We’ve all heard of YouTube Influencers who are making a living just making YouTube videos, but have you wondered how they get paid? This article will explain how YouTubers make money… how you can make a living on YouTube also!

I recently read about an elementary school teacher who makes more off YouTube each month than from her teaching job. I know this speaks to teachers’ salaries and how much they are undervalued in this country, but it also speaks to the ability to make a living off YouTube. In this elementary school teacher’s scenario, she was consistent with making videos about her life as a teacher which then evolved to videos about morning routines and tips for a productive morning which allowed her to reach an even broader audience. Just one morning productivity video earned her over $8,900 and growing while also earning her additional subscribers.

She’s earning about $1,500 a month from Google placed ads via the YouTube Partner Program. Did I say Google? Yes, Google owns YouTube. Your checks will come from Google. Another $1,500 – $2,000 per month of her income comes from Brand Sponsorship and additional income comes from Affiliate Marketing.

These people making such monies through YouTube are often called YouTube Influencers. They influence subscribers to purchase products. They create videos on topics such as lifestyle, fashion, beauty, personal finance, technological how to’s, how to start a business… and on and on!

The trick is to be patient and keep consistently posting new, relevant, engaging content. Sometimes you will have to do this for years before you get your first check. So how do I get this income streaming in?


Once you have gathered 100 subscribers and 4000 watch hours in 12 months, you can apply to be a YouTube Partner. The Google’s AdSense platform will choose ads that are based on your audience to insert into your videos.

You can specify where the ads are inserted into your video, but you cannot choose which ad. Videos shorter than 10 minutes can have one ad in front of the ad. A video longer than 10 minutes can add as many as you want in the YouTube Studio interface that you have access to. Go to the video section and click video details>monetization and place the ads. It’s a good idea to also place ads at the end of your videos so that even if someone walks away from the video, it can still play to the and the ad will run so you still get paid. You can place the ads where it seems appropriate within your video. If you don’t specify where the ads go, YouTube will place the ads where they think is best… where there is little audio for example…so it’s better if you place the ads manually in a strategic manner.

Your Studio>Revenue page will show you how much money you are making. Payment is calculated through Cost Per Mil or Cost Per Thousand or CPM. Payment is per 1000 ad views so $10 CPM = $10 per 1000 ad views. The CPM averages $2 per 1000 views. The higher amounts of views of a video doesn’t necessarily mean you get more money; it depends of the CPM for that audience. CPM ranges vary and YouTube decides this. Audience and type of video will affect this rate. Different targeted audiences may secure higher revenue for you. For example, a finance or business-related video that targets an older audience would be favorable to a particular Google advertiser. Audience from a country with a high CPM rate will pay a higher rate. You will receive payment once $100 is earned. It will sit in your account until that threshold is reached.

One young YouTube Influencer shared that her revenue was $46K from AdSense alone posting 2-3 times a week consistently. Of course, she has worked diligently to post consistently with relevant content to her audience.

YouTube does take a cut of the AdSense. What you see on your Studio is your take home earnings. You can be paid through direct deposit to your banking account. Note that taxes are not deducted from these earnings so be sure to take out a percent of these monies and save for taxes. You might want to take that percent and have it automatically deposited into another account.

Brand Sponsorship

Brand Sponsorship is when a brand will offer you compensation for promoting their product within your videos. This can often generate more revenue than AdSense. For many influencers, integrating a brand into their videos is the majority of their income and the brand pays a fixed rate.

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate Marketing is when you receive a commission for every sale that you drive to a brand partner’s website using a trackable link. The commissions typically pay between 1%-20%. An influencer or a website will want to partner with relevant brands that are in line with their niche… technology, business, fashion, etc. Doing product reviews, showcasing products, and tutorials are examples of how you can market a product within your videos.

In YouTube, you might find these affiliate links underneath the video also. Don’t overwhelm your audience with these links and make sure they are relevant to the content you are distributing and that they are beneficial to your audience.

The top affiliate programs are:

  • Top Affiliate Programs
  • Amazon Influencer Program
  • Awin and Share-A-Sale Network
  • CJ Affiliate
  • Impact
  • it and RewardStyle
  • MagicLinks
  • Pepperjam
  • Rakuten Advertising
  • ShopStyle Collective
  • SkimLinks
  • Sovrn

Yes, many make a decent living from their YouTube channel. The best advice is to be consistent and patient by posting every week. Most won’t and that will be what separates you from those who don’t make money. Don’t obsess over the CPM, instead focus on creating quality videos relevant to your audience and enjoy the experience!

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