How do you make money on YouTube? How do you grow a channel so that it’s sustainable and able to earn you enough money to pay for bills or even support you full time?
In this post I’m going over exactly how much I made from 2.2 million views on YouTube, how you can make money with ads or affiliate marketing, giving you insight into what it takes to actually make money on YouTube, and some tips on how to grow your channel so it is large enough to make a difference in your life financially.
How do YouTube channels make money?
If you are a YouTuber or want to make videos on YouTube then you probably want to know how you can make money from doing.
There are people who make a full time income from just YouTube – but how do they manage it?
There are 5 main ways most YouTubers make money:
- Ad revenue
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored videos
- Memberships / Patreon
- Product sales / merch
For the purpose of this post I’ll be focusing on just two: ad revenue and affiliate marketing. I’m going to focus on these two revenue streams because I find they are the easiest to earn with for small channels. If you are newer to Youtube you can earn money with affiliate marketing before you’ll ever be able to charge for a sponsored post or make enough selling merch for your brand.
I’m also focusing on ad revenue and affiliate marketing because that is how I make the majority of my money from Youtube! If you’ve seen my income reports then you know I make about half of my income from ad revenue and half from affiliate marketing. They are my favorite ways to earn money!
If you want to learn about earning income from selling products, check out my content about selling digital products online and 63 digital product ideas you can sell online for ideas of product you can make and sell for your channel.
How Much YouTube Paid Me For 2 Million Views
I’m sharing how much YouTube paid me for two million video views and how exactly YouTube advertising works.
I’ve had a lot of my YouTube subscribers ask questions about how YouTube ads work and hopefully this sheds a little bit of light on how YouTubers generate income with ads on their videos.
I get a lot of questions from my friends in real life about whether or not YouTube is worth the effort or not. They want to know if I make real money on YouTube or not.
The video in question is on my other DIY related channel about how to make paper flowers.
How Much YouTube Pays For 1 Million Views
This video was inspired by Shelby Church’s video about 1 million views.
I made this video because I found Shelby Church’s video about how much youtube paid her for 1 million views and others like it insanely inspirational. They motivated me with their transparency and their income, so hopefully my version can motivate you as well.
If you’re a small YouTuber like me, I hope you realize it’s possible to get millions of views on videos even if you’re not a big channel with hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Regular people like me are making videos that get millions of views. Often they are even just quick iphone videos!
I also want you to know that it is possible to earn money on this platform. It is 100% possible to make money on YouTube. It is not easy to do, but it is possible. If you’re just curious how much a youtube channel can make or how much a million views pays, that’s in there too.
How YouTube Ads Work
I wanted to clear up some things about ad rates and how ads on Youtube work. There are many different factors that go into different ad rates for channels and this determines how much YouTube creators make for each video on their channel.
YouTube pays creators a split of the ad revenue on each video. YouTube take a chunk for supplying the platform and tools for creators and channel creators take a chunk for supplying their content to YouTube’s hungry audience.
Ad revenue on videos is determined by factors like:
- audience location
- audience interaction with the ad
- audience demographics
- number of ads in a video
Clearly there are a lot of factors you can’t control and depend entirely on your audience. You have even less control when a video goes viral and hits different audiences. YouTube makes sure ads are served up that benefit both the viewer. As a creator the main things that you can control is making good content and making sure you turn on a couple ads per video.
There are many, many factors to determining the ad earnings for a video and I didn’t even cover some in the video like number of ads you include in your video!
How to Make Money On YouTube
I’m a small YouTuber but this is my favorite side hustle to earn money because even though it has taken a ton of work upfront, I can do it while being around my baby and family.
I started YouTube just to share videos of my family’s Alaska vacation with friends but it sparked a creative passion that I never expected to find.
One reason why I love YouTube is because I don’t have to leave to sell more of my time for money. I can make a video once and then it continues to earn and grow as time goes on and new people find it. There are millions and billions of people out there potentially waiting to see my videos. It’s an endless opportunity!
