How to monetize your YouTube channel in 2024

YouTube is a great platform for connecting with an audience while making money from it. Here's how to monetize your channel, along with a few other ways to earn money on YouTube.

How to monetize your YouTube channel in 2024

If you want to make money while creating content, a good place to start is learning how to monetize your YouTube channel. With the help of the trusty YouTube Partner Program and its built-in advertising system, you can start making money on YouTube pretty quickly.

While you shouldn’t expect to become a millionaire overnight, the smaller amounts of cash add up. Then, the bigger and more engaged your audience is, the better the financial returns.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

Monetizing YouTube

How do I monetize my YouTube channel?

The main way to make money on YouTube is by joining the YouTube Partner Program, which allows you to monetize with adverts and more.

To be accepted for the YouTube Partner Program, you need to tick off a few things first. They are:

Is it free to monetize on YouTube?

Yep! You’ll naturally have to shell out for equipment and those kinds of things, but there’s no initial fee for making money on YouTube. The platform will take a cut of your earnings, but you’ll never be billed upfront for anything.

Okay, so you’ve hit all those YouTube Partner Program criteria — now it’s time to kick things off in YouTube Studio. Let’s walk through the process of activating all this and start making money on YouTube.

Monetizing YouTube content

How to activate YouTube Studio monetization

  1. On the YouTube homepage, click your profile icon and select ‘YouTube Studio’ in the dropdown menu.
  2. Find the left navigation bar and click ‘Monetization.’
  3. Once you’ve met the requirements, you’ll see a little blue button that says ‘APPLY NOW.’ Click it! If you’ve not quite met the requirements yet, there’s a ‘Notify me when I’m eligible’ button. Hit that, and YouTube will email you when you’re ready. 
  4. Now, YouTube will carry out a check to ensure you’re meeting their Community Guidelines. A lot of the things in here are common sense, but it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the rules, so you don’t accidentally break them later down the line.
  5. At this point, you should also double-check that your channel’s location settings are correct. Otherwise, you might run into problems if your channel isn’t set to the correct country.
  6. Link your YouTube channel to your AdSense account, or create one here. If you already have an AdSense account, then you just sign in and hook it up to your YouTube.
  7. Apply! You might need to be patient, though. You’ll usually have to wait around a month to see if you’ve been accepted or not, and if you haven’t, you’re allowed to reapply after 30 days. Sometimes, the application process can take a bit longer. That’s because your application is reviewed manually by a human, not a robot.

It’s worth noting that while 500 subscribers will get you into the YouTube Partner Program, you’ll need 1,000 subscribers to activate ad revenue and YouTube Premium benefits. 

Once you’ve activated YouTube Partner Program monetization and reached 1,000 subscribers, you can enable ads on videos. This can be for every video, or a select few.

A solid tip to remember is that advertising revenue is based on several factors, including the number of viewers, where these viewers are based, and how much they interact with your content. It’s not just quantity — if a certain demographic watches loads of videos but doesn’t click any links, they’re ‘worth’ less to advertisers.

Another thing to bear in mind is the safe, legal use of music on the platform. When YouTubers include tracks in their content, they should hold the correct rights to do so. If they don’t, the rights holder — usually the songwriter, artist, or record label — is notified. It’s an easy mistake to make, but copyright infringement can lead to other parties monetizing your content instead of you. 

If that sounds like a headache, it is. Why stress about music copyright when you can use Epidemic Sound? We own all the rights to our catalog of more than 40,000 tracks. Check it out below and start soundtracking your content safely today.

How much can you make after you monetize your channel?

The amount you can make on YouTube varies significantly depending on several factors. These include:

  • Your niche
  • The number of clicks your ad gets
  • The length of your video
  • Where your viewers are located globally
  • The number of views your video gets

The average YouTube pay rate ranges between $0.10 to $0.30 for an ad view — YouTube banks 45% of the AdSense earnings, leaving you with 55%.

