5 Ways To Make Money on YouTube

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YouTube as a film strip

People who want to make money online have a lot of options. From starting their own websites, affiliate marketing and dropshipping products to freelance marketing and teaching courses, there are endless opportunities available.

One of the best opportunities though is to start a YouTube channel to share original video content on one of the world’s most trafficked websites.

YouTube, which started in 2005 as a failed video-dating website, now has more than 2 billion monthly users who watch millions and millions of hours of content.

The video sharing site has made stars and millionaires out of lots of people who started channels to share stuff they loved doing. 8 year old Ryan Kaji of Ryan’s Toy Reviews is currently the highest paid YouTuber, who pulled in an estimated $26 million in 2019. His channel was started in 2015.

You have the same opportunity to become a highly paid YouTuber. All you have to do is to have a passion for a topic that people are interested in and a willingness to make original, high quality and engaging content as well as follow best practices in running a YouTube channel.

You don’t need to have experience or special talent as everything can be learned.

How exactly do you get paid by uploading videos though?

This is what we’re going to look at in this post. There are several ways to make money with YouTube videos and you can use one or two or all of them once you are able to do so.

Here are some ways to make money with a YouTube channel.

1. YouTube Partner Program (Ads)

If you regularly watch YouTube, then you’ve most likely seen this in action before. You go to watch a video and an ad starts playing before the video starts. Or you see a text ad pop up on top of the video you’re watching.

This is the most popular form of monetization on YouTube for many creators. Once they meet certain criteria set by YouTube, they’re able to serve ads to monetize their videos and earn money.

This is called the YouTube Partner Program and it’s basically YouTube serving Google’s ads on videos. Not everyone can get into the YouTube Partner Program though. You’ll need to have the following to qualify.

  • Your content must have been watched for a total of 4000 hours in the last 12 months
  • 1000+ subscribers – 1000 people must be subscribed to your channel
  • YouTube Partner Program must be available in your country
  • Your content must not violate any of YouTube’s content policies

You’ll then be able to submit your channel for review and wait to be approved to begin serving ads. Another thing you’ll need to do is to sign up for a Google Adsense account if you don’t already have one.

Once you meet the criteria and have been approved, you can begin monetizing your channel to serve ads though YouTube’s creator studio which is your channel’s dashboard.

YouTubers who create lots of original content on a consistent basic usually benefit greatly from the YouTube Partner Program and get big paychecks if they have a lot of views and subscribers.

I haven’t been able to get into the YouTube Partner Program because I’m not living in a country where the program is available even though I have a channel surpassing 4000 watch hours and 1000 subscribers.

If you’re not able to use YouTube Partner Program though, there are other ways you can monetize a channel and make money with YouTube.

2. Affiliate Marketing

While you have to meet certain criteria to be able to run ads on your videos and make money with the YouTube Partner Program, anyone with a YouTube account can make money with affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is where you would sign up with a merchant that offers an affiliate program, promote their products on your videos via a special link and get paid a commission when your viewers make a purchase.

Amazon is a common affiliate program used by people looking to make money with affiliate marketing on YouTube but there are hundreds of thousands of affiliate programs available online for you to choose from.

Some YouTubers even start their channels with this monetization strategy in mind.

To do affiliate marketing on YouTube, you have to make a helpful video that also draws attention to a product that they’ll be interested in. You can then add your affiliate link to an annotation on your video, add the link in your description or add it in a comment.

Common YouTube video strategies that affiliate marketers use include:

1. Unboxing Videos

This is a common and effective strategy used by affiliate marketers on YouTube because it is a video friendly way of helping your audience.

People sometimes want to see what they’re getting when they buy a product and will search for unboxing videos to see what comes in the box.

The video above is an example of this strategy and the channel owner can then add his link in the description of the video and call attention to it so that viewers can purchase the drone after viewing the video.

If you checked the video on YouTube, you’ll also see that the video owner added his link in the comments and pinned it to the top. This way commenters or persons browsing the comments will see his link and possibly check out the product on the merchant’s website. If they purchase, the channel owner will get a percentage of the sale.

When starting a channel to do unboxing videos, it might be a good idea to do a certain type of product or products in a specific category.

The only drawback to this strategy though is that it might be a bit expensive to get products to unbox. However, you can look at it as an investment into your affiliate marketing business since you’ll make back the money in commissions and you can always sell the products locally after you’ve unboxed it on video.

2. Product Reviews

Product reviews, whether the product is physical or a digital product is another good affiliate marketing strategy you can use with YouTube.

