Making Money on YouTube: Guide to YouTube Monetization

YouTube has become one of the most popular ways to express themselves, share their talents, and make money online. With over 2 billion monthly logged-in users, YouTube presents a huge opportunity for creators to build an audience and generate income from their videos. But how exactly can you make money from YouTube? This guide will walk you through everything you need about YouTube monetization.

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An Overview of YouTube Monetization

An Overview of YouTube Monetization

The YouTube Partner Program allows creators to earn money from their videos. There are several ways to monetize your content on the platform:

  • Ad Revenue – You can earn a cut of the money from ads displayed on your videos. Google keeps 45% of the revenue, and you get 55%.
  • Channel Memberships – Your fans can pay a monthly fee for special perks like custom emojis, badges, and exclusive content.
  • Merchandise Shelf – Sell shirts, hats, phone cases, and more directly below your videos. YouTube takes a small commission.
  • Super Chat & Super Stickers – Let your viewers purchase highlighted chat messages and stickers during live streams.
  • YouTube Premium Revenue – Get a cut when subscribed viewers watch your content.

The most lucrative ways to earn are ad revenue, channel memberships, Super Chats, and merchandise sales. However, meeting specific criteria to access all monetization features would be best.

YouTube Partner Program Requirements

To join the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) and start earning, you must have:

  • 1,000 subscribers
  • 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months
  • A linked AdSense account in good standing
  • Content that complies with YouTube’s policies and guidelines

YouTube reviews channels once they hit the thresholds. It takes a few weeks to get approved. Some topics, like controversial issues or sensitive events, may require a manual review first.

Once accepted into YPP, you can turn on YouTube monetization for your videos. But only content that complies with advertiser-friendly guidelines can show ads and make money. Let’s go over the essential standards.

YouTube’s Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines

YouTube has strict policies for what types of videos can be monetized. This ensures brands feel safe advertising. Familiarize yourself with the main advertiser-friendly content rules:

  • No Harmful or Dangerous Content – Anything promoting dangerous or illegal activities is prohibited. This includes pranks, challenges, or stunts that put people at serious risk of harm.
  • No Inappropriate Language – You cannot include heavy profanity, vulgarity, or other inappropriate language, even if bleeped out.
  • No Sexual Content – Video focused on sexual topics or gratification is not allowed. Be careful with revealing clothing as well.
  • No Sensitive Events – YouTube prohibits monetizing videos that promote conspiracy theories about tragic events or make strong accusations without evidence.
  • No Hateful Content – Do not include supremacist, extremist, or discriminatory material based on protected attributes like race, gender, or sexual orientation.
  • No Spam or Misleading Metadata – Make sure your titles, descriptions, tags, and thumbnails accurately represent the content. Click baiting violates the guidelines.
  • Comply with Copyright Rules – Do not use significant unlicensed copyrighted material like songs, movies, and TV clips without permission, licenses, or legal exceptions like fair use.

This covers some significant areas, but the whole policy has additional details. Please read it thoroughly and carefully consider the suitability of your content. Educational, inspirational, humorous, and talent-focused videos tend to be advertiser-friendly.

Optimize Your Channel and Videos for Monetization

Here are some best practices to improve your YouTube earnings potential:

Focus on Audience Retention

You want viewers to watch as much of your content as possible to increase potential ad impressions. Pay close attention to your audience retention reports in YouTube Analytics to see when people drop off. Then, tweak your style to keep them watching longer.

Produce Longer Videos

For Monetization, YouTube favors videos over 8 minutes long because they can insert more ads. But only go longer if you have great engagement. Shorter, quality content is better than stretched-out, boring videos.

Schedule Content Consistently

Post new videos on a regular schedule so YouTube promotes your channel more. This trains your audience to expect and watch your latest content.

Use Appealing Thumbnails

Eye-catching custom thumbnails with bold text and color boost your click-through rate (CTR). Test different styles to see what your audience responds to best.

