How Does YouTube Monetization Work | 7 Ways to Earn on YT

Today, 90% of users are discovering new brands and products on YouTube. That provides immense possibilities for marketing activities, increasing the company’s revenue, and building brand authority.

Want to know how to monetize your channel and leverage your YouTube career to another level? Well, who doesn’t? Today, we are going to reveal all the secrets  used by Youtube creators that will let you get paid by YouTube.

Let’s answer the following questions:

  • What Is YouTube monetization?
  • How does Youtube monetization work?
  • How can I make money on YouTube? 

What Is YouTube Monetization and YouTube Partner Program?

“Monetize” means to earn a profit from video content on your YouTube channel. YouTube has its own monetization program for creators, which is called the YouTube Partner program.

A first step to enable monetization is becoming a verified YouTube partner. And to do so, your channel needs to meet the YouTube partner program terms. The partnership gives video creators access to useful insights and tools, such as the ability to monetize their videos.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the eligibility requirements.

You should live in a country or region where the YouTube Partner Program is available. Have more than 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months.Have more than 1,000 subscribers.Have a linked Google AdSense account. (it’s needed to receive payments for advertising on your videos).

Next, YouTube will review your channel to ensure it meets its program threshold, mainly based on channel activity. YouTube also pays close attention to community guidelines such as spam, inappropriate language, and other abuse flags. This way, they ensure that creators follow their policies. Even existing channels are regularly evaluated, and YouTube partners that violate their policies may be removed from YPP.

How to Make Money from YouTube?

Does your channel meet all the YouTube partner program policies and has been accepted by YouTube? If so, that’s great. It means you can start making money and generate passive income! There are different monetization options available, namely:

  • AdRevenue,
  • Channel memberships,
  • Merchandising,
  • Affiliate marketing,
  • Brand sponsorship,
  • YouTube Premium,
  • Super Chat and Super Stickers.

Let’s now go through them in detail.


AdSense is a platform that lets brands buy ad space. Then, YouTube places its ads on suitable videos. Video creators receive 55% of the revenue share from YT ads placed via AdSense. Money is generated on a cost-per-click or a cost-per-view basis.

A view counts as an ad watched when the viewer: watches a complete ad that’s 11-30 seconds long,  watches at least 30 seconds of an ad that’s longer than 30 seconds, interacts with the ad (when the viewer clicks on it).

Typically, YouTube pays 18 cents per ad view. Thus, if your video receives 10,000 ad views, you could expect to make about $180. In short – the more viewers click on ads or watch them within your content, the more you’ll earn.

Your YouTube account gets advertising revenue from ads placed on your channel (display, overlay, and video ads). Ads can be displayed in different formats for example, at the start of the video (pre-roll ads). However, if you create videos longer than 10 minutes, you can also enable ads during the video (mid-roll ads).

In the graphic below, you can see a visualization of different ad types.

presentation of different types of youtube ads supported by information telling whether it can run on mobile devices, desktops, TV, laptops, etc.

Image source

To place ads on your channel via AdSense, your channel needs to:

  • Have 1,000 subscribers,
  • Be a member of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).

How to Enable Ads in YouTube Videos?

To enable ads for your channel, follow the steps presented below.

Channel Memberships

Your channel isn’t getting tons of views, yet you still have some loyal fans?

Here’s good news: you don’t have to rely on ad revenue to make money from videos on YouTube solely. There are other revenue streams as well! As long as some people perceive your YouTube videos as great content, you still have earning potential, allowing you to monetize videos.

As a content creator, you can make money through channel memberships. Memberships are paid subscriptions to your channel. It’s a form of financial assistance, which helps YouTube video creators produce content full-time. 

Your fan base may support your YouTube channel by committing to recurring monthly payments. In exchange, they receive access to special emojis, exclusive rewards, and other custom perks.  

youtube memberships feature list for fan funding

YouTube Memberships costs start from $4.99. You can upgrade a membership to higher tiers, each having its own price and benefits. Perks stack as you go up each tier, meaning if you buy access to the highest tier, the lower perks are also available. If your knowledge provides value to your audience, you can create exclusive content such as courses or training. Then, make it accessible only for members.

For every YouTube Membership payment, the channel owner receives 70 percent of the funds while YouTube takes 30 percent. This calculation is made after applying the cost of taxes, so YouTubers get slightly less than the expected $3.49.

How to Enable Channel YouTube Channel Memberships?