Not everyone likes to read about products and will look directly on YouTube for reviews of products they’re interested in.

You can give viewers what they want to giving your opinion about a product and even integrate unboxing within your review. Mention what you liked about the product (pros) and what you didn’t like (cons) and give an overall rating and opinion about the product, if you recommend it or don’t recommend it.

You can review games, drones, toys or digital products like courses or membership sites. Put your link in the description of your video and you can also pin it in the comments so viewers can check out the product and hopefully purchase.

3. Best Products

Another common strategy is the “best products” strategy where you list a number of best products.

For example, you can make a video about the “5 best drones for aerial protography” and then talk about 5 drones in your video. Just like the review method above, you can also do digital products.

Your description can be built out as a short mini article listing each link as well as the title of each product you mentioned in the video and maybe your opinion or what you liked about the product which can work as a refresher after people have viewed the video.

I wouldn’t link to each product in the comments here, but rather remind people to check the description.

4. DIY and Crafts

If you’re making DIY or craft videos then you can mention products that people will need to follow along since most viewers will want to also make what you’re making in the video.

This can work for cooking videos, building anything or even stuff that require a digital product (for example, if you’re making beats and you need a certain plugin for the steps to work).

Your video description can include the items that you’ll need for the project and also the steps required to take action. You can link to each item with your special affiliate link and bring attention to the description by mentioning it in the video and/or pinning a comment in the comments section.

Affiliate marketing is a very good way to make a lot of money on YouTube and can be faster and more profitable than YouTube’s Partner Program. You don’t have to wait to qualify and you can earn more per click.

Also anyone can do affiliate marketing on YouTube regardless of location, amount of subscribers or watch time.

3. YouTube Super Chat

This is another monetization feature by YouTube that you need to be qualified for.

With this feature, users can pay you to have their comment pinned and highlighted while you’re doing a live broadcast on your channel.

This is a great way for you to make money during live streams and a great way for the user to call attention to his own channel.

To be eligible for YouTube Super Chat, you must:

  • have a channel with monetization turned on.
  • have more than 1000 subscribers
  • live in a country where the feature is available
  • be over 18 years of age.

If you plan to make live streams a regular part of your YouTube strategy then you may want to look at making money with YouTube Super Chat. You’ll have to have a highly engaged channel though and probably lots of subscribers that will make it worthwhile for someone to pay to have their comment highlighted.

4. Sponsored Video

When you have a lot of subscribers, good branding and engaging video content on YouTube, brand may want to work with you to reach your audience. They will pay you to make sponsored video.

Being an influencer can be very profitable but it takes a lot of work in the beginning. You’ll have to build up your following by following best practices and making advertiser friendly content.

There are a number of companies set up in this space that will connect YouTubers to sponsors. Some of these companies include:

  • Famebit – owned by YouTube / free to sign-up / requires 5000 subscribers
  • Grapevine – free to join / requires 10,000 subs / for YouTube, Instagram and Facebook
  • Channelpages – free to join / YouTube certified / sync your channel
  • Izea – free to join / multiple social media channels
  • AspireIQ – free to join / for YouTube, Instagram, Twitter
  • Tapfluence – free to join

You can also look for sponsored opportunities outside these influencer marketplaces and if you have great branding, content and a good following, sponsors may also reach out to you.

Always try to create content in your own style that brings attention to the brand you’re working with so you don’t alienating your followers.

5. Merchandising

Finally, although there are still more ways you can make money with YouTube, I’m going to mention merchandising as yet another way to monetize your channel.

If you’re doing this through YouTube then you’ll need to be a part of the YouTube Partner Program.

YouTube has a list of approved merchandising partners that you can link to using your video’s end screens.

Merchandise you can sell on YouTube include stuff like caps, t-shirts, mugs, smartphone covers and stickers just to name a few.

This is an excellent way to earn money from your channel if you have a fan-based-like following. This can be achievable if you post regular original and engaging content and build your channel like a brand.

These are just 5 ways you can make money creating videos on YouTube. There are other ways that are build into YouTube such as channel memberships when your subscriber base hits around 30,000 and other ways you can implement yourself such as marketing a product or small business that you own (like a book or website).

Building a source of income on a platform that someone else owns isn’t always a smooth ride. You have to comply with their terms and adjust when they make changes but most of the time it’s all for the best.

Below I’m going to offer you a few tips for making money on YouTube that will help you to have the best possible experience.

Tips For Making Money On YouTube

Following these tips will allow you to make the best out of the opportunities presented to you by YouTube. The last thing you want to have while trying to make money on YouTube is to have your channel deleted or suspended by YouTube.