Another reason why I like YouTube is because I can keep side hustling and earning money online to get to freedom while also supporting others! It’s another platform to share my message of financial encouragement and motivation. There is a huge community on YouTube encouraging and supporting each other as we pay off debt, build businesses, and change our lives financially.
Luckily I have been earning money from both of my Youtube channels for a while now. While I’m not YouTube rich or quitting my job any time soon, I do make enough money that it is helping us pay off debt and improve our lives financially.
If you’ve been curious about how people make money off YouTube, keep reading as I share all my income sources!
The income sources for my channel include (affiliate links to each):
- Adsense (YouTube Ads)
- Sponsored Posts
- Capital One
- Erin Condren
- Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing Course
- My Etsy Printables Shop (product sales)
Other creators also do more intricate brand deals, channel sponsorships, create membership sites or sell merchandise. There are a lot of different ways to make money surrounding a YouTube channel.
Growing Your YouTube Ad Revenue
In order to make more on YouTube from ads you need to get more people to watch more ads. It’s really that simple. But there are many different tips for accomplishing this so here are a few of my favorites:
- Add more ads to your videos including before the video, after the video and mid-roll ads. More ads increases your CPM because more people watch more ads during each viewing.
- Create longer videos so you can get to the 10 minute mark which enables mid-roll ads. Of course if your content needs to be shorter, then don’t stretch it out. The important thing is to keep viewers ENGAGED for the whole video.
- Make your content binge worthy so the viewer goes from one video to the next. You can do this with series, playlists, and calling out specific videos to watch next at the end of a video. This guides the viewer to watch another video which makes your channel grow and increases your ad revenue.
- Create evergreen content that people will be able to watch again and again or find useful any time they find it in the future. This gives your video a longer earning period.
- Make videos on popular or trending topics to ride waves of interest and large viewership increases. An example of this is the many channels who made videos about the stimulus program. Some channels were able to gain millions of views within a month which made them a lot of money in ad revenue!
- Great good videos that people want to watch and share! This will definitely help your ad revenue grow because the more your videos are watched and shared the more money you can make.
Those are a few of the best tips for growing your ad revenue on YouTube!
Best Affiliate Marketing Programs For Youtube Channels
There are three specific affiliate networks with multiple affiliate programs I’ve used very successfully that I want to share for any channels looking to monetize.
ShareASale – ShareASale is an affiliate network which means it is a platform where you can sign up for multiple affiliate programs within it.
There are a couple great programs within ShareASale but for this my specific niche of budgeting planners the best one is Erin Condren.
The Erin Condren affiliate marketing program gives you 10% of each sale you refer to them which is often quite high since their average sale is $73.71 and your viewers are likely to be planning to buy there anyway.
Things you can recommend from Erin Condren are planners, stickers, and other related accessories. It’s a great program and I routinely earn money from it even though I don’t use Erin Condren products! If you do you should get paid for your efforts instead of only getting free products through referrals.
To promote Erin Condren you should go start an account with ShareASale and search for Erin Condren under merchants.
Below is a video showing how to sign up for the Erin Condren program:
And here is a video about how to create links to Erin Condren products as an affiliate:
I’ve also written all about how to utilize and make money with the Erin Condren affiliate program!
Awin – This is another affiliate network where you can sign up for multiple programs in one place.
There are many good programs here and Awin consistently earns me hundreds of dollars monthly, but mainly from one program: Etsy.
That’s right, Etsy has an affiliate marketing program! They offer their affiliates 4% of anything someone purchases through an affiliate link. While 4% isn’t much, it can really add up if people are buying budget sets monthly and more.
I highly recommend you use the Etsy affiliate program to link to your favorite budget sticker shops on Etsy. You get a small 4% kickback but it doesn’t cost the shop or the customer anything extra. It comes from Etsy’s fees and is a great way for you to earn money by promoting small businesses on Etsy.