An established YouTuber can make around $18 per 1,000 ad views, which usually works out around $3 to $5 per 1,000 video views. But a more realistic expectation is probably to earn $1 to $2 per 1,000 video views. To give you some context, you need to be generating over one million views per month to replace a full-time income. That’s why so many creators don’t rely on Google AdSense monetization alone.

However, it’s worth mentioning that pure video views, without ads, can also bring in revenue – if the views come from YouTube Premium users. In these cases, YouTube shares some of its subscription revenue with creators. Just like with ad-generated income, YouTube takes a 45% cut of a creator’s Premium earnings. To learn more about how much a YouTuber earns, click here.

Monetizing YouTube

For a more comprehensive measurement of how much you’ll earn per 1,000 views, you can head to YouTube Analytics and check your RPM. This stands for ‘Revenue Per Mille,’ which calculates your earnings based on ads, channel memberships, YouTube Premium revenue, Super Chat, and Super Stickers — we’ll discuss some of these later. It also includes views on videos you haven’t monetized.

RPM is different from CPM, which means ‘Cost Per Mille.’ This is the cost per 1,000 ad impressions — it only counts revenue from YouTube Premium and ads. This means it only includes views from monetized videos. The total amount calculated for CPM is before YouTube takes a cut, unlike RPM, which shows you your actual revenue.

You can increase your RPM by:

  • Turning on monetization for all videos
  • Turning on all ad formats
  • Turning on ads at all eligible positions (midrolls, for example)
  • Turning on features like channel membership and Super Chat to diversify your revenue streams

Other ways to make money on YouTube

Most content creators monetize their YouTube channel as part of an overall effort to rake in cash — it’s not their only source of income. There are several ways to make money on YouTube linked directly to the YouTube Partner Program, and others that aren’t. Let’s dig into them.

Super Chat, Super Stickers, and Super Thanks

These are fun little features for viewers to show their appreciation, and earn you some money along the way. Basically, if you want to interact with your fans while making money on YouTube, go Super. Each Super feature gives creators a 70% cut, with YouTube pocketing the rest. Not a bad split!

  • Super Chat is available in YouTube Live videos and premieres. It gives watchers the chance to donate anything between $1 and $500 — in return, their comment features prominently in the live chat. 
  • Super Stickers do a similar job to Super Chat — they’re fun stickers viewers can buy, which are pinned to the top of the live chat. This means commenters with Super Stickers are more likely to grab the creator’s attention while streaming.
  • Super Thanks do what they say on the tin: they show gratitude toward creators! When viewers buy Super Thanks, they snag a featured comment in the live chat, plus a GIF. However, Super Thanks can be purchased and used outside of Live videos. In fact, they can be used on any video uploaded on YouTube.
Creating YouTube content

Sell your merchandise

Through your content, you’ve probably developed funny characters, coined catchphrases, or noticed a gap in the market for products you know your audience would love. Make these a reality with branded products, which you can sell via a web store.

There are really no limits to what you can brand, package, and sell these days. Think up some ideas, crunch the numbers, and ask your audience what they think.

Use YouTube Shopping

If you want to go beyond your other storefronts — like Etsy, for example — you can sell directly through YouTube. YouTube Shopping lets you link to your products during your videos and YouTube Shorts.

Your products can also be purchased via your channel’s official store, a product shelf below your content, a shopping button within your content, or as a pinned product during YouTube Live streams. 

It’s a great way to link your storefronts together, and send people directly to any merch you have available. To qualify for YouTube Shopping, you need to:

  • Have joined the YouTube Partner Program, or have an Official Artist Channel
  • Ensure your channel isn’t set to ‘Made for Kids,’ and doesn’t feature a significant amount of videos in that category 
  • Have not been flagged for any Hate Speech Community Guideline Strikes

Affiliate marketing provides creators with a unique hyperlink. When viewers click it, they’re taken to a page where they can buy products. You can 100% monetize YouTube with affiliate links, but the amount you earn — and when you earn — depends on whose link you’re trying to big up. They’re not a get-rich-quick strategy, but affiliate links are a great way to make passive income as a creative.

