how to make money on youtube

How to Make Money on YouTube

Learning how to make money as a YouTube influencer doesn’t need to be challenging. Understanding revenue streams and the secrets to major earning potential can unlock tons of money-making opportunities. 

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. With over 200 million viewers in the U.S. alone, there are many ways to leverage that reach and make money with video content. But with millions of videos being posted every day, there is a lot of noise when trying to grow your subscriber count. 

Luckily, you don’t have to be a famous video creator to succeed on YouTube, either. In fact, 56% of marketers believe working with a micro-influencer is more cost-effective than with mega-influencers and celebrities.

micro influencers

No matter what kind of videos you create, you can earn revenue on YouTube. Read on for our best tips on how to make money as a YouTuber!

How to Start Making Money on YouTube

There are many ways you can leverage YouTube content to make money. The first step, of course, is to create an account and post some videos. Once you’ve done that and started to build a following, the possibilities are endless.

Create a YouTube Account

Creating a YouTube account is easy. If you already have one, you can move on to the next section. For those starting from scratch, check out this video from the YouTube team:

Simply sign in to YouTube with a Google account and follow the simple process to get started. Don’t worry about having everything figured out, you can come back and make changes later. However, if you have a channel or brand name you know you want to use, work around that.

Identify viewer personas

Do you know who is watching your entire videos? Audience personas will help you understand your audience to create more engaging content. Personas include audience demographics like age, gender, education, location, and more. You can also use them to find an audience’s primary interests and the questions they are looking to have answered. You can glean a lot of insight about your audience from YouTube Studio analytics.

Make Videos

The next step, of course, is to make high-quality videos. This will obviously depend on your niche and target audience, but the important thing is to produce quality content that is engaging and unique. 

Upload Videos to YouTube

Once you have created and edited your videos, it is time to upload them to YouTube. Again, you likely already know how to do this, but if not, here is a helpful video from the YouTube team:

All you need to do is log in to YouTube Studio, click Create at the top right, and select Upload Videos. You can then select one or more video files to upload. Next, you will be prompted to enter some basic information about your videos, like a title and description. There are more customization options like end screens and cards, as well as monetization settings if you qualify. 

Promote Your Video to Your Target Audience

If you want to grow your fanbase and build a successful following, you will need to go beyond just uploading videos. While you will probably get some organic views from the massive pool of YouTube users, they might not be your ideal audience or big fans of your content. 

sign up here to get paid

Once you have content up on your channel, it is time to start promoting. A great way to accomplish this is by leveraging your presence on other social media platforms. For example, sharing a video with your Facebook friends or a related Facebook group will likely increase the number of views and shares (which will net you even more views). You can also consider paid ads and other forms of advertising for your channel.  

Select Monetization Preferences

Once accepted into the YouTube Partner Program, you will have tons of monetization options to earn revenue from your channel. These include:

  • Paid ad revenue
  • YouTube Premium commissions
  • Fan Funding
  • The YouTube Shorts Fund
  • Super Chat and Super Stickers
  • Channel Memberships
  • Merch shelves

Depending on what type of content you create, such as Livestreams or Shorts, some of these options will work better than others. You can also specify which types of ads you want to run on your videos for the best results. 

YouTube Monetization Options

While the list above covers many of the monetization options available from the YPP, those aren’t the only ways to get paid from YouTube. Below are some other tips and strategies that will help you learn how to maximize YouTube earnings

1. Create an AdSense Account

You will need an AdSense account for many of the monetization options through the Partner Program. Like creating your YouTube account, this is pretty easy, especially if you already have a Google account. 

Google adsense

Simply visit the Google AdSense web page and click the Get Started button at the top right to begin. This will guide you through the process of entering basic information like your age, country, and websites you would like to monetize. If you already qualify for the YouTube Partners Program, you can go to the Monetization menu instead.

2. Join the YouTube Partner Program

Joining the YPP is easy once you meet the eligibility requirements. If you have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours over the past year, you can apply to join the program. Ensure your channel abides by monetization policies, YouTube terms, and community guidelines. 

Then simply apply, and actual YouTube employees will personally review your channel and content to make sure you qualify. If your application is rejected, you will need to wait 30 days to reapply.  

3. Optimize Your YouTube Channel

Once you have access to monetization features (or even before you reach that milestone), you should consider the best way to generate income from your videos. Sure, turning on ads and getting a few cents each time they aren’t skipped can put some money in your Adsense account, but other monetization strategies can be even more lucrative.

For example, if you do Livestreams, Super Chat and Super Stickers can be excellent ways to earn money from your fans. Or, if you have products, try setting up a merchandise shelf on your channel and end screens. Your content and fans will determine the best ways for you to get paid from YouTube, so think about the best strategies, and don’t be afraid to experiment!