  1. Sign in to your Google Account.
  2. Go to the Memberships page.
  3. Click “Get started” and follow the on-screen instructions.

Merchandise Sales

YouTube created a “Merchandise” option to let owners of YouTube channels sell merch directly from the platform. Together with Teespring, they designed a list of 20 merchandise items that can be customized and sold through Youtube.

different ways Aphmau gets money earned through YT merchandise store

The merchandise shelf appears on the video page of eligible channels. Still, it may not show on all watch pages. As you can see above, you can sell merchandise pretty much anything. YouTubers have gone from selling T-shirts to custom dolls and pillows. The most common products are:

  • T-shirts,
  • Tote bags,
  • Posters,
  • Stickers,
  • Cups,
  • Books.
  • Bracelets.

How to Enable YouTube Merchandise?

To enable YouTube Merchandise, follow the steps below: 

  • Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  • In the left menu, select Monetization.
  • Click on the Merchandise tab. This option is visible only for eligible channels.
  • To turn on the merch shelf on your channel and link your official merchandise store to your YouTube channel, follow the on-screen instructions.

Not all YouTubers will be able to sell their products through the platform. You will need:

  • A minimum of 10,000 subscribers.
  • To be part of the YouTube Partner Program.

Affiliate Marketing

The next point on our list is YouTube Affiliate Marketing. You can start making money by creating videos that recommend products you truly love. If the viewers find your recommendations useful and attractive, they may buy the products through affiliate links. This lets you earn commissions for every successful transaction. 

Most big brands have affiliate programs that allow you to become their brand’s advocate. Then, you’ll be able to recommend their products or services through your unique link. If there’s a particular brand that seems to fit your content, check if they offer an affiliate marketing program.

razer affiliate marketing link in SERP

To do that, just search for the term “<brand name> affiliate marketing” in Google. Even if nothing relevant shows up, you can still contact them via email or any other form, asking for an affiliate link. However, keep in mind that some companies may want to have a look at your content to decide whether you are a good fit for their affiliate marketing or not.

Here are some best practices regarding affiliate marketing:

  1. Always recommend only those products that you believe in. If you try some shady practices, viewers will find out about your dishonesty. This has already led to the fall of many top YouTube stars, making them lose fans, credibility, and authority.
  2. Create engaging content that’s specific to your links. We are not telling you to create a separate video for each of the goods. However, good creators know how to promote products while creating compelling content. 
JimsReviewRoom video description with amazon recommendations showing he’s a part of the amazon influencer program

Here’s an example. Let’s say you are running a gaming channel. Why don’t you upload a video in which you genuinely review products from a specific category, like headphones or keyboards? Then, you can link to each of them in the video descriptions.

3. Each time you upload new videos with affiliate links, remind your viewers that all products mentioned can be found in the video description. It may seem obvious, but many YouTubers forget about it. What happens then? Well, even if they convince some viewers to purchase a product, they may start looking for it on their own. Consequently, they don’t click on the affiliate link, and the creator doesn’t get paid.

4. You are legally obliged to inform that the links in your content are affiliate links. Thus, make sure always to have this message highlighted in the descriptions of your future videos. Here’s how Cory from the channel 10BestOnes does it:

10BestOnes channel affiliate marketing disclaimer

Brand Sponsorship

However, affiliate marketing is not everything. Another way of making money on YouTube is brand sponsorship, also known in the digital marketing world as “influencer marketing.”

Read Also: How to do Influencer Marketing: A Guide to Well-Planned Strategy

How does it work? After signing a contract, a given company pays a content creator to promote a brand or product within a video. What differentiates it from affiliate marketing is that content creators typically receive a flat rate for having a specific ad slot within their content. 

a shot from iJustine product placements YT video - PS5 unboxing

The image above shows an example of sponsored content uploaded by iJustine, a tech, travel, and gaming influencer on YouTube. Knowing that her audience would perfectly fit Sony products, the company asked the YouTuber to create an honest review of the new PS5. 

Key takeaway: No matter if you are a YouTuber or a business owner looking for influencer collaborations, always make sure that the sponsored content flows naturally with the overall theme of the channel. 

According to WebFX research, the potential prices for influencer marketing on YouTube are:

  • $200 per video for a YouTuber with 10,000 subscribers.
  • $2,000 per video for a YouTuber with 100,000 subscribers.
  • $20,000 per video for a YouTuber with 1,000,000 subscribers. 