Do you need 500 subscribers on YouTube to get paid?

The short answer is: yes. To kick off monetization with the YouTube Partner Program, 500 subscribers are part of the deal.

However, while avenues like advertising and YouTube Premium are reserved for those with more than 1,000 subscribers, there are other options. Let’s discuss channel membership and third-party subscription platforms.

Channel membership

If you’ve gained a group of die-hard fans, you can monetize YouTube through channel membership. To do this, you need to be part of the YouTube Partner Program.

Once you’ve unlocked membership, you can organize what followers get when they sign up, and what prices the different tiers should be — the amount is debited every month, so don’t charge unreasonable amounts. One-on-one chats and merch discounts are a few sweet perks to offer here, but just remember that YouTube takes 30% of the monthly membership fee.

Monetizing YouTube content

Use a third-party subscription platform

Platforms like Patreon and Buy Me A Coffee are direct ways for creators to offer something to fans outside the confines of YouTube. Creative ideas like early access to videos, polls determining future content, merch discounts, and more are all worthy ideas! They can help bring fans over from YouTube into another platform that gives them more access and — yep, you guessed it — you more money.

Utilize all your social media platforms for paid brand sponsorships

Many YouTubers have active, engaged profiles on several social media platforms — it provides a natural addition to their YouTube channel. It’s a smart move that helps you find new audiences across multiple platforms.

On top of that, brands could be willing to work with you on sponsored content across channels beyond YouTube. Brand endorsements and product, service, or experience reviews could all be thrown into the mix, and if you’ve got the clout on another platform aside from YouTube, then flaunt it!

Just be wary of stats and analytics, though. Businesses will want to see a return on investment by tapping into your audience, so you do have a job to do with all the free swag you might get from a brand deal. Brands look for a mixture of audience reach and engagement when choosing influencers, bloggers, and creators to work with, so bear that in mind.

Use your expertise to do freelance work

With a successful YouTube channel, you’ll likely develop some solid videographer skills. This means you can create a brand, market its content, and draw in an engaged audience.

Businesses might approach you, or you could pitch to them, offering work based on your skills. This may be freelance work produced for them, or in partnership with them. Either way, you now have a portfolio to show potential clients or brands what you can do.

Monetizing YouTube

Key points to remember for making money on YouTube

Making money on YouTube is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s possible to make a living doing this, but it requires hard work, dedication, and knowledge of both YouTube and other social media platforms. To summarize:

  • If your channel was rejected from the YouTube Partner Program, don’t sweat it. You can reapply in 30 days, which is enough time to fix any problems on your channel.
  • When it comes to AdSense revenue, you’ll earn 55% of all advertising profits.
  • The revenue share for Super features and channel subscriptions is a 70/30 split.
  • You need to make at least $100 before YouTube sends funds to your bank account, which can take up to 60 days to arrive.

And if you want to make money YouTube Shorts, don’t sweat it. Read our guide to monetizing YouTube Shorts here. 

Now that you know how to monetize your YouTube channel, take a leaf out of popular YouTubers’ books and license your music safely. We all love soundtracking content with an absolute banger, but the complicated legal trouble that comes from improper use of music can be a nightmare. Let us help you out.

Our catalog is high-quality, affordable, and safe. An Epidemic Sound subscription goes beyond royalty-free music, removing the headache of licensing and freeing you up to do what you do best. You can enjoy the safety of our license hand-in-hand with our massive catalog of 40,000 tracks, covering just about every genre you can think of. You’ll also gain unlimited access to our advanced search functions — finding the right sound’s never been easier. 

It’s better than royalty-free. It’s worry-free. Get started with Epidemic Sound below.

Are you a YouTuber? Whether you’re an editing master or just a beginner, discover what Epidemic Sound has to offer on our Epidemic Sound for YouTube page. And, if you’re looking for some music for YouTube, we got you covered.

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