How does YouTube video content monetization work?

Is it possible to consistently earn $1,500 per month on videos? Do you need to create 23 channels for this? And what does affiliate marketing have to do with it?

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YouTube has long ceased to be just a platform for watching your favorite videos. Today, every user knows you can enjoy the content and earn money here. Unfortunately, however, many people are afraid to try their hand at this field.

If you are in this category, too, then welcome to our roundup of the best ways to monetize on YouTube. As a bonus, we will give some tips for those who want to turn their channel into a permanent free traffic source.

How monetization works on YouTube

Let’s start with the classic scheme. YouTube channel monetization is a way to make money by posting your video on the largest video hosting site. For example, the standard income scheme presented by Google AdSense looks like this:

  • the advertiser pays the system to display ads with their brand, product, service, offer, etc.
  • the system divides the income between the channels’ owners for displaying this advertisement while, of course, remaining “in the plus.”

Thus, everyone participating in this scheme receives income: for showing, viewing, and visiting the advertiser’s website.

How to enable monetization on YouTube

With the growing number of people who want to make money on video hosting, the rules here have become more and more stringent. However, judging by the annual increase in bloggers, such toughening does not particularly stop anyone.

Today, you need to apply for an affiliate program to start monetizing your channel. After that, the moderators will check the channel for compliance with the terms of the YouTube platform. Moreover, no specific video content will be checked, but the content of the entire channel: subject, title, description, tags, logo, and the most popular and recently added video materials.

To become an affiliate program member and earn money by displaying ads on your channel, you need to get more than 20,000 video views, 1,000 subscribers, and 4,000 hours of viewing in the last 12 months.

YouTube continues to actively fight against the artificial cheating of video views. Under the terms of its use, it is forbidden to involve third parties to artificially increase the number of views, reactions, subscribers, and other statistical indicators of the channel and video materials on it, as well as to perform manipulations that will prevent the viewer from accurately determining the real interest of the viewer in the video content on this channel.

It is important to understand what the system pays for: not for the total number of views of the video, but for the integrated ads’ viewing.

Your channel will not be monetized if content found on it contains:

  • shocking, violent scenes and violence;
  • profanity;
  • scenes from the 18+ category;
  • potentially dangerous activities;
  • insults, humiliation, or discrimination of third parties;
  • propaganda of drugs, tobacco products, and firearms;
  • controversial and provocative materials;
  • discussing overly sensitive topics;
  • adult scenes in content intended for family viewing.

There is also a category of videos with inappropriate content elements that the YouTube administration still allows for monetization. It includes artistic materials (for example, a music video), which may contain light drugs, sexual themes, and profanity. In such cases, the administration makes a decision on monetization, taking into account the context in which the prohibited content is presented.

On the protection of intellectual property rights

Your channel content must be free of third-party intellectual property unless you have permission from the owner. For example, many advertisers use music hits or movie clips in their videos, but such a mention must be accompanied by the right to do so. When it comes to the use of intellectual property, documents confirming the right to such actions must be prepared in advance. If this condition is not met, you may not only be deprived of the opportunity to monetize, but your account could also be deleted.

If you upload a video that contains copyrighted content, the copyright holder can apply through the Content ID system and specify what the system will do with the video. As long as such an application exists in the Content ID, it is impossible to monetize the video. Instead of the author, the copyright holder can receive income. If you try to challenge the application, the copyright holder may demand that such a video be removed.

A single video may receive multiple submissions and requests for removal in the Content ID system, but the author will receive only one warning of infringement of intellectual property rights.

After receiving such a warning, the channel owner will be required to attend the YouTube Copyright School, where he will be taught in detail about copyright and how it is protected within the framework of using the video platform.

As you should have understood by now, using someone else’s content (popular music, for example) can be costly for the channel owner. To prevent these problems from affecting you, especially at the start of YouTube monetization, act legally and get permission from the copyright holder. Interest him instead, perhaps with an offer, for example, to share the income.

How much can you earn on YouTube?

Let’s move on to a much more interesting question: how much can you earn on YouTube? But there can be no definite answer here as several factors simultaneously influence video bloggers’ earnings. On average, you can count on CPM from $0.5 to $6 per (cost per 1000 views), but your earnings will always be in direct proportion to your efforts.

