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How to earn money on YouTube, Ways to make money in the YouTube Partner Program, Minimum eligibility requirements to turn on monetization features

How to earn money on YouTube, Ways to make money in the YouTube Partner Program, Minimum eligibility requirements to turn on monetization features

How to earn money on YouTube, Ways to make money in the YouTube Partner Program, Minimum eligibility requirements to turn on monetization features

That’s why we wrote this breakdown of how to make money on YouTube and what to expect along the way. Along with the classic monetization techniques, we’ve included fresh, innovative ways to earn money on the platform in 2023.

10 ways to make money on YouTube (that actually work)

Recent YouTube stats show the platform is a goldmine for creators. But monetizing content on YouTube can be tricky.

Creators shouldn’t sacrifice entertainment value or authenticity for dollars and cents.

The good news? There is no “right” or “single” way to monetize your videos. You have multiple options based on your content, audience and promotional strategy.

Let’s dive into 10 opportunities to make money on YouTube and how they work.

1. Join the YouTube Partner Program

No surprises here! The YouTube Partner Program allows creators to earn revenue with ads run on their videos.

Let’s look at a quick snapshot of YouTube’s Partner criteria. Assuming you’re in line with the platform’s monetization policies, you need:

  • 4,000+ authentic public watch hours within the past year or 10 million valid public Shorts views within the past 90 days
  • 1,000+ subscribers
  • An active and linked Google AdSense account

Chances are you’ve seen your fair share of YouTube ads. From in-video to pre-roll, ads are a relatively hands-off way to make money on YouTube.

youtube ad example

In terms of how much money you can make from ads, there are too many variables for a straight answer. These variables include:

  • Your viewers’ demographics such as location and age
  • Whether there are relevant advertisers for your videos
  • Your content and industry

According to YouTube themselves, there are “no guarantees” for payouts or revenue share. Most information floating around is totally anecdotal.

While “$1 per 1,000 views” used to be the norm, times have changed. As the YouTube algorithm has evolved, so have the Partner Program and ad policies.  For example, the platform has explicit restrictions for advertising on YouTube Kids. Many major ad categories and targeting features are removed from videos intended for children.

You’re essentially looking at a numbers game regardless. You need to be earning thousands (or millions) of views per video to see any meaningful revenue.

Not sure about running ads on your channel? Totally understandable. Again, monetizing videos shouldn’t hold back your channel’s growth.

Stuffing your videos with unskippable ads makes them borderline unwatchable. That said, a few ads here and there is totally fair game.

2. Earn support from subscribers with a channel membership

YouTube’s channel memberships are specifically designed to support creators looking to make money.

Think of memberships like a Patreon or Twitch subscription. Subscribers pay a monthly fee in exchange for channel-specific perks. This might include exclusive content, chat badges and more. These benefits vary based on your membership tier.

youtube channel membership example

This feature is most relevant to creators that primarily post content to YouTube rather than treat it as a secondary channel. If you’re doing regular live streams or posting daily, memberships make perfect sense. Currently, the eligibility for channel memberships is almost identical to the Partner Program.

3. Put promotional links in your video descriptions

Promo links are a low-hanging way to make money on YouTube without running ads.

Your video descriptions are valuable real estate and YouTube gives you 5,000 characters to work with. Funneling your YouTube viewers to relevant links is a no-brainer. For example, a creator might link to:

  • A lead magnet (such as a free course or downloadable resource)
  • Their website
  • Their merchandise or ecommerce shop

Below is an example of how creators can promote their own products in a video description. If nothing else, links can turn YouTube traffic into on-site traffic.

links in description to make money on YouTube

4. Feature sponsors in your videos

Sponsored YouTube videos are popular among big and up-and-coming creators alike.

Through sponsored content, you’re specifically promoting a brand within your video. These call-outs are typically done at the beginning and end of a video. Since these forms of ads are literally part of your content, they can’t be skipped.

In the example above, Binging with Babish’s Andrew Rea bookends his sponsorship from Cash App at his video’s beginning and end. He also highlights the sponsorship in the video description.

youtube sponsored content description

Audiences are sometimes critical of sponsored videos when the sponsorship is totally irrelevant to the creator, their content or viewership. The best sponsored videos represent some sort of creative tie-in that doesn’t distract from the creator’s style. This sponsored video from Beauty Within featuring skincare brand Whind is a good example.

sponsored content example

These sorts of promotions are a win-win for creators and advertisers alike.

youtube sponsored content video description

5. Publish product-focused promotional videos

Branded videos are created with the specific intent to promote a product or service. These videos can fall into a few categories where:

  • A brand compensates the creator in exchange for their content or a review
  • The brand has provided talking points and instructions to the creator (think: influencer or brand ambassador content)
  • The creator is making a video to highlight a brand and earn affiliate revenue

These types of videos are common among beauty and skincare brands where creators unbox PR packages on camera.

unboxing video screenshot

Below is another example from a creator going into detail about Liquid IV and how it works.

branded video on youtube

In the video’s description, the creator’s promotional link is front-and-center.

promotional link in youtube description

These types of videos aren’t as common because they can feel a bit direct when it comes to promotion. That said, they’re relevant to industries like beauty, health and fitness where audiences like to hunt for products via YouTube.

