Ever since YouTube came to prominence in 2005, the hunger for video content consumption has risen on an exponential scale.
YouTube is the biggest video streaming service on the planet, boasting two billion active users worldwide—that’s almost half the total online population! It has served as a vessel for groundbreaking information and jaw-dropping entertainment the world over and the platform has also spawned a new breed of digital celebrity: the YouTuber
YouTubers come in many shapes and sizes, covering just about every single niche imaginable, from gaming and healthy snacking to travel vlogging, fitness fashion, allotment keeping, politics, knitting, and beyond.
The most popular of these digital superstars are just as influential among certain demographics as traditional celebrities, like movie and TV stars. What’s more, many YouTubers are making a healthy living from their steady streams of video content.
Did you know? The world’s top 25 YouTubers earn three times more viewers than traditional celebrities on YouTube.
Intrigued? If you’re looking to raise your brand awareness or boost your income by making video content, you’re probably curious about just how much YouTubers make?
Let’s find out.
Today’s most prominent YouTubers are influencers. Those who stand out in their niche, offer their audience personal value, and take the time to connect with their subscribers hold a lot of weight in today’s digital world.
As such, brands will pay large sums of money to YouTubers for targeted influencer marketing campaigns. One of the key drivers for the influential power of YouTube content is its universal appeal—spanning the generations, from Baby Boomers right through to digitally native Gen Zers.
45% of 65+ year olds actively use YouTube and as the cohort gets younger, you’ll see that over 90% of people check in with the platform at least semi-regularly.
With such a vast audience tapping into the platform, there is a great deal of scope for YouTubers to connect with a broad network of subscribers and monetize their content. Some put their influence to good causes for others in a novel way, as seen with the viral success of the #TeamTrees initiative led by Mr. Beast.
To understand what makes an effective piece of YouTube content, check out our guide to the 10 fundamentals of video.
In addition to working with brands on entire influencer marketing campaigns, here are the main ways that today’s YouTubers make money from the platform:
The Brazilian YouTuber, whinderssonnunes, for example, is one of the world’s most popular YouTubers, attracting more than 43 million subscribers. Once known for his zany brand of parody content, he’s now loved for his upbeat pop music and YouTube originals show.
There’s no doubt about it: YouTube has changed the world of entertainment as we know it, transforming the way we perceive the status of celebrity. As creating quality YouTube content is more accessible than ever before, almost anyone can set up a channel, get started, and potentially make money.
“The joy of YouTube is that you can create content about anything you feel passionate about, however silly the subject matter” Zoe Sugg, successful British YouTuber
Like almost everything in the world, the amount a YouTuber makes will fluctuate depending on their popularity, niche, creative abilities, and will to collaborate with others.
But, to give you a solid idea of how much YouTubers make, the average rate an advertiser or brand pays a popular YouTuber varies from $0.10 to $0.30 per video view. The same study shows that the average YouTube channel earns around $18 per 1,000 ad views, which equates to between $3 and $5 per 1,000 video views.
Based on these general calculations, if you manage to generate around 10,000 video views per day, you would earn between $18 and $31—which will result in an annual YouTube income of between $6,000 and $11,000 per year.
Scale this up to 150,000 daily monetized video views and you’re looking at a healthy annual income of between $100,000 and $167,000 as a YouTuber. That’s a healthy revenue stream.
Child YouTube superstar, Ryan Kaji, makes a whopping $29.5 million per year ($56 per minute) through brand collaborations and video-based product placement.
To give you additional context on just how much a YouTube celebrity can make, here is a quick roundup of some of the world’s biggest YouTubers and their earnings.
Whether you’re looking for a viable side hustle or you want to create YouTube content full time, if you build a healthy following and create video content that drives genuine engagement, you can make a solid revenue stream from the platform. But, you’ve got to put the groundwork in first.
There is no set way to become a successful YouTuber, but there are certain bases to cover and considerations to make if you’re looking to monetize your video content.
First of all, to make money from your YouTube content, your channel must have at least one thousand subscribers—plus, your channel needs to watch at least 4,000 hours of content per year to prove that it’s truly invested in the platform. You must also have a valid Google AdSense account.
Once you have created your YouTube channel and activated your Google AdSense account, you should choose your niche and carry out research into your potential competitors as well as the key demographics of your target audience.
From there, you can start to brainstorm video content that you feel will resonate with your audience and outline both a creative and promotional schedule (cross-promoting your video content across your most engaged social media channels).
Once you’re up and running, you can use the platform’s in-built analytics to understand which kind of video content is performing the best and earning the most engagement to shape your future video content creation efforts and earn enough subscribers to start making money.
Our guide to creating the best video marketing campaign ever will offer the tips and inspiration you need to start developing, as well as promoting, your YouTube content successfully.
Learn how to create YouTube content that attract and engage customers with DMI’s certified Social Media Marketing course. You will discover how to use video as part of your content marketing, introduce social commerce, and use advertising and analytics to drive successful visual campaigns across all platforms.
“I'm sure if Shakespeare were alive today, he'd be doing classic guitar solos on YouTube.” Peter Capaldi, Actor