A survey completed by Harris Poll/LEGO revealed that nearly a third of children aged 8 to 12 want to be a YouTuber when they grow up. Sure, Ryan Kaji managed to make millions via the video-sharing platform, but what about the others? Just how many views and subscribers do you need to start making money?
The truth is that there’s no straight answer (just like the path to YouTube stardom isn’t straight). There are numerous factors that you’ll need to consider such as location, niche, average rates, etc.
Also, video creators don’t really like to reveal their income. So, a lot of it is based on limited data.
To find out how monetization on YouTube works, be sure to read to the end. Even if we wanted to share the magic answer to how many views you need to make money, we can’t. You really need to look at the whole picture to understand how to make money via the platform. That said, we’ll try to keep it as short and simple as possible. We’ll share views and subscriber count that you should work towards, but we’ll also look at other factors that you need to keep in mind if you’re serious about using YouTube to make money.
How Many YouTube Views Do You Really Need to Make Money:
The YouTube Partner Program
First things first, in order to make money by means of YouTube, you’ll need to get accepted to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). Not only does the YPP enable revenue sharing from ads, but it also gives creators access to more resources and features offered by the platform such as access to a creator support team, Copyright Match Tool, and monetization features, like ad revenue.
With regards to ad revenue specifically, you’ll need to keep in mind that the advertising money is split between different parties. Google will pay $68 for every $100 an advertiser pays to the publisher. Also, if viewers skip the ad before 30 seconds, YouTube earns nothing which means that you won’t be paid. On average, around 15% of viewers watch the required 30 seconds of a video ad to qualify for payment.
In addition to ad revenue from video, display, and overlay ads, here are the other monetization features that you can use to earn money on the platform via this program:
- Recurring monthly payments made by members for special benefits
- Selling branded merch
- Highlighting fans’ messages in chat streams
- YouTube Premium subscriber’s subscription fee
One thing to keep in mind is that all these features mentioned above also have their own eligibility requirements that you’ll need to meet in addition to the view count and subscriber requirements.
If you reside in one of the countries where the program is available, you can apply. To get accepted into the YouTube Partner Program, you’ll need to have:
- 4,000+ public watch hours in the past year
- 1,000+ subscribers
- A linked AdSense account
What About the YouTube Shorts Fund?
If you don’t get accepted into the YouTube Partner Program, you can turn your focus to creating videos that are 60 seconds or shorter and check out the YouTube Shorts Fund. It’s a $100 million fund that rewards creators for creating original Shorts. Each month, YouTube will select thousands of creators and reward them with a Shorts bonus.
That being said, focusing on getting your YouTube channel up and running is really the way to go. It will take time, but by posting videos regularly that your target audience can resonate with, you’ll get there. Also, the advantage of uploading longer videos is that it offers you the ability to add more than one ad which means more opportunity to earn.
One Viral Video Vs Multiple Videos
When you think of YouTube views, one of the first thoughts that jump to mind is that your video needs to go viral for it to mean anything. This is not necessarily the case.
As a matter of fact, your YouTube channel can grow faster, if you focus on creating multiple videos instead of making it your goal to have one video go viral. The reason for this is that if your channel has more than one video, the platform will be able to recommend your other content to users who’ve watched your content which means that they’ll probably end up hitting that subscribe button too.
Also, if you have more videos, the chances that other viewers will find your videos are also better. Basically, having multiple videos just makes it easier for the platform to figure out the focus of your channel which makes it easier to suggest your content to relevant users. This also translates to more potential subscribers.
The trick is to see how many videos you can create in your first 60 days on the platform. This way, you’ll get a much better idea of what type of content interests your target audience the most. Ideally, you’ll want to create 30 videos in the first 60 days. After that, it’s still important to continue uploading new content consistently. We suggest that you upload at least two videos per week.
