Carla Marshall has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, and SEO. She was previously Editor in Chief at ReelSEO.com, and as a journalist and video marketer, she's covered news stories, creator journeys, and digital-first publishing initiatives across all the major online video platforms. She is YouTube Certified and a judge for the Shorty Awards, as well as the UK, US, Canadian, Global, and EU Search Awards.
How to Unlock All the Free YouTube Creator Tools on Your Channel
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In this post, we show you how to unlock every single YouTube feature. A good place to start is by finding out what features you already have and working your way up from there. You can do this by visiting your channel settings page, which shows you most (but not all) of your features.
First, Verify Your YouTube Channel
When you create a YouTube channel, it's a good idea to verify the account immediately. A successful verification, from YouTube's perspective, means you probably aren't a robot ready to spam viewers and creators.
Verifying your channel unlocks basic YouTube features, including the ability to:
- Live stream.
- Upload custom thumbnails.
- Post videos longer than 15 minutes.
- Appeal Content ID claims.
How to Verify a YouTube Channel
- Go to YouTube.com/verify.
- Choose a method to receive your verification code (text message or phone call).
- Select your country.
- Type in your phone number.
- Click Get Code.
- Type in the six-digit code from your text message or automated voice call.
- Click Submit.
When following these steps, this is the first screen you'll see (step one):
And here's the final screen (step two):
Unlock Every YouTube Feature for Creators
Simply verifying your YouTube account unlocks the features above. To access additional creator tools, keep reading!
How to Get the Community Tab on YouTube
One of the best ways to reach your YouTube audience is through the Community tab. We use it every day to engage with subscribers, and we find that people can't get enough of our voting polls.
To unlock the Community tab, you will need more than 500 subscribers. The requirement used to be 1,000, but starting October 12, 2021, YouTube will make the tab available to more creators.
Unlocking a YouTube Custom URL
Is your YouTube URL long and complicated? Something like...
How would you like to have a simple address, like the one below?
If so, you only need three things to set a custom URL for your YouTube channel:
- Gain 100 subscribers.
- Have your channel for at least 30 days.
- Upload a profile picture to your channel.
- Upload a YouTube banner to your channel.
YouTube Monetization: How to Earn AdSense Revenue
Making money on YouTube is an important milestone for many people. It helps you become a serious creator on YouTube and turn your channel into a brand or business.
Here are the basic requirements for unlocking that journey:
- Gaining 1,000 subscribers on your channel
- Earning 4,000 hours of Watch Time over the last 12 months
- Linking a Google AdSense account to your YouTube account
- Having a channel free of active community guidelines strikes
- Complying with all of YouTube's policies
- Living in a country where monetization is available
Not having all of this in order can affect your application to the YouTube Partner Program, which is how creators get monetized.
Once you apply to the program, YouTube will review your channel and either reject or deny your request. If you're rejected, don't worry. You can re-apply to the program in 30 days.
YouTube Shorts Monetization: How to Earn Bonus Money
Did you know that YouTube Shorts – vertical, less-than-a-minute videos – are eligible for monetization? YouTube announced a $100 million fund to pay creators making the best Shorts on their channels. And recently, the platform shared more good news: Creators can earn a YouTube Shorts bonus of up to $10,000.
To qualify, you must:
- Have at least one YouTube Short uploaded in the last 180 days.
- Comply with all of YouTube's rules and policies.
- Create Shorts that are free of logos or watermarks from other websites.
- Live in an eligible country.
"Each month, we’ll notify thousands of Shorts creators to claim a bonus from the Shorts Fund based on their channel’s Shorts’ performance in the previous month," YouTube states on this support page.
Want to know how much money creators are earning from YouTube Shorts? Watch this video to find out!
How to Enable Super Chats on YouTube (plus Super Thanks and Super Stickers)
Super Chats allow your fans to pay you during live streams. It's like receiving a small (or sometimes very large) tip to supplement your AdSense revenue. Viewers who purchase Super Chats will have their comment pinned temporarily to the top of the live stream chat. When viewers buy Super Stickers, a digital image or animation will appear in the feed.
Want to access Super Chats and Stickers on your channel?
You need to have:
- A monetized YouTube channel.
- Be over the age of 18.
- Have the live chat feature turned on.
- Eligible videos that aren't age-restricted.
- Residency in an eligible country.
Do you meet those requirements?
Here's how to turn on Super Chats and Stickers:
- Go to the YouTube Studio.
- Click Monetization on the left navigation menu.
- Click Supers near the top of the page, then click Get Started.
- On the right side of the page, turn on Super Chats and Stickers.
Receiving Super Thanks revenue is another way to monetize regular YouTube videos, but the feature is currently in beta. According to this support page, certain monetizing creators have access. Stay tuned for a widespread release of this handy feature.
How to Get YouTube Stories on Your Channel
YouTube Stories allow you to capture micro-moments to share just like you would an Instagram Story. It's also a mobile-only feature. When you post a YouTube Story, it will expire in seven days instead of just one – the standard life cycle on Instagram.
Stories is in beta, but you can access it once you have more than 10,000 subscribers (as long as you don't have a made-for-kids channel).
How to Sell Merch on YouTube
There are many ways to make money on YouTube, merchandise being one of them. You may have noticed merchandise carousels appearing on channels. This is part of YouTube's direct-merchandising feature, and it takes the pain out of setting up a store yourself.
To access merchandising on YouTube, you must already be in the YouTube Partner Program and have 10,000 subscribers.
You also need:
- A clean slate when it comes to community guideline strikes.
- A channel that isn't made for kids.
- Videos that don't violate YouTube's monetization policies.
Unlocking Channel Memberships on YouTube
A channel membership allows viewers and subscribers to become members of a YouTube channel for a monthly fee. Those members get extra perks regular viewers don't receive, like badges, private live streams, and bonus videos. You can think of it as a Patreon-type service within YouTube.
Here are the YouTube Channel Membership requirements:
- You need a monetized YouTube channel with 1,000 subscribers and a Community tab.
- You must be over the age of 18.
- Your channel can't be made for kids.
- You must live in an eligible country.
- You shouldn't have lots of ineligible videos that violate YouTube's policies.
- You and your multi-channel network, if you are with one, must follow the YouTube Terms of Service, including the Commerce Product Addendum, and your channel must have zero active strikes.
Even if you meet the requirements, YouTube is still rolling out this service, so it might not be available to you.
Enabling YouTube's Copyright Match Tool
If a creator is using your content on YouTube, a notice may appear in the copyright matching list. The tool helps your review and take action on copyright matches you don't approve of.
Monetized creators already have this tool, but if you're still working toward monetization, there is a way to gain access.
According to YouTube, the tool will be available soon for any creator that has submitted a valid copyright takedown request.
"For partners in the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), or any channel that’s filled out this form and shown a need for an advanced rights management tool, the Copyright Match Tool will scan for full re-uploads of your videos on other YouTube channels. The tool scans videos uploaded after yours, so it’s important you’re the first one to upload the content to YouTube," the platform states on this support page.
YouTube Season Playlists
I'm sure you've seen this season-slash-episode format that appears on some video titles. They replace hashtags and locations, and when you click on them, they take you to the playlist.
We’re calling these "YouTube Season Playlists" for now, and when I asked YouTube how to get this, they told me it was through YouTube invite-only. These shouldn’t be mistaken for official series playlists, which are available to all video creators who have verified their accounts. This does not give you seasons or episode numbers but does change how your videos are presented and discovered on YouTube.