If you’re thinking of becoming a content creator or starting your own side business, YouTube might be one of the best ways to start. 

With YouTube, you don’t need a lot of technical knowledge or expertise, you just need to know how to take a video with your smartphone or laptop and post it. However, the difficulty lies in monetizing your YouTube content.

We’ve all heard of massively successful YouTubers who make fortunes through their YouTube fame. At the very top of the scale, there’s YouTuber Mr. Beast, a.k.a. Jimmy Donaldson, who said in a Time magazine interview that he earns “a couple million in ad revenue, a couple million in brand deals” for every video he makes. 

But how much could you expect to make through YouTube? 

In this post, we’ll discuss different ways of getting income from YouTube and how much you could earn with each. 

Jump ahead to:

How YouTube Monetization Works

A screenshot of a youtube dash

To understand how much money YouTubers make, we’ll first have to discuss the mechanisms for earning revenue on YouTube. Earnings for YouTubers may be very different depending on the approach they take and which of these methods they focus on.  

Some popular ways of making money on YouTube include: 

  • Advertisements. 
  • Channel memberships – viewers pay to see members-only content on your channel and perhaps gain other benefits. 
  • Super Chat, Super Stickers and Super Thanks – methods for viewers to pay to interact with you in small ways. 
  • Shopping - viewers buy your products or products you mention as an affiliate 
  • YouTube Premium – you get money when a member of YouTube Premium watches your video. 

How to Start Making Money on YouTube 

A key point here is that you can’t use any of these monetization methods with your very first video – you’ll need to build up a few views and subscribers first. The requirements for views and subscribers vary depending on what method you’re using to make money (we’ll talk more about these later). Once you’ve met one of these thresholds, you can start earning. 

If you want to be sure when you’ve hit the view and subscriber count for monetization, YouTube offers a feature that lets you know! 

Simply go to your YouTube studio, click “earn,” and then click “notify me when I’m eligible.” Once you’ve clicked this, you’ll see a grayed-out button for applying to the YouTube partner program. You’ll be able to click to apply once you’re eligible! 

A screenshot of youtube

 Now let’s discuss how you can become eligible for monetization. 

General Eligibility to Start Earning Money on YouTube

YouTube wants to confirm that monetized channels contain quality content. That’s why they check channels for things like: 

  • Uniqueness and originality – not just reposting other people’s work or posting the same video repetitively. 
  • Adherence to Community Guidelines – such as not posting deceptive, scammy content or inappropriate material. 
  • Using deceitful methods to get better metrics – like purchasing views from third parties. 

You’ll also need to meet some other requirements, such as turning on 2-step verification. And, if you’re making content aimed at children, there are additional standards to meet and some restrictions on what you can do. 

Earning Money With 500 YouTube Subscribers

A screenshot of a youtube partner program

The minimum subscriber count for monetizing your channel is 500 subscribers. This is possible through the expanded YouTube partner program, a program that lets creators earn money in some ways with a lower view and subscriber count than is usually required. This program is available in the USA and many other countries but not all, so check availability in your area. 

To meet the standards of the expanded YouTube partner program, you’ll also need at least 3 public uploads in the past 90 days and a certain amount of public watch hours or views, depending on whether you’re focusing on traditional longer YouTube videos or on YouTube shorts. Your options are: 

  • For traditional videos, 3,000 public watch hours in the last 365 days 
  • For Shorts, 3 million public views in the last 90 days. 

If you achieve these numbers, you are eligible for: 

  • Super Chat and Super Stickers 
  • Super Thanks 
  • Shopping 
  • Channel memberships. 

Let’s discuss these options and how they can earn you money. 

Super Chat, Super Stickers and Super Thanks 

Super Chat and Super Stickers are both ways for your viewers to interact with you in live chats, such as during live streams. Super Chat highlights a viewer’s message in the chat, while Super Stickers lets them put an animated image in the live chat. Viewers can decide how much they want to spend on a Super Chat or Super Sticker. A higher price means the message or image stays at the top of the chat for longer. 

Super Thanks are similar, except they’re for the comment section under the video rather than the chat. Super Thanks lets viewers write a colorful comment that stands out. They also get to see a cool animation when they post the comment. As with Super Chat, viewers can decide how much they want to pay for Super Thanks. In this case, the more they pay, the more complex the animation they see. 

While the amounts of money involved depend on the viewer’s region, the maximum any US user can spend on the combination of Super Chats, Super Stickers and Super Thanks is $500 a day or $2,000 a week. In other words, at the very top end of the scale, your viewer could choose to pay $500 for a Super Chat. 

How much do users make from Super Chats, Super Stickers and Super Thanks? Well, YouTube keeps 30% of these payments. Beyond that, how much you make depends greatly on how well you engage your audience. Some YouTubers might choose to focus heavily on interacting with their audience and make streaming and fan funding a core of their strategy. However, that requires some dedication to interacting in response to your viewers and building a relationship. If you’d rather earn income more passively, another approach might be better. 

Promoting your own products 

youtube shopping

YouTube Shopping is a way to connect your YouTube content with your products. (You’ll need more subscribers and views to promote someone else’s products). You can discuss a product in your video, display a link to the product in the video description or elsewhere on the page, and then earn money when a viewer clicks the link to buy a product. 

