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How to Make Money on YouTube in 2020: 15 Ideas to Try

If you’re big into creating video content, you no doubt want to learn how to make money on YouTube.

And you can:

With news of 6-year-olds making $11 million a year on YouTube or a professional circus juggler earning $10k/month, it’s not surprising why everyone dreams to get a slice of the YouTube money-making pie.

Youtube earnings

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In fact, thousands of couples, parents, comedians, product reviewers, gamers, and almost every kind of hobbyists are currently making vlogs about their life, careers, experiences, skills, and anything under the sun.

Some are even earning a decent amount enough to replace their day jobs’ income.

So how do these people do it?

15 Ways to Make Money on YouTube

YouTube may seem like a time-waster for many…

But if you switch your focus into making the video-sharing platform as a money-making goldmine, then opportunities to earn passive, unlimited income will definitely open up.

Here are 15 ways you can earn money on YouTube:

1. Become an AdSense Publisher

The easiest and most common way people earn money on YouTube is through AdSense.

AdSense is Google’s in-house program that allows publishers to serve advertisements on their content and earn on a per-click or per-impression basis.

Google only lets a YouTube account-holder to join this program if his/her channel reaches 4000 watch hours within 12 months and a minimum of 1,000 subscribers. Once these requirements are met, apply to the YouTube Partner Program (by signing up, fixing preferences and waiting for a review to get accepted or denied).

AdSense and YouTube may be two different programs under Google, but you can apply to AdSense via YouTube.

Monetize youtube channel

Make sure that all your content follows YouTube’s community guidelines at all times to avoid being kicked out of either AdSense or YouTube.

How to Get Started

Once you’ve been accepted to YouTube Partner Program and AdSense, and mastered the do’s and don’ts of YouTube, here’s how you can begin earning money:

  1. Enable Youtube Monetization – Go to your channel’s preferences, and click ‘Status and features.’ Tick “enable” on the “Monetization” box and press “Get Started” on the next page.
  2. Link YouTube to AdSense – By now, you should have applied and been accepted into AdSense and YouTube Partner Program. Go back to your creator studio, CHANNEL>MONETIZATION>”Set up an AdSense Account” and click next.
  3. Enable Monetization for YouTube Videos – Go to CHANNEL>MONETIZATION and click “Monetize videos.” Under this setting, you’ll see a link going to the video manager, since you can monetize your videos individually from there as well.
  4. Produce engaging and interesting videos – You make money based on the number of YouTube views, so to be able to earn a significant amount, you’d have to upload videos consistently and attract a high volume of traffic (followers).

How much can you earn?

The amount you can make from YouTube AdSense will depend on several things, including popularity of channel, amount of viewers, watch time/viewer retention, CPM/CPC, and so on.

The numbers vary, but YouTubers earn about $1 to $4 per 1000 views from AdSense. Note that this is just an estimation – YouTube pays based on the advertiser’s chosen ad type (either on a Cost Per Click/CPC or Cost Per View/CPV model).

You make money based on your viewers’ engagement with the ads. Engagement means if the viewer clicks on the ad, or watches the ad for over 30 seconds.

In addition, YouTube AdSense takes approximately 45% of your ad revenue. This means that if you earn a dollar, you’ll share 45 cents to YouTube and you get 55 cents.

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AdSense members are paid on a monthly basis (payments are sent between 21st to 26th of each month). They can choose from checks, wire transfer, electronic fund transfer, or Western Union remittance as method of payment.

2. Promote Products via Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a tried-and-tested method of earning money online. It can be used in your own blog, on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and basically any other platforms online.

So it’s not surprising that you can use affiliate marketing to make money on YouTube as well.

However, not a lot of YouTubers incorporate affiliate marketing into their YouTube videos and channels.

If you’re new to this, affiliate marketing is simply about directing other people (in this case your YouTube viewers) to a store (like Amazon, Target, Walmart, and others), then earning a commission from any product that YouTube viewer bought since he/she clicked your affiliate link.

The best thing about affiliate marketing is that each link you use has a corresponding cookie, which is placed on the viewer’s PC or phone to track what they purchase. The product you recommend (or link to) doesn’t even have to be the item they buy. You still earn commissions even if they decide to skip your recommendation and buy something else.

How do you start?

Any video that reviews or recommends products can easily be used for affiliate marketing.

Affiliate programs are not exclusive to specific stores like Amazon. Smaller brands and companies may also offer their affiliate marketing program to CJ.com, LinkShare.com, ShareASale.com, and other similar websites.

To make money on YouTube with affiliate marketing, your only choice is to include links on the video description, or in the actual videos (via annotations or overlays). The goal, whichever method you choose, is to redirect traffic to an affiliate landing page.

How much can you earn?

Commissions vary between affiliate marketing programs, niches, amount of YouTube viewers, the YouTuber’s popularity, and a bunch of other factors.

Just like earnings in AdSense, the key is to produce a lot of engaging videos consistently. The more videos you upload on YouTube, the more opportunities you’ll have to add affiliate links.

Note that YouTube has no specific rules about affiliate marketing, but many marketers believe that YouTube probably isn’t too happy if you keep on redirecting viewers away from YouTube. So balance out your videos with and without affiliate links.

3. Seek Third-Party Sponsorships

Getting sponsors from brands and companies is the real deal. It happens everyday on YouTube, but only for the top tier.

This is the dream of many YouTubers, since having a sponsor can definitely turn their hobby into a full-blown career.

Grapevine Homepage

Getting third-party sponsors used to be hard, but with websites like Famebit, GrapevineLogic, ChamBoost and other similar services that bridged the gap between  YouTube creators and sponsors, getting paid extra money has become much easier.

Your popularity, viewer engagement, and other stats would play a huge role in determining your fees.

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How much can you earn?