Write Detailed Descriptions

Maximize your 500-character limit description with a hook, relevant keywords, an explanation of the video, and a call to action to watch, like, and subscribe.

Research Popular Topics and Trends

Look at what’s currently getting views in your niche and make content about those topics while sprinkling in evergreen videos. Strike a balance between searchable trending themes and timeless content.

Executing optimization best practices takes your channel’s earnings potential to the next level. But you must also familiarize yourself with the step-by-step process for turning on Monetization.

How to Enable Monetization for Your YouTube Videos

Once your channel is approved for YPP, go through this process to monetize eligible videos:

  1. Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. From the left menu, select Content.
  3. Find the video you want to monetize and click the three dots icon next to the title.
  4. Select Monetize.
  5. Decide if you want ads to show before, during, and after the video starts. Longer videos can have multiple ads inserted within the content.
  6. Choose ad formats like Skippable video ads, Non-skippable video ads, Display ads (overlay), and TrueView ads (longer, skippable pre-rolls).
  7. Pick if you want to allow personalized ads based on viewer data like search history. This earns more money, but some prefer generic ads.
  8. Save your changes.
  9. Repeat for each video you want to monetize. Their icons will change to show they are monetized.

And that’s it! YouTube will now show ads on those videos, and you will start earning revenue. Just keep in mind any uploads need to remain compliant with the content policies mentioned earlier. If you see a yellow icon, the video cannot currently show ads due to a policy issue, copyright claim, or limited ads based on sensitive content detection.

Maximizing your earnings takes effort in optimizing your content for engagement, views, and compliance. But the work is well worth it if you want to make YouTube your full-time job.

Additional Ways to Earn with YouTube Channel Memberships

Beyond video ad revenue, Channel Memberships provide another excellent income stream. Let’s discuss how this feature works:

What Are Channel Memberships?

This is YouTube’s version of a subscription service. Fans pay a monthly recurring fee (you set price tiers starting at $4.99 monthly) to get unique benefits from their favorite creators. Perks may include:

  • Custom emoji and badges in comments and live chat
  • Exclusive videos, live streams, or posts just for members
  • Your name is shown in credits or descriptions
  • Merchandise discounts
  • Polls to vote on content topics
  • Early access to videos
  • Members-only newsletters or Discord server

Who Can Get Memberships?

To enable channel memberships, you need:

  • To be over 18 with no channel strikes
  • At least 30,000 channel subscribers
  • Live streaming access
  • Content mainly compliant with YouTube policies

However, YouTube is slowly expanding memberships to more channels. Some may get access with only 1000 subscribers if you produce valuable member-worthy content.

How Do You Set Up Memberships?

Follow these instructions to activate and configure memberships:

  1. Go to YouTube Studio and select Monetization from the left menu.
  2. Click the Channel Memberships tab.
  3. Click Enable if you see the option. Otherwise, join the waiting list.
  4. Choose your membership tiers and prices. You can have up to 5 levels.
  5. Give each tier a name and perks like special badges, emojis, or exclusive videos.
  6. Personalize the join button color and background.
  7. Describe what fans get for joining on the confirmation page.
  8. Save your membership setup.
  9. Share the join link on your channel, posts, and videos so fans can sign up.
  10. Deliver the perks you promised at each tier. Engage with your members.

Setting up the back end takes some work, but memberships provide recurring income once configured as your fanbase grows. The key is offering exclusive value worth the monthly fee.

Earning with Paid Channel Stickers and Super Chats

YouTube also provides YouTube monetization tools for content creators who livestream:

Super Chats

Fans can pay to have their live chat message highlighted and pinned at the top so you won’t miss it. Super Chats range from $1 to $500. YouTube takes 30%, and you get the remainder. The feature must be enabled for each stream.

Super Stickers

Fans can purchase these colorful animated stickers for live streams starting at $1.99. You get the same 70% revenue share as Super Chats. Stickers help viewers express themselves and support you.

