The question that everyone wants answered: how much money does people make on YouTube? It’s been a hot topic for years, and several hundreds of thousands of people (according to Google Keywords) search for it, or variations of it, every single month.
Frustratingly enough, there’s no single answers. Another frustrating answer: it’s probably a lot less than you think. People hear about the crazy success stories of people like Jenna Marbles, or Philip DeFranco, and they think everyone makes that kind of money. But asking how much YouTube’ers make, is a little bit like asking “how long is a rope?” – well, it really depends on the rope. Before reading further, if you just want a quick TL/DR answer: generally between $0.5 – $2 per 1000 views.
But it varies a lot more than that. You can make anything from 0 dollars per thousand views, or you can make $10 (or, theoretically, infinitum money) per 1000 views. To understand this, you need to understand the system.
People that make money on YouTube (previously only select approved “YouTube Partners”, but now open to almost everyone), do so by using AdSense. AdSense is an ad platform owned by Google. It works by you providing an ad platform (in this case, your YouTube videos and their pages), someone bidding on having an ad show up there, and then Google adding that ad to the page.
The minimum bid for an ad on AdSense is around $0.01 per click. But how much it actually is, depends on how many people are bidding on it. The more people, the higher the winning bid will be. Also, notice I said “per click”, not “per view”. Essentially, you make money only when someone CLICKS the ad on your video. The exception to this is the relatively new “TrueView” ads, that play before the video starts – if the user watches such a video long enough, that essentially counts as a “click”.
This also means that: the more successful YouTube is, the less money you will make. For every new video that gets uploaded, and monetized, that’s more content to compete with. Every time a new video gets uploaded, and that’s several thousand times per second right now, that means that’s another video where an advertiser can show their content. That means that there is less competition for the keywords, as places to show them are more abundant. That, in turn, means that the average bid on that keyword will be lower, meaning you will, in turn, make less. YouTube has tried to change that, but has so far been unsuccessful in the big picture.
So, now that you understand that, let’s go into it further. Since how much money is made, is directly related to how high the winning bid for the ad is, and then how many people click on that ad, that means that in the end it comes down to demographics. Let’s start with topics:
Remember, an ad will only show on the video, if any advertisers has bid on those keywords. That automatically means, that some channels are more easily marketable than others. If you run a personal vlog, talking about your personal life, few advertisers will be interested in advertising on those videos, since they are less relevant to what they want to advertise. But if you run a gaming channel, gaming companies will constantly be bidding on ads related to keywords in your videos. Likewise, you could imagine that videos about insurance could have a lot of advertisers bidding, whereas videos about you walking around in a park will have less advertisers bidding.
You also have to consider how likely your viewers are to clicking an ad. If you, again, run a gaming channel, chances are much higher that users will end up viewing an advertisement, that interests them (a new game), click on it, and make you money. Whereas the advertisement shown on videos where you just talk about your personal life, will likely have a much higher rate of “hit and miss”, making you less money.
Viewers from some countries, will earn you more money than viewers from certain other countries. The biggest one is the US, having a global average of around $2 per 1000 views, with the UK, and Japan, following further down. That’s because a lot more US advertisers exist, and they want to advertise to US viewers. As such, they create more competition, and create higher winning bids for the ads. In the opposite end of the spectrum, you could imagine that not nearly as many Ukraine advertisers are competing against each other, and as such, the value of viewers from Ukraine is much lower.
Quite literally. What time of the year it is, will have a massive impact on the earnings of YouTube’ers. How much you make, will vary greatly, between December, and January. Why? Because in November and December, advertisers are going crazy – it’s the holiday season!
This is not restricted to YouTube, any sort of ecommerce platform, whether product or ad driven, will see big increases in revenue during November and December, and then a clear drop in January. Why the drop? Because every advertiser and consumer, just spent all their money in December. December vs January is the biggest hitter, but you can see this same thing going on in a smaller scale, when other minor holidays come up – some might result in less earnings, some in more. Basically, any period where either advertisers advertise more, or consumers tend to buy more, you will see an increase in earnings. Likewise, the summer holidays usually see a drop, as people leave for vacation.
Some target groups are just worth more than others. A 13 year old is worth a lot less. They don’t have money to spend, and they know that, and will most likely click far fewer ads. Likewise, people in advertising and marketing are worth less, since they work with this stuff every day, they are also less likely to click ads (exceptions exist, of course).
Overall, the clickthrough ratio (CTR) on the internet is pretty low, and getting lower every single year. People are fed up with ads popping up everywhere. At the moment, it sits at around 1% on average.
By now, you should realize, that to answer that question, we need to take into account all the following things:
When asking how to make money on YouTube, and how much money you can earn, as you can see, it’s difficult to give a straight answer. Really, “it depends”. That’s a frustrating conclusion to come to, but it’s fact. It all depends on your specific demographic and video topics, the time of the year, business sector, and more. There is no single “number”. For instance, I only make around $0.8 dollars per 1000 views, since I have an extremely international demographic, with the US only making up around 15%, and the rest spread out across the globe. On the flipside, Machinima is giving their partners $2.5 per 1000 views (last I checked) right from the getgo (meaning that the ads actually make more than that).
Last, remember that giving out the exact number of your monthly earnings, is against YouTube AdSense policy, and can, in worst case scenarios, result in the permanent ban of your AdSense account, which is another reason very few people are willing to say just how much they are making.
Of course, your earnings are actually zero, if no one is watching your videos at all. You could have the higher CPM (Cost per 1000 impressions) and an amazing CTR, but if your videos are getting 10 views a day, it’s never going to amount to much. So if you haven’t already, don’t forget to head over and check out the Rankify YouTube course, available here on the site, to learn the SEO “secrets” used by the big guys, on how to rank your videos, and gain far more views than you already are.
The Woman With 1 Billion Clicks, Jenna Marbles
Phil DeFranco Pays Himself $100K a Year
Inside Google AdSense Blog
It’s Getting Harder to Make Money on YouTube
Q1 2013 Global Search Advertising Clicks, CTR, and Impression Volume
Rankify YouTube SEO Course