YouTube is arguably the most appealing platform for making money. There are Youtubers out there earning tens of millions of dollars by uploading videos without leaving their house.
Lots of these YouTube stars are getting paid to do stuff they enjoy, like playing video games or telling jokes. Or even unboxing kids toys.
I can’t promise that you’ll become the next multi-million dollar Youtuber. But there is still plenty of money to be made on this platform.
How much money exactly? I’ll explain below.
How Youtubers Make Money
How do you make money on YouTube? This is the first question that most people have.
There are five main ways to get paid directly from the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). I’ll give you a brief overview of each.
- Ad Revenue — This is the most straightforward way to make money on YouTube. Get paid for allowing Google to display ads on your content. Advertising formats include display ads, overlay ads, non-skippable video ads, bumper ads, and sponsored cards.
- Channel Memberships — Charge a monthly fee to your subscribers. Paid channel subscribers will get access to perks like emojis, badges, and other offerings in exchange for their monthly payment. Great way to earn recurring revenue.
- Merchandise Shelf — Allows you to showcase branded merchandise on your video content. Made for Youtubers who are already selling products on a third-party ecommerce platform. Use YouTube to drive online sales.
- Super Chat & Super Stickers — Your fans can pay for Super Chat and Super Stickers when you’re broadcasting a live video. These features make their name and messages stand out in the chat feed during a broadcast. Depending on how much they spend, their comments can be pinned to the top of the feed.
- YouTube Premium — YouTube offers a monthly subscription to users who want an ad-free experience, offline viewing, and YouTube Music. Creators can get a share of this revenue based on how much their content is viewed by YouTube Premium members.
You can also leverage your YouTube channel to make money outside of the platform. Affiliate programs, influencer marketing, and licensing your content are three examples of this. All of these are managed and facilitated away from YouTube through third-parties.
Requirements for Making Money on YouTube
Before you can enable monetization features on YouTube, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. The first thing you need to do is apply to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).
Minimum requirements to be considered for the YPP include:
- 1,000+ subscribers
- 4,000+ public watch hours in the past 12 months
- A valid and linked Google AdSense account (this is how you get paid)
- You must live in a region or country where YPP is available
- Follow all YouTube monetization guidelines and policies
Once you get accepted to the partner program, you won’t immediately have access to each monetization feature. Each one has its own unique requirements:
- Must be 18+ (or have a legal guardian 18+ who can manage your AdSense account)
- Content meets advertiser-friendly guidelines
- Must be 18+
- Minimum 30,000 channel subscribers
- Must be 18+
- Minimum 10,000 channel subscribers
Super Chat & Super Stickers
- Must be 18+
- Must be living in a country or region where Super Chat is available
- Must create content that’s being watched by YouTube Premium subscribers
If you’re getting paid for sponsored content (separate from the YouTube Partner Program), you still need to disclose your brand relationships to YouTube when you upload content. Failure to do so could result in your accounting being suspended.
How 10 Youtubers Make Money
So how much can you make on YouTube? Let’s take a look at some of the highest-grossing YouTube channels based on 2019 earnings, according to Forbes.
They have a lot in common. Five of the top ten Youtubers on this list are gamers. Two of the top three are children.
Ryan Kaji: $26 million
The highest-paid Youtuber is just 8 years old. His channel, Ryan’s World (formally Ryan ToysReview), has more than 24 million subscribers. The account is managed by his parents (to meet the YPP guidelines, of course).
Ryan started reviewing toys on YouTube at the age of 3. The videos were pretty straightforward, showing Ryan unboxing and playing with toys.
After his channel took off, the content expanded. Today, Ryan also conducts science experiments on YouTube. He has his own line of clothes and toys as well.
His YouTube fame landed him a deal with a TV series on Nickelodeon, called Ryan’s Mystery Playdate.
Dude Perfect: $20 million
The Dude Perfect YouTube channel has nearly 50 million subscribers. The channel was created by five friends back in 2009, Tyler Toney, Coby Cotton, Cody Jones, and Garrett Hilbert.
Their video content consists of sports and comedy. Some of the most popular videos include the group doing trick shots, battling each other with bubble wrap, and breaking Guinness World Records.
