YouTube personalities often resemble self-made celebrities who have garnered a dedicated following by creating captivating content tailored to teaching, entertaining, reviewing, and simply being remarkable on the internet.
Many YouTubers engage in their craft primarily out of a genuine passion for creating and sharing intriguing content while connecting with a community of like-minded individuals, regardless of how large or small. Financial gain typically ranks low on their list of motivations. Nevertheless, if you approach your content creation strategically, your YouTube channel has the potential to become a lucrative venture. Let’s explore how you can transform your channel into a profitable endeavor.
What is the potential for earning money on YouTube?
Well, the answer is quite promising.
Although obtaining precise figures for the earnings of popular Indian YouTubers can be challenging, here is a compilation of estimated net worths, stated in rupees, as of September 2021:
- Gaurav Chaudhary, ₹326 crores
- Amit Bhadana, ₹47 crores
- Nisha Madhulika, ₹33 crores
- Carry Minati, ₹29 crores
- Ashish Chanchlani, ₹29 crores
- Bhuvan Bam, ₹22 crores
- Sandeep Maheshwari, ₹22 crores
- Emiway Bantai, ₹18 crores
- Harsh Beniwal, ₹16 crores
- Vidya Vox, ₹9 crores
These figures are undeniably astounding and can leave one in awe. While it is true that the YouTubers mentioned above are exceptional cases, it is equally true that anyone can earn money on YouTube by adopting the right approach to their content creation journey.
Before delving into the specifics of this approach, let’s address some fundamental questions you may have.
Don’t you need lakhs or millions of subscribers and views to make money?
Fortunately, that is not the case! The crucial information you need to know is that even smaller and mid-sized YouTube channels can routinely monetize their content. Your earning potential is not solely determined by the number of subscribers and views you accumulate. It is also influenced by the level of engagement you generate, the niche you cater to, and the various alternative revenue channels you explore.
Furthermore, the substantial earnings mentioned in the lists above might give the impression that creators solely generate income directly from YouTube. However, the reality is that many of these channels have diversified revenue streams, including their own merchandise lines. Before venturing into product launches, they had to establish and cultivate their audience. Suppose your goal is to monetize your YouTube channel. In that case, the initial step remains the same for everyone: thoroughly understanding your target audience.
- How do you understand your target audience?
Suppose you haven’t yet established a YouTube channel. In that case, you might be interested in researching the audience demographics of established channels in your targeted niche. This information can help you tailor your content to appeal to a similar audience. However, finding comprehensive demographic details for other channels can be challenging.
While tools like Social Blade and BuzzSumo can provide insights into keywords and resonating content within your domain, they may not include crucial demographic information such as the age and gender of other channel audiences.
Therefore, one effective approach to understanding the potential audience for your content is to start creating content yourself. Once you have uploaded content, you can utilize YouTube analytics to gather valuable demographic insights specific to your channel. Additionally, you can initially focus your content on popular keywords or topics suggested by the tools above.
By building and understanding your audience, you will be better positioned to monetize your content through various means.
When monetizing your YouTube content, having a niche channel can work in your favor. Brands often seek to target specific audiences, and a niche channel can make it easier for you to collaborate with brands that align with your content and audience.
When reviewing your YouTube analytics, it’s crucial to focus on specific factors that can provide valuable insights about your audience. Pay close attention to the following:
- Gender Distribution: Analyze whether your audience predominantly consists of a particular gender group or if it is evenly distributed.
- Age Range: Identify the primary age range of your audience, which can give you a clearer picture of the demographic you are attracting.
- Geographic Location: Determine the countries or cities where your videos are being watched, as this information can help you tailor your content or collaborate with brands targeting specific regions.
- Audience Engagement: Assess the overall engagement metrics, such as watch time and interaction with your content. This will help you gauge the level of interest and involvement of your audience.
By understanding these demographic details and engagement patterns within your audience, you will be equipped with valuable insights to collaborate more effectively with brands and optimize your content strategy.
Can you get paid for simply uploading great videos to YouTube?
Contrary to popular belief, simply uploading videos on YouTube does not automatically generate income. By default, videos are not monetized in any way. However, there are specific steps you can take to start earning money on YouTube. The most direct path is to apply for and be accepted into the YouTube Partner Program. Once accepted, you can enable monetization through your YouTube account settings. This will unlock various potential revenue streams, including advertising, channel memberships, revenue sharing from YouTube Premium, and more. These revenue opportunities will be discussed in greater detail below. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may also have the chance to generate income through the YouTube Shorts Fund, which will be further explained later.
Now that we’ve covered the initial concepts, we can delve into a comprehensive discussion about how your YouTube channel can generate revenue.
2. How to make money on YouTube
Similar to earning money on platforms like Instagram, maximizing the earning potential of your YouTube channel requires exploring multiple revenue streams. Luckily, YouTube offers several avenues to generate income, including:
- Earning directly through the YouTube platform involves monetizing your videos through ads, where you earn a portion of the revenue generated by advertisements displayed on your content.
