This website is not financial advice. Posts may contain affiliate links from which I earn commissions at no additional cost to you.
18 Awesome Ways To Make Money With Youtube – Graphic © WealthPowerBoost. Photo © Shutterstock (under license)
You have to hand it to the guys who created Youtube and sold it to Google in 2006… for $1.65 billion. Now that’s how you make money online! And what an incredible deal for Google, who have turned Youtube into a 21st century juggernaut that shows no sign of slowing down.
All of the big social media and community sites have spawned their own “micro economies”, allowing numerous entrepreneurs and influencers to build an entire business under their umbrella. Each of these sites has several money making opportunities and methods. Youtube is no exception.
News reports have revealed earnings statistics for the top Youtubers and the top earners are now pulling in tens of millions. The top 10 Youtubers earned over $14.5 million each in 2018 – and it’s even higher now! See also my post Earning A MILLION Dollars Per MONTH – Can It Be Done? Here’s Your Roadmap
According to Forbes, the greatest portion of this revenue is in the form of advertising shown before videos – however there are numerous potential revenue streams that can be tapped with Youtube – some of which do not require you to have a following of your own at all. Let’s get right into investigating ways you might be able to mine some of this Youtube gold for yourself!
Here’s a free, full-length tutorial giving you a rundown of 18 ways to make money with Youtube! You are going to love these and there is some real “out of the box” thinking here plus some business models I bet you never thought of! 🙂 Not only do I have methods here for those with a channel and a following, but also methods that do not even require you to have your own Youtube channel or any videos of your own at all!
1 – Build Up A Popular Channel And Run Youtube Ads
This is the method everybody knows about and is regarded as what will generate at least 50% of the channel revenue for most professional Youtubers.
If you can create or have access to exceptional content, great presentation skills and video production talent then you can build up a channel, post consistently and grow a following.
If you are going to take this route, it is important to develop a strong message and effective delivery. Engaging and sparking a positive response in your audience is key to building your following. Effective communication is a skill set in its own right and one thing that is interesting is that despite their incredibly diverse backgrounds, successful Youtubers are invariably good, engaging communicators.
When it comes to creating content, there is bound to be some trial and error involved and you will learn what people respond to by seeing which of your videos creates the best response.
The primary revenue model being used is to place ads on your videos using the Youtube Partner Program, Youtube’s built in advertising platform. The more views your videos get, the more you can earn. Note the “average CPM” (revenue per thousand views) is around $1.50-$2. However some “niches” and topics can earn up to $15 CPM. Top Youtuber PewDiePie is reported to generate $7.6 per 1000 views; however this should be regarded as exceptional.
The requirement to qualify for the program has changed and is no longer 10,000+ channel views in total. In order to qualify to display Youtube ads you need to have 1000+ subscribers and need to have had 4000+ hours of watch time within the past 12 months.
2 – Drive Traffic To Your Own Ad-enabled Blog Or Website Content
Each Youtube video has a “description box” which allows you to create one or more clickable links. If you have a blog or website with further content, you can drive traffic and then generate revenue from advertising on the blog. Put your most important link(s) in the first 3 lines so that they are immediately visible without the viewer needing to click “SHOW MORE” to see the link. You will get a better click through rate that way.
Similarly, use the “pinned comment” to pin your own comment, which contains a link and a call to action. Loads of pros doing this. It’s an extra piece of “real estate” that should be made use of.
3 – Improve Your Visibility With Youtube SEO
It is valuable to learn Youtube SEO so that your videos get placed well in YT search results. This is an in depth topic but here are a few tips: You can use the search box “autocomplete” to see what people are looking for and this can help with the naming of your videos. YT will also look at the reaction to your video – click through rate (very important), audience retention (very important), comments, thumbs up / thumbs down ratio etc to evaluate its quality. You should also make the most of the description box (without “keyword stuffing”) – as phrases in that box can help your video get found in the right places. Here’s a great tutorial we found on mastering the use of the description box. “Similar Tagging” will also help your own videos show up in the sidebar of your videos and this helps increase your view count.
Another Youtube SEO “pro tip” is to create keyword-optimized playlists, which can appear in search results – and include your own video(s) in the playlist. It all adds up to extra visibility…
4 – Create And Sell Information Products
Once you have built a following of a few thousand subscribers, you can launch an information product related to the theme / topic of your Youtube channel and you have a ready-made audience to promote to. This works especially well if your content is already tutorial in nature. Your information product could for example be an eBook, or premium video tutorials.