The main factors that affect the income of a video blogger:


You can count on the highest income when working with an audience from the USA, Germany, Canada, Great Britain, and Norway. Tier-1 CPM averages $5-$15. For comparison, in the Post-Soviet states, it is about $2.

Channel Theme

Sponsors want their ads placed on those channels where potential buyers “are found” – their target audience. So in what niche you are going to earn – choose for yourself. But keep in mind that face cream ads will not appear on the car channel.

Targeted Audience

Video hosting perfectly “knows how” to analyze your target audience, meaning it does not matter for which audience you created the video, as it is more important who, in the end, views it the most. For example, you can’t earn much on a channel where a large percentage of viewers are under 18. Given their purchasing power, it would be inappropriate for sponsors to pay for advertising on such channels. On the other hand, if the channel is viewed mainly by a working-age male audience, there will undoubtedly be a place for offers from the auto niche, where advertisers pay relatively well.

Video Length

Everything is straightforward here – the longer the video, the more advertising can be embedded in it. So a short video with one integrated ad will bring 2-3 times less revenue than a long one with 2-3 promo inserts.

Google AdSense pays the owner of the video that contains the ad 55% of the total ad budget, and YouTube gets the rest. Therefore, the more interesting, exclusive, and informative your channel is, the more relevant and profound the topics it covers, and the more you can earn. For example, a video ad for an NFT project will cost three times more than a product review.

How to get paid?

YouTube is an American platform, therefore, all transactions are in USD. When the earned amount reaches $100 (if necessary, you can increase it yourself), it will become available for withdrawal. In most countries, payments are made through the Rapida payment system, but in some regions, AdSense issues cheques. You can receive your income once a month within five business days, and it is automatically transferred (after the 21st day of each month).

How else can you make money on YouTube?

You do not need to link it to Google AdSense to earn from YouTube directly. Let’s look at such ways of monetization.

Monetization through media networks

Initially, the conditions for monetization did not imply the presence of 1000 subscribers. Then work via media networks became relevant, where such intermediaries facilitated advertisers’ and channel owners’ partnerships without Google AdSense. Now partner media networks perform the same function but pay channel owners only 20-40% of the advertisers’ budget. At the same time, they provide significant support and assistance in promoting the channel:

  • give the opportunity to use music for editing;
  • contribute to the removal of the restrictions received by the channel for violations of the rules or copyright;
  • arrange valuable training for partners with the participation of popular bloggers who share the secrets of channel promotion;
  • organize various competitions for partners;
  • assist with the withdrawal of income.

Participation in affiliate programs

Participation in affiliate programs allows video bloggers to earn even on small channels and more than with AdSense and direct advertisers. For example, the author mentions a brand or offer in their video and attaches a link in the description. If the user clicks on it and performs a target action, the owner receives a certain percentage from this transaction.

Even if, after clicking on the link, the user does not bring the conversion immediately but makes a purchase in two weeks or a month, the video’s author with the placed advertising will still receive money.

There are many CPA networks with different conditions where you can choose the right offer for you and your video/channel.

Direct partnership with a sponsor

This is a more complex process, where the channel owner will have to take on many tasks and have certain skills. Firstly, you will have to independently look for a sponsor and negotiate with them (and if you are not a well-known blogger, then this will not be easy). For the same reason, you are unlikely to be able to dictate your terms until your channel becomes popular enough. But when that day comes, advertisers will be looking for you.

Nowadays, they do it on the market exchanges, which, for a certain percentage of the transaction, help find the creator by studying the channel statistics, topics, sizes, audience parameters, etc., which is better than sponsors and content creators looking for each other on their own. Moreover, the exchange market is the guarantor of the transaction, where none of the parties will be left behind.

Promotion of own goods and services

If you are selling a product or service, it would be a sin not to implement your YouTube channel in your promotion strategy. Only one person in the scheme receives all the proceeds from the sale of his product and does not pay for the costs of an advertising campaign. Being an advertiser, you can, at your discretion, embed advertising in your video, for example, in a video review of a product format.

YouTube allows you to post links not only under the video. Use all the possibilities available, such as links in the description, splash screens, contacts in the video message, and additional buttons.