For example, they hold the record for the world’s longest basketball shot. The shot came from the third deck of the Texas A&M Aggies football stadium.
Dude Perfect has more than 10 billion views on YouTube.
Anastasia Radzinskaya: $18 million
Anastasia is a six-year-old Russian-American. Her parents run multiple YouTube channels with content made for children.
Anastasia (also known as Nastya and Stacy) has more than 117 million subscribers and 48+ billion views across all of her channels.
The content is centered on Anastasia learning new things, going to the park, playing with her cat, friends, and father.
Anastasia’s YouTube fame has earned her partnerships with brands like Legoland and Dannon.
Good Mythical Morning: $17.5 million
Good Mythical Morning is a daily YouTube show hosted by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal. The duo is often referred to as just Rhett and Link.
More than 16 million people subscribe to Rhett and Link’s channel. They have more than 6 billion views since the channel first launched back in 2008.
Rhett and Link essentially have a YouTube talk show. The two friends sit at a desk and do strange things with a comedic twist. They eat different foods on camera, try new products, conduct hilarious experiments, and play original games with celebrity guests.
Some of their most popular videos showcase the team eating a scorpion, eating the world’s hottest pepper, and deep-frying strange objects, like grass and toothpaste.
Jeffree Star: $17 million
Jeffree Star originally came into the spotlight back in the MySpace days to promote his music. He’s a singer, songwriter, and DJ.
Jeffree ultimately leveraged his stardom to create YouTube content about makeup, cosmetics, and fashion. He has 17.5 million subscribers and over 2 billion video views.
Some of his most popular content includes makeup reviews, makeup tutorials, and travel video blogs.
Jeffree is also an internet personality that uploads entertaining content related to his everyday life. For example, he has videos about cleaning up his messy house and staying at a Taco Bell hotel.
Preston Arsement: $14 million
Preston Arsement is a 25-year-old Youtuber that runs a channel called PrestonPlayz.
Compared to other Youtubers on our list, Preston’s channel is relatively new. He joined YouTube in March 2018. But in just two years, Preston gained over 4.5 million subscribers and is quickly approaching 900 million video views.
Preston’s content shows him playing video games. He provides commentary on his own videos while showing his face in the corner of the screen. Preston was initially known for playing Call of Duty, but all of his most popular videos today revolve around playing Minecraft.
Preston regularly pranks his friends and tries humorous stunts while gaming.
PewDiePie: $13 million
Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, better known by PewDiePie (the name of his channel), was the original YouTube gaming star. Preston Arsement (previously mentioned) followed PewDiePie’s lead of playing video games with his face in the corner of the screen.
PewDiePie started uploading gaming videos back in 2010. Over the last decade, he gained more than 103 million subscribers and nearly 25 billion views.
PewDiePie was once the most-subscribed channel on YouTube. He was also the highest-earning star on the platform. Recently, he’s taken a hiatus from YouTube but still managed to earn $13 million in 2019.
Mark Fischbach: $13 million
Mark Fischbach, better known as Markiplier, is another YouTube gaming sensation. Mark has over 25 million subscribers and roughly 12.6 billion views since his channel launched in 2012.
Unlike some of the other gaming channels we’ve seen, Mark does more than just play video games on YouTube. He uploads animated parody videos, comedy sketches, and other humorous forms of entertainment.
Some of the most popular videos on this channel include Mark’s “try not to laugh challenges.” He watches a series of random funny videos and films his reactions while he tries to hold back laughter.
Fischbach used his YouTube fame to co-found a clothing line called Cloak, marketed towards gamers.
Daniel Middleton: $12 million
Daniel Middleton is another Youtbuber with videos focused on gaming. The British-born 28-year-old’s channel is called DanTDM.
More than 22.5 million people subscribe to his channel. Since joining YouTube in July 2012, Middleton has more than 16 billion video views.
Daniel is best known for playing Minecraft, Pokemon, and Fortnite.
Evan Fong: $11.5 million
Evan Fong’s YouTube channel is called VanossGaming.
Fong is a 27-year-old Canadian who has been gaming on YouTube since 2011. He has nearly 25 million subscribers and over 12 billion views.
Evan is best known for playing Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and Minecraft.