The sky is the limit to how much you can earn from third-party sponsorships. Some YouTubers even become long-term brand ambassadors for international companies.

Of course, brands and companies tend to look for YouTube creators who can carry their products well. So if your YouTube channel is all about beauty, fashion and cosmetics, it’s harder to get sponsors in the tech niche.

4. Sell Products

Selling products of other people/companies (also known as affiliate marketing) is good and effective, but why just get a cut of the sales, when you can sell your own products and take home 100% of the sales?

Depending on the amount you wish to invest, your product could range from online courses/ebooks, to actual products (like shirts, plushies) that you have to ship.

A great example of this is the debut graphic novel of Minecraft YouTuber DanTDM (real name Dan Middleton).

His book “DanTDM: Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal” was promoted on YouTube and actually landed on the #1 spot of The New York Times Best Seller list, and spent 3 weeks at UK’s best-selling books list.

5. Teach

How-to’s and tutorials are one of the most popular YouTube channel themes.

It has created many of today’s six-figure-earning YouTubers and it’s never too late to join them.

If you have a very specific skill – from drawing to dancing and everything in between – that can be taught through videos, there’s no limit to what topics you can teach.

6. Offer Services and Consulting

If you’re going with the teaching route, the next step is to offer your professional services.

For example, if you’ve been uploading Adobe Photoshop tutorials and you’ve got a huge following, you can offer one-on-one tutorials, promote local workshops, or even offer consulting services.

As long as you are offering something of value, and the services you’re advertising is related to your YouTube’s content, then you’ve got this covered.

7. Create Your Own YouTube Series

TV viewers have already been juggling streaming sites with cable TV for years, which is why YouTube web series are rising in popularity.

What’s interesting is that shows on YouTube are going beyond the prank-type and sitcoms, expanding into shows with actual script and plots, talk shows, and more. Check out some of these web series here, and maybe team up with a frustrated scriptwriter, director, actor, and other creatives just waiting for their chance to shine.

Note that traditional YouTube videos can only go for 15 minutes, so if you’re planning a show with longer episodes, you’ll have to request for a limit increase.

8. Start Vlogging

Ideal for bloggers who are trying to get into the YouTube making-money game, vlogging combines the concept of blogging with video creation.

You don’t even have to leave your blog behind – you can just add vlog posts every now and then.

9. Fan-Fund Your Channel

If you have an interesting channel that your audience can’t get enough of, but you don’t earn enough on AdSense yet, you can set-up your account with YouTube’s fan funding feature and let your fans send a tip your way.

10. Promote Your Website via YouTube

The viral nature of videos make YouTube a great host to use for your business.

Whether you run a small online store, or maintain an info site, directing traffic from YouTube to your website increases conversion rates significantly.

It’s important to note that you should always keep your viewers in mind when promoting your site.

Always consider if the site, product, or anything you’re marketing has value to your audience. Take Walmart’s YouTube channel as an example.

The people handling its YouTube channel balances product promotion with video recipes, testimonials, and product reviews.

11. Crowdfund Your Project

If you have an amazing idea for a product, but you can’t turn it into reality for lack of funds, crowdfunding can be your solution.

Many crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo use YouTube videos to explain product idea and encourage people to “invest” in their would-be product.

12. Market Research

YouTube is a goldmine for marketing professionals.

The platform has an in-depth analytics to let you compare success of specific videos.

Although you won’t exactly be uploading videos, you can use YouTube to discover what people are interested in, or what they think of a particular brand.

It’s free marketing research.

13. Become a YouTube Manager

Many companies are looking for people to man their social media accounts.

However, the main requirement of this job is experience with the platform.

If you’re an active YouTuber waiting to hit it big, or building up the required number of views to monetize your videos with AdSense, this career path may be what you’re looking for.

14. Create or Edit YouTube Videos

Many affiliate marketers, companies and even individual YouTubers are looking for people to help in the background.

If you have the skills to create or edit videos, be on the lookout for jobs like these.

Of course, you have to know what makes a YouTube video viral, such as using keywords for meta tags and crafting share-worthy titles.

15. Become a Journalist

Anyone can be a journalist on YouTube.

And with modern technology allowing you to communicate to people around the world with just Wi-Fi and a laptop, you can interview celebrities and experts for your own YouTube show.

Take a look at these millennials who interviewed then-U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015, and decide if you’d like to try your luck with journalism.

Make Extra Money with YouTube’s Channel Memberships

Formerly known as Sponsorships, the Channel Membership is a special program that rolled out on YouTube Gaming. It allows viewers to support a channel on a monthly basis and in return, receive exclusive badges, freebies, and other special perks.

It isn’t available on all channels yet, but YouTube says it will roll out the feature throughout the year. To see if your country and channel is eligible, check requirements here or view your eligibility status.

How to Become YouTube Famous

Making money on YouTube isn’t easy.

Like blogging and other passive-income-generating ways to earn online, it could take you months, years or even several years to actually make bank.

There aren’t secret techniques to earn a profitable revenue on YouTube. It all boils down to how many followers you can attract and how quickly you can become “YouTube famous.”

If you want to market your YouTube channel some more, here are several things you can do:

  • Learn about SEO and video marketing. Using the right keywords on descriptions is gold.
  • Create a community within your channel – reply to comments and engage in other ways.
  • Plan your content and try to bring something new to the table.
  • Be authentic. Stick to  your values, mission and goals.
  • Keep up-to-date with YouTube policies.

Once you’ve amassed a sizable and loyal following, you can be sure that they’ll be watching whenever you upload a new video, click on a link if you recommend a product or website, and engage in contests, polls, and other activities you plan to hold.

As a result of having healthy engagement level on your YouTube channel, you can maximize the earning potential of your AdSense, affiliate links, or sponsored posts of every video you upload.

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