To promote Etsy sticker shops you should go start an account with Awin and search for the Etsy affiliate program.
FlexOffers is an affiliate network that is geared toward many financial affiliate programs so it’s a great option if you have a channel about budgeting or any financial topic.
Within FlexOffers there are a number of financial programs on multiple topics about money:
- credit repair
- credit reporting
- debt services
- home loans
- investment services
- tax services
- wealth advice
Clearly FlexOffers is the place to be if you are running a channel about personal finances and want to find affiliate programs to promote!
To promote these financial products you should go start an account at FlexOffers and search for any of the programs in the
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is where you promote products to your audience and then earn a commission when someone makes a purchase through your unique affiliate link.
You earn money by selling other people’s products.
The commissions for those sales can range from 4% to 70% of the product sales price.
As you can see, you can earn major amounts of money when you are earning 50% or more of a product price without having to create the product.
Affiliate marketing works in the same way as many old school referral programs and allows people to earn money through their blog or social media platforms by talking about things they love. It actually works well for all parties involved because you are only paid when you make a sale, it does not increase consumer cost, and the company providing the product does not have to pay upfront in case you don’t provide sales.
There are affiliate programs for all types of products and in every industry. There are affiliate programs where you can earn money promoting clothing, makeup, crafts, credit cards, bank accounts, ebooks, online courses and more. Regardless of what you plan to talk about online there will be an affiliate marketing program that will fit into your niche.
Affiliate programs will pay commissions in three different ways:
- Pay per sale – You will earn a commission only when someone makes a purchase through your affiliate link.
- Pay per lead – You will earn a commission if someone signs up for a free trial or creates a free account or somehow otherwise gives a company their email address as a lead.
- Pay per click – This style of program is where you are paid money whenever someone clicks through one of your links.
There are many types of affiliate marketing programs but the most common one is pay per sale. That is what I will be referring to and giving tips to since it is what I use the most.
Affiliate Marketing Tips For YouTubers
If you are a YouTuber with a budgeting related channel and want to start use affiliate marketing to earn money then here are some of my favorite tips:
- Mention your links in the video and direct your audience to your description box.
- Include an affiliate disclaimer link in your description box that is clear you will make a commission.
- Link to specific products you use instead of the general page. The less steps between a buyer and the purchase the better. Specific links convert better than generic ones.
- Use products in the programs that you are promoting as an affiliate. If you have a choice to use products in the program or not, use the ones you can promote as an affiliate. People always want to know where you got things.
- Leave a link to what you used in the video in a pinned comment.
- Respond to any questions where people ask where you got something and give them the affiliate link. (This is just polite practice as well that builds trust with your audience.)
Those are just a few of my best tips for how I’ve managed to share products I love like my favorite budget stickers shops and cash envelope makers while also earning income for doing it!
Selling Digital Products / Merch
Another way many YouTubers make money is by
Another way to make money on YouTube is by allowing your community to support you financially.
There are a couple ways to do this. The most popular is through starting a Patreon.
Patreon allows you to build community support with a membership style monthly billing process. You can offer extra goodies to your patrons or just allow them to show their support.
You can also do this through YouTube for a more seamless process though you lose more of the revenue to YouTube’s cut.
Personally I’ve been experimenting with both of these revenue streams since I post a lot of content for free. Both have had signups though neither one has been a huge financial success. I’m still so grateful for the support people are giving me to create content.
How Much Money Small YouTube Channels Make
In the video above, I’m sharing what I made from YouTube ads since I’ve been monetized with my main channel and giving you a look at my analytics of my best performing videos. This video helped answer the questions I got often about what I made as a small creator.
I started my channel without any expectations of making money on YouTube. I made small amounts less than $20 a month when I started and then when my channel was demonetized for being too small, I really couldn’t imagine getting to this point of earning money. It seemed so far out of reach.
Yet with my channel’s growth and my connections to larger YouTube channel creators, I now see that I’m still just at the beginning of what is possible with YouTube income!
