YouTube Shorts revenue programme – 1 month in

“The first official month of the #YoutubeShorts program is finished, here are my numbers. For context, this is about 2x better than TokTok monetization. And infinitely better than IG monetization.” These are the words of creator Zach King, summarizing his first month taking part in YouTube’s long awaited Shorts Revenue Share Programme which launched February 1st. 

While this may seem positive, namely the TikTok comparison, the light is dimmed when it has been revealed that despite generating 196 million views with his Shorts clips in the first month of the program, King only took home $2,918 in revenue share.

Nevertheless, King has noted that aside from pay per view benefits (which are few and far between), there are expanded benefits in Shorts, in regards to exposure and brand building, as opposed to straight monetization. “When I look at almost 197 Million views in a month, I don’t look at the payout I get from the platform, I look at exposure and what my CPM and cost were to get those views. Right now it’s extremely low cost when comparing to the exposure, which is why it’s not about the payout, it’s about brand building. My guess is YT monetization will slowly go up over the years and favor creators, but exposure and numbers like this will be more difficult to achieve.”

This ability reminds us of earlier TikTok days where reach was easier due to less saturation and this could benefit creators looking to grow fairly early followings. This, then, is YouTube’s key value proposition in the short-form video battle – YouTube pays out billions to creators every year through the YouTube Partner Program, and Shorts can act as a complementary element which can then drive interest in your main YouTube channel. So the combined monetization potential of the app is far higher than any other platform is even close to achieving.

It’s early days, and as King notes, YouTube will likely improve its models for short-form monetization, as it looks to beat out competitor apps. But even without enhancements, the monetization opportunities on YouTube are more significant, and it’ll take big changes at TikTok or Meta to catch up.

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