“YouTube is the one place that creators can actually create a substantial career outside of brand partnerships”

Last week, Cyprus based creator management company Mediacube released its creator report which pulled data from its 2,461 creator clients for the first quarter of 2023. Of the 2,461 clients, 70% of creators were based in Europe, 10.5% in Latin America, 4.1% in the US and Canada, and the remaining 15% in the Middle East, Africa, and APAC.

The first three months of 2023 brought change in the way creators could earn money on YouTube. For the first time in a while, the report fortunately found that the number of creators monetizing shorts had increased significantly, as had the payouts they received. 

Of those three months, we cannot ignore that in February, YouTube launched a new monetization program for Shorts — the platform’s short-form-video offering (versions of TikToks or Reels). Shorts creators can receive a cut of the revenue from advertisements placed on their videos, if they meet certain eligibility criteria. Previously, they were rewarded monetarily from a fixed $100 million Shorts Fund introduced in 2021.

While payouts from the Shorts Fund were capped at a maximum $10,000 per month, there is no limit to how much creators can make from the ad-revenue-share program. The amount of money they make for 1,000 views, however, is still much lower than on long-form videos.

The statistic for YouTube Shorts monetisation is a whopping 485% increase. The exact number of creators earning money from YouTube shorts went up from 129 in January to 730 in February and 755 in March.

Nevertheless we must consider that part of the reason the statistic is so high is that YouTube is starting from scratch this quarter. Having said that, A broader and more transparent way to access payment. With the Shorts Fund, it was unclear which results each creator needed to achieve in order to earn money. Instead, the ad-revenue-share model has clear eligibility criteria. Additionally, a higher number of creators are using shorts, due to excitement for the ad-revenue-share program launch and fear of a potential ban of TikTok. 

Over the past few months, many creators – including myself – have been pivoting their content strategy to include YouTube shorts because of the platform’s enticing monetization offer.

Creator Jorge Alvarez makes the very noteworthy statement that “YouTube is the one place that creators can actually create a substantial career outside of brand partnerships”. 

The 2,461 creators from the Mediacube report earned about $114,000 in total from shorts in January — when the Shorts Fund was still in place — and in February respectively. Their income went up to $198,400 in March. The average payment for shorts per creator in March was $262.78.

Many creators, however, have stated that Shorts should be used as a form of advertising for long form content as the average RPM on long form is much higher than shorts at $0.802 compared to $0.01. The abbreviation RPM stands for revenue per mille, or the amount a creator makes for each 1,000 views on a video. 

The roll-out of shorts monetization also comes at a difficult time for YouTube’s ad revenue, which has declined for three quarters in a row and saw a 2.6% year-over-year decrease from Q1 2022 to Q1 2023.

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