I’ve always loved seeing real numbers from other creators which is why I wanted to share my own experiences and numbers with making money on YouTube. I’m not a videographer or a technical person so I wanted to share what a regular person earning income from this hobby could potentially make.
Growing Your YouTube Channel
If you want to make more from your small Youtube channel then the best way to do it is to grow your channel. The more people that find you the more money you will make.
Here are the ways I’ve learned to grow on YouTube.
Get Useful Growth Tools
I resisted using a paid tool like TubeBuddy for a while because I thought I was smart enough to do it on my own but when I finally caved and bought a subscription I kicked myself for not doing it sooner.
With TubeBuddy you can see EXACTLY what other channels are using for their tags and video data and compare their channels to yours. You can learn how to do a lot of title and tag work for SEO with TubeBuddy.
some of my other favorite tools I’ve used inside TubeBuddy while growing my channel:
- canned responses to reply to comments faster
- comment filters
- upload checklist
- card templates
- end screen templates
- video topic planner
Those are a few of my favorite tools within my account to grow. TubeBuddy has a free version with limited tools listed here and paid accounts when you really want to grow (which are amazing for the price).
Learn About SEO
There are tons of videos on Youtube about how to use SEO on the platform. Watch some. Learn about what keywords are and how to use them. For many channels, search is the key way they are found and earn money.
To shorten your journey in learning and implementing SEO, I again recommend TubeBuddy because it’s like an all in one solution for YouTubers.
Here are the SEO tools you have access to inside TubeBuddy:
- view and copy video tags from another channel
- tag rankings so you can track where you rank
- suggested tags for your videos
- keyword explorer
- search rankings
- best practices audit
And even more! All of those tools help you get your video ranked on YouTube so you get more views. It seriously has more tools than I’ve even had time to use yet but what I have used above has helped take my videos to the next level.
Since I’ve been using TubeBuddy my SEO has improved and my search traffic has doubled. Seriously, it doubled! TubeBuddy has been an incredibly helpful and the first month I used it I actually doubled the views on my channel going from 45,000 views in a month to 110,000 in a month.
Having a community around your channel and your videos is another great way to guarantee successful video launches and continued success. Building community can be done in a few ways:
- commenting on other youtube channels
- responding to all of your comments
- referencing viewers and comments in your videos
- giving shoutouts to people in your community
- giving your viewers a nickname and expected phrases
Those are just a few ways I’ve found to build my community but you can find what works for you! The most successful YouTube channels have an element of community around them.
Those are just some of the ways I’ve learned how to grow my channel and consistently doubled my channel size each year I’ve been on Youtube while still keeping consistent and engaged subscribers.
Making Money On YouTube
Making money on YouTube is not a fast process.
In fact, even after consistently making videos for two years I’m still a small YouTuber only making $400ish a month on ads. I’m nowhere near a fulltime income from YouTube even after putting in hours and hours of work.
That isn’t to discourage anyone trying to make money on YouTube (or myself), but be aware that it isn’t fast and it does involve a lot of work! The honest truth about YouTube is that it’s hard to make money.
For every channel that succeeds and earns a massive amount of money, there are thousands who toil away unnoticed and eventually give up.
If you want to be successful on YouTube you need to go one of two ways: 1) do it for the creative outlet and not for money 2) be very strategic and have a business plan from the beginning.
Either way, you have to take into consideration the types of videos you make on YouTube and the types of advertisers that might want to advertise to your audience. If you are in a niche that doesn’t have high paying advertisements then you will need a lot more views to make the same amount of money as someone in another niche.
Knowing a bit about how YouTube ads work can help you create your own plan for your channel’s success. Hopefully this look into my analytics and more information about how to make money on YouTube has been helpful for you!
Resources For Making Money On YouTube
If you are interested in making money on YouTube, I suggest the following resources. I’ve used these to help learn about Youtube and grow my own channel.