How Much do YouTubers Make?

For a while there, Youtube was just a fun little platform that allowed people from around the globe to post their innocuous videos online for all the world to see. From cat videos and silly dances, to parodies and poorly-animated cartoons – Youtube had it all. But then monetization happened, and articles started cropping up all over the web explaining how these Youtubers were actually making a killing on the videos they uploaded. Even now, stories abound within the media about kids and teenagers who turned themselves into millionaires overnight with just a few videos and a dedicated fanbase. It sounds tempting, but is it really that easy? Can you make yourself rich by using Youtube? Well, to answer that, let’s first consider the following – How does Youtube monetization work? How hard is it? And how much money do Youtubers make on average anyway?

There are a number of variables that go into the monetization process on Youtube, and as such, it’s impossible to give a fixed answer when talking about how much Youtubers make. That said, most people can usually expect to make around 5 USD* for every 1000 views that they get on a video.

*Sadly, there’s a pretty big caveat on this number, and users may see this figure fluctuate wildly depending on certain factors.

But why is it so hard to work all this out? Why isn’t there just a certain amount of cash given per 1000 or so views? Well, to figure that out, we’ll have to look at how the process really works.

How Much do YouTubers Make?
How Much do YouTubers Make?

How Does Monetization Work on Youtube?

Adverts not Views –

The first thing to realise about monetization on Youtube is that it actually pays people out based on the ad views that they get, and not just on their video views.

In other words, a huge number of views on a video may not necessarily translate to a lot of money if people aren’t also watching the ads on it. This is important to remember because uploaders don’t automatically apply for monetization when they start putting videos online. There are actually certain thresholds that need to be reached first before you can begin to make money.

Video Quality and Ethics –

Another thing to consider is that not everyone can get monetized. There are various policies and guidelines that exist which determine who is eligible for monetization. For example, you can’t just upload an episode of your favourite show, and expect to make money off of it. Your content has to be your own and must conform to Youtube standards.

This process isn’t always clear and obvious either. Listen to enough Youtubers talk about their income, and you’ll soon realise that demonetization can sometimes occur with little apparent reason.

Frequency and Fanbase –

The monetization machine over at Youtube tends to favour creators that upload videos consistently to a dedicated fanbase. In other words, someone who gets 750 000 views on their daily videos, will probably end up making more money than the person who gets 1 million views on one random viral video that they made.

Location, Subject, Format –

Have you ever noticed how more and more videos on Youtube seem to include the same subjects with similar thumbnails and randomly capitalised words?

Generally speaking, this is because view count and ad interaction can vary based on these factors, and the Youtubers are trying their best to play into these variables. For example, certain ads on technology channels may end up making more money for the uploader than the same amount on a prank/entertainment channel.

Superchats, Donations and Merch –

Keep in mind, a lot of the money successful Youtubers make doesn’t necessarily come from sitting back and waiting for Youtube to pay them. Most Youtubers also live stream and create merchandise so that their fans can support them directly.

This is part of the reason why it’s so hard to figure out just how much money any one particular Youtuber makes – it’s not just views you have to count, it’s also whatever else they’ve got going on on the side. 

How Much does a Youtuber with One Million Subscribers Make?

Once again, there is going to be a wide range of factors that determine how much a Youtuber gets paid, and their subscriber count is probably going to affect that number a lot less than their average view count.

That said, a Youtuber with 1 million subscribers who all engage fairly consistently with the content will probably receive around 2000 – 6000 USD per million views.

How Much do YouTubers Make?
How Much do YouTubers Make?

How Much Money are 1000 Views on Youtube?

As mentioned, most people will receive somewhere around 5 USD per 1000 views on a video, however, this price will depend on factors such as upload frequency, subscriber base, video length, etc.

It is also important to note that Youtube only pays users once their balance reaches 100 USD, so you’ll have to reach that threshold before you can actually expect to receive any money.

Do YouTubers Get Paid if you Skip their Ads?

No, they do not. As mentioned, YouTubers don’t get paid for video views, they get paid for ad views.

If a Youtuber’s audience tends to skip their ads (assuming they’re playing skippable ads) the Youtuber will end up making less money even if their view count per video is relatively high.

How Hard is it to Make Money on Youtube?

Technically speaking, all you need to make money on Youtube is 1 000 subscribers and 4 000 hours watched in the last year. Once you fulfil these requirements you will be eligible for monetization.

Now, if we’re talking about making a lot of money on Youtube, that’s a different story. While many users are able to make a little bit of cash off of the platform, the number of individuals who actually make their living off of Youtube is extremely low relative to the total number of uploaders on the platform.


Remember, it’s not just about making a viral video and uploading it to the internet. Users have to create engaging, guideline-approved content on a regular basis while fostering a dedicated and highly-engaged audience.  

How Many Subscribers do you Need to Make a Living on Youtube?

As noted, there are a lot of variables to consider when it comes to making money on Youtube, and a high subscriber count isn’t necessarily going to translate into a similarly high rate of audience engagement or donations.

That said, there are some very rough numbers we can look at to get an idea of what you’ll need.

Assuming you make around 2 new videos per week with occasional superchats and donations (and assuming that your subscribers are actually watching your videos), you’ll need the following subscriber count to reach the corresponding monthly payments –

US Dollars per Month    Required Sub Count
  1-5  1 000  
  ~ 500  25 000  
  ~ 2000  50 000  
  ~ 20 000  250 000  

As you can see, it is possible to make some extra cash running a dedicated Youtube channel, but making a large amount of money on the platform will require you to be one of the few ‘bigger’ channels out there.

How Much do YouTubers Make?
How Much do YouTubers Make?

In Conclusion – How Much do Youtubers Make and How does Monetization Work?

In a very simple sense, YouTubers usually make more money as their dedicated subscriber base grows. As such, YouTubers with between 10 000 – 50 000 active subs can expect somewhere between a few hundred and a few thousand US dollars per month.

That said, there are multiple ways in which Youtubers make money from their content, and as such, the total income they receive from the platform will depend on which of these avenues they exploit and the extent to which they do so.

For instance, most people think YouTubers simply make money from the views on their videos, however, the platform actually only pays them when viewers have watched an entire ad. This means that a video with a high viewer count won’t always translate to a large revenue stream for the creator.

Some users also profit by running live streams and setting up donation outlets so that they can receive money from their viewers directly. Others create merchandise which they can sell instead. The monetization process itself is a bit more complex than many people think, and not just anyone can apply at any time.

First and foremost, users will need at least 1 000 subscribers and over 4 000 watched hours in the last year to apply for monetization. Additionally, certain guidelines and ethical codes must be followed to ensure that damaging or copied material is not uploaded to the site. The income generated from videos can also fluctuate based on things like upload frequency, content, location, user engagement, and video length, which makes it difficult to affix a specific number to any particular view count.

When looking at famous YouTubers who make a huge amount of money from their videos, it’s important to remember that for every one of them, there are tens of thousands of users whose videos go unnoticed by the vast majority of the public. As such, YouTube may be a valid money-making strategy for some individuals, but it should never be looked at as an easy or quick way to generate wealth, as the odds of success are not nearly as high as most people think.

Disclaimer Finance101: All of our posts are for research purposes only. Finance 101 aims to assist its readers with useful information on the laws of our country that can guide you to make financial decisions that will enable you to become more financially independent in the future. Although our posts cite the constitution in many instances, they are intended to assist readers who are looking to expand their knowledge of the law & finance-related queries. Should you require specific legal/financial advice we advise you to get in touch with a qualified financial expert.

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