I get it, you’ve seen the viral videos exploding with millions of views overnight and the YouTube Stars’ showing off their multi-million dollar mansions They certainly seem rich. People are making full-time incomes creating videos from the comfort of their home…sounds nice, doesn’t it?
While a very small percentage of YouTubers can be considered rich by making up to $10 million in a year, a recent study found that 96.5% of all YouTubers won’t make enough revenue to surpass the poverty line in the US (that’s $1,011.67 per month).
The truth is, ‘rich’ Youtubers don’t make most of their millions through Youtube Advertisement, which is what the mentioned study considered. So let’s look at who they are, how they make their money, and how you can do it too.
Are Youtubers Rich? How much are Youtubers ACTUALLY making?
Here are the top 10 highest-paid YouTubers of 2019, according to Forbes:
10. VanossGaming (Evan Fong) – $11.5 million
Last year, Evan Fong was the seventh highest-paid YouTuber, with a cool $17 million for his gaming videos. Under the name VanossGaming, Fong adds commentary to video games for the entertainment of his 24.8 million subscribers. Since creating his YouTube channel in 2011, he’s accumulated a whopping 11,913,591,918 views.
9. DanTDM (Daniel Middleton) – $12 million
Daniel Middleton was once on the top of this Forbes list. Last year, he came in fourth, making $18.5 million. The British gamer may have slipped a few places on the list, but we are not hearing him complan.
8 (tie). Markiplier (Mark Fischbach) – $13 million
Mark Edward Fischbach, most know as Markiplier, is famours for his “Let’s Play” videos, where he provides on-screen commentary to his live gaming. He might also be one of the most envied men in the world but that is to the confirmed.
7 (tie). PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg)- $13 million
PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, is a controversial content creator from Sweden. Disney and YouTube dropped Kjellberg after he posted a video of him laughing while two men held up a sign that said, “death to all Jews.” Later that year, he came under fire and apologized for using the n-word during a live-stream.
In 2018, he apologized for making fun of Demi Lovato’s hospitalization, posting a meme that showed the singer asking her mother for money to buy a burger, then turning around to buy heroin instead. He deleted the meme two days after Lovato was hospitalized for an apparent overdose. That year, he made the Forbes list, making $15.5 million.
6. Preston (Preston Arsement) – $14 million
Preston is an addition to the Forbes list. He is – shocking – a gamer who got his start playing Call of Duty and then began posting prank videos. He also told Forbes he makes money running Minecraft.
5. Jeffree Star – $17 million
Thankfully, not another gamer, Jeffree Star is a makeup artist who started on MySpace and now has his own successful makeup line. This year, fellow YouTuber Shane Dawson made a documentary about the beauty star life. “The Secret World of Jeffree Star” ran for nine episodes – on YouTube, of course.
4. Rhett and Link – $17.5 million
Rhett and Link are two of YouTube’s first stars. They host a talk show called “Good Mythical Morning,” where they taste-test weird food combinations like Krispie Kreme Sloppy Joes. They run four YouTube channels total and this year acquired another successful YouTube channel, Smosh, for a reported $10 million.
3. Anastasia Radzinskaya – $18 million
Forbes featured star Anastasia Radzinskaya, is a 5-year-old born in Russia with cerebral palsy. Her doctors feared she would never be able to speak but now, she’s the face of the “Like Nastya Vlog,” with 42.4 million subscribers. Radzinskaya’s videos mainly feature her playing with her dad and she now is working with toys and food brands.
2. Dude Perfect – $20 million
This sports crew of five friends earned the same amount last year and were ranked number three on the 2018 list. They specialize in intricate trick shots.
1. Ryan Kaji – $26 million
The 8-year-old boy is not losing his spot at the list. Ryan Kaji reviews toys for other kids and was also number one on last year’s list. His channel has 22.9 million subscribers and more than 34 billion views. One of his most popular videos received an astounding 1.9 billion views.
Kaji now has his own line of toys and clothes, a show on Nickelodeon and a deal with Hulu, according to Forbes.
How to make money on YouTube?
