Making Money on YouTube

“It’s all about the benjamins”. Let me first explain that I don’t make much money on YouTube so I’m probably not the right person to be writing this post but I have researched the topic quite a bit and I’ve tried to put together the puzzle pieces. Most of the A-list YouTubers are very hesitant to share any numbers but there are some estimates out there based on views. The truth is, I have no idea exactly how much the big YouTubers make. But it can be fun to speculate. Click the title to read the article. … Continue reading >Making Money on YouTube

“It’s all about the benjamins”.  Let me first explain that I don’t make much money on YouTube so I’m probably not the right person to be writing this post but I have researched the topic quite a bit and I’ve tried to put together the puzzle pieces.  Most of the A-list YouTubers are very hesitant to share any numbers but there are some estimates out there based on views.  The truth is, I have no idea exactly how much the big YouTubers make.  If you are looking to making an income from YouTube I suggest you take a look at my friend Tim’s workbook 30 Days To A Better YouTube Channel. He walks you through 30 steps to get you started on the right track. You can’t guarantee you’ll get the views you hope for immediately but you can build the foundation that will help you get the most out of your youtube experience.

I will share some income estimates based on my own experience.  Please be aware that adsense income is based on a lot of factors.  There are many factors at play when it comes to ad revenue including but not limited to.

Types of ads

There are a few different types of ads that can be displayed. Pre-roll, video overlay, and image ads on the viewer page.  Each one has a different rate of return which also varies from ad to ad.

Keyword Value

Here is where I have a little more experience than the average youtuber.  I have experience through work and freelancing buying google ad spots.  It is a program called AdWords.  In AdWords, businesses create a list of keywords related to their product, service or website and set maximum bids for when people click on their ad.  If a lot of people are bidding on the same keywords then the price of those keywords tends to increase.  This is especially the case for products with higher prices such as insurance, mortgages, real estate, cars, etc.  If I’m selling a $1 app I’m not going to pay $1.50 for every person that clicks on my ad.  But if I make $1000 per sale I may be willing to pay $5 for a potential targeted lead.

Ad Relevance

If you sit down to watch a makeup tutorial and the pre-roll ad is for makeup don’t you think you’ll be more likely to click on the ad?  Many channels have specific demographics that watch their videos. Ads will also be different for each viewer.  The ads you see on my videos may end up being very different than the ads I see.  Google is very good at knowing your online habits which worries me because there is a LOREAL ad on that screenshot I just took above!

Not all Views Are Monetized

There are many reason why ads might not show up for a video. Number one is the user didn’t monetize the video.  I have elected to not monetize my videos until at least a week after I upload them. I decided to do this because my videos get 200-300 views right now which translates to pennies most of the time.  I don’t think it is worth it for me to make you sit through an ad so I can get a few pennies. Another reason videos might not be monetized is due to copyright, in which case, the copyright holder might get ad revenue.  Lastly and this is a big one.  Most mobile views aren’t monetized.

Why do I tell you all this? Mostly so you know that when I share any numbers there is likely no real correlation to what other channels are making.

My Numbers

The Peak on this graph is March 11, 2012. YouTube changed their algorithm on March 14th

At the risk of being too open, and worrying too much about numbers, I will share some of the numbers that I keep an eye on and how they translate to $.  If you just want to watch videos and don’t care thats fine, I’m surprised you made it this far in the article.  My hope is that there are some people like me who feel lost with the whole youtube partner program and have some kind of hope of some day making a career of it.  Like I mentioned, I typically get 200-300 views on my weekly videos.  You would think this translates into about 50 views per day but what you may not realize is that because I have 170 videos a few of my videos continue to get views.  At times, I’ve had old videos getting over 3000 views per day.  So my daily views vary.  In February I started to really think I figured something out and my views on my old videos kept going up.  At one point I was getting over 5000 views per day.  Then youtube changed their algorithm for showing related videos in the side bar and my views plummeted to about 400-500.  Just recently they starting going back up and I’m over 1000/day now.  If you’re curious what other channels get there is a handy website out there that my friend ErikTV365 works for called VidStatsX.  This is helpful in tracking your own progress as youtube’s analytics are often delayed.  The only number I pay attention to is average daily video views.  Here are the stats for a few bigger youtubers.