Similar to affiliate marketing, your videos should have a disclaimer informing that the presented product is a form of paid sponsorship. Additionally, remember to have the box “Paid promotion” checked while uploading your video.

paid promotion disclaimer that advertisers must check on YouTube

YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium, formerly known as YouTube Red, is a form of paid YouTube subscription. Not only does it bring many new features and benefits to users, but it also is yet another revenue stream that lets creators make more money.

the benefits of YouTube premium for users: access to premium youtube content (series, movies), no ads, and youtube premium music allowing background play

Here’s how YouTube refers to YouTube premium revenue:
Creators are the heart and soul of YouTube. To make sure they’re compensated for their work, we share ad revenue with them when you watch ads on YouTube. If you’re a YouTube Premium member, you won’t see ads, so we share your monthly membership fee with creators.

Revenue from YouTube Premium membership fees depends on the watch time and how many members watch your content. As YouTube says, most of the revenue will go to creators. When it comes to numbers, YouTube takes a 45% cut of your premium earnings, similarly to the ad-generated income.

YouTube Shorts

youtube short

YouTube Shorts are brief, vertical videos typically created using a smartphone and directly posted to YouTube through the YouTube app, similar to how Instagram Stories are shared on Instagram. The maximum duration allowed for a YouTube short is 60 seconds.

Now, let’s explore how creators can earn money from this feature. It’s quite different from how you monetize Youtube videos. Here are the requirements you must meet to earn from Youtube shorts:

  • At least 1000 subscribers
  • 4000 public watch hours for longer YouTube videos in past 12 months or
  • At least 10 million public views on your Shorts in the past 90 days 

Only creators who meet the abovementioned criteria will receive compensation for their YouTube Shorts. However, remember these conditions as well:

  • Make sure the YouTube partner program is available in your country
  • Your channel is free of Community Guidelines strikes
  • Have an active AdSense account
  • Be at least 13 years old

Super Chat and Super Stickers

Super Chat and Super Stickers are yet another way to expand creators’ monetization opportunities and generate additional income from top fans. 

Since its launch in 2017, the two options are extremely useful during live chats or premieres, when the chat is extraordinarily crowded. Super Chat users get their messages highlighted, which allows them to get noticed by their favorite content creators. Not only does it let most YouTubers earn extra money, but it also allows them to connect with loyal fans.

superchat payments

Super Chat payments can range between $1 and $500 each. YouTube takes 30% of the revenue, and this isn’t considering any service fees, tax, or other charges.

The service allows eligible creators to have insights into the numbers and to measure performance. All the metrics are available in YouTube Analytics 48-72 hours after your live stream or premiere ends. You should pay special attention to:

  • A number of Super Chats and Super Stickers.
  • Average donation amount (note: revenue may vary due to service fees, sales tax, or other charges).
  • How the number of viewers changes regarding what is happening on-screen.
  • Filter results by geographic location or date.

Here’s a rundown of Super Chat eligibility requirements:

channel guidelines and requirements for those who want to monetize through super chat

Final Thoughts

As we live in the content-obsessed world, YouTube monetization gives creators numerous possibilities to earn revenue. The platform has changed its requirements to benefit smaller channels, which lets people make money from the very beginning of their content creation adventure.

So, what are you waiting for? Follow the advice from this post and instead of watching other YouTubers make millions, start earning money yourself! 

GamerSEO services

Feel like you need guidance through the world of YouTube? Don’t worry, we are here to support you during this demanding quest. Have a look at our YouTube campaign services, and feel free to contact GamerSEO experts. We’ll be more than happy to answer all of your questions.  

Read Also: Marketing Success Stories: A Few Lessons to Learn

YouTube FAQ

How many views do you need to get paid on YouTube?

To start monetizing your channel via any revenue stream, you need to become a YouTube partner. To join the YouTube partner program, the two main requirements are: 

  • having 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months
  • having a linked Google AdSense account.

How much money do you make per 1000 views on YouTube?

On average, YouTubers get paid 18 cents for an ad view. Thus, if your video gets 1,000 ad views, you can expect to make around 18$. This translates into $3 – $5 per 1000 video views.

Who is the highest paid YouTuber?

In June 2020, the highest annual earner YouTuber was Ryan Kaji from Ryan’s World (formerly known as ToysReview). He’s an eight-year-old who reviews and plays with toys (source:

How many subscribers do you need to make money on YouTube?

To utilize monetization features and, therefore, make YouTube pay you, your subscriber count has to be higher than 1,000.

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