video varies per niche, video topic, and the number of video views.
- Videos with 1,000.000 views on topics related to finance and productivity can generate between $3000 – $5000 in ad revenue.
- Videos with 10 million views on a lucrative topic can generate about $10,000 in ad revenue.
- Videos on non-commercial topics (like how to pose in photos or how to take Instagram pictures) can generate about $1000 per 1 million views.
The table below shows examples of how much money YouTubers get paid for videos.
|Pat Flynn||How to Create an Awesome Slide Deck||1,000,000||$5,000|
|Shelby Church||Scentbird CEO’s journey to building a multimillion-dollar company||370,000||$3,000|
|Shelby Church||How to Pose in Photos||2,200.000||$743|
|Roberto Blake||10 Ways to Make Passive Income Online||4,000.000||$9,836|
|TechLead||My Wife Left me||1,000.000||$4,754|
|Reyes The Entrepreneur||How Much I Made in My Vending Business in 1 Month||1,000.000||$3,706|
|Graham Stephan||Unboxing The $10 Million Dollar Invite-Only Credit Card||1,200.000||$7,300|
|Coco Lili||How to take Instagram Pictures||860,000||$1,834|
|Monique Reid||How to Create an Intro Tutorial||1,160.000||$4,151|
You can view more examples of how much YouTubers make from their videos here.
How do you get paid?
Once you’re part of the program, you can go through your channel and turn on ads for individual or multiple videos at once.
As the ads start to run on your videos, you can track your earnings by going to YouTube Studio > Analytics > Revenue. There, you’ll see your estimated monthly revenue based on your current traffic and revenue share.
You can see your finalized earnings in your Adsense account. The finalized amounts for a month are added to your balance between the 7th and 12th day of the following month.
The payments are then paid out from your Adsense account between the 21st and 26th.
Enroll in our YouTube course and get step-by-step instructions on how to make money on YouTube, starting from scratch. A YouTube course aimed at beginners like you.
2. Make Money From Affiliate Marketing
The next way to make money with YouTube is through affiliate marketing.
This is a type of marketing where you promote another company’s products or services. In exchange, the company pays you a commission for the sales that you bring in.
The exact amount will vary depending on the merchant and product type. This can range anywhere from 5% to 100% of the sales proceeds.
As an affiliate, you get a unique URL to promote the merchant’s products. When a customer places an order after clicking the link, you are credited with the sale in the merchant’s tracking system.
Businesses across industries create affiliate programs to help increase sales. Partnering with a network of affiliates allows them to grow their audience and reach new customers.
So, no matter what subject you want to create content for, you’ll likely find plenty of high-paying affiliate offers in your niche.
Affiliate marketing is equally beneficial for affiliates as it lets you sell products without developing them yourself.
How to do affiliate marketing with YouTube
Affiliate marketing is a very popular money-making strategy for website owners, but it also works quite well for YouTube.
Like an affiliate website, you need to put your affiliate links where your YouTube viewers can see them. You also need to create content that encourages them to click the links.
Here are some of the ways you can use your video content to promote affiliate products:
One of the most common ways of promoting affiliate products is through product reviews. In the review, you give a product breakdown and explain to viewers how they can benefit from it.
You then add an affiliate link to your video description and encourage people to click if they are interested.
Many affiliates offer a special discount through their link as a means to generate more purchases.
Below, we can see this at work in a review of the Helium 10 platform for Amazon sellers. In the video, Darren goes through the platform’s key features while stating what he likes about the solution.
In the end, he includes a direct call to action (CTA) where he verbally tells viewers about his promo code and how much they can save.
In the description, you can also find an affiliate link to the merchant site.
Best of videos
Another way to showcase affiliate offers is to create a “best of” or comparison video.
With this, you show viewers some of the top options for a specific product type, highlighting the key differences between them.
For example, the video below walks through the best headphones in 2023. Ali Abdaal mentions what he likes about the various products, and there are multiple affiliate links in the video description.
Keep in mind, that you need your visitors to trust you if you want them to click your links. This is why it’s important also to create non-promotional content that provides value to your audience.
Over time, they’ll come to view you as a trusted resource and will respond better to your affiliate links.
3. Sell Your Own Products
If you have your own products to sell, YouTube can be a great tool for finding new customers.
