While there are a lot of YouTubers who make decent money from the platform, the sheer majority of content creators don’t make the big bucks. What’s more, it seems making money through YouTube is becoming increasingly harder than it ever was before.
YouTube is a great option to make money from as the starting investment can be as low as the cost of a smartphone and an internet connection. In addition, the bigger a channel gets, the easier it can be to make significantly more money. With the ability to ramp-up only limited by the YouTuber’s own time and motivation, it is understandable that a career in YouTube now appeals to many.
Over the past year, YouTube has introduced many changes that have had a negative effect on the ability for content creators to make the same level of money they did before. One of the biggest changes was YouTube cutting down on the number of categories and topics it allows videos to be monetized with. This has also led to YouTubers having to rely more on alternative ways to generate additional income.
Undoubtedly, the easiest way to make money through YouTube is still ad revenue. Ads shown alongside videos is big business for content creators (as well as YouTube itself), even though it is this strategy that has taken a hit. One of the main alternatives to ad revenue is affiliate marketing. This is where channels recommend a product or a service and link to it (sometimes with a special discount code) on the channel. These links can be monetized and while they won’t cost the viewer any more to use, the video creator is able to receive a commission for sending the viewer to the third-party company, especially if they also happen to buy something. Similar to affiliate marketing, there’s sponsorship. Again, this method typically involves a third-party company or brand paying a YouTuber to promote (or review) a product. Another common money-making venture is for YouTubers to use their platform and reach to sell their own merchandise. “Merch” can be a lucrative business and has proven to be a good way for users to support their favorite creators – both financially and in terms of promoting the brand in the real world.
A last option which has become massively common lately is donations. This one takes many forms although it can be as simple as content creators outright asking for money. However, this also appears to be one of the ways in which YouTube is actively helping creators with new features, including Super Chats, Super Stickers, and most recently, Viewer applause. All of these new features have been specifically designed as a way for viewers to directly donate to content creators and this further highlights that even YouTube realizes that it is getting much harder for YouTubers to make money. Of course, other than the original ad revenue option, all of the other monetization strategies largely rely on the YouTube viewer paying in some way.
More: YouTube Video Donations Could Cost You Up To $500 Per Day (With No Refunds)