How Much Do YouTubers Make in 2020?

Blogging and publishing YouTube videos are the most popular ways to make money online these days. But how much money do YouTubers make? I mean, how much do they really make, and what can you expect to earn when you start your own YouTube channel?

Let's break down the sources of income and check out how much the top YouTubers make.

How Much Do YouTubers make

Ad Revenue

How does Google make money? AdSense is still their primary source of income and their ad revenue grew from 0.07 billion U.S. dollars in 2011 to 116.32 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. I'm sure you love ads as much as I do, but the numbers clearly show there is immense potential in making money on YouTube.

How does it work?

Once you publish a video on YouTube, and if you agree to ad-placements, then Google will place ads on your videos. Believe it or not, this money can compound fast. Let's do the math.

First of all, it's essential to understand the revenue share logic. YouTube keeps 45% of the advertising revenue, while YouTubers receive 55% of the revenue. So, for every $1 earned through YouTube, you'll receive $0.55.

  1. How much do YouTubers make per view? This will probably shock you at first. YouTubers make between 0.25 and 1 cent per view.
  2. How much do YouTubers earn per 1000 views? About $1 to $10 is the realistic income per 1000 views for the average YouTube content.
  3. How much do YouTubers get paid per video? It depends on the overall category of the video content. Niches, like finance, get paid the best while other general content gets paid less. In the finance niche, you will easily make $10,000 per video, or more, if you get at least 1 million views. On average, a YouTube channel makes $1,000 per 1 million views.
  4. How much do YouTubers make a year? Beginners should not expect more than $2,500 in the first year. The more subscribers you have, and the more people watch your ad-based videos, the more money you will make.
  5. When do I get paid? Google pays you between the 10th and 14th of each month, as long as the balance of the previous month's end exceeds $100.

While ad-based video publishing is an exciting way to increase your YouTube salary, there are other sources of income that can help you even more to become one of the top paid YouTubers.

Affiliate Links

Ad-Sense based income within your YouTube videos can hurt the number of views, subscribers, and payouts. That's because people tend to skip ads or to use ad-blockers. And you only get paid from YouTube if someone watches the advertisement spot.

Affiliate links within your YouTube video description can be much more powerful in terms of payouts. Let's say you run a computer technology channel and publish regular videos about the newest graphic cards, CPUs, and motherboards. In this case, it makes sense to place content related links within the video description. If someone clicks on this link and makes a purchase, then you get paid a share of the revenue.

How much can you make on YouTube by placing affiliate links? That ultimately depends on the products you promote, the payment terms, and the revenue share of each product.

What's most interesting is the duration of a video is not that important. Ad revenue-based payments rely on the length because the longer the content, the more ads that can be displayed. But with affiliate links, it's different. If a 60-second video convinces people to click your link, you can make money.

I know programs that pay up to $1,000 per conversion in the finance space. Let's compare it to the ad-based revenue. You need around 100,000 displayed ads to get about $1,000 from Google. Now let's say you promote a product where you receive a revenue share of $7 per product sold. If one percent of people watching the video buy the product you promote via your affiliate links, your payout will be 100,000 * 1% * $7 = $7,000. In this case, the payout is seven times higher using affiliate links.

But again, this type of income doesn't make you the highest paid YouTuber.

Sponsorship

If you've ever wondered how much YouTubers earn on sponsorships, well, sponsorships are the jackpot, and they increase the YouTuber salary significantly. 

You need a lot of subscribers, who are highly engaged, and statistics that you can use as proof. A sponsorship is a great alternative to ads or affiliate links. That's because, in most cases, you get paid upfront. Of course, subsequent sponsorships from the same label depend on the conversion they have seen from the traffic you brought to them. 

Sponsorship deals can be small or huge. A more modest sponsorship could be that a graphic card manufacturer sends you a brand new graphic card and asks for a review in return. Other sponsorships are based on brand mentions in your video.

The higher the engagement your video causes, the higher the chances are that the next sponsorship will become even more profitable for you.

If you're curious how to make money as a YouTuber, well, sponsorships are one of the key sources of income in the mix. Statistics say that channels with at least 100,000 YouTube subscribers get about $12,500 per sponsored post on average.

Merchandise

You need to have an attractive brand to sell merchandise. In order to make money selling your merch to the public, you need real fans and subscribers that can identify with your brand . Make sure to have an impressive logo and some niche-specific slogans on your merch.

The good thing is you'll usually keep 100% of the revenue you've created. Sometimes you'll have to pay for the payment processor, like PayPal, but most of the revenue goes into your pocket. Focus on your profit margin and make sure the number of articles produced can realistically be sold. Take baby steps.

Donations

Some YouTubers use Patreon, or PayPal, to collect donations from people. If monetization plays an important role for you, avoid focusing on donations. People love free content and that's why they use YouTube. Some are willing to watch an ad or two. Some click on links and some may buy a t-shirt with your brand on it from your e-commerce store.

As soon people have to log in to another platform to send real money, they hesitate. You need people who really want to support you and your channel because they love your content. Otherwise, you won't get any donations. You will not get rich by monetizing your channel based on donations only.

Requirements to start earning money via YouTube

You've been pondering about how much YouTubers make. Now you're probably ready to jump in the game and start earning money as a YouTuber yourself. Before you start, ask yourself, what YouTuber am I? This is important because your message should be honest, transparent, and beneficial to your subscribers. If you don't like cars, you shouldn't start a channel about cars. If you're a man, it might not be the best idea to start a beauty channel for women. I think you get the point.