How much can you earn from YouTube Shopping? YouTube doesn’t give financial figures, as it points out that here all the revenue you’re getting is from the retailer selling the product, not from YouTube. 

Channel memberships 

Lastly, let’s discuss channel memberships. These are a more continuous way of earning income than the one-off Super Chat type perks. With memberships, viewers pay monthly for a membership that gives them access to exclusive features. That might be members-only videos or livestreams, or little perks like badges and emojis. 

How much can you earn from memberships? You can set your own channel membership prices and even set out different membership tiers. YouTube allows channel membership prices ranging from $0.99 to $499.99 USD. As with Super Thanks and Super Chats, YouTube keeps 30% of this amount. 

It’s worth noting that you can use Whop to sell subscriptions to your YouTube channel too – meaning that you can monetize your channel before you’ve met the platform’s own requirements. Plus, with Whop you can sell all of your digital products, including subscriptions to your YouTube channel and even memberships to a Discord server, all in one place. 

Earning Money with 1,000 Subscribers  

Finally, we’re at the benchmark for the best-known way of making YouTube revenue – advertisements. 

In order to make money from YouTube ads, you’ll need at least 1,000 subscribers, plus a certain number of views or watches: 

  • Option 1: If you’re aiming at making traditional video content, your success is measured in your achievement over the past 12 months. You’ll need 4,000 valid public watch hours. 
  • Option 2: If you’re focusing on YouTube shorts, YouTube just looks at what you’ve achieved over the past 90 days. You’ll need 10 million valid public Shorts views. 

As a note, you can make money from YouTube ads just by using Google AdSense, without joining the YouTube partner program, but that’s not recommended. To maximize your income, it’s worth becoming a YouTube partner, since there is no cost involved to join. Either way, you still need to hit the same subscriber and views threshold to be eligible for ads. 

If you’re earning money through ads on YouTube, you’ll soon get used to hearing the abbreviation RPM – Revenue Per Mille – which is how much money you earn per 1,000 video views. YouTube’s definition of RPM does include fan funding monetization such as Super Thanks, so it’s not solely about ads. However, since ads are a large percentage of channel earnings for most creators, RPM is often used when discussing channel income including ads. 

Sometimes Cost Per Mille (CPM) is also discussed. This is what an advertiser pays per 1,000 impressions of their ad. It includes the amount kept by YouTube as well as the amount paid to creators. The rule is that YouTube keeps 45% of ad revenue from ads on traditional videos and 55% of ad revenue from YouTube Shorts. 

Business Insider interviewed a number of YouTube channel creators with a range of audience sizes and asked them how much they made from their videos. They reported RPMs ranging between $1.61 and almost $30. When Yahoo Finance talked to creators who had videos with a million views, they reported RPMs of between $3.40 and $30. 

Clearly, RPM and ad revenue varies hugely depending on your subscriber count, your country and the type of content you’re making. A newbie creator in a crowded content niche might earn $1 or less per thousand views, while a highly successful one with an original idea might earn $30. 

YouTube Premium 

Here’s one of the easiest ways to earn money from YouTube views. You’ll earn money each time a YouTube Premium user watches your videos. How much you’ll earn depends on how many Premium users watch your videos. 

Earning Money with More than 15,000 YouTube Subscribers

If your channel has made it past 15,000 subscribers, and you’re based in South Korea or the USA, you can now access the most exclusive tier of YouTube monetization.  

Affiliate marketing and promoting others’ products 

The top tier of YouTube monetization is YouTube Shopping where you promote other brands by tagging them in your content – in other words, affiliate marketing. 

How much can you earn here? That really depends on the commission rate you agree to with the brand and the amount of product you can sell. As we’ve seen, Mr. Beast says he earns two million dollars to promote brands in each video. 

That being said, you can earn a monthly bonus from YouTube for high product sales – the higher the amount sold, the higher the bonus. The lowest tier is a $30 bonus for $300 in sales, and the highest is a whopping $3,000 bonus for sales worth $15,000 or more. 

Monetize Your YouTube channel with Whop!

whop sell

It’s clear to see that ads are only part of the story when it comes to monetization on YouTube. And it’s just as evident that monetization success beyond ads on YouTube as largely about community. It’s great when a viewer watches a video once, but when you build a relationship with them, you might have a viewer for years. That viewer might want to share Super Thanks with you or become a member of your channel, too. 

When you’re focusing on community and building your brand through numerous digital products, you need a next-generation platform that brings it all together. In other words, you need Whop, which lets you sell subscriptions to your YouTube channel in the same store where you’re selling digital products like apps, downloadables or online courses. Plus, Whop gives you more control – it means you’re not limited to meeting YouTube’s subscriber thresholds for monetization. 

There’s no drawback to starting up with Whop, as there are no costs at all until you sell your product or subscription. And Whop’s cut is only a flat 3% plus processing fee – which is far less than YouTube’s 30% cut of fan funding monetization like channel memberships. 

Best of all, Whop makes it super easy. You can get started on Whop in less than ten minutes and start selling your YouTube subscriptions in just a few clicks.  

Ready to monetize your YouTube channel through the same store where you sell your other digital products? Join Whop today.