If anyone ever compiles a list of “get-rich-quick” methods, YouTube will certainly be present. It’s the perennial dream: publish a viral video or two, get a couple of million views, watch the money roll in. It’s just that easy; or is it?
So you might be wondering, how much does YouTube actually pay, or how many video views do you need to make any money on YouTube? In this guide, we’ll look at the history of YouTube, some of the current methods for making money on the platform, and then look at the impact the Brave browser and the innovative Brave Rewards can have on you.
Brave’s ability to let viewers contribute directly to content creators on YouTube has the potential to transform how to earn more money on YouTube, and we’ll give you an inside peek at how to position yourself to take full advantage of it.
Making money on YouTube - the current landscape
Upload a video, get rich? Making money on YouTube isn’t quite so simple. First off, there’s more than one way to monetize YouTube. There are paid subscriptions, there’s money from ads, tips from Brave users - even merchandise from top channels on YouTube.
What about the market? Well, as of February 2020, there were over 1 billion views on YouTube per day - just on mobile. Add in desktops, and YouTube gets over 5 billion views per day. The demand side of the YouTube market is nearly endless. What about the supply side? Over 50 million people have uploaded content to the site, with an estimated 500 hours of content being uploaded every minute.
All that to say, the YouTube market is huge and constantly growing; it grows so fast that the stats mentioned above will almost certainly be out of date when you read this (you can find up-to-date stats on YouTube here). Nearly two-thirds of the US population watched a video on YouTube in 2019. Top YouTube earners can make millions of dollars a year and achieve a level of fame normally reserved for movie stars and top athletes.
1. The history and evolution of YouTube monetization
Let’s back up a bit. YouTube began in 2005, but it was 2007 before YouTube began to experiment with in-video ads. Prior to that, the company relied on revenue from traditional browser display ads. In 2007, YouTube also began its partner program, which offered creators a package of ways to monetize their accounts.
2. YouTube partner program
What does the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) offer? You can read the fine print here, but the short list of benefits includes:
- YouTube Premium revenue - money from views from other YouTube paid subscribers
- Advertising revenue - income from the in-video and overlay ads
- Channel memberships - paid subscribers directly to your channel
- Super Chat and Super Stickers - fees paid by superfans to be featured in chat streams
- Merchandise - a virtual “shelf” that users can browse directly from your watch page
The partner program offers dedicated YouTube content creators a leg up, and the potential to have multiple revenue streams from a single channel. There are, however, eligibility requirements. The basic requirements for the program are 1,000 subscribers, and 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months. Channels become eligible for merchandising at 10,000 followers, and for direct channel memberships at 30,000.
How to earn more money for ads on YouTube? Enroll in the YouTube Partner Program and gain more avenues for your videos.
The YPP remains the primary source of income, via ads, for many YouTubers. But it’s not the only one; there are a number of alternate revenue streams that YouTubers employ to maximize their earnings.
3. Creating sponsored content
Sponsored content works for YouTube, not just Instagram. If you have a large enough following, or even a small but loyal following in the right niches, then brands will be willing to sponsor your content in order to receive exposure from your audience. The key to sponsored content is attracting the right sponsors who fit your niche and appeal to your audience.
4. Creating your own products to sell to your audience
If you have a loyal following that loves what you do, it might be worth creating your own products to offer them. You can sell branded items, like custom apparel with your own logo, or even offer paid classes and workshops. If you’re a YPP member, you can set up a merchandise shelf directly on your YouTube channel, so there’s no need for an external site.
5. Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing used to be restricted to website creators, but it can also be an excellent income stream for YouTubers with an audience. For YouTube, affiliate marketing works two ways: pushing products directly from YouTube as part of an affiliate program, or using YouTube to promote your own affiliate marketing links.
6. License content
If you’re generating new and interesting content regularly, it’s only a matter of time before it gets some media pickup. Make sure to license your channel in order to receive royalties from your videos when media outlets redistribute your content.
7. Crowdfund campaign
Crowdfunding is fast becoming one of the best ways for innovative creators to get their products developed. If you have a loyal following and have dreams of creating something big, use your audience to crowdfund your ideas.
How does YouTube send you money?
Before you enroll your YouTube channel in the partner program, you’ll need a Google AdSense account. AdSense is Google’s tool for monetizing ads, and YouTube uses it to pay its subscribers.
How to earn money on YouTube without AdSense? Easy. Sign up as a Brave Creator! Brave bypasses Google AdSense altogether. Any BAT tip from a Brave browser user goes to the creator’s wallet, without AdSense or YouTube.
How much do YouTubers make?
This is the million-dollar question - quite literally, in the case of YouTube’s top creators. But getting to the facts and figures is a bit tricky. AdSense and YouTube don’t publish the total earnings of their users, and with multiple revenue streams for each of the top accounts, it can be a bit tricky to figure out who’s on top. Any “Top Earners” charts are typically assembled from different sources, and are often a “best guess” rather than being definitive.
According to Forbes, in 2018, the top ten earners on YouTube all made over $14 million; the top earner on the list pushed above $20 million. The top earners today make even more; the same YouTuber, Ryan Kaji, was the top earner in 2018 and 2019, but he went from earning $22 million to $26 million. You can read a more in-depth list of the most famous YouTubers here.