5 – Leverage Your Other Social Media Properties To Drive Traffic To Youtube
Something interesting to consider: You should interconnect all of your social media properties. I have called this “net theory”. Each of your social media properties is like a net, that has a certain “reach”. By developing a presence wherever you can, you are growing your net. Your overall visibility and reach is increased, maximizing your potential audience. You link all your social media profiles together, sending all that traffic where you want it to go to grow the overall size of your net and build the cumulative power of your network. So if your main focus is Youtube, you can use your other “real estate” to help grow your Youtube channel. It all adds up.
There are lots of minor social media sites and the reward to effort ratio can be highly variable. In general I would say stick to the big sites and focus your efforts on the ones most suited to what you are doing. Statista has created a useful list of the most popular social networks worldwide, ranked by number of active users. All of the 18 sites on this list are worth investigating. Do what you can and do more of what works best.
6 – Embed Your (Or Other People’s!) Top Performing Videos On Your Blog Posts And Then Drive Traffic To Those Blog Posts Using Other Social Media Platforms
I’ve been using this technique for years and have generated absolutely massive amounts of traffic with it! A golden tip here is that what works well on one platform will most likely work well on another – and you have all the data to learn what you need to know.
You can either pick top performing videos by others, which have slamming headlines – or you can use this technique to give a lift to your own channel and promote it from around the web.
This is an interesting twist because you are using the headlines of the most powerful content to generate traffic from other websites to your blog, which can include your videos. This will often drive more traffic, views and subs than a simple “visit our Youtube channel” link because it gives people a reason to click. Your other social media properties thus increase the visibility (and hopefully subscribers) of your own Youtube videos – or those of the channel you are representing.
Embedding a YT video in your blog is as easy as pie:
1) Click “Share”:
2) Choose “Embed”:
3) Select “Enable privacy-enhanced mode” (this is a GDPR compliance step):
4) Copy paste the code and drop it into your web page / blog post:
7 – Affiliate Marketing / Product Reviews
You can sign up for various affiliate programs, drive traffic from your Youtube description box and then earn a commission on sales. Tried and tested affiliate platforms include Amazon Associates, Clickbank, etc. A classic method to do this is by creating product review videos and then linking to the product from the description box with your affiliate link, which will be supplied by your chosen affiliate network once you have signed up and been accepted. You can also incentivize people to buy (if this is permitted on the affiliate platform you are using) by including your own bonuses.
You can also compare products, do product tutorials – teaching people how to use something, or make “top lists” of items that you consider most excellent. Unlimited opportunities to create content based on what you already know.
There are affiliate programs for just about any product you could think of and so you can find something that is tailored to your audience and their interests.
8 – Sponsorships / Product Placements
As your channel grows, there are many businesses who will pay for access to that audience. There are services now that connect sponsors with channels, such as Famebit. You may also be able to earn commissions for mentioning or using brands / products in your video and of course the higher your number of subscribers, the greater the demand and revenue will be. Note that according to Youtube help center guidelines, paid product placements, endorsements and other paid promotions require disclosure to viewers by notifying Youtube using the “video contains paid promotion” box.
9 – Fan Funding
Numerous Youtube channels are now “fan funded” – especially those who have been “demonetized”, which means banned from advertising on Youtube. Demonetization is quite controversial and often appears to happen with little warning or explanation, with more ‘edgy’ content being demonetized under the general label of being less suitable for advertisers.
Popular channels can pick up significant revenue in this form, though it is generally believed that the amount will be less than that achievable through advertising.
There are also Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo if your project is appropriate to that.
10 – Promote / Sell Your Own Product Or Service
You could use the Youtube platform to promote any product or service that you sell – ebooks, physical products (i.e. for example a Shopify Store), training programs or services. Videos can take the form of promotional ads, which are limited only by your imagination and creativity. Another effective promotional method is to give away some valuable content, let’s say in the form of a free tutorial, with the opportunity to buy premium level content that goes deeper or covers more ground. And then of course you also have the description box, which you can use to pre-sell and drive traffic.
11 – Brand Your Channel And Sell Your Own Merchandise
If you have an enthusiastic fan base in any field then merchandise is a logical venture. Musicians, sports teams and political campaigns derive significant portions of their revenue from march. A random example of a Youtube channel doing this is Jericho Green. He posts frequently (often more than once per day), with political commentary. I have absolutely no idea how much money he is making. All his videos link to his Teespring store where he sells baseball caps, shirts, mugs etc.