Views Vs Subscribers
While the YouTube Partner Program doesn’t specifically mention views in its list of requirements, it’s a key metric to keep in mind because how much money you make is based on the view count. That being said, two channels that get the same number of views might not necessarily receive the same payout.
The simple reason for this is that all channels don’t earn the same revenue per 1,000 views (RPM). Your niche will play a huge factor in determining what your RPM will be. For example, your revenue stream will be higher if most of your viewers come from the United States. Certain genres are also more saturated which means that advertisers have an easier time finding a successful channel on which to advertise ultimately meaning that they can afford to pay less.
To help you make more sense of it, let’s illustrate it like this. For example, if your RPM is $5 and you get 100,000 views per month, you can earn $500 per month.
So, while you’ll need to have a minimum number of subscribers to get into YouTube’s program so that you can start earning money, it’s actually the number of views that will impact your earning potential. That said, the more subscribers you have, the more views you’ll most likely get too. In other words, for the best results you should focus on gaining more subscribers and increasing your view count.
Real-life Examples of YouTube Earnings
While it’s impossible to work out the precise income that the superstar creators on YouTube make, there are many online sources that offer reliable guesstimates. Let's take a look at some examples and averages.
1+ million views
According to Out of the 925 and VloggerPro, here are some examples of YouTube channels that managed to generate more than 1 million views and how much they managed to earn:
- Nay Nicole $34,903 (RPM $34.90)
- Athina $4,236 (RPM $4.24)
- Jessica Os $5,997 (RPM $5.71)
- Reyes The Entrepreneur $3,706 (RPM $3.37)
- Spencer Cornelia $7,441(RPM $5.32)
- Zoeunlimited $1,832 (RPM $1.22)
These numbers show that ultimately your RPM will make a huge difference. For example, the earnings of Nay Nicole and Athina are based on the exact same number of views – one million on the dot. Yet, Nicole made almost 10 times more based on her RPM.
That said, as you can see by looking at the other examples, Nicole’s RPM is definitely not the average. According to VloggerPro, the average RPM was closer to $6. Also, after analyzing 16 YouTubers, they found that the average earnings per million views was just over $5,700.
This is in line with what CreditDonkey shares. According to their calculations, the majority of advertisers pay anything from $0.10 to $0.30 per view. The average is about $0.18 per view. Though, to account for the fact that not all viewers will watch the ad (or at least the first 30 seconds of the ad), they suggest that the average RPM is anything from $3 to $5.
While views are used to calculate earnings, it’s not very predictable. For a more predictable idea, here are examples shared by Out of 925 of the monthly income of creators with 100,000 subscribers:
- Shop Nation $1,802 (monthly views 316,000)
- Jessica Stansberry $3,174 (monthly views 210,073)
- Jimmy Tries World $3,917 (monthly views 816,709)
- Bruce Wang $4,270 (monthly views 246,687)
This is also in line with CreditDonkey’s guesstimate. According to them, YouTubers with 100,000 subscribers can earn anything from $2,400 to $4,000 in ad revenue per month, if they upload at least two videos per week.
Once again, it’s important to remember that a YouTuber doesn’t earn anything for the number of subscribers that they have. Even if they have 100,000+ subscribers, they could potentially make nothing. The reason why subscribers get so much attention is that they’re usually fiercely loyal supporters. In fact, there’s a good chance that they will watch every new video as soon as it gets released. So, if you have 100,000+ subscribers, the chances that your videos will get many views too are much greater (and, in return, your ad revenue potential becomes greater as well).
1+ million Subscribers
In one of our earlier blog posts about how much do YouTubers make, we’ve stated that success starts at 1 million. That’s the secret number. Once you hit the million milestone, your channel will get recognized as influential in its category and you’ll get enough traffic to start earning a pretty impressive sum.
To give you an idea, if all 1 million subscribers watched two videos per week, you could receive a whopping $36,000 per week just from AdSense. That’s based on an average rate of $0.18 per view (or $18 per 1,000 views).