With your own channel, there are endless ways to create content that attracts interested parties and promotes your products.
For instance, you can create a video series that explains how to use your product or service.
The digital marketing software provider SEMRush gives us a great example of this with their SEMRush Overview series.
In the videos, different team members walk through the platform’s main features and how they can help users.
Alternatively, you can create videos that don’t go into your products but instead provide useful insights to your audience.
As you continue to provide content that helps them, many will naturally become interested in learning more about your products.
For example, nutrition and fitness company Onnit creates videos like this Basic Stretches You Should Do video to help teach their audience.
You don’t need a product or service-centered business to be able to sell through YouTube.
Many creators that have built a following use their audience to sell merchandise like t-shirts, hats, and bags.
If you follow any of the more popular YouTube gamers and vloggers, you’ve likely seen creators launching a line of apparel for their loyal fans to buy.
For example, famous gaming YouTuber VanossGaming includes a link to “Vanoss Merch” in the channel banner.
There is also a link to the merch site at the beginning of video descriptions and the products are occasionally mentioned during some of the videos.
4. Make Money From Sponsorships
Sponsorships are one of the best ways to make money with YouTube.
With a sponsorship, a brand will pay you to publish your video in exchange for you mentioning their products or services.
It is common for video creators to mention their sponsors at the beginning of the video. The format is similar to an advertisement, but it’s more natural and convincing as the video creator themselves is the one speaking about the product.
This is often accompanied by some graphics and animation provided by the sponsor company.
A good example of this can be seen in the history documentary channel Kings and Generals. All of their videos are sponsored by various companies like NordVPN, Blinkist, and Skillshare.
In the video below, we can see one of these sponsorships one minute into the content. At that point, the narrator mentions the sponsor and highlights their product features.
On the screen, you can see visuals provided by the sponsor.
Because your audience trusts your recommendations, sponsorships can be much more lucrative for you and the sponsor as more of your viewers will convert to sales.
This is most notable when you have a sponsor related to the type of content you create.
A great example is the below video from Girl With the Dogs. The creator, a dog groomer, is sponsored by a company that makes waterproof shoes.
As she mentions the sponsor, you can see the product in action as she wears the shoes while washing a dog.
How to get YouTube sponsorships
Because brands don’t want to waste their time or money on a sponsorship that doesn’t pay off, many will only choose to sponsor YouTube channels with proven success and an established following.
That said, others will offer sponsorships to smaller channels in exchange for a free product.
Overall, your options for sponsorships will depend on the quality of your audience and the nature of your channel.
In terms of how much you can make, this too will vary wildly depending on your niche and the particular sponsor.
Most data shows that YouTubers make anywhere from $10 to $50 per 1,000 views for their sponsored video.
Keep in mind, that sponsors won’t pay on a per-view basis. Instead, you’ll typically agree on a flat rate payment when you finalize how to incorporate your sponsorship in your content.
The Budget Girl has a great video breaking down some of her sponsorship deals and how the process works.
In a year, she generated over $11,000 (including the value of free stuff) from YouTube sponsorships.
Sponsorships weren’t her main focus then, as she also made over $32,000 from YouTube Ads over the same period.
To give you an idea of the size of her channel, she has 96,000 subscribers, and her most-watched video has 428K views.
5. Direct YouTube Traffic to Your Website
The last way to make money with YouTube is to drive viewers to your website.
Whether you provide a service or sell a physical product, your website is often the most valuable tool for making money.
When combined with YouTube’s massive reach, you can get a high number of people to your site to eventually become customers.
To turn YouTube into a profitable traffic source for your website, you need to optimize your videos to drive as many people as possible from YouTube to your site.
Here are some ways to do it:
Adding links on channel art
First, you can direct people to your website by including links in your channel art. This is the banner image that appears at the top of the various pages making up your YouTube profile.
There are several ways you can include the link to your site.
The first is to add the link to the panel in the lower right corner of the banner. There, YouTube lets you add hyperlinks to your social profile plus a link to a website.
You can use this to link directly back to your site, as you can see with the publication Forbes.
AMZScout provides another good example. But, instead of linking to their site, they link directly to the Chrome web store where people can download their browser extension.
