Making money from YouTube as a creator is still a relatively new phenomenon. Back when YouTube was first founded in 2005, the idea that teenagers like Logan Paul and PewDiePie would make millions of dollars from posting videos would have seemed crazy. But it’s now a thriving industry and if you have a knack for conceiving and creating the kind of content that people crave, YouTube could be what makes your fortune.
If you’re thinking of becoming a YouTube creator, and want to learn how to make money from your travel videos, there’s a lot for you to learn. Check out our handy guide to monetizing your YouTube videos to find out how to make money from your YouTube channel.
Do you get paid for uploading videos on YouTube?
While freelance writers may be paid per word or per article for their work, YouTube content creators do not receive money for each video they upload to the site. You have to enable monetization in your YouTube account settings, before joining the YouTube Partners Program or having videos listed in YouTube premium. In order to be eligible for these, you will need your content to fulfil specific requirements. Don’t worry – we’ll explain those further down!
How much does YouTube pay its creators?
There is actually no fixed amount that YouTube pays its creators. This is because the revenue that YouTube makes from videos comes from advertising spots on those videos. Much like with broadcast television, the competition between advertisers for spots changes, higher at some points of the year and lower at others. For that reason, there is no set price per YouTube video you upload to the site. Instead, you will recoup a different amount of money from your YouTube videos according to the CPM at that time.
But wait – what is CPM?
Here’s the thing: You are not paid for YouTube videos at all. YouTube actually pays you for the views your videos bring to the site. The amount of money you can make from YouTube depends on the CPM, or “Cost Per Mille”.
Advertising revenue comes from video ads and from display ads (right upper corner) and overlay ads (text or graphic ads showing on the video) ads. YouTube will pay you a certain amount per 1,000 views of an advert, which is a cost that varies according to several factors. You earn money based on how many times these ads are showing on your channel. For example, the CPM may be different depending on how advertisers target their ads, the country you live in or your content category, rather than YouTube content. CPM rates are also usually higher in the autumn and winter months, because advertisers are competing for the same videos, driving up the price. The average CPM in the US is between $6-8 USD. YouTube will also take 45% of the ad revenue, meaning that you take home 55% of this total.
How do I become a YouTube creator?
To start earning money from advertising revenue from your YouTube videos, it’s best to join the YouTube Partner Program. This will allow YouTube to start placing adverts in your content, with you recouping money for every 1,000 views of the advert. However, in order to be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program, your content needs to meet certain requirements.
What are YouTube’s requirements?
In order to be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program, you will need:
- to be operating in a country where the YouTube Partner Program is available
- an AdSense account linked to your YouTube channel (AdSense is Google's platform for website monetization)
- at least 1,000 subscribers to your channel and 4,000 valid watch hours over the last 12 months (i.e. hours viewers have watched your public videos)
You will also need to ensure that your content meets the Community Guidelines and advertiser-friendly content guidelines. This means that you should be careful with language, drug- and tobacco-related themes, among other subjects. For a travel vlog, when you may be taking videos of your real experiences of the places you travel to, it would be important to ensure that you treat the people and places you go with sensitivity and respect.
Once you apply to the YouTube Partner Program, YouTube checks your content for eligibility. (You can apply before you have the required 1,000 subscribers or 4,000 valid watch hours threshold.) It typically takes around one month for YouTube to review all the content on your channel, focusing mostly on main theme, most viewed videos, newest videos, titles, thumbnails and descriptions.
How do I make more money on YouTube?
As the CPM is controlled by factors like the season and the country where you live, you cannot actually increase it yourself. You won’t be paid more per mille for producing especially good content. The way to make more money from YouTube is by getting more views on your videos. Here are some ways you can do that.
- Create unique content. You need to boost the number of people who regularly visit your channel, so you have to offer something no one else does. Think about what your unique selling point is and how to put your specific spin on your videos to set you apart from your competitors.
- Tap into viral trends. It’s important that your content is different from everyone else’s – but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore what’s popular. Finding a way to incorporate viral, often-searched memes, TV shows, songs or trending topics into your content will boost your view count.
- Find a niche. Figure out a specific market segment you can target your content at to get regular, dedicated viewers – and potentially access different advertisers from everyone else. Maybe your travel vlog is focused on vacationing as a disabled person, or specific leisure activities around the world?
- Be strategic. You can also arrange your content schedule according to usual increases in CPM. Since CPM is usually higher around the holiday season, planning a really viral video for November will maximize the number of views you can get at a higher price.
Plus: earning money from advertising revenue is the easiest way to monetize your YouTube channel – but it’s not the only way. You can also make regular revenue through “channel membership”, selling merchandise through the site, offering Super Chat and Super Stickers, through YouTube Premium Revenue and more.
Now to get out there and start making money from your YouTube videos!
Getting qualified as a YouTube Partner will have you on your way to making money from your YouTube channel. As long as you meet the community guidelines and make sure to work on creating unique, exciting and interesting content, you can make real money from your YouTube channel.