CreditDonkey made a similar calculation. Though, they based their rate per 1,000 views at $3 to $5. Using this rate per view, YouTubers could make anything from $6,000 to $10,000 per week if each and every of those million subscribers watched two videos per week. This is still a very nice little sum.
Needless to say, the chances that all of your million subscribers will watch two videos per week are slim. For a more realistic picture, here’s a breakdown shared by Out of 925 of how much YouTubers with about 1 million subscribers can make per month via ads alone:
- Mango Street $1,547 (monthly views 880,771)
- Matti Haapoja $10,157 (monthly views 2 million)
As mentioned, this estimate is based on ad revenue alone. Once you have over 1 million subscribers, other monetization strategies like selling merch and affiliate marketing become a lot more viable.
How Much Do the Top YouTube Earners Make?
What about the success stories of the top YouTubers? Just how much do they earn? According to YouTube money stats for the top channels, here are YouTube’s top earners for 2021 and their estimated earnings:
- Ryan Kaji ($29.5 million)
- MrBeast ($24 million)
- Dude Perfect ($14 million)
- Markiplier ($12.5 million)
- Logan Paul ($12.5 million)
- PewDiePie ($12.5 million)
- Jake Paul ($11.5 million)
- DanTDM ($11 million)
- Smosh ($11 million)
- Lilly Singh ($10.5 million)
Wrapping Things Up
In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything was 42. If only we had an enormous supercomputer like Deep Thought to work out the exact number of video views and subscribers you need and how much money you would be able to make. It would be even better yet if you only need 42 views. Not only is it more difficult to calculate, but one thing is for sure and that is that you’ll need a lot more than just 42 views or subscribers.
That said, everyone needs to start somewhere (even if it’s only with 42 YouTube subscribers). The trick is to get started and by uploading videos consistently (we recommend at least two per week), you’ll see that the views and subscribers will follow. Then, once you reach 1 million, things will start to snowball. Not only will your advertising revenue increase dramatically, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of other monetization strategies like affiliate links, merchandising, sponsorships, etc. to increase your passive income.
In the meantime, you can also check out our YouTube Money Calculator. It might not be an enormous supercomputer, but it will give you estimated daily and monthly earnings and projected yearly earnings. No deep thought is needed. You just drag the slider and it will do the rest.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you make good money via YouTube?
YouTube can be a very lucrative way to earn money, but you’ll first need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watched hours over the last 12 months before you can start thinking about monetizing your videos. Once you have reached this milestone, you can apply for the YouTube Partner Program and receive ads on your videos. According to Digiday, YouTube creators with more than 100,000 subscribers can earn about $2,000 per video.
How can I promote my YouTube channel?
Your first focus should be to create high-quality videos that your target audience will find relevant and be able to resonate with. Your second focus should be to grow your subscriber base by engaging with viewers and subscribers. Other ideas for marketing your YouTube channel are:
Collaborating with other YouTube creators and influencers
Running a contest where viewers get an entry by subscribing
Using social media and email marketing
Adding relevant hashtags
Becoming a guest contributor
Where do you find new ideas for YouTube videos?
You can, for example, try a tool like BuzzSumo that has a social search feature for finding out what’s currently trending on YouTube. You can use YouTube’s auto-suggest feature. Not only is it free, but it’s also easy to use. You can type in your topic or keyword into the search field and the platform will automatically share content suggestions. You can also try Semrush, which has easy-to-use keyword research tools.
What are some good tools for YouTube creators?
From scheduling to SEO to analytics to video editing to channel art, there are many good tools that YouTube creators can check out. These include:
Final Cut Pro X
How can you rank higher on YouTube?
If you want to rank higher on YouTube and increase your video views and number of subscribers, you’ll need to pay attention to search engine optimization. You can do this by getting to know your target audience and their search habits, optimizing your videos, using the right keywords, engaging more with your subscribers by replying to their comments, encouraging people to subscribe, and creating a unique thumbnail.