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The Ultimate Guide to YouTube Monetization in 2023

An employee holding recording equipment walks past a YouTube logo at the company’s YouTube Space studio in Tokyo.

When the topic of social media revenue and monetisation comes up, for some reason, the conversation tends to center around Instagram and TikTok influencers. Arguably, YouTubers are the OG content creators being some of the first to make money from content. I remember as a tween in the early 2010s our parents couldn’t comprehend how beauty vloggers like Zoella and Michelle Phan were making a living off – now rather dated – 15 minute long makeup tutorials. 

The world of YouTube has since grown exponentially with thousands of creators making revenue in multiple ways. Like with any social media platform, creators make revenue due to their ability to hone in an engaged audience.

If you already have an engaged audience on YouTube – or at least one that’s growing – there are a few steps you can take as a creator to increase or even start making revenue through the platform. 

Join the YouTube Partner Program

Becoming a YouTube partner comes with some minimum eligibility requirements and rules you need to comply with. YouTube has updated their monetization guidelines on June 13th 2023* to reduce the threshold for access to YouTube’s Partner Program:

  1. Follow all the YouTube monetization policies.
  2. Live in an eligible country or region.
  3. Have no active Community Guidelines strikes on your channel.
  4. Have a linked AdSense account.
  5. a) Have more than 3,000 valid public watch hours in the past year or b) 3 million valid public short views.
  6. Have more than 500 subscribers.

Rule number one in YouTube marketing states that videos need to deliver a high-quality experience to stand out from other content. With today’s viewers becoming experts at discerning what is good and bad, video creators must provide top-notch visuals or audio so that people will reward them with the desired viewership.

Also, the more videos you upload the more are your chances to reach the required hours of watch time. Consistency in releasing videos is also key to a healthy and growing channel.

Once you tick all of the requirements, you get access to YouTube monetization features – like getting ad payments (from ads inside your videos) and membership perks.

It is worth noting that while getting paid through YouTube ads is a viable option, it is best used in a combination with other monetization methods.

YouTube ads can be a great way to monetize your channel and can provide a steady income stream, but they’re not the be-all and end-all of YouTube revenue. They’re not necessarily the most lucrative option.

In fact, they’re best used in combination with other monetization methods. Product placements, sponsorships, online courses, and a few more that we will mention in the following sections of this article, can often provide a bigger boost to your bottom line.

Brand Sponsorships


An excellent way to make money through YouTube is using sponsorships. To get a sponsorship from a brand, you first need to build a YouTube audience.

If you already have a respectable fanbase and you are after the big fish, you may approach popular brands within your niche who are willing to pay you and create sponsored content for them. Such content may be sponsored product placements in your videos, where you sell short mentions or recommendations on brands that want more exposure.

In case your videos perform well, your advertising revenue can range from $20 to $50 per few thousand views you get on your channel.

According to John Lincoln – digital marketing strategist and CEO of Ignite Visibility, mid-level YouTube influencers typically charge $20 per 1,000 subscribers or $2,000 per 100,000 followers.

But whether you are counting views or subscribers, the revenue potential is huge. Studies show that YouTube still remains a great place to put your ad dollars. In fact, YouTube’s ad revenue in 2022 went up 43% from the year before (Source: SproutSocial).

Sponsorships work mainly because of the increasing popularity of influencer marketing and YouTube is the best platform for such campaigns. In contrast to other social media channels, on YouTube, you are able to charge more for sponsored content simply because the video is more expensive to produce.

If you are on the lookout for influencer marketplaces you can add your channel to any of the following platforms to increase your chances of getting found by brands:

Intellifluence: a large marketing network that specializes in connecting brands with influencers. There are two types of influencers on Intellifluence- micro-influencers and minor celebrities. Intellifluence differs from other networks because it requires people to verify their information before they can join, ensuring that brands only connect with people who have interests in what they are selling and are willing to follow pricing guidelines.

Heepsy: another great tool to find and work with influencers for your marketing campaign. With Heepsy, you can find micro-influencers (those with 5,000 or fewer followers) and macro-influencers (those with more than 50,000 followers). Plus, Heepsy provides all the tools you need to launch and measure your influencer campaign.

Grapevine Logic: a popular influencer marketing platform that you can join if you have at least 1,000 subscribers on your YouTube channel.

Influencity: Influencity is an easy-to-use influencer marketing solution. It has a huge database of over 70 million influencers. It also has accurate influencer analysis that helps brands and agencies improve their strategies when working with influencers.

Afluencer: an easy way for brands to work with influencers. It has zero subscription fees, as you can start with the app’s free plan and get an account set up in minutes. You can post a “Collab” opportunity, and Afluencer does the recruitment. In the Collab you should specify what type of influencer you are looking for -interests, social media channels, demographics, followers, etc.

Izea: a network of online marketplaces that bring brands and content creators together.

As a YouTube influencer, your audience is more likely to trust you when it comes to buying decisions and would take your product recommendations seriously. However, it is important to be transparent about it and explain to your audience why you are partnering with a specific brand in the first place. If you are honest and true with your fanbase, chances are that you will attract exactly the audience you are looking for and you will gain valuable YouTube views.

Keep also in mind that when you handle sponsorships, you will need to indicate when the content you are showing is paid/sponsored. Read all about YouTube‘s disclosure policy here. 