It’s worth noting that while the top earners can and do make millions, the majority of creators on YouTube don’t make anywhere near that amount. Making money on YouTube is closely tied to the number of followers a channel has, but it requires more than just amassing followers. Think of the revenue streams mentioned above: the top channels aren’t just making money from video views, but from the merchandise or paid subscriptions directly to their channel.
How to make money from YouTube in 2020 and beyond
Going forward, YouTube creators face a dilemma. The current model doesn’t allow direct monetization with views or subscribers. Yes, there are some exceptions - like YouTube’s Premium membership - but that requires users to pay an additional fee. Some YouTube channels have even turned to third-party sites like Patreon to help convert views into paid subscriptions.
Brave provides an even simpler answer. Any Brave user can “tip” any YouTube creator using Basic Attention Tokens (BAT). There’s no need for a YouTube creator to be a YouTube Partner, or for the viewer to be a YouTube Premium subscriber, in order to tip BAT. Any user can watch a video, enjoy it, and donate directly.
How to make money on YouTube without making new videos
Can you make money on YouTube but not worry about creating original content? Yes, you can - but it’s not particularly easy. There is an entire category of videos on YouTube marked “Creative Commons.” This is a copyright marker, making the content available to anyone to reuse, edit, and republish.
In theory, this means that you can start your own channel and simply re-publish other Creative Commons-marked content. In reality, it’s not quite that simple - you can publish Creative Commons content, but because it’s not original content it isn’t likely to attract a large number of views or subscribers.
How to make money on YouTube with Brave
The Basic Attention Token (BAT) is part of Brave’s vision to transform the internet economy. Brave wants to give a fair share to creators and publishers, and end the reliance on consumer surveillance. BAT earned simply by viewing opt-in ads and surfing the Internet can be donated to any YouTube content creator. Even better for YouTube content creators, Brave runs anti-fraud checks on all payments from unverified users, before paying out once a month. For verified users, tips go directly into a creator’s Uphold account.
Besides the transformative effect the Brave browser has on the whole Internet economy, it offers two significant advantages to YouTube users and creators.
Brave rewards new creators
YouTube’s partner program is only eligible to those with over 1,000 subscribers, with certain other features of the program unlocked at 10,000 and 30,000 subscribers. This is a huge disadvantage for YouTubers who are just starting out. Creating a highly profitable YouTube channel isn’t an overnight accomplishment, and Brave offers a chance to brand-new YouTube creators to earn BAT.
The new Brave ecosystem includes all YouTube content creators, meaning that ANY verified creator can receive BAT contributions directly into their wallets, minus a 5% platform fee for Brave. Users can also set BAT tips aside for creators who have not yet joined the Brave ecosystem so that when they do get around to verifying, the tips are automatically sent! Just look for the BAT icon on the individual video to tip.
Of course, established YouTubers can also benefit from Brave’s system, but the ability to receive BAT donations is especially useful for channels needing an initial source of revenue. Brave users who don’t want to assign individual tips can opt for Brave’s Auto-Contribute program. With Auto-Contribute, users select a set amount of BAT to contribute each month. Brave tallies the attention and time you spend on different sites, and at the end of the month, Brave divides your Auto-Contribute amount accordingly. The whole process is anonymous - Brave doesn’t see how much attention you spend on different sites, as that info is stored locally on your computer.
The Brave browser’s built-in Shields stops 3rd-party ads that track users. This includes YouTube ads, which have the potential to lower an individual YouTuber’s ad revenue. However, Brave users can compensate for this by contributing directly to their favorite creators and bypassing YouTube altogether. By contributing directly, creators receive the tip in their wallet - not a percentage of an ad.
Brave also allows creators a new way to gain feedback on their content. By seeing the contributions a particular video brings in, YouTubers can earn more by seeing what users like and rewarding them with more content. There’s also the Brave referral program which pays creators for switching new users to the Brave browser.
Brave empowers users
It’s not just content creators who benefit from Brave’s system. Users can contribute directly, and with as much BAT as they have in their wallets. If you’re not earning BAT fast enough, you can refill it thanks to Brave’s partnership with Uphold. You can even set up recurring contributions monthly if you have a favorite channel or YouTube star. Instant gratification for you, and the ability to recognize especially good content with an extra contribution - not just relying on an obscure algorithm to translate your view into money for the creator.
YouTube monetization relies on a combination of factors, from views and subscribers to merchandise and premium subscriptions. The process of becoming a high-earning YouTuber is vague and a bit hard to understand, and most people who have found success rely on more than one income stream.
With Brave, users regain control of their data. The privacy and security features in the Brave browser provide a faster and cleaner browsing experience, while its Rewards system gives users an ad experience that they can control and is not reliant on third-party surveillance for relevantly matched ads. And, the best part is that Brave actually pays users for any ads they see.
When users earn, their BAT earnings are deposited into an in-browser wallet. Using BAT, users can tip publishers and creators, bypassing obscure algorithms, and rewarding content creators directly.
With Brave, YouTube content creators gain a new way to monetize YouTube. They can be rewarded instantly for producing high-quality, original content, while users share a sense of instant gratification. Brave introduces a radical new concept: a privacy-based Internet economy.