To access Super Chats and Stickers, you need:

  • 1,000 subscribers
  • Live streaming access
  • No active Community Guidelines strikes
  • A linked AdSense account

These paid interactions are a great way to earn from your most engaged fans during live streams while making their messages and support stand out.

Selling Merchandise via the YouTube Store

You can design branded merchandise like shirts, hoodies, phone cases, and more and then sell them directly from a shelf below your videos to desktop and mobile viewers.

To get access to the merchandise shelf, you need:

  • 10,000 subscribers
  • Living in a country where YouTube manages merchandise sales
  • Content compliant with policies
  • Custom designs and products created through Teespring

YouTube only takes a small commission. The rest goes to you and Teespring printing and handling the products. This lets fans quickly buy your merchandise while watching relevant videos, providing another solid monetization stream.

Maximizing Ad Revenue with YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium provides an ad-free viewing experience across YouTube for $11.99 per month. Subscribers can download videos offline, too.

If Premium subscribers watch your content, you get a cut of their subscription fee based on their overall viewing time on YouTube. Make videos 10+ minutes long and encourage binge-watching playlists to earn the most from Premium views.

While you don’t directly control Premium revenue, you can optimize your content to attract and retain paying subscribers who watch a lot of YouTube. Then, you earn recurring passive income from their membership fees.

Key Takeaways and Tips for Monetizing YouTube Successfully

Key Takeaways and Tips for Monetizing YouTube Successfully

Here are a few final pointers to recap how to maximize your YouTube earnings:

  • Produce quality content consistently that engages viewers for as much of the video as possible. Attention and watch time are everything.
  • Do extensive keyword research to make videos about topics people are searching for. Achieve high rankings and get traffic.
  • Optimize your titles, descriptions, and thumbnails to get high click-through rates, which YouTube rewards.
  • Participate in the YouTube Partner Program by meeting the application criteria through patience and persistence.
  • Familiarize yourself with advertiser-friendly content rules and carefully review videos to ensure compliance with Monetization.
  • Take advantage of all potential revenue streams like ads, memberships, Super Chats, merchandise, etc. Diversify your income.
  • Provide real value to fans if you want them to pay monthly as members or boost your live streams with Super Chats and Stickers.
  • Collaborate with other creators and cross-promote content to tap into new audiences and grow your channel.

With dedication and intelligent optimization, YouTube can provide full-time income for many enterprising creators. But it requires consistent effort and patience. Stay determined, leverage the platform’s varied monetization tools, and keep producing the best content possible.


How much do YouTubers make per 1,000 views?

On average, YouTubers make $2 – $7 per 1,000 video views from ads. However, earnings vary greatly based on audience location, niche, viewer habits, ad types, and season. Top creators can make over $10 per 1,000 views.

How many subscribers do you need to make money on YouTube?

You need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past year before you can join the YouTube Partner Program and enable Monetization. However, you may earn significantly sooner through affiliate links, fan funding, and branded integrations.

What are the requirements for Monetization on YouTube?

To monetize videos through ads, you need 1,000 subscribers, 4,000 watch hours in 12 months, original content that complies with guidelines, and an AdSense account in good standing. Meet the criteria and pass the YPP review.

How long does it take to get approved for Monetization?

After reaching the subscriber and watch time goals, it can take 1-3 months to get your channel approved for full YouTube Partner Program access and Monetization. YouTube reviews channels in batches, so be patient.

Why is my YouTube video not monetized?

If your video has a yellow icon, it cannot be monetized. Common reasons include copyright claims, Community Guidelines strikes, limited ads based on automated analysis, inappropriate metadata, or age restrictions. Fix the issue for ads to run.

Last Words

Building a profitable YouTube channel takes time but can become a full-time living for many creators. Follow best practices, provide valuable content, and utilize all available monetization options. The YouTube monetization dashboard offers the tools to turn your channel into a successful business. Explore The problem of Business and Time Keep optimizing, and persistence will pay off.