Tip #1: Respect copyright

Your should aim to produce engaging original content. To be accepted into the YouTube Partner Program, your content shouldn’t have any copyright flags or infringements otherwise this could mean rejection from the program.

Copyright infringements can come from using other users video content or even music that isn’t yours.

There are royalty-free music libraries built into YouTube Creator Studio where you can find music to use in your videos and there are sites where you can find royalty-free music to use. There are also videos that you can use under the proper license so that you don’t get into trouble.

If you want to use other people’s content be sure to get their permission first or just don’t use their content at all. On YouTube, if you get too many flags, you can end up getting your channel suspended permanently.

Tip #2: Create advertiser-friendly content

When uploading videos to YouTube, you’re normally asked to check a box to confirm that your video adheres to advertiser-friendly guidelines.

If you upload content that isn’t advertiser-friendly, you’ll have less opportunities to make money as YouTube can turn off or limit ads on your videos and sponsors may pass on working with you. Most affiliate programs will also have their own guidelines on which kind of content you can add their affiliate links to.

It’s easy to make advertiser-friendly content – just don’t include any of the following in your video.

  • Strong profanity & vulgar language
  • Violence and gore
  • Explicit content and nudity
  • Harmful & dangerous acts
  • Hate content
  • Drug use
  • Tobacco and firearms related
  • Controversial issues and sensitive events
  • Adult themes in family content
  • Bullying and shaming

YouTube does have exceptions to these topics – particularly if you provide additional context or you’re making an artistic expression (music videos, short films etc) that will still attract advertisers.

If your goal is to make money on YouTube then you’ll want to steer clear of any of these violations.

Tip #3: Follow YouTube Community Guidelines

YouTube wants their platform to be safe and welcoming to everyone. To do this, they allow users to flag content for violations of their community guidelines.

Following YouTube’s polices and community guidelines will keep you in good-standing with not only YouTube but also your audience.

Violations will get you strikes which can lead to account termination.

Some community guidelines include stuff that will make viewers uncomfortable such as posting videos with:

  • nudity and sexual content
  • harmful and dangerous content (especially to children)
  • hateful content (towards race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion etc)
  • violent and graphic content without context
  • harassment and bullying videos
  • Spam videos and scams and videos with misleading titles
  • Threats
  • Violation of privacy (don’t post other’s personal information or content)
  • Impersonation (don’t try to mislead people into thinking you’re another channel)
  • Copyright violations
  • Child endangerment

Hopefully though, you’ve learned how to create a channel around a particular topic aimed at a particular type of viewer so these violations will not naturally occur.

Tip #4: Don’t game the system

Trying to get subscribers fast or get loads of video views? You may be tempted to game the system but that’s not a good idea.

Gaming the system can get you in trouble with YouTube and put off viewers and potential subscribers.

Some ways people try to game YouTube are by buying subscribers which turn out to be bots who only carry up your number but don’t engage on your content, artificially trying to get views which can get you in trouble with YouTube’s fake engagement policy or using misleading titles to get views on your videos.

You’ll have better long term success if you try to grow your channel organically and without using shady tricks and hacks.

Tip #5: Follow best practices

Running your channel and building your brand effectively can benefit from following some best practices.

These best practices can be observed by following any successful YouTube creator or channel owner.

Some of these practices include:

  • having channel art and professionally designed logo
  • using video thumbnails to attract clicks and views
  • using video SEO to rank in YouTube and Google search engines
  • creating regular content and engagement
  • replying to comments

Best practices help your channel to grow organically with subscribers and views and also attract sponsors and advertisers. This is a great way to make more money from your YouTube videos.

Tip #6: Use your channel’s analytics

Checking your video’s analytics can help you find out how your channel is performing and also gives you insight on your channels reach and opportunities for growth.

Your analytics reports can be found in your YouTube Creator Studio or channel dashboard and contains reports on revenue, reach, engagement and audience. Each metric tab contains details on your videos performances so you can best guage where to improve or see what you’re doing right.

By checking analytics, you’ll get to see what types of videos do well with your audience and find opportunities for content creation, getting more traffic and improving engagement.

Your analytics can help to grow your channel if you make it a regular part of managing your YouTube channel to go through it and see what’s working and what isn’t.

YouTube is a great opportunity for just about anyone who is interested in creating an income source through making helpful videos. It is constantly growing and is one of the most visited websites in the world.

If you want to make money from YouTube, there is nothing stopping you except for you. Follow these 5 suggestions for making money on YouTube and implement the ones that are available to you.


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