File hosting

Here the principle is the same as with referral links, where clicking on the link does not lead to the transition to the site but to downloading the file. Previously, in this way, it was possible to monetize a YouTube channel using a simple algorithm – post a trailer or movie announcement, software review, etc., by attaching a link. The more downloads from this link, the more the channel owner will earn.

Earnings on sponsored subscriptions

After gaining more than 30,000 subscribers and linking AdSense, you can use a sponsored subscription. In other words, make your channel paid. Users can pay once to access the channel’s content or buy a monthly subscription. But even here, you will have to share with video hosting, giving them 30% of the earnings.

Collection of donations

A good option for the platform’s newcomers. All you need to do is ask your viewers to support the channel financially. If the material in the video is valuable and interesting, the content creator may count on the audience’s financial support.

Since there is no such function on the YouTube platform, you will have to do the configuration yourself. Payment details are placed in the same place as the links.

The audience is more willing to donate to the channel development when the blogger honestly and clearly indicates the purpose of the donation’s collection. This is where charisma comes in handy.

Earnings from streaming 

The scheme is the same as the previous method, but the video blogger broadcasts in real-time here. As a result, different audiences watch streams, and there is always a chance to get a donation, and if the content creator is convincing enough, large donation sums are quite possible.

How to make money on YouTube after turning monetization off

In the current realities, no specific country may be in the list of regions available for registration in AdSense. In this case, the issue is resolved simply and without violating the law – you can move to a nearby region for a while and confirm your actual address of residence there or ask someone you know who lives there to receive a paper letter with a pin code for verification.

Case studies on successful monetization with YouTube

Everyone can earn on the largest video hosting. To date, it is quite realistic to create more than 20 channels for the test and simultaneously run 5 of the most promising of them. By building the right scheme from several sources, you can secure a stable monthly income of up to $5,000. While others are sick of farming Facebook accounts, you can test an equally promising free traffic source.

If you regularly upload the right content, the YouTube channel will bring up to $1500 per month. That is how much one blogger, fond of Soviet-era cars, managed to earn. The guy made a horizontal POV video and immediately 5 shorts, published it on the channel, optimized and motivated viewers to watch the full video, suggesting how to find the channel in a YouTube search. At the same time, he posted a vertical video on TikTok with a link to the channel. The traffic started to come after one and a half to two months, and the moneymaker launched as many as 23 such projects. In total, they brought $40,000; however, subject to the full-time commitment of the channel owner.

Example of popular YouTube videos with a first-person POV
Examples of popular YouTube videos with a first-person POV

Do you also want to try and reach $3,000-$5,000 a month on an American audience? Then, keep the step-by-step instructions and experience that newly registered content creators have to gather for years:

  • analyze other people’s successful channels – study the age of the channel, trends, and statistics, filtering by time intervals (per day, week, month). It is vital to analyze videos that have a surge in views;
  • study the mentality of the American audience;
  • the audience will watch the channel only in the local language (the entire channel should be in English – tags, descriptions, titles), neither browsers, nor VPN, nor changing the region in the account will help here;
  • choose a topic – make an algorithm of work and stick to it. For example, they created a horizontal video, immediately uploaded it to the platform, optimized it with VidIQ or TubeBubby, made several shorts from the same video, and published it on the same channel with a note that the continuation is on the channel. For interested users, you need to describe the sequence of actions briefly: click on the channel name and subscribe.
  • YouTube loves when viewers are brought from other sites (because they will also see ads). Use this to generate additional traffic with vertical videos related to the topic of your YouTube channel, which you will publish on TikTok and embed a link to the channel in your profile.

Create a TikTok channel

Making a TikTok channel is a working option, including for beginners. You take the content, sort it by interests and upload it with the same heading. Before viewing such content, remember to warm up your profile with likes and comments. After the first two months of publishing compilations, traffic should also start coming from TikTok. It is important not to load everything back to back but to focus on the audience’s interests. Do it for people, publish regularly, do not violate copyright, and use the algorithm described above.


Creating a channel is a rather complicated way to attract traffic. At the same time, the lion’s share of the time of a YouTube beginner should be spent on analytical processes and not on preparing video material. However, if you successfully pass all the initial difficulties, you can get visible results after just a few months of hard work. When starting to monetize on a YouTube channel, remember that no video blogger became famous overnight. Put in the effort and let this article be your guide and key to success 🙂

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