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YouTube Monetization: A 5 Step Guide to Making Money on YouTube

In this article, you’ll learn all about YouTube monetization, what requirements you need to meet, and how to get set up.

If you’re making videos but you haven’t set up YouTube monetization, you could be leaving money on the table.

Still, it can be pretty confusing to set up. 

First, you need to meet the YouTube monetization requirements. Then, you need to enable YouTube monetization on your channel, choose your ad preferences, and set up a way to get paid.

However, the rewards can be well worth the effort.

In this article, you’ll learn what requirements you need to meet, and how to get paid on YouTube. Plus, we’ll share four more ways YouTubers make money.

Let’s dive in.

(Psst! We’re not affiliated with the businesses mentioned in this article – other than those related to Shopify and Oberlo. We receive no compensation for sharing them with you! Plus, we cannot guarantee that you will make money on YouTube by reading this article.)

What is YouTube Monetization?

YouTube monetization is the process of earning money from advertisements displayed on your YouTube videos. Each time a viewer watches one of your videos and sees an advertisement, YouTube will pay you a share of the money earned from the ads.

YouTube provides six advertising formats that you can use to make money on YouTube:

  1. TrueView ads
  2. Non-skippable instream ads
  3. Bumper instream ads
  4. Sponsored card ads
  5. Overlay ads
  6. Display ads

YouTube Advertising Formats

How Does YouTube Monetization Work?

Let’s run through an example of how YouTube monetization works.

Imagine you have a YouTube channel that’s all about ecommerce and selling products online. You’ve been making videos for a while and have built an audience of around 5,000 subscribers.

Meanwhile, someone else learned to create an app and started a small business to help ecommerce sellers make more money. Now, they want to advertise their app business to people interested in ecommerce. 

So, the app business creates a video ad and pays YouTube to display it to interested viewers. YouTube’s algorithm recognizes that your followers are interested in ecommerce. As a result, the advertisement is shown to your viewers. And so, you’re entitled to a cut of the money the advertiser paid to YouTube.

How Many Views Do You Need to Make Money on YouTube?

To enable YouTube monetization on your channel, you need to meet two requirements. Your channel must have:

  1. A minimum of 1,000 subscribers
  2. At least 4,000 public watch hours in the last 12 months

YouTube Monetization Partner Program

How to Monetize YouTube Videos

If you meet the YouTube monetization requirements, it’s time to start making money on YouTube! Here are four steps that will show you how to get paid on YouTube.

1. How to Enable Monetization on YouTube

To begin, head to YouTube and click “Your Channel” under your profile picture in the top-right. Then, when you’re on your channel, click “YouTube Studio.” 

Next, click “Monetization” in the left-hand sidebar menu.

How to Enable Monetization on YouTube

Finally, in the Monetization window, click “Start.”

2. Agree to the YouTube Monetization Terms

At this point, YouTube will lead you through the process of monetizing your channel.

First, you’ll need to agree to YouTube’s policies and terms. As always, make sure to read the terms to know what you’re getting yourself into.

3. Set Up Google AdSense to Get Paid

Google owns YouTube. As a result, YouTube won’t pay you – Google will.

So, to get paid, you need to set up a Google AdSense account. If you already have an account, you need to connect it to your YouTube channel. If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to sign up for AdSense

YouTube Monetization: Set Up a Google AdSense Account

4. Set Your YouTube Monetization Preferences

Once you’ve enabled monetization, YouTube will prompt you to “set monetization preferences.” These settings allow you to choose the type of advertisements that are displayed on your YouTube videos.

YouTube Monetization Preferences

The first type of ad is ‘Display ads’ – these ads are required for all channels. However, you can turn off the other ad formats if you prefer.

Here’s a quick rundown of each of the ad types:

  • Overlay ads: These are shown as a banner at the bottom of videos on desktop computers
  • Sponsored cards: These ads overlay rectangular ads at the end of your videos
  • Skippable video ads: These are video commercials that are displayed before your YouTube videos begin

The more advertising you include on your channel, the more money you could make. But remember, ads are unpopular among viewers. Plus, they direct viewers away from your channel, which can slow its growth.

Finally, make sure to switch on “Monetize all existing and future videos” – otherwise, you’ll need to manually monetize each video, which can take a while!

5. Stick to the YouTube Monetization Rules

To keep earning money from your videos, make sure to stick to the YouTube monetization rules. To be on the safe side, you may want to have a quick read of YouTube’s Community Guidelines, Copyright, Terms of Service, and Google AdSense Program Policies.

YouTube Monetization Rules

How Long Does it Take YouTube to Review a Channel for Monetization?

Unfortunately, you can’t start earning money as soon as you’ve enabled YouTube monetization – you’ll have to wait for YouTube to review your channel. YouTube says, “The majority of applications receive an update in less than 30 days.”

In the meantime, don’t stop making videos! Keep posting regularly to grow your channel, engage your audience, and send positive signals to YouTube’s algorithm.

Find Out How Much You’ll Earn with a YouTube Monetization Calculator

If you’re curious to know how much you can earn from your videos, check out one of these YouTube monetization calculators:

YouTube Monetization Calculators

If you’re disappointed with how much you can expect to earn from YouTube monetization, don’t worry – the next section’s for you!

How Do YouTubers Make Money?

YouTube monetization isn’t the only way to make money from your videos. Many YouTubers make money from other income streams also.

Here are four of the most common – and lucrative – ways to make money from your YouTube videos.

1. Patronage

Patreon is an online service that allows your loyal viewers to become virtual patrons of your YouTube channel. You can incentivize viewers to become paying patrons by offering rewards, such as exclusive content, early access, special events, and more.

Making Money on YouTube with Patreon

2. Affiliates

Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other businesses’ products and services. 

When you sign up to become an affiliate of a brand, you’ll be given a unique code to promote to your followers. Then, you’ll be paid a commission whenever one of your followers makes a purchase.

For example, you could join the Shopify Affiliate program. This program pays an average of U.S.$58 for every viewer who signs up to a paid plan using a referral link.

Shopify Affiliate Marketing Program

3. Merchandise

Another way YouTubers make money is by building a website and selling merchandise, such as t-shirts, totes, and accessories. 

You can sign up for Shopify to start selling your own branded merchandise to your audience.

Sell Merchandise with Shopify

4. Paid Sponsorships

Many businesses pay YouTubers to promote their products or services. Yep, it’s possible to get paid to shout out a business, review a product, or recommend a service to your followers.

Still, it can be challenging to land paid sponsorships. Usually, you’ll need a sizable, engaged following to convince businesses to work with you. However, once a few companies see a return on their investment, it becomes easier to secure paid work.

Summary: YouTube Monetization in 2020 

To start making money on YouTube, you must meet the YouTube monetization requirements of at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours in the last 12 months.

If you meet these requirements, here’s how to enable YouTube monetization:

  1. Head to your account’s YouTube Studio, click on “Monetization,” and follow the instructions.
  2. Make sure to read and agree to the YouTube monetization terms
  3. Set up and connect a Google AdSense account to get paid
  4. Choose your YouTube monetization preferences

Once you’ve done this, it typically takes around 30 days for YouTube to review and approve your channel.

While you wait, you can start making money on YouTube in other ways, such as:

  1. Signing up to Patreon
  2. Promoting affiliate links
  3. Selling merchandise with Shopify
  4. Landing paid sponsorships

Making money on YouTube takes time and dedication, so make sure to play the long game by growing your channel and engaging your audience!

Want to Learn More?

Thomas is a B2B content writer specializing in SaaS, ecommerce, and digital marketing.
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