Lydia Sweatt is a writer who loves balancing her article/blog time indoors with a healthy dose of nature. She bikes, hikes, and identifies edible plants along the way.
How Much Does YouTube Pay for 1 Million Views?
Earning money on YouTube is the ultimate dream for many creators, especially those looking to quit their jobs and create full-time. But it takes a lot of courage (and reassurance) to leap into the unknown. The best way to soften the landing, even as a large creator, is to estimate how much money you'll make.
So, one of the questions we see often is, "How much does YouTube pay for 1 million views?" After all, that's a massive number. Surely anyone can survive with that many views, right?
To find out, we monetized the vidIQ channel to see how much money we'd make ourselves. We let the cash pile up for 18 months and tracked our earnings on long-form videos, YouTube Shorts, and livestreams. And now, we have concrete payouts for each video type.
Ready to see how much money we made? Watch the video below to hear Rob Wilson, our YouTuber-in-residence, reveal the payout for 1 million views. Or, keep scrolling to read the answer!
YouTube Monetization: A Quick Explainer
Before we get started, it helps to understand how YouTube monetization works. There are some tricky terms and abbreviations, so we'll demystify those and explain everything in detail.
Google AdSense, or video advertising revenue, is the main source of income for most monetized creators. Making money through this revenue stream is pretty straightforward: When viewers watch or click on ads inside of a video, the creator of that content makes money. Over time, thousands of ad views can amount to thousands of dollars.
CPM vs. RPM
YouTube uses two metrics, CPM and RPM, to estimate a creator's earnings. CPM (cost per mille) is how much an advertiser pays per 1,000 views to run ads on YouTube videos. For example, some videos earn a CPM of $5, which means advertisers pay $5 per 1,000 views to promote their products and services.
However, YouTube splits all the advertising revenue with creators; they get 55% while YouTube takes the remaining 45%. So, RPM (revenue per mille) is a better estimate of a creator's take-home pay. It's what they make after YouTube takes its share of advertising and fan-funding revenue.
YouTube Revenue for 1 Million Video Views
OK, we won't keep you in suspense now that we've covered the basics. According to YouTube, we made $3,231.42 after reaching 1 million views on our channel. More than 90% of that comes from video ads and YouTube Premium revenue.
We know what you're thinking: $3,231.42 sounds low for 1 million views. But Rob says it's because YouTube doesn't monetize every single playback.
"From these 1 million views, almost a quarter of a million were monetized views with a CPM of over $13," he says.
If we break this down, it looks something like this:
- Total views: 1,035,307
- Monetized views: 249,557
- CPM: $13.29
- Revenue: $3,231.42
What Drives YouTube Revenue?
So, even if you get 1 million views, it doesn't mean you'll automatically become rich and quit your day job. Other factors are at play, such as how many views YouTube chooses to monetize on your channel. You also have to consider seasonality, the location of your viewers, and the topic of your videos. When you're trying to get paid, all of these variables make a difference.
Time of Year (Seasonality)
Typically, the higher your YouTube CPM climbs, the more money you make. But did you know that CPMs fluctuate throughout the year? That's why a channel can experience revenue spikes and dips as the seasons change. In fact, CPMs on the vidIQ channel jumped from $9.21 in January to $13.42 in October.
"You might be working just as hard in January as you are in December, but the time of the year does dictate how much you're going to get paid," Rob says.
Another factor impacting your YouTube revenue is where your audience lives. Some regions have bigger economies than others, so advertisers pay more money to run ads. This leads to higher CPMs in places like the US and lower CPMs in places like India.
For example, Rob says we earn an average CPM of $1.36 in India. But in the US, that figure rises to $18.88.
"Ten percent of our audience is watching from India, which is over half a million views a month," Rob says. "But if you look at the contrast in CPMs [for India and the U.S.] that's a 10X difference."
The topic of your videos can also affect your YouTube revenue. We've noticed that some videos have lower CPMs while others are well into the double digits.
For example, we posted two videos on our channel: one about gaining subscribers and another about the YouTube algorithm. The algorithm video has a CPM of $20.67, but the subscriber one is stuck at $1.13.
It turns out that more US viewers watched the algorithm video, which boosted the overall CPM. On the flip side, more Indian viewers watched the subscriber video, which lowered the CPM.
"The topic and the terminology used in the packaging of the video can drastically impact the demographics of the audience, which, in turn, changes the revenue a video can potentially make," Rob says.
Revenue for 1 Million YouTube Shorts Views
So far, we've shared our revenue for long-form videos only. But what about YouTube Shorts?
If you know anything about Shorts revenue, then you know it's a lot lower than other types of content. From November 4-21, we only made $95.29 after getting 1 million views. That's an RPM of $0.09 per 1,000 views, which is pretty low.
"At this rate, you need 100 million views to bring in $10,000," Rob admits.
YouTube Revenue for 1 Million Livestream Views
Unlike Shorts, you can earn a lot of money with live content. In fact, the vidIQ YouTube channel made $10,806.72 after reaching 1 million streams! That's an RPM of $10.69 per 1,000 views, which is outstanding.
Most of the revenue comes from Super Chats, which are "tips" that can only be sent during livestreams. But what inspires our viewers to donate them so frequently?
The secret is that we go live every week and answer premium questions. When creators send us a Super Chat, we prioritize answering their questions on the livestream!
Your Revenue Depends on Your Video Content
After reaching 1 million views, it's clear that some video types are more lucrative than others. If we had to rank them, the order would be:
- Livestreams: $10,806.72
- Long-form videos: $3,231.42
- Shorts: <$100
This depends on channel size, topic, and viewer engagement, but the trend is clear. Livestreams are lucrative because of fan funding during the event and the ability to earn ad revenue after the stream.