4. Create sponsored content

One of the best ways to earn money on YouTube is to partner with brands and promote their products. If you have a high level of engagement from a marketable target audience, you may be a good fit as a sponsored influencer

YouTube’s BrandConnect program can help you connect with marketers looking to promote a company or product. You might also have your own leads you want to pursue or get approached by brands looking to get in front of your engaged audience. 

However you do it, creating sponsored content is the most lucrative monetization method for many social media influencers, including YouTubers. Some brands will pay good money for a shoutout in one of your videos, Livestream unboxing, or product review video. 

5. Advertising

Running paid ads is the primary revenue stream for most YouTubers. By joining the YouTube Partner Program and setting up a Google AdSense account, you will unlock access to run optional ads on your videos. 

Advertisers will buy ads through AdSense and you earn a portion of the proceeds when they run on your channel. Each paid ad a YouTube user watches on your videos earns you roughly two cents. That might not sound like a lot, but if you have thousands of people watching your content, it can add up.

You also have some control over what types of ads run on your videos, so you can experiment with what works best. You can also choose to turn off advertisements on certain videos for a better viewing experience for your fans.

Your channel needs more than 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of video watch time in the last 12 months to qualify for these monetization methods.

Ad Types

The primary ad types you can enable as a YouTube partner are:

  • Skippable ads
  • Non-skippable ads
  • Bumper ads
  • Overlay ads
  • Outstream ads
  • Masthead ads
  • In-feed ads
  • Sponsorship opportunities

Depending on your type of videos and your audience base, some of these ad types will work better than others. It is essential to understand your fans and experiment to see which ads earn you the best revenue and have the most negligible negative impact on your audience’s viewing experience.

6. YouTube Super Chats and Super Stickers

Super Chat is a monetization method many YouTubers don’t utilize. But if you do live videos, you absolutely should.

super chat live stream

How does it work? It’s actually pretty simple. During live streams with a chat message board, viewers can buy Super Stickers, which are essentially like tips (though YouTube takes a 30% cut). 

Stickers range in price from 99 cents to 50 dollars each. They allow fans to support their favorite channels and boost their visibility in crowded live-stream chat boards.

7. Channel Memberships

Channel memberships allow your most avid fans to support you for access to exclusive content or other perks. You can think of channel memberships like VIP subscriptions that give access to special benefits such as unique emojis, animated stickers, and even member-only videos

You can create your own reward levels and set subscription fees, so give some thought to what you could offer your biggest fans as thanks for supporting your channel. Channel Memberships are not unlike using Patreon, except the features are built right into YouTube. You can turn on YouTube Memberships from the Monetization menu once you have joined the YPP. 

8. Sell Products and Merchandise

Selling your own merchandise is an excellent way to boost revenue as a YouTuber. If you have a business that sells consumer products, then that is easy, but even if you are just a content creator, you can come up with items to sell. This could be as simple as branded t-shirts or autographed posters. If you have awesome fans who love your content, they would love some merch from your channel. 

YouTube is also experimenting with the merchandise shelf where you can display products for sale below videos, on end screens, or in your channel shop. This is perfect for offering merchandise without taking away from your content or being salesy. 

9. Work with brands as an influencer

Once you have a large enough following (or a small following in a marketable niche), you can earn money by promoting brands and products to your fans through influencer marketing. This might look like product reviews, shoutouts in your videos, or product placement from a sponsor.

sephora influencer marketing

No matter how you do it, partnering with a sponsor can be a great way to make extra money on YouTube. 

10. Become an affiliate marketer

Many YouTube stars bolster their income streams with an affiliate marketing strategy. Simply join a popular affiliate program (like Amazon Affiliates) and promote products on your channel. 

affiliate links

By sharing affiliate links in your videos or descriptions, viewers can buy the products you are promoting, and you will earn a commission.

11. Use crowdfunding for your next project

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter have raised money for successful YouTube projects in the past. For example, the comedic, 80’s-style, Swedish martial arts featurette, Kung Fury, and the last in a series of existential horror stories from the SCP universe, SCP: Overlord. Kung Fury crowdfunded a $630,000 budget, garnered over 38 million views, and is expecting a sequel. Overlord crowdfunded $23,000 and currently has 15 million views.

These projects would not have been possible without crowdfunding. 

If you have a film concept that people will pay to see, don’t overlook the power of crowdfunding! 

12. Ask Your Fans for Direct Payment

You don’t have to offer anything other than your unique content to earn money on YouTube. There are many different ways to allow your fans to pay you for your content or to pay you for access to more content. If you want to keep everything within the YouTube video platform, you may want to consider Channel Memberships.

