YouTube Monetization: 5 Smart Ways to Make Money from Videos

If you’ve ever wondered how to monetize YouTube videos, this guide is for you. We’ll explain how to make money from video ads, brand deals, YouTube affiliate links, and more.

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Getting monetized on YouTube is a goal every creator wants to reach. It helps them start side hustles, make YouTube their full-time job, or create a business selling products in physical stores. These days, the possibilities are endless.

But how do you monetize YouTube videos? There are several ways to do it, from joining the "standard" program that pays creators to monetizing outside of YouTube itself.

For now, let’s start with a beginner's guide on the basics of YouTube monetization.

How to Get Monetized on YouTube

The most common way to monetize videos is through the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). Reaching partner status is an upgrade for your channel, as it allows you to place advertisements on your videos and make money (potentially) every time you upload content.

YouTube pays creators through the Google AdSense program, but it takes a while to understand how all of that works. For now, just know that when a viewer watches/clicks an ad within your video, revenue is generated. That revenue is then split between you and YouTube, where you get 55% of the money, and YouTube takes the other 45%.

Read More: Google AdSense 101

YouTube Monetization Requirements

YouTube is quite selective about who it lets into the monetization program. Before you can apply to the YPP, you must have:

  • 1,000 subscribers
  • 4,000 watch hours on your channel (within 12 months)
  • A willingness to follow YouTube’s rules: the community guidelines, advertiser-friendly content guidelines, and terms of service

If you’re struggling to grow your audience, read this guide for getting 1,000 YouTube subscribers.

When you've done that, go ahead and read these tips for collecting 4,000 watch hours.

How to Join the YouTuber Partner Program

Once you’ve met all of YouTube’s requirements, you’re ready to apply to the YPP. Here are the steps:

  1. Go to the YouTube Studio.
  2. Click Monetization in the left navigation bar.
  3. If you’re eligible to apply, you’ll see a blue button encouraging that action. Click it!
  4. Review the YPP terms.
  5. Set up a Google AdSense account, and connect it to your channel.
  6. Wait patiently. YouTube will review your channel and email you with a decision.

Read More: Step by Step Guide - How to Monetize Your YouTube Channel

If YouTube rejects your application, you can reapply in 30 days. That gives you time to fix anything unsavory on your channel, such as multiple copyright claims or videos that violate YouTube’s community guidelines.

How to Enable Monetization on YouTube

Once you enter the YPP, turn on monetization for as many videos as possible. You can do this while uploading new content, but it’s safer to wait until after you upload videos (a few hours).

By then, YouTube will have processed your content. You’ll know if the system found something that could demonetize the video, such as extreme profanity, adult themes, copyright claims, etc.

Read More: 14 Ways to Avoid YouTube Demonetization

Here’s how to enable ads on a YouTube video and make money:

  1. Go to the YouTube Studio.
  2. Click Content in the left navigation bar.
  3. Select the video you want to monetize.
  4. Click Monetization in the left menu.
  5. Choose which ads you want to display on the video.
  6. Click Save.

Not all videos will show ads, even if you monetize them. The best way to fully monetize a video (and keep it that way) is to create content in the PG to PG-13 range.

Extra Ways to Monetize on YouTube

YouTube AdSense is beneficial, but it’s not a reliable form of income for creators. Advertisement rates go up and down, so it’s hard to make the same amount of money each year with video ads.

That’s why it pays to understand CPM rates. CPM (cost per mille) refers to the amount of money advertisers pay per 1,000 video views on YouTube. The rates vary depending on your channel’s niche, audience demographics, etc.

Read More: YouTube CPM - 7 Factors Affecting Your Channel's Revenue

Want to earn a stable income on YouTube? Here are additional ways to make money from your videos.

1. YouTube Sponsorship Deals, Brand Deals

With YouTube brand deals, you'll make money by featuring a product or service in your videos. You can work with multiple brands if you want, which leads to more money for your channel and less stress about earning AdSense revenue.

Unlike the YPP, you don’t need 1,000 subscribers and lots of watch time to profit from these deals. Having more subscribers is helpful, of course. But consistent views and an impressive collection of videos are more important. You’re ready to seek out YouTube sponsorships once you have both.

Read More: 11 Companies Matching YouTubers with Amazing Brand Deals

In a small YouTube survey, My Work From Home Money discovered that creators make between $100 and $4,000 per sponsored video. So don’t worry about channel size when looking for sponsors. There are brand deals for small channels, mid-sized channels, and the mega influencers who dominate YouTube. Everyone has a chance.

When you’re ready to dive in, read this post about how to get sponsorships for YouTube.

2. YouTube Affiliate Marketing

Did you know you can make money advertising product links on YouTube? It’s called affiliate marketing, and it's an easy revenue stream to set up.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for various affiliate programs with different brands/companies.
  2. Get custom product links to share with your YouTube audience.
  3. Earn a commission when viewers buy stuff using your link.

Now let's talk about how to do affiliate marketing on YouTube. For beginners, we recommend signing up for the Amazon Associates program. You’ll get access to hundreds of custom links for everyday products, and adding those affiliate links to YouTube videos (in the description section) will help you earn commissions.

Hint: Always add relevant affiliate links to your videos. If you do a tutorial for a GoPro camera (for example), ask viewers to use your affiliate link when purchasing the product.

According to Amazon, affiliate commissions are up to 10% of each product sale. So if you spend some time promoting the links, you’ll make a nice chunk of money.

3. YouTube Channel Memberships

Channel memberships offer exclusive content and perks to your biggest fans. When viewers hit the join button on your channel, they get a range of extra incentives: loyalty badges, private live streams, exclusive videos, and more. Creators choose what works best for their audience.

Memberships are a smart way to earn money on YouTube because you can customize everything – even the price. Creators can charge members between $0.99 and $100 per month.

Read this post to learn more about Channel Memberships and how to qualify for them.

4. YouTube Live Streams

If you don't stream often, you’re probably wondering, How do YouTube live streams make money?

Great question! You can monetize a live stream with ads, just like the regular videos you see on YouTube.

Additionally, Super Chats are another way to monetize YouTube live streams. These are “donations” or “tips” ranging from $1 to $500 that viewers send creators during a live stream.

Read More: What Are YouTube Super Chats?

You’re in an excellent position to receive Super Chats if:

  • You’re a funny or entertaining person.
  • You host live streams on YouTube regularly.
  • You have hardcore fans who are vocal in the live chat section (where Super Chats are donated).

In fact, that's how Travis McPherson, customer success manager at vidIQ, made $200 on a live stream that only had 150 viewers.

Are YouTube Shorts Monetized?

YouTube Shorts are 60-second videos shot on smartphones. They have the potential to go viral like TikTok videos, but getting paid for such content isn't easy.

Here’s what you need to know about YouTube Shorts monetization:

  • Watch time from YouTube Shorts does not count toward the 4,000-hour requirement for monetizing a channel.
  • There is a YouTube Shorts fund, and it pays a bonus of up to $10,000 per month to eligible short-form creators.

There’s a lot of competition for this money. Last year, we asked creators about their first YouTube Shorts bonus, and here’s what we learned:

So yes, you can monetize short YouTube videos – even if the payout is surprisingly low. This video explains everything in more detail.

Having a monetized YouTube channel is everything when you want to become a serious creator.

But one day, you may want to monetize outside of the platform. Here are seven lucrative ways to make money beyond YouTube.