I hope this gives you an idea of how wide of a range there is.

Show Me the Money

With so few views my revenue is not very consistent.  This month, for example, my highest day is around $1 and my lowest day is less than $0.10  In February, though, I had a couple days over $15.  AdSense shows a value called the RPM which is the average revenue per 1000 pageviews.  In my experience this ranges from $0.16 to over $55 on any given day.  This number will vary based on the factors mentioned above.  One of my most viewed videos is only 17 seconds long so it has a very low revenue per 1000 views but my regular videos tend to be much higher when I was monetizing them.  Without giving exact numbers I’m going to say the typical range for revenue is $1-3 per 1000 views.  Now, these monetized views not video views.  I have no clue other than my own channel which is a horrible example but let’s say 70% of views are monetized (mine is lower but I don’t monetize all my videos)

10000 Views = 7000 Monetized views = $7-20

RayWilliamJohnson (Estimated Revenue)

2M views/day =  1.4M Monetized Views/day = $1400-4200/day  =    $500K – 1.5M/year  (huge range, I know)

Go have fun dreaming about how much some of those guys make.  But remember, the bigger guys don’t get to keep all that for themselves.  They have a team to pay and a lot of other expenses for each video.

*One thing I didn’t mention is the fact that several YouTubers have alluded to the fact that they make more money from merchandise (t-shirts, posters, mp3s, etc) than they do from ad revenue.

**Some channels make sponsored videos as well and I don’t know what the rates are for those.


I have no clue how much money anybody makes on YouTube.  All I know is that I don’t make much and I’m okay with that.  If you couldn’t tell, I have been interested in this topic for a while and still have much more I plan to share if you are interested.  Leave a comment.  Ask me anything.  What has your experience been?  How many subscribers do you think you need to make youtube a fulltime job?  I think there is a better and more efficient way to make money online without needing 100K+ subscribers.  I will share my thoughts in future posts.  Be sure to subscribe to the blog and join the conversation.  Any tips you have would be greatly appreciated.  If you know anyone that would benefit from this information be sure to share it.  Thanks!


6 Replies to “Making Money on YouTube”

  1. Late last year I began to make about $250 a month (I am NOT a partner but I am monetized). This money was coming off of 1 particular video in which I demonstrated a video game. It was me, and the TV so you could see the game (Zumba) and see me dancing to it. I stated in the beginning that I did not own the game rights and that this demo is “just for fun”. After 2 months of making that $250 Youtube took away the monetization of that video. There are still ads but they now belong to the game maker. I now make on average 20 cents a day. I was averaging about 500-1000 views a day on that video and people clicked the ad because they wanted to know more about the game. I think to make money via subscribers, it would take over 100,000. I’m not even close. I’m still in the 100’s I believe. It’s tough out there…

    1. That stinks. Does the Zumba video still get a lot of views? You might want to put some annotations and links in the description to other related videos of yours and see if it helps get more subscribers. I added an annotation to the videos that get a lot of views that says something like “Subscribe! new video every week” and I’ve gotten a few subscribers from that.

      In future posts I will discuss what I’ve seen that works and doesn’t work.

    2. Let’s see. MrArturoTrejo has almost 125K subscribers and gets about 10K views/day. That only translates into $7-20/day which comes to $7300/year I know I couldn’t live off that. Now, if he were to do youtube fulltime he would likely put out more content and quickly get more views. It is a risk for sure. Then the question becomes do you quit your job and try and make it happen or wait until youtube can replace your regular income to quit? I think that might be too difficult especially now.

  2. For the past year I have averaged around .004 per video view (total views from Adsense/total Adsense revenue). One thing I always do is make sure when I watch a video from someone to which I subscribe, I always let the pre-roll play through. That way I know they get paid.

Comments are closed.