One more critical aspect is tax payments. Do YouTubers pay taxes? Yes, they pay taxes in their country if they're legally obliged to do so. Ask your local finance authority if you're uncertain whether you have to pay taxes or not.

Minimum requirements to join Adsense based monetization

On YouTube, the AdSense based monetization requires you to join the YouTube partner program.

Here are the YouTube Partner Program Requirements:

  1. 1,000 subscribers
  2. 4,000 valid watch hours over the last 12 months

You can apply to the program once you notice you have reached the minimum requirements, or you can ask Google to notify you once the threshold has been met.

There is another requirement for your first payment. Google will pay you only if you have made at least $100 by the last day of the previous month. Otherwise, they'll wait until your account balance reaches more than $100. Once this happens, you'll get paid in the middle of the following month.

How much money does the average YouTuber make?

On February 27th, 2018, Chris Stokel-Walker published a story on Bloomberg.com called "Success’ on YouTube Still Means a Life of Poverty".  Here is the most important fact in a short overview:

90 percent of traffic goes to the top 3% of all YouTube channels worldwide

If your channel does not belong to the top three percent, then you have to share 10% of the maximum traffic with 97% of all YouTubers. But hey, Google made $116.32 billion in revenue in 2018, so 10% is still a good number.

Even over a million views per month can lead to a payment of less than $17,000 a year

According to the study, people get paid $1 per 1,000 views on average. With one million views per month and twelve million views per year, you'll make about $12,000 per year on average.

It's hard to get to the top 3 percent of all YouTubers

Think about it, YouTubers upload about 400 hours of videos every minute around the world. That's 24,000 hours of video material per hour and 576,000 video hours per day. Let's put this into context. If you make a video with a duration of, let's say 20 minutes, then that makes you responsible for 0.00347% of content a day. The other 99.99653% of videos will be competing with yours.

How do YouTubers make money? Conclusion

The answer to "How much does a YouTuber make?" cannot be answered that easily. The potential is big, but the competition is as well. Ask the kids in your neighborhood what they want to be when they grow up. Many will tell you they want to become full-time YouTubers. Some want to play computer games all day long, making millions of dollars by letting viewers watch how they play.

Others want to test products; some like to destroy things in an unusual manner; some want to convey their message.

Be aware that success will not happen overnight. You need to invest a minimum of one year to see how it works for you. After twelve months, you should know precisely if you've met the minimum criteria necessary to join the AdSense monetization via the YouTube partner program.

The high number of competitors shouldn't prevent you from trying. Just create your channel, use the hardware and software you already have access to and soon enough you'll find out if people like your content. The more your channel grows, the more you can re-invest.

Remember, you need a plan; proper preparation; unique content; a great marketing strategy.

Have your monetization plans ready before you make your start and consider using affiliate links for the monetization during the first year until you qualify for AdSense. It is vital to monetize from day one. Otherwise, your subscribers will feel cheated if you start without ads and then suddenly switch to ads after 12 months or so.

Things to consider when starting a new YouTube channel

  • Create high quality and engaging content
  • Publish new videos frequently
  • Listen to your audience and grow fast
  • Share your work by using other social media channels too
  • Work as hard as possible by putting in maximum effort and time. Earning money through YouTube is a profession and it depends on your passion.

Finally, if you're wondering, how much do top YouTubers make? Take a look at the ten most successful YouTubers below. Not only will you see their earnings, you'll see why they have gained so many subscribers. And hopefully, they'll provide you with the motivation you need to get started yourself.

Top 10 YouTubers

  1. Ryan Toys Review - 22.9 million subscribers - Ryan reviews fun things then donates them to a local charity.
  2. Jake Paul - 19.7 million subscribers - Jake is 22 years old and lives in Los Angeles. Comedy videos, acting, and crazy adventures are the core elements of his channel.
  3. Dude Perfect - 47.6 million subscribers - Five best friends who like sports and comedy.
  4. DanTDM - 22.2 million subscribers - Gaming, gaming and gaming videos with DanTDM.
  5. Jeffree Star - 16.7 million subscribers - Cosmetics creator and makeup artist obsessed with fashion.
  6. Markiplier - 24.6 million subscribers - Raised >$3,000,000 in charity and publishes hilarious gaming videos and comedy sketches.
  7. VanossGaming - 24.8 million subscribers - The official Vanoss gaming channel on YouTube.
  8. Jacksepticeye - 23 million subscribers - He wants to have fun gaming and make people happy with daily gameplay videos and sketches.
  9. PewDiePie - 102 million subscribers - Evergreen content from one of the most successful YouTubers.
  10. Logan Paul - 20 million subscribers - 24 year old YouTuber publishing crazy daily Vlogs.

(Subscribers as of December 2019)

Updated: January 06, 2019

​About the Author

​Alexander is an investor, trader, and founder of daytradingz.com. After devoting many years to educating himself on powerful day trading techniques and effective investment styles, he started trading and investing more actively. In the past 20 years, he has executed thousands of trades. In 2015, he began writing articles about trading, investing, and personal finance. He is very passionate about sharing his knowledge and strives for success in himself and others. Alexander has been featured on Benzinga, Rockstar Finance, and ESI Money.