How much money can you make on YouTube?

So many people ask me how much money I make on YouTube! There’s really no simple answer but I will try to explain the basics of how YouTube calculates your earnings in an effort to help you understand how much money you would make if you were to start a YouTube channel.

So the way it works on YouTube is that advertisers can run ads in different spots either within your video or around your video on the actual YouTube website. From my experience, you make the most money from ads that are played before your video starts or within your video either as ad breaks if it’s a very long video or add spots which overlay the bottom of your video. When you upload a new video or go into the settings of your old videos you can choose which type of ads run on your videos. Most of the time, I was at all possible add spots run on my videos. The only reason I would turn ads off is if I am uploading a video for one of my companies and I don’t want the possibility of advertisers running an ad spot on top of my video which could be competitive to the product I’m selling or promoting.

So that’s a basic explanation of how to set up your ads and where they will appear. In regards to how much you will actually make on YouTube, there is actually quite a large variance but these statistics should give you a rough idea. I have several different YouTube channels in different categories, all with varying levels of success and maturity regarding how old they are and how well they are doing. I will break down estimated revenue per thousand views for this example. I have one channel that focuses primarily on celebrity information and biographies. This channel makes the least purview out of all of my channels. The pure number of views is higher than many of my channels, but the views are technically less valuable to advertisers because it’s kind of an every day person type of search. So on that channel I make around one dollar per thousand views. Then I have other channels that are in much more valuable categories such as tech and Internet/affiliate marketing. These channels make way more per view! I’ve seen the revenue per 1000 views jump up as high as five dollars. So if the number of views were equal for each one of these categories you would obviously want to choose tech or something similar. With that said it’s much easier to get five times the number of views with celebrity information then it is with tech reviews. So this is a game of balance that you have to think about and weigh out when pursuing a YouTube channel.

Whenever a friend asked me how to get started on YouTube and what they should focus on or what kind of videos they should make, I always go back to a few simple rules and suggestions. My number one rule and suggestion is to focus on a category or subject that is very fluid with your current life and lifestyle. You should talk about things and make videos of things that are either in your brain or in close proximity to you and will be accessible on a daily basis with little to no effort. If I live in Miami but I started YouTube channel about New York while that’s going to be pretty tough because I don’t live in New York and I’m not there every day. But if instead I started a YouTube channel about Miami, will that will be really easy because I live in Miami and can literally walk outside and start filming every day. Better yet, if I start a YouTube channel about the beaches and Miami and I am a lifeguard and Miami, well literally all I have to do is whip out my phone and start recording every day before and after work. That’s the type of fluidity that I am referring to.

The second rule or suggestion I always have four friends is that the topic be something you are truly passionate about and already know about or are very interested in learning about. As you can see from the math and metrics that I laid out above you will need to get millions and millions of views on your videos before making any sort of substantial and,, especially if you hope to make YouTube your full-time job. In order to get millions and millions of views on YouTube, you will need to make hundreds or thousands of videos and most likely will need to make at least one video per day if your timeline is somewhat urgent. You will want your YouTube channel to be something you enjoy doing and it should be really fun, not boring and dull and just to make money. That’s called a job and honestly there are much easier jobs out there if all you want to do is just make a bunch of money. The goal should be to start a YouTube channel and a category where you would almost pay someone else to be able to make a video about this topic every day, not something where you need to get a paycheck every day to feel like it was worth it. That should kind of put it into perspective!

The last thing I will say about making money on YouTube and how much can be made, is that YouTube is typically just a small but crucial part of my overall media and marketing strategy when I developed a media property. I have YouTube channels that make more money than others, but almost always I make way more money off of YouTube than on YouTube. I will also add that I make more money off of YouTube than I do on YouTube, but as a result of YouTube. So the best way to get started is just a whip out your phone and start recording and start creating videos. You don’t want to think too much into how you are going to make money and how much money you’re going to make when first starting. Those thoughts can serve as huge bottlenecks for just getting started, which is the most important step. But, at some point you will want to start strategically thinking how you can create YouTube videos which drive traffic to your website, which is a whole different topic. You will also want to think about how you can make YouTube videos that will drive people to join a list, preferably an email list. You should think of YouTube the same way you think of Facebook or twitter or even pen trust, heck even instagram can drive traffic if you really do it right. The cool part about YouTube is that it’s very visual and gives you a unique opportunity to truly captivate the viewer, convince them that they should take an additional action, and you actually get paid for it. Think about if you got paid every time you posted on Facebook, by Facebook. That would be pretty cool! That’s the way you need to think about YouTube. It’s just a way to drive traffic to a more valuable place, but you will get paid for it and build an audience at the same time. That’s my advice at least. When you start thinking that way you really start to have great chances of building an actual career, brand, and set of media assets that are very valuable at the end of the day.

So in summary some simple metrics to use: when you see a YouTube video with 1 million views it has probably made between 1000 and $5000 in pure ad revenue. When you see a video with 1000 views it has probably made between one dollar and five dollars and ad revenue. But, think about the person who made that video and whether or not you think that the pure ad revenue that that video generated is the entire income as a result of that video or just a small piece of the pie! That little detail is what separates the small time you tubers and the big boys!

One thought that I will leave you with on this post, no matter what you decide to do in terms of content creation just make sure you abide by one golden rule: add value to the Internet! If you truly add value to the Internet Google, YouTube, and everyone else will eventually notice and reward you for your valuable contribution. I’ll talk more about this soon, but let that thought soak in!