There are a few catches for using this option, however. Your channel already has to be approved by the YouTube Partner Program and have at least 1,000 subscribers. There are a handful of other requirements, but those are the most difficult for newer channels. If you meet those requirements, it is an easy way to let fans pay you directly.

sign up here to get paid

Patreon is another option for YouTubers. Patreon gives users infinite control of what content they offer and how expensive their various tiers are. You could offer early access to public content, additional Livestreams, or even physical products for super fans who become members at the higher tiers. This is an excellent option for those with a loyal fanbase or if you have had success building a tribe around your brand.

Patreon is one of the best options for YouTube creators of all sizes because it is free to use. The company only makes money when you do and the amount of money they take is ultimately up to you. There are three plans that offer varying levels of platform assistance and access.

13. License your content to the media

If you have newsworthy video content, you may be able to license the content to media outlets like CNN, FOX, NBC, Discovery, Animal Planet, and more.

This, of course, falls into particular niches. You probably won’t be able to license your tech review videos, but you may be able to license video content in travel, health, food, fitness, fashion, and beauty niches.

For example, if you are a fashion YouTube influencer and attend a fashion event, you may be able to license that video content to a news source that needs to film the event. This could be a lucrative way to make money as a YouTuber.

Tips for How to Get Paid on YouTube

While there are many ways to make money on YouTube, there are some universal strategies you can use to increase your revenue, no matter how your channel is structured. Here are some concepts to keep in mind. 

Get to Know Your Viewers

While you are running a business, you want to distinguish your brand as personable and relatable. To do this, it is crucial that you connect with your audience on a personal level. That means responding to comments, interacting in chat streams, and taking fan suggestions to heart. 

After all, followers are the building blocks of an influencer’s success, don’t take them for granted. Also, be careful not to become another faceless business on social media. 

Record an Engaging CTA (Call-to-Action)

You’ll notice many YouTubers start or end their videos with a CTA to watch another video, click links to products, or like and subscribe to the channel. While you might find it redundant, there’s a reason it is so common: it works

A call-to-action gives your engaged audience a clear suggestion for what to do next, like buy a product or follow you for more content. They might not always do it, but for some, that extra push can make the difference.

Place Effective YouTube Cards in Your Videos

YouTube Cards provide interactive links that you can add to videos or display after. They serve as an easy way to add attractive CTAs to your content. There are many creative uses for displaying cards, and they are easy to add from the Content menu in your Studio.  

Lots of viewers will see your video description, so don’t waste the opportunity to share important links and other information here. 

youtube video description

These could be affiliate links, links to your other content, or a sponsor’s page. If you are trying to monetize your page, don’t overlook the potential of your description boxes.  

Utilize Other Social Media Platforms

Using other social media platforms to make more money on YouTube is all about driving traffic to your channel. By funneling more traffic, you will get more views, subscribers, and revenue.

For instance, you can leverage Instagram and Facebook by sharing clips of your content or related posts. When you get likes and followers on those platforms, link to your YouTube channel to create your own network of fans. This can be essential because the greater your influence, the better. If you are an Instagram influencer, you can make those followers YouTube subscribers, or vice versa.

Here’s an example from Instagram influencer kylabeland:

kyla beland instagram bio

This social media influencer mentions her YouTube channel on her Instagram profile and redirects followers to her channel and other online spaces.

kyla beland

Certain social media users prefer certain platforms and don’t spend much time on others. Having a presence on each allows you to cast a wider net and attract new audiences to watch your videos. 


While there are many ways to make money with a YouTube channel, joining the YouTube Partner Program, where you earn revenue from paid ads, requires 1,000 subscribers to apply. 

To join the YouTube Partner Program, where you earn money from video ads that play during your videos, you need to rack up 4,000 watch hours in a 12-month period. That isn’t dependent on video views but on total watch time from all viewers. Once you are a part of the program, you can earn money for each ad your viewers watch or interact with. 

While you won’t be eligible to earn ad revenue until you join the YouTube Partner Program, you can leverage your channel to make money in other ways. If you’re a beginner and want to make some money, here are some great examples:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Sponsored videos or commercials
  • Selling your own products or merch to your fans

These are just a few examples of how you can start making money from a YouTube channel without a huge view or subscriber count.

YouTubers earn roughly two cents per ad view on their content. That means you need 5,000 viewers to watch or interact with a paid ad to earn roughly $100. Note that advertisers are not charged for ads that get skipped. Short ads need to be watched in their entirety, and ads over one minute in length need to be watched for 30 seconds to earn a cut. 

YouTube pays content creators through a Google AdSense account. Setting up an AdSense account is required to join the YouTube Partners Program.

Become a Full-Time YouTuber With Scalefluence

At Scalefluence, we have the expertise to take your influence to the next level. With access to top brands and agencies, we make sure our YouTube influencers earn revenue without sacrificing the creativity and personal brand of their YouTube account.

Are you ready to learn more about how to make money on YouTube? Sign up with Scalefluence today to unlock your earning potential!

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