1. Youtube Partner Program (Ad Revenue)
The first step a YouTuber can make toward monetizing their videos is joining the YouTube Partner Program. This allows YouTubers to be paid through views and through advertisements served on their page.
Since 2018, you have to meet certain qualifications before being approved by the YouTube Partner Program. Your channel must have 1,000 subscribers and have reached 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months.
Once approved, you can start making money through advertisements. There are two types: CPM (cost per thousand views) and CPC (cost per click).
In CPC, Google places ads on your videos, and they keep 45% of the ad revenue. The more viewers or subscribers you have, the higher your chances are that someone will click on an ad. Because of click-through rates on ads, you can expect to earn around $0.01 per click or less.
If the advertisement is CPM, that means the viewer of your YouTube video must watch the ad for longer than 30 seconds (or if it’s a short video, for at least half the advertisement). Think about your YouTube watching habits and you’ll know how unlikely that is.
Per view, advertisers on average pay $.18. If your channel receives 1,000 views, it’s worth $18. Google keeps 45 percent of what is made, so a YouTuber would make (on average) $9.90 per 1,000 views.
And, it’s not like you start getting a penny here and there deposited into your bank account once you start earning money on YouTube – YouTube pays out when you reach a balance of $100.
The beginning is the hardest. But if you commit to releasing quality content constantly you will and gather subscribers and have more people watching your content and more chances of they watching/clicking the ads.
2. Affiliate Income
Affiliate marketing is a sales tactic in which a company pays a commission to YouTubers for traffic or sales generated from the YouTubers’ referrals.
YouTubers receive a special link that tells a company which channel customers are coming from, and if a sale is made, the YouTuber will earn a percentage of that sale.
It’s important to promote products and services that are relevant and actually helpful to your audience. If you use a product and would recommend it to your friends, why not recommend it to your viewers?
The way content creators make this is usually through one of the following:
- Sharing a solution for a problem by recommending the product
- An unboxing video of the product you’re trying to sell
- A review video of the product or service
You have probably seen these before with the invitation to check the link (or several) in the video description. Those links lead directly to the affiliate product or service.
Sponsorships are how you know you’ve made it. Brands won’t risk investing in a YouTuber unless they’ve proven themselves successful. Once a higher level of subscribers is reached, YouTubers can start making money through brand partnerships and sponsorship deals.
Depending on your success, you can either reach out to brands, starting with smaller ones, or have brands reach out to you. YouTubers charge brands anything from $10 to $50 per 1,000 views or $10,000 to $50,000 if the video hits 1 million views.
It can be a one time video, a product launch, or a full sponsorship of the YouTube channel where the YouTuber recommends or mentions the product in every video.
Just like with affiliate partnerships, you need to focus on brands and companies that are a good fit for your audience. If they feel like you are endorsing a brand that you wouldn’t use or they don’t like, you will lose their trust and engagement.
4. Merchandise/ Products
Not all YouTubers have a following interested in buying a t-shirt with their name on it. Reaching this point means you have built a successful brand with thousands of loyal and adoring fans. You could sell shirts, stickers, bags, hats, etc. featuring your unique logo or slogan.
Some of the biggest YouTube stars like Jeffree Star and Jake Paul have gone beyond merchandise and make most of their money by selling their own products on the niche they are famous in.
YouTubers with educational channels leverage their audience by selling courses or informational products.
Finally, Patreon has become a popular option for making money on YouTube for those with thousands of loyal viewers who want to help you keep your channel running. The average Patreon contributor gives $7, and Patreon keeps 5% of that as a commission.
Want a piece of the Youtube Money Pie?
If you are passionate about something and want to share it with the world, starting a YouTube channel is a great way to do do it and to connect with a larger audience.
But it is definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes work and time, and more time, even more, if you want to earn a decent amount of side income, but it is possible.
Long gone are the days when working in a cubicle was the only way to make a decent living. In 2020, there are an endless number of ways to earn money online and the YouTube stars in this post show that the possibilities are endless.
Do not quit your day job just yet, work consistently on your channel and you will be able to make money from it.