Launch an Online Course


If you’ve ever thought about turning your knowledge into online courses, now is a great time to get started. With the popularity of online learning growing every day, there’s a huge demand for quality courses. And with the technology available today, it’s easier than ever to create and sell online courses.

First, you need to determine what kind of course you want to create as a content creator. Do you have expertise in a particular subject or skill? Are you passionate about teaching others? Once you’ve decided on the type of online course you want to create, it’s time to start planning. What will your course cover? How will you structure it? What materials will you need?

Answering these questions will help you create a detailed plan for your online course. And once you have a plan, it’s simply a matter of putting it all together and making it available for sale. With online courses, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

Experts say that current and future trends in the eLearning industry prove that it is a field of continuous innovation. Besides, the e-learning market size is expected to grow beyond $375 billion by 2026.

Selling online courses offers a great opportunity to make money if you don’t want to use video ads or solely rely on them as your main source of revenue.

Online courses can work as a great way of creating an additional money stream. If you have expertise in a particular subject, you can offer your knowledge to others without the need for any teaching experience.

All you need to know is how to create high-quality content that educates. The good news is that you are already doing this as a YouTuber. You can easily reuse your videos and add a few more to create your first online course.

Use Google AdSense to Receive Payments

As a YouTube partner, you need to use Google AdSense to receive payments for advertising on your videos.

Google AdSense is a platform that allows businesses to buy ad space. As soon as a business purchases ad space, YouTube places its ads on videos like yours as they see fit – most probably through algorithms.

The money collected through the ads placed via AdSense is generated on an ancillary basis (cost-per-click or cost-per-view basis), depending upon what advertisers prefer.

An ad view counts as an ad watched for 30 seconds or halfway through, whichever comes first. A typical charge is 18 cents per view. This means that if you have 1,000 views and 10% of the viewers watched the ad, you could make about $18.

What is important to understand here is that your earning potential depends on how often the video ads play on videos that offer advertiser-friendly content and how often your viewers interact with it. As you would expect, this is directly relevant to how many viewers you get.

However, it also depends on the popularity of your chosen niche or subject.

A YouTube channel that talks about the following topics are easier to be monetized using Google AdSense:

  1. Unboxing
  2. Technology & gadget reviews
  3. Health & fitness
  4. Yoga
  5. Cooking
  6. How-to videos
  7. Top X videos
  8. Beauty & make-up
  9. Travel vlogging
  10. Fashion & styling
  11. Haircare & hairstyling
  12. Gaming
  13. DIY crafts
  14. Drawing tutorials
  15. Music & dance tutorials
  16. Baby videos
  17. Pets & animals
  18. Education
  19. Celebrity interviews
  20. Digital marketing & blogging
  21. Animated stories
  22. Motivational/inspirational videos
  23. Gardening
  24. Lifestyle
  25. Screencast videos

Choosing any of the above topics to build content can boost your ad revenue, which is currently the most common form of revenue on YouTube.

However, you should know that the ad revenue you get from using Google Adsense is split between you – the content creator – and YouTube, and falls to 55% and 45% respectively.

Receiving payments through ads is the default option, but not the only one and using it along with other methods as mentioned in this list, will help to increase your revenue stream at large.

Invite Your Most Loyal Followers to a Membership

When it comes to selling memberships, one thing is for certain: they are effective.

As a YouTube partner, you can sell Patreon-like channel memberships to your subscribers. Make note that you have to be at least 18 years of age and have more than a 30,000 subscribers fanbase.

With a channel membership, your viewers pay a monthly recurring fee – anything between $0.99 to $100, to get access to members-only incentives, special emojis, badges, extra videos, shoutouts, and other features like Super Chat which is used during live streams.

Sell Branded Merchandise


Selling branded merchandise is another way to monetize your YouTube channel.
Any type of product can be used for merch purposes so if you are an entrepreneur with a product already in place, you are one step ahead.

Most YouTubers choose to create and sell custom products such as t-shirts that have the logo of their brand on them – which is a good choice, but there are many other product ideas you can try out.

Having a separate website to allow buyers to browse and purchase your products is a must. To be able to link your product page from your videos, bear in mind that you first need to ensure that your merchandise site is on the list of merchandise sites approved by YouTube.

In terms of product manufacture, supply, and delivery, you will need an eCommerce platform like Shopify or Dukaan, which can be easily connected to your YouTube channel.

Finally, through YouTube’s merchandise shelf, you are also allowed to sell merchandise but you need to be over 18 years old and have more than 10,000 subscribers.

Earn from Affiliate Programs


When it comes to monetizing YouTube, affiliate marketing is your best friend. The earning potential through affiliate marketing is unlimited and YouTube is the most suitable platform for it.

The way affiliate marketing works is simple.

As a content creator, you become an affiliate of a company that wants to promote its product or services. You start talking about their product inside your videos, and you use discount codes or trackable links directing people to the product page. If those people you referred buy the product, you get a percentage of the sale.

This is all possible through the affiliate link which helps brands see where the buyers came from. The affiliate link is added in the description of every video you upload that promotes the product.

To become an affiliate marketer, usually, you reach out to interested companies or they come to you.

Sites like ShareASale, Amazon Associates, CJ Affiliate, and Rakuten Marketing, can help you find suitable brands to partner with. When browsing their products, you need to make sure that the brands you choose to work with, have a product that is related to the content you create.

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