The other way to show the link to your site is to have it as part of the banner. This link won’t be clickable, but if you include the full URL, viewers can easily see how to get to your site.
Using YouTube cards
YouTube cards are interactive widgets that appear at the end of videos. YouTube lets you add up to five per video, each with a clickable link to another YouTube page or to your website.
In the video below, we can see Thomas Frank using cards to direct people to his site to learn more about the product discussed in the video.
Links in the description
Adding links to your video descriptions is an easy way to get more YouTube viewers to your website.
In our video on digital marketing certifications, you can see multiple links to different areas of our website.
Asking them to visit your website in the video
The next way to drive web traffic from YouTube is to use your videos to directly ask people to go back to your site.
This is one of the most effective strategies, as it will immediately grab the attention of those watching your videos.
Offering them free stuff
You can get more web visitors by incentivizing viewers to visit your site. A great way to do this is to give something away for free.
Common examples are free trials, masterclasses, guides, and PDFs.
For example, in this guide on how to make 2D images 3-dimensional, Adobe includes links to free template files in the description.
Showing your website URL as a banner while the video is playing
Like verbally asking people to visit your site, simply showing your website URL during the YouTube video can help you get more visitors.
The Engineering Mindset does a great job of this in its content. Below, in the video on how electricity works, you can see the URL displayed at the bottom of the animation over the duration of the video.
How to Increase Your YouTube Revenue?
Now that you know the best ways to make money with YouTube, you might wonder how to optimize your channel to bring in the most revenue.
Whether you decide to run ads or go after sponsorships, there are several important variables that will determine how much you make with YouTube.
Below, we’ll look at the key factors impacting how much money you can make with YouTube.
The number of subscribers – When someone subscribes to your channel, they will get notified every time you release a video. This leads many subscribers to continue watching your new content.
Because of this, higher subscriber counts usually lead to more video views. Naturally, more views will lead to more YouTube revenue no matter how you choose to monetize your channel.
Video watch time – The more people engage with your videos, the better you’ll be able to turn their interest into revenue.
A good way to assess your engagement is video watch time. If you can increase the amount of time people spend watching your videos, more money will shortly follow.
Video length – Video length is important as the more content you have the more opportunities you’ll have to promote products or direct people back to your site.
Type of content – The type of content you create also matters. Videos around commercial and transactional topics will result in more customers than generic content.
For example, if your video is a product review, it will likely drive more revenue than a video with nothing but a news update.
Niche – Similar to the nature of your content, the market you’re in will play a big role in how much your channel makes. Some categories are more lucrative than others.
This is due to both differences in the value of products as well as how much-targeted traffic can be generated through YouTube.
Geo-location – Your location and the location of your viewers will also influence your YouTube revenue.
Certain locations are more valuable to businesses. As such, having viewers from these areas will lead to better payouts from ads and sponsors.
Similarly, if you promote affiliate offers or sell your own products, having an audience located in the same area as your products will lead to more revenue than if they lived elsewhere.
Adblockers – The last factor impacting how much you can make with YouTube is adblockers. If someone uses an ad-blocking platform, they won’t see any ads on your videos even if you have them enabled
This also means you won’t get any revenue from this person.
If a high number of your viewers use adblockers, it can seriously impact how much ad revenue you can generate.
Other Ways to Make Money Online
Besides making money on YouTube, you can also consider these resources for making money online:
- How to Make Money Blogging – Find out the best ways to start a blog and make money from it.
- How to Make Money With Affiliate Marketing – Learn how to make real money with affiliate marketing.
- How to Make Money With Digital Marketing – A comprehensive guide on how to make money working as a digital marketing freelancer or starting your own business.
To learn more about YouTube and how to create a successful channel, visit these guides:
Best YouTube Courses – A list of high-quality courses for making money on YouTube (and marketing).
How to Make a YouTube Channel – Step-by-step instructions on creating a YouTube channel for your business.
YouTube SEO Guide – Learn how to use SEO to rank your videos on top of YouTube search results.
Malik Robinson says
Thanks for this post, Alex. I’ve been looking to turn to Youtube for some extra income and traffic. Shorts especially seem to have worked well for other companies. Thanks for these ideas.
Alex Chris says
Thanks for your comment!