- Selling products or merchandise: You can create and sell your own branded products or merchandise, such as clothing, accessories, or digital products, directly to your audience.
- Crowdfunding your next creative project: Platforms like Patreon or Kickstarter allow you to receive financial support from your audience for specific projects or content creation.
- Letting your audience support your work through “fan funding”: YouTube’s Fan Funding feature allows your audience to make voluntary contributions or donations to support your channel and content.
- Licensing your content to the media: If you have compelling and valuable content, you can license it to media outlets, production companies, or other platforms, allowing them to use your content in their projects for a fee.
- Working with brands as an influencer or affiliate: Collaborating with brands can be lucrative. You can partner with companies as an influencer to promote their products or services or as an affiliate, earning a commission to drive sales or referrals.
Let’s now explore each of these revenue streams in more detail, providing a deeper understanding of how they can contribute to monetizing your YouTube channel.
2.1. Earning directly through the YouTube platform
The primary revenue stream to consider on YouTube is advertisements displayed in your videos as part of Google’s AdSense program.
To receive a share of the advertising revenue, you must become a YouTube Partner Program (YPP) member and enable monetization for your YouTube account.
Meeting several criteria is necessary to join the YPP. Two crucial requirements to focus on are attaining a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and accumulating at least 4,000 public watch hours for your channel over the previous 12 months.
Working towards these milestones is essential to unlocking the opportunity for direct earnings through the YouTube platform.
How to enable monetisation on YouTube
Once you’ve joined the YPP, here’s what you need to do to turn monetisation on for your channel:
1. Sign in to the YouTube account you want to monetise
2. Click the icon for your account in the top right corner
3. Click YouTube Studio in the dropdown menu
4. In the left menu, click Monetization
5. Read and agree to the YouTube Partner Program terms
6. Create a new AdSense account or connect an existing one to your channel (You need an AdSense account to get paid)
7. Set your monetisation preferences
Once that’s done, head back to the dashboard and click the Analytics tab on the left side. From there, you’ll need to choose Revenue from the tabs at the top, then scroll down to the Monthly Estimated Revenue chart to get an idea of your predicted revenue.
How many views do you need to make money on YouTube?
The answer to this question is not one-size-fits-all, as various factors influence the earnings from a video.
Firstly, it depends on the advertising model chosen by the advertiser: CPC (cost per click), CPM (cost per mille, i.e., per thousand views), or CPA (cost per action). Each model yields different earnings based on ad views or clicks. Additionally, the keywords targeted in your video, the video’s length, and the geographical location of your audience also impact your earnings.
As a rough estimate, if your channel receives 1000 views per day, you could potentially earn anywhere between Rs. 7,500 and Rs. 1,20,000 per month, based on certain approximations.
However, with the introduction of YouTube Premium, you now have an alternative revenue stream that doesn’t solely rely on engaging or enticing ads created by advertisers.
YouTube Premium is a subscription-based membership program that offers subscribers ad-free viewing and additional perks. This presents an additional revenue stream for creators, as they receive compensation when their content is watched by YouTube Premium subscribers.
Essentially, YouTube shares a portion of its Premium revenue with creators. The amount a creator receives is determined by the watch time their channel accumulates from Premium subscribers.
The YouTube Shorts Fund
The YouTube Shorts Fund is a substantial $100 million fund established to incentivize creators to produce high-quality Shorts, which are videos limited to a maximum duration of 60 seconds. Suppose you have created a Short within the past six months and meet the eligibility criteria set by YouTube. In that case, you will receive a notification informing you of your eligibility to receive funds from the Shorts Fund.
While participating in the Shorts Fund offers a potential revenue stream, it’s important to note that as a creator, you have limited control over whether or not you can access this fund. Therefore, it would be wise not to rely too heavily on it as a consistent source of income. Exploring other revenue streams and focusing on creating valuable content while keeping your channel in good standing is advisable.
Why you should look beyond ads for revenue
Setting up advertising as a YouTube Partner is relatively simple. Still, it may not be the platform’s most lucrative or dependable revenue stream.
One significant factor is that videos deemed “not advertiser-friendly” by YouTube moderators or algorithms can be demonetized, resulting in a loss of potential earnings.
Furthermore, even if you comply with all of YouTube’s guidelines, there is still a possibility that some of your content may get demonetized without the option to remonetize it. This alone highlights the importance of not relying solely on ad revenue.
Additionally, while advertising is a common method for creators to generate income, YouTube retains approximately 45% of the ad revenue as its share.
In summary, if YouTubers are serious about making money on the platform, they should explore alternative revenue streams that don’t solely rely on AdSense. Let’s continue reading to explore a few ways to earn money through YouTube without depending solely on advertising.
2.2. Selling products or merchandise
There is a wide range of products that you can sell to generate income through your YouTube channel. Selling merchandise, such as t-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, and snapbacks, provides a revenue stream and offers additional benefits.
