YouTube monetization: How to monetize your videos and Shorts

Start making a living from your YouTube channel and earn cash from your videos.

Sandy Beeson
Illustration of YouTube monetization.

Creating content to share with the world is a wonderful thing, but imagine being able to make a living from your YouTube videos too! That dream is very much a reality for an increasing number of content creators, thanks to YouTube monetization.

It’s in YouTube’s interests to encourage creators to produce knock-out content, and it does this by offering lots of ways for people to monetize their channels. It means that making money from YouTube isn’t as hard as you think. The creator economy supports more than 200 million people worldwide, and you could join them!

Before you can start bringing in those sweet YouTube dollars, there’s a couple of important milestones you need to reach first. So read on to find out how start monetizing YouTube, the different ways you can make money from your channel, and how you can start to make a living as a content creator.

How to start making money from your videos

Illustration of creator gaining subscribers and watch time to join the YouTube Partner Program.

In order to start earning money through your YouTube channel, you’ll need to apply to become part of the YouTube Partner Program. While there are barriers to who can apply, which we’ll cover below, plenty of creators manage to get on board. We’ve got all the info to help you join them!

What is the YouTube Partner Program?

The Partner Program is a major milestone for serious creators. Not only is it the point at which YouTubers can make money from their channel, they also get access to YouTube’s Creator Support team, and the Copyright Match Tool to stop other people from posting their content.

There are a couple of goals you'll need to hit before you can apply to join the Partner Program. It’s very doable and, once you’re on board, you can start getting money from ads, memberships, and other revenue streams too.

Discover how to make the most of the YouTube Partner Program's earning opportunities and find out how to join by reading our guide to the YouTube Partner Program.

YouTube monetization requirements: Who can join the YouTube Partner Program?

The YouTube Partner Program has two levels at which you can apply to join, with different ways to monetize your content in each.

The lower threshold was introduced in June 2023 and allows you to start monetizing your channel through Channel Memberships and Supers. You just need to make sure your channel has the below:

  • 500 subscribers to your channel
  • Three valid public uploads in the last 90 days
  • Either 3,000 watch hours in the last 12 months, or 3 million Shorts views in the last 90 days
The lower threshold was introduced in June 2023 and is only available in selected countries, including Canada, the UK and the US. Over time, YouTube plans to make the lower threshold available to creators in other countries where the YouTube Partner Program is available.

The bar is slightly higher if you want to unlock all of your monetization options, but not by much! You’ll be able to make money from Shorts and sign up for Google’s AdSense service to earn revenue from ads once you reach these milestones:

  • 1,000 subscribers for your channel. Over 10 million YouTubers have reached this landmark already so it’s definitely achievable, even if you’re only just starting out!
Growing your audience is so important when you’re looking to monetize your YouTube channel. If you need a helping hand, check out our guide on how to get 1,000 subscribers on YouTube.
  • Either 4,000 watch hours on your content in the last 12 months, or 10 million views on YouTube Shorts in the last 90 days.
Want to bump up your view count? Check out our guide on how to get more views on YouTube!
  • Once you have the number of subscribers and watch hours needed, and as long as you’re in a country that’s eligible for the YouTube Partner Program, you’ll be able to apply for YouTube to review your channel. Simply head to the Monetization tab in YouTube Studio to check if you’re eligible and apply.
You can't apply to be part of the Partner Program if you have any active Community Guideline strikes on your channel, so stay in YouTube's good books! Part of that means making sure you use copyright-free music from platforms like Uppbeat to avoid copyright issues.

Your channel’s review can take up to one month but, once accepted, you’ll be able to turn on monetization. Simply head to the Earn tab in YouTube Studio and select the available monetization options you want to switch on.

It almost goes without saying but if you don’t turn on your monetization options in YouTube Studio, you could be missing out on revenue from your videos!

How much money do YouTubers make?

Now you’re asking the million dollar question, or should we say the $50 billion question? That’s how much YouTube has paid out in the last three years, sharing that huge amount between more than 2 million creators.

Working out how much any single YouTuber can make from monetizing their channel is tricky though, with lots of different factors that can affect a creator’s monetization. But a lot of it comes down to your audience as they’re the ones watching your videos and your ads.

That's because the amount of money a YouTuber earns from their videos can be affected by how long their viewers watch ads, the number of clicks their content can drive, and the quality of ads themselves.

That's why your location and the demographic of your audience can play a big part, with some regions attracting more big money advertisers than others. It helps to be familiar with your YouTube Analytics so you know where your audience is based.

Different ways to make money on YouTube

Examples of different methods of how to make money from YouTube.

YouTube wants you to be successful and make money from your channel. That’s why they give creators all the tools they need to earn from content, with the most successful YouTubers making use of multiple revenue streams at the same time.

British YouTuber DanTDM earns money through ads, promotes sponsors in his videos, and also has his own brand of merchandise to sell to fans. That’s called making the most of your platform! Find out which options for monetizing your YouTube channel are available and see which will work best for you.

Check whether you’re eligible for each of the different ways you can earn money through your channel. YouTube sets requirements you need to meet in order to use each of their monetization features.

Engage your audience with Channel Memberships and Supers

The upside of having subscribers is that you can harness the power of your engaged army of followers and get them to support your channel.

Channel Memberships are a great way of offering more perks to your most loyal fans. For a monthly fee you can give them access to exclusive content, custom emojis, or even members-only live chats and community forums.