12 – Be an Advertiser – Create Youtube Ads To Drive Traffic / Sell Products / Acquire Leads / Get Customers
For every channel that is making money from ads on their videos, there is another business paying Youtube for those ads – and that means they are probably making money using Youtube’s ads to promote their own offers or collect leads.
Even if you have no videos or audience of your own, you can generate traffic with Youtube!
You can create and place ads using the Youtube Partner Program. Youtube ad types include TrueView, Bumpers, Discovery and In-Stream. These can utilize advanced targeting – running your ads on specific channels or even on any specific youtube video! This is amazing for pinpointing your exact audience – especially with videos that address the exact topics that relate to your product or service. If Youtube ads did not generate a positive Return On Investment (ROI) for advertisers, nobody would advertise on the platform. So you know it works; especially if you are seeing the same ads again and again.
Your ads need to hook the audience quickly as you are interrupting something that they had already decided they wanted to watch. And hooking the viewer in the first 5 seconds is an art form in its own right.
13 – Rent Out / Sell Links From The Description Box On Your Own Videos
Underneath every Youtube video is a description box, which gives you space for around a page of text. You can place as many links as you want in that box! This is a fantastic piece of “real estate” that you should be using to drive traffic and interconnect your other social media properties and even your other videos! But there is a further way to make money here: If you have some videos with high view counts, you may be able to find people who want to pay for a link in that box.
14 – Rent The About Box Of Other People’s Videos To Drive Traffic
Many Youtubers have high views but need money – especially those who got demonetized! You can contact video owners and make them an offer to drop your link and your “call to action” / promo text in the information box on the video. Money talks! This can be a great way to get cheap traffic and with a good call to action, many people will click those links. You could drive this traffic to your own YT channel or to an ad-enabled blog.
Most people who upload videos to Youtube are not professionals or business owners. Some may have one viral video or simply not know how to make money from their channel.
Consequently, there are many, many videos which have high view counts but are not making use of that box. Many of them may not even know what it is worth and will be delighted to make some easy cash. The goal is of course to spend less on the traffic than you are generating in return.
15 – Build An Email List
Use the description box to promote (typically) a free offer, which people have to sign up for the email list to download. Once people are on your email list you can run other promotions to them. You can also promote other people’s email lists and do “lead generation” – getting paid per lead. Learn more: free tutorial on email marketing.
16 – License Your Video Content
Some “aggregator” channels are looking for successful videos that they can place on their own channel to increase their own subscriber and view counts. They may offer a flat fee or a cut of ad revenue.
If you happen to have made a “viral video”, or have an amazing clip, there is the potential to make good money licensing it to the media. This is a special scenario. You probably don’t have this kind of content because it is not the norm. But if you have something that ‘goes berserk’, for example important / news-worthy footage, then there are great opportunities – for the simple reason that this is exactly what major media channels are looking for. It will predictably get a strong reaction when they license it and their goal essentially is to run the strongest stories they can, because “clicks equals money”.
17 – Manage The Youtube Channels Of Others
Once you have the skill set for creating your own Youtube channel, you are in a prime position to sell this service to others – either online or local businesses. The more successful your channel, the greater your leverage. Channel creation, channel management and comment moderation are services that you could offer.
18 – Create Custom Content For Existing Successful Channels
If you are a film maker, video production professional or production house, you can work as a freelance video creator / editor supplying content to successful channels or Youtube video advertisers. Again, they may offer a flat fee or a cut of ad revenue. There are opportunities within every area of video production, for example writing scripts, doing voice overs, video editing, making custom clips, licensing footage. You can find a mountain these opportunities through fiverr.com or in the case of licensing footage, through sites such as Pond5 and Shutterstock.
That’s it for this list of ways to make money with Youtube!
Next Tutorial: How To Get Your First 1,000 Youtube Followers
Final Note: Selling A Youtube Channel – Can It Be Done?
The jury is out on this one. If you do a search “can you sell a Youtube channel” you will get answers that are an absolute mix of yes and no! Some say it’s absolutely fine, others say it’s against Youtube ToS! You will have to do your own research here but if it checks out, you could consider this a “bonus” way to make money with Youtube!