With more than 1.3 billion users and counting, YouTube is the world's leading video platform. In any given day, users visit the site or use an app to watch an estimated 5 billion videos. If you've ever spent an afternoon watching YouTube videos, though, you may have noticed ads before, during or after a video. Well, if you're looking for a fun and rewarding way to make money, you should consider a similar business venture by launching and monetizing your own YouTube channel.
If you haven't done so already, go ahead and sign up for a YouTube account. It's recommended that you choose a easy-to-remember, brandable username that's associated with the content you want to produce. This will help viewers remember who you are, thus resulting in a higher subscriber retention rate and, ultimately, more money from your ads.
After creating your YouTube account, you should plan your video strategy. In other words, what type of videos will you create, and how will you create them? Attempting to create videos on every topic under the sun is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. A more effective approach is to focus your video strategy on a specific topic, also known as niche.
Choosing a niche for your YouTube videos requires research. Ideally, you want a niche with a minimal competition and high search volume. It should also be something that you enjoy or otherwise find interesting. If you don't enjoy making videos on a particular subject, you probably won't have the motivation to follow through with your money-making YouTube venture.
However, something else to consider when choosing a niche is the ad cost for related keywords. The amount of money you'll generate from YouTube ads is heavily influenced by the cost of those ads to advertisers. Ads for legal services, for example, typically cost more than ads for local events. YouTube will automatically display the most relevant ads in your videos, so basing the content of your videos around high-cost ads will increase your earnings.
To see if a niche has high-cost ads, enter some relevant keywords into Google's AdWords Keyword Planner tool. This tool will reveal the average cost per click (CPC) paid by advertisers for the specified keyword.
Join the YouTube Partner Program
To make money with YouTube through ads, you must join the YouTube Partner Program. There are certain requirements for joining the program, including a minimum of 4,000 watch over the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. Once you've met this criteria, you can apply by accessing the Creator Studio > Channel > Status and features > Monetization > Enable. The YouTube team will then review your application within the next two to three weeks.
Additionally, you must create an AdSense account and link it to your YouTube account. This is a Google-run program that compensates online publishers for displaying ads. Check out this help article for more information.
YouTube Earnings Potential
So, how much money can you make with YouTube's Partner Program? The platform uses AdSense to compensate publishers in two ways. First, you'll earn a small amount for every 1,000 impressions your ads generate. Second, you'll earn a much bigger amount for every click your ads generate.
Again, the amount of money you can earn -- both from impressions and clicks -- depends on how much the advertiser is paying for the ad. AdSense clicks typically range anywhere from 5 cents to $3. And for every 1,000 ad impressions, you can generate $1 to $3. Of course, these are just averages; some publishers will earn more while others earn less.
Driving Traffic and Views
You'll struggle to earn any decent amount of money from YouTube unless you are able to attract a decent numbers of views. The more views your videos have, the more ad impressions and clicks you'll generate, thus earning you revenue.
One of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your YouTube videos is to optimize them for high search rankings. When someone searches for a keyword associated with your video -- either on Google, YouTube or Bing -- you want them to see your video at the top of the results.
Here are some tips to optimize your YouTube videos for high search rankings:
Give each video a relevant, click-worthy title that's under 60 characters
Add a more detailed description that explains what the video is about
Include tags for the keywords that you want to rank
Add closed captions so that search engines will better understand the context of your videos
Don't disable viewer comments
Build backlinks pointing to your videos from other websites and social media networks
Perhaps the most effective way to drive traffic to your videos is to make them useful and informative. If your YouTube videos are good, viewers will share them with their friends, family and followers.
Promoting Products or Services
Keep in mind that displaying ads is just one way to make money with YouTube. Another strategy is to promote products or services to your viewers. Some of YouTube's biggest publishers already do this. They'll pitch products or services, and when a viewer makes a purchase, they are compensated.
If you're interested in prompting products on YouTube, try joining CJ Affiliate. It's one of the largest affiliate networks with hundreds of active merchants. You choose a product you want to promote and place the URL in your video or the description of your video. If someone clicks the URL and purchases the product, you'll earn a commission. When combined with the YouTube Partner Program, this is a great way to turbocharge your earnings potential.
Whether you're trying to put some extra cash in your pocket or quit your day job, there's plenty of money to be made on YouTube. It's up to you, however, to pursue your dreams and make it happen.