Encourage your viewers to show their support during videos, live streams and premieres with Supers. Super Thanks, Super Chats and Super Stickers allow people to give your channel direct donations while they’re enjoying your content.

  • Super Thanks are a special one-off animated comment that viewers can pay to use in a video’s comments section.
  • Super Chats let your viewers stand out in the chat of a live stream or premiere, by giving their comment a colorful background.
  • Super Stickers are similar to Super Chats, but instead give viewers the option to purchase an animated sticker that gets pinned at the top of the chat on a live stream or premiere.

You can set up both Channel Memberships and Supers by heading to the Monetization tab in YouTube Studio. They’re great ways of engaging with your followers and building your very own community.

In June 2023, YouTube started expanding the YouTube Partner Program to make Channel Memberships and Supers available for creators with 500 subscribers in certain countries. Check out whether you can join the YouTube Partner Program and start earning.

Sell merch through YouTube Shopping

Wouldn’t it be awesome for your fans to be able to rock your merch? If you’ve already got an online shop set up, you can display your products underneath your videos, in cards that feature in your content, or pinned in the live chat.

In certain countries you only need 500 subscribers to be able to sell your own merch through YouTube. Find out whether you’re eligible to join the YouTube Partner Program and start using your channel as your very own marketplace!

Not sure how to get going with your own shop? Websites like Shopify can help you get off the ground and start selling your own merch.

If you’re eligible, you might even be able to promote products from other brands by tagging them in your videos. This is typically for channels with more than 20,000 subscribers though, and only available in Brazil, India, the UK, and the USA.

Examples of how creators can monetize YouTube.

Earn passive YouTube income with ad revenue

This one’s straightforward and can start earning you money as soon as you’re in the YouTube Partner Program. Simply head to Monetization in YouTube Studio and turn on ads to earn revenue from any of your eligible videos.

You have the option to select the different spots on your videos that ads will appear, from short video promos that show during your content, through to clickable images that sit next to your video.

All you need to do is switch it on and watch your earnings grow, but it’s worth noting the different reasons advertisers might want their ads to live next to your content. Ads are automatically selected to appear next to your content based on:

  • Your channel’s audience
  • Your video description and metadata
  • How advertiser-friendly your content is

Say, for example, your channel is all about teaching people how to shred popular guitar solos. Your video’s description talks about how to play Sweet Child O’ Mine, your viewers all want to be the next Slash, and your content doesn’t feature anything inappropriate or age-sensitive. There’s a good chance that the likes of Gibson or Fender will want to show your audience promos for their guitars!

Be warned, YouTube has the power to demonetize your content if it isn't advertiser-friendly. Check out our guide on how to avoid YouTube demonetization to protect your earnings!

Monetize your YouTube Shorts

Creators can choose to earn money from the ads shown alongside their Shorts, as long as they’ve selected Shorts monetization through the Earn tab in YouTube Studio.

Check out the requirements for making money from your Shorts and see how much you could earn by checking out our guide to YouTube Shorts monetization.

How much you earn depends on how many views your Shorts content gets each month. To put it simply, you’ll receive a portion of YouTube's ad revenue from Shorts, which is divided among all creators who have turned on monetization.

One thing to bear in mind is that revenue from Shorts that include copyrighted tracks from YouTube’s music partners will be shared out between more people. That means you’ll get a smaller percentage of the revenue from your content.

Chart showing the revenue sharing from YouTube Shorts monetization.
Want to upload to YouTube Shorts with music but don’t want to reduce the amount of revenue you get paid? Using Uppbeat’s copyright-free music in your videos means you can keep a larger share of your revenue!

You can find out exactly how YouTube Shorts revenue is split, but the main thing to remember is that the more views you rack up, the more you’re going to earn! Once you’re earning from Shorts, you can head to Analytics to check out your Shorts Feed ad revenue.

Collaborate through YouTube Brand Connect

There are loads of brands out there that would love for you to promote their products to your audience. Fortunately, you can link up with them via YouTube's Brand Connect service, which is currently available in the USA, Canada, and the UK.

Essentially, Brand Connect will hook you up with advertisers who will pay to feature their products in your videos and create bespoke content campaigns. It’s a win-win situation, although you do have to make it clear to viewers that the content is sponsored by checking the paid promotion box in YouTube Studio under Video details.

Try reaching out to brands directly! If you already have companies or products in mind that have a similar audience, the same values, or even feature in your videos already, get in touch and let them know why they should collaborate with your channel.

Want to tell your audience about a product or introduce them to a great service? Lots of companies would like that too, and are willing to pay you for any purchases that come from your videos. Big retailers offer you the chance to make an easy income through schemes like Amazon Associates and Ebay Partner Network.

Simply sign up and get personalized links to products you want to include in your video descriptions. It helps if the products are relevant to your content, like specialist pans for a cookery channel or a skateboard brand for a highlights reel of your best tricks. If it resonates with your audience, there’s more chance of you earning a sale!

Grow your channel for more earning potential

Illustration of creator earning money from their YouTube channel.

Once you’re able to apply for the YouTube Partner Program, a whole world of earning opportunities will open up for you. From easy revenue through ads and affiliate links, right through to donations from your viewers and selling your own line of merch.

The main hurdle is having enough subscribers to be able to apply for the Partner Program, but it’s very achievable. If you’re yet to hit that landmark, we can walk you through how to get 1,000 subscribers on YouTube.

Once you’ve got past that milestone and racked up enough viewing time, you’ll be able to explore the different monetization options, hopefully ditch the day job and earn money from being a YouTuber.

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