Merchandise expands your reach by extending your online brand and personality into the offline world. It creates an opportunity to deepen the connection between you and your fans, as they actively invest in and support your content by purchasing your merchandise. This tangible interaction strengthens the relationship and fosters a sense of belonging among your audience.
An excellent example of a YouTube channel that leverages merchandise sales is Chess Talk, which offers t-shirts and hoodies through KadakMerch, a store exclusively dedicated to merchandise associated with Indian YouTubers.
However, you can sell branded products independently through your online store without relying on such platforms.
To get started, you can enlist the services of freelancing platforms like Fiverr to create affordable designs tailored to specific products, such as t-shirts. Next, you can establish your online store using platforms like Shopify. Within your store, you can utilize mockups to provide your audience with a preview of the finished products. You can integrate dropshipping services or print-on-demand providers into your store to fulfill orders efficiently.
If you have your own Shopify store, you can seamlessly connect it to YouTube using our Google App. YouTube Shopping with Shopify lets you upload your store to YouTube, synchronize your products instantly, create live shopping experiences, and facilitate easy purchases directly from YouTube. All of this can be managed conveniently from your Shopify dashboard.
You can take your business on YouTube to the next level by manufacturing and selling your unique products, harnessing the power of your YouTube channel. An excellent example is Luxy Hair, which utilized hair-related how-to video tutorials to promote and sell its own line of hair extensions.
As a YouTuber with an established audience, you possess two advantages that many store owners would envy:
- A content engine that consistently drives traffic to your store: Your YouTube channel is a reliable source of traffic, allowing you to leverage your existing viewership to generate sales.
- Trust from your audience: Through regular content delivery, you have earned the trust of your audience. This trust provides a strong foundation for promoting and selling your products.
Alternatively, you can partner with an existing merchandising network for creators, as mentioned earlier. However, it’s important to be aware that by doing so, you will be competing with other YouTubers on the same platform. Additionally, you may have limited control over product additions, discounts, content integration, and other advantages of owning your own ecommerce site. Consider these factors when deciding whether to partner with an existing network or establish an independent ecommerce site.
2.3. Crowdfunding your next creative project
When finances are the only thing standing between an idea and its execution, crowdfunding provides an excellent opportunity to bring that idea to life.
Whether you require assistance purchasing better equipment, hiring actors, or covering other production costs, you can reach out to your audience and the crowdfunding community to contribute if your idea is compelling enough.
Successful crowdfunded projects often offer a sneak peek or a captivating “trailer” that generates excitement. Consider creating a video explaining your project or providing a taste of what it will be like, similar to the popular Kickstarter campaign for Kung Fury, a short film paying homage to ’80s action movies. Noteworthy crowdfunding platforms with a history of successful campaigns from YouTubers include:
- Kickstarter is one of the most renowned crowdfunding sites, ideal for funding innovative products and creative ventures. Ensure your funding goal is achievable, as you will only secure the funds if you meet your set target.
- Indiegogo: An alternative to Kickstarter that offers more flexible funding options, giving you greater control over your campaign.
Crowdfunding presents a valuable avenue for turning your creative ideas into reality by harnessing the support and enthusiasm of your audience and the broader crowdfunding community.
2.4. Getting paid directly by your “fans”
In addition to crowdfunding projects, you can establish “fan funding” streams where your audience can contribute in exchange for exclusive perks.
As a creator, you provide valuable content to the internet without requiring your audience to pay for access. However, if you consistently offer quality content, your audience may be inclined to support you continuously.
Numerous fan funding platforms provide creators with additional space for people to discover their content and a means to engage their most loyal audience members while rewarding them for their support. These platforms offer a way to foster a deeper connection with your audience and provide them exclusive benefits in return for their contributions.
DhruvRathee serves as an excellent example of a prominent Indian YouTuber who has garnered a significant number of “patrons” on Patreon. Patreon is a popular membership platform that allows creators to establish subscription-based services.
If you opt for fan funding, it is crucial to adhere to a few best practices. Firstly, ensure transparency regarding how the funds will be utilized. This creates a sense of investment in your fanbase, as they become actively involved in your story or mission, understanding the value of your content. Secondly, offer appealing rewards for different pledge levels. By providing exclusive benefits to loyal fans, you increase the likelihood of receiving donations and larger pledge amounts. Making donors feel like they are receiving something special for their support enhances the overall fan funding experience.
There are several popular fan funding options available, including:
- YouTube’s Super Chat: Super Chat is a feature used during live streams on YouTube. It enables you to create a tipping jar, allowing your viewers to donate any desired amount at any time. To utilize Super Chat, you need to set up your YouTube account for advertising, as explained earlier.
- Patreon: This membership platform simplifies the process of monetization for creators. Fans can subscribe to their favorite creators for as little as one dollar per month and receive exclusive rewards.
- Tipeee: Tipeee offers a combination of one-time and recurring donations, providing both creators and supporter’s flexibility.
These fan funding options provide creators with various ways to engage and monetize their content, allowing fans to support them directly and receive exclusive benefits.