6. Leverage affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is all about leveraging your influence to drive sales for other brands. As a creator, you can partner with brands to promote their products or services within your content.

The idea here is simple. You discuss products in your videos and then provide a direct way for viewers to check them out.

Every time a viewer clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission. It’s a win-win: brands get more visibility and sales, and you get a cut of the profits.

This tactic is extremely popular among review channels and creators making “how-to” content. For example, this video from MyLifeOutDoors breaks down tips for getting better sleep while camping…

how to make money on youtube with affiliate links example

…and provides affiliate links to the products mentioned in the video.

Affiliate link example on YouTube

See how that works? The key here is that the products themselves are not the sole subject of the video. Some creators call out their affiliate links within their content and others don’t. The choice is yours!

Note: Affiliate links are totally allowed and don’t violate YouTube’s TOS. However, the platform does have an explicit policy for external links. Make sure to review YouTube’s guidelines before dropping links in your videos.

7. Take advantage of crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a great way to build community while funding your content creation. It’s like having your fans chip in to support your next big project.

Platforms like Patreon allow your supporters to contribute a monthly amount in exchange for exclusive content and perks, like BTS footage, shoutouts or early access to new videos.

For example, the cooking channel Made With Lau offers three membership tiers on Patreon:

They also make sure to promote their Patreon link in the descriptions of all their videos.

You could also look into other crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to fund your creative projects.

Just make sure to share a link with your viewers and always deliver on your promise.

A few notes

  • We won’t tell you what you can create on YouTube, but we do have a responsibility to do right by our viewers, creators and advertisers. If you’re in the YouTube Partner Program, you can earn money through YouTube. When in the YouTube Partner Program, we hold you to a higher standard.
  • To make sure we’re rewarding good creators, we review your channel before you’re accepted in the YouTube Partner Program. We also constantly review channels to make sure you’re meeting all our policies and guidelines.
  • You may be liable to pay taxes on your earnings from YouTube; find out more below.

Ways to make money in the YouTube Partner Program

You can make money on YouTube through the following features:

Advertising revenue: Earn revenue from Watch Page ads and Shorts Feed ads.ShoppingYour fans can browse and buy products from your store, or products you tag from other brands through the YouTube Shopping affiliate program.YouTube Premium revenue: Get part of a YouTube Premium subscriber’s subscription fee when they watch your content.Channel memberships: Your members make recurring monthly payments in exchange for access to special perks.Super Chat & Super Stickers: Your fans pay to get their messages or animated images highlighted in live chat streams.Super Thanks: Your fans pay to view a fun animation and get their message highlighted in your video or Short’s comments section.

Each feature has its own set of eligibility requirements on top of subscriber and view count requirements. If our reviewers believe that your channel or video is not eligible, specific features may not be available. These extra thresholds exist for two main reasons. The most important one is that we have to meet legal requirements in every area where the feature is available. Then, because we want to reward good creators, we need to make sure we have enough context on your channel. Generally, this context means we need more content to review.

Keep in mind that we constantly review channels to make sure your content is in line with our policies.

Minimum eligibility requirements to turn on monetization features

Keep in mind that each feature has its own requirements. Some features may not be available to you due to local legal requirements.

Once you've been accepted in the YouTube Partner Program, you may get access to these monetization features:

 Ad revenueBe at least 18 years old, or have a legal guardian older than 18 years of age who can handle your payments via AdSenseLive in a country/region where YPP is availableAccept the relevant contract ModulesCreate content that meets our advertiser-friendly content guidelines
   Channel membershipsBe at least 18 years oldLive in a country where channel memberships is availableHave accepted the Commerce Product Module or formerly available Commerce Product AddendumChannel isn’t set as Made for Kids and doesn’t have a significant number of ineligible videos. Videos set as made for Kids, or videos with music claims are considered ineligibleNot a music channel under SRAVFull requirements can be found here
     ShoppingTo promote your own products:Channel meets YPP subscriber threshold or is an Official Artist ChannelChannel isn’t set as Made for Kids and doesn’t have a significant number of videos set as made for kidsChannel doesn’t have a significant number of videos that violate our Channel Monetization PoliciesYour channel hasn’t received any Hate Speech Community Guideline StrikesFull requirements can be found hereTo promote products from other brands:Channel has 20,000 subscribersLive in KR or USChannel is not a music channel, an Official Artist Channel, or associated with music partners. Music partners may include music labels, distributors, publishers, or VEVO.Channel isn’t set as Made for Kids and doesn’t have a significant number of videos set as made for kidsFull requirements can be found here
 Super Chat & Super StickersBe at least 18 years oldLive in a country/region where Super Chat and Super Stickers are availableHave accepted the Commerce Product Module or formerly available Commerce Product Addendum
Full requirements can be found here
  Super ThanksBe at least 18 years oldLive in a country/region where Super Thanks is availableHave accepted the Commerce Product Module or formerly available Commerce Product AddendumChannel is not a music channel under SRAVFull requirements can be found here
YouTube Premium revenueAccept the relevant contract modulesCreate content watched by a viewer who is a YouTube Premium subscriber

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