YouTube Monetization: Ads, Merch, and More

YouTube monetization machine - videos entering and leaving as money

Posted on June 22, 2021

YouTube is a great way to share your videos with the world. It’s also an excellent way to monetize those videos and make money.

YouTube monetization allows content creators to generate revenue from ads that play before or during their videos, and most channels can earn between $1-$5 per thousand views on average. 

While the primary way of monetizing a YouTube channel is with ads, there are additional ways including merchandise, eCommerce, and affiliate links.

Whether YouTube is your business or just part of your brand’s video marketing strategy, adding additional revenue streams is never a bad thing.

In this article, we’ll explore how you can get started with YouTube monetization and what your options are for generating income on this platform. 

The YouTube Partner Program

Getting a cut of ad revenue from the ad videos that play before your video means joining the YouTube Partner Program. This grants you access to additional resources but most importantly it enables you to share in ad revenue on your videos.

However, you need to have an established YouTube channel to join YPP.

YouTube Partner Program Requirements

  • Have over 1,000 subscribers
  • Have over 4,000 hours of watch time over the last 12 months
  • Comply with all of YouTube policies and guidelines
  • Have an AdSense account 

Whether you have a YouTube brand account or personal channel, you should have at least these four before you consider even making a dime on your videos.

Once you have enough watch hours and subscribers to join YPP, you’ll be able to share in ad revenue from the ads on your videos.

YouTube Monetization

Advertisement revenue is the most common way to earn money on YouTube. 

Most ads that Google puts on your videos are generally related to your content in some way. You can even choose which types of advertisements will be featured on your channel. 

Ad selection screen on a YouTube video

Here are the different types of video advertisements that can be attached to your videos:

  • Skippable ads
  • Non-skippable ads
  • Non-video overlays 
  • Mid-roll advertisements (available only if your video is more than 10 minutes long)
  • End roll advertisements
  • Bumper ads

You can also insert mid-roll ads during your video if your video is longer than 8 minutes.

Your ad revenue comes in the form of CPM which means cost per mille or cost per thousand (of views in this case). The CPM changes every day and will also change depending on the number of advertisements on your YouTube video. 

CPM also varies based on what type of videos you post. Some categories have higher CPMs, some have lower.

YouTube Monetization: Ads, Merch, and More 2

On top of selecting the best category for your video, make sure it’s optimized for search by using a YouTube keyword tool.

YouTube takes about45 percent off of your ad revenue earnings, though, so keep that in mind. Only videos that meetYouTube’s advertiser content guidelines can have advertisements run on that video. 

YouTube Premium Viewers

Viewers who are on a YouTube premium account will automatically earn you cash from YouTube directly. The premium account removes all advertisements and lets viewers watch videos even with YouTube in the background. 

There are approximately over20 million YouTube Premium members.

While you can’t specifically target premium viewers, they are a very valuable demographic to the overall youtube community.

YouTube Premium Viewers also have an easier time finding your content because it is in their actively watched section and recommended videos for them.

YouTube Channel Memberships 

Memberships are YouTube’s system for exclusive VIP content. Your viewers pay a fee to access membership-only content on your YouTube channel, like live videos, super chat, emojis, and other perks.

You need 30,000 subscribers before you can unlock this feature, though, but once you get there, the membership system is a great way to generate a loyal and close-knit group of followers and create a recurring monthly revenue stream.

More Ways to Make Money on YouTube

Advertising Sponsored Products – Influencer Marketing

If you’re a big name and have a large enough following on YouTube, tons of companies will pay good money to have you advertise or feature their products through product reviews, tutorials, or whatever format you feel is best.

In actuality, your subscriber count doesn’t even matter as much, as long as you’re advertising a product that resonates with your viewers and you have an engaged enough following that they’ll take action based on your recommendations.

So, if you’re a gaming company, advertising gaming rigs and equipment is better than cleaning detergent. 

If you’re a beauty guru, advertising makeup or hair care products is better.

Reach out to companies you want to partner with or learn from YouTube channels that share the same industry as you do.

If your video does feature sponsored products, make sure you select the option when uploading the video so it’s tagged appropriately.

Selling Merchandise

YouTube channels and their merch are one of the oldest ways to monetize your content.

This is a way for YouTubers or brands with large followings or subscribers to make some extra cash on products like t-shirts, hats, phone cases – anything that’s related to their channel.

By asking your viewers to buy your merchandise, you not only bring money to your pocket but also work as a free advertisement every time they use one of your products.

Before selling merchandise, make sure that your brand already has an aesthetic, a catchphrase, or a recognizable theme that goes well on your merch. Otherwise, the design might not be eye-catching or intriguing enough for your subscribers. 

Merch is generally sold in limited numbers, so keep your numbers low and your product valuable.

Affiliate Marketing

If you aren’t comfortable about coming out with your own product line, then selling the product of other companies is still an affordable revenue stream. Affiliate marketing is when you link your viewers to products through your own personal link.

You’ll be given an affiliate commission for products that were purchased from your link. Amazon is hugely popular and a great place to start, but also works with other companies that have their own websites.

The best way to integrate affiliate links into your channel would be by linking them under the video description.

Final Thoughts

Make no mistake – if your plan is to make a full-time income from YouTube, it will be an extremely hard process that will take years to achieve.

But if your expectations are to create a stream of moderate supplemental income, YouTube, both through YPP and as a platform to sell your own products, services, or affiliate programs, can be a great spot to create additional revenue streams.

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