“How much money can I actually make on YouTube???”
If you’re thinking about starting a channel, or if you are working hard to grow your channel, chances are you’ve asked this question at some point!
I watched over 110 YouTuber’s income reports, and compiled the data to give you real world answers.
In my study based on 100 channels, the average revenue paid to YouTube creators was $6.40 per 1,000 views (RPM). The median RPM was $4.38. This means that these YouTubers earn between $4,380 and $6,400 on 1 million views. Amounts will vary by niche and other factors.
In this article we will look at numbers from this study, official numbers from YouTube, and several other third party resources to obtain accurate information about how much you can make on YouTube.
Let’s dig in and figure out exactly how much YOU can expect to make on YouTube!
How much can you make on Youtube?
The amount that you can make with YouTube is truly unlimited. However, there are MANY factors that go into determining your potential earnings.
I’ll go over how YouTube monetization works later in this article, but for now let’s look at some real examples of how much people are earning on YouTube.
Top earning channels
Do you ever stop and wonder how much the TOP YouTubers are making? It seems like I see a new clickbait headline every few weeks with some wildly random guess about how much famous YouTubers make.
The truth is, unless a YouTuber discloses how much they earn, we can only estimate based on industry averages and public metrics.
Even if we can guess how much top earners make through ad revenue, it would be almost impossible to guess how much YouTuber’s make through sponsorships, since every deal is unique, and most include a non-disclosure agreement.
Top YouTuber Earnings in 2021
Note that there are likely other YouTube channels making even more money, but here are 10 famous YouTubers and their estimated annual earnings.
|Pewdiepie (Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg)
|15-60 million (estimates vary wildly)
|MrBeast (Jimmy Donaldson)
|Ryan’s World (Ryan Kaji)
|Like Nastya (Anastasia Radzinskaya)
|Markiplier (Mark Edward Fischbach)
Highest CPM YouTube niches
The amount that YouTube pays creators (and the amount advertisers are willing to pay for placements) is different for every niche.
A few key things that increase the CPM of a niche on YouTube:
- Advertisers have more money to spend (often because they offer a high ticket product)
- There are a large number of advertisers willing to compete on placement
- The top channels attract an affluent audience
- The top channels attract an audience likely to spend money
- The content is generally “advertiser friendly”
Highest paying categories on YouTube
The CPM or RPM for any given category will have a wide range, as there are also many channel specific factors that dictate how much a YouTuber earns. These numbers are averages from 100 channels that I studied, and should only be used as a comparative estimate.
These are often great categories for small YouTubers to make a decent income without needing millions of views or subscribers.
|Make Money Online
|YouTube / Content Creation
Categories with typically low CPMs
In these categories, the revenue per thousand views is often significantly lower. However, they sometimes have higher potential viewership and the top channels can still perform very well.
Small Youtubers in these categories often struggle to gain traction in the beginning.
|Lifestyle / Vlogs
|Pranks / Humor
YouTube Income Calculator
Do you want to find out how much your YouTube channel could earn, how much you would make with a viral video, or how much a certain number of subscribers could be worth?
This calculator will let you enter a few simple metrics to estimate potential earnings from YouTube ads.
Expected Channel Revenue
Revenue Per Video
Value of Subscribers (Per Video)
How much do you make on YouTube per month?
The amount you make each month on YouTube will mostly depend on total number of video views, and your CPM. A YouTuber who gets 1 million views per month and has an CPM of $4 would make around $2,200 per month.
Use the calculator on the “Channel” tab and the estimated CPM per niche chart above to estimate how much you could earn from Adsense.
How much do you earn for 1 million views on Youtube?
If your video is monetized and advertiser friendly, you can expect to earn between $1,100 and $2,200 for 1 million views on YouTube. Many creators in my study reported making between $4,000 and $6,000 on 1 million views.
Use the calculator on the “Video” tab to see how much you would earn with various CPM rates.
How much do you earn with 1 million subscribers on YouTube?
When it comes to getting paid by YouTube, subscribers are not an important factor in how much you get paid. On average, a channel with 1 million subscribers might expect $300-600 from their subscribers for each new video.
This calculation assumes that 20% of your subscribers will watch each new video. Channels who drive more views from their subscribers may make much more than this.
Some channels get 50-70% of their subscribers to watch every new video, while others are more like 8-10%.
For example, many popular daily vloggers like Casey Neistat or The LaBrant Fam have over 12 million subscribers, and can regularly get 1-3 million views even on daily uploads.
Subscribers can be important to sponsors, and may get their attention faster than metrics like views per video, so there are some situations where you may be able to make more money because of your subscribers.
Use the calculator on the “Subscriber” tab to figure out how much money your subscribers might earn you on a single video.
How much does the average YouTuber make?
According to my survey, the average is $4-6 per 1,000 views. However, this is likely higher than the overall average, which is probably closer to $2 per 1,000 views based on estimates from large data aggregators like Social Blade.
Since YouTube is SO large, it is hard to estimate what the “average” YouTuber makes. There are likely millions of monetized channels, and the majority of revenue likely flows to the top 20% of creators.
How much do small YouTubers make?
Small YouTubers who have made YouTube their full-time job usually make money with multiple streams of income. A YouTuber who gets 100,000 views per video can easily earn $100-200 per video from Adsense, and with a high RPM, some may earn $1,500 or more per video.
Many small YouTubers make significantly more income through affiliate marketing, sponsored videos, and by selling their own products or services to their viewers.
How does YouTube monetization work?
If you want to make money with your YouTube channel, there are quite a few methods that work very well.
Most people who ask “how much does YouTube pay” want to know about Adsense revenue, but for many creators this is only a fraction of the income they generate because of their YouTube channel.
YouTube generates revenue by selling ads and placing them on YouTube videos. There are several types of ads including bumper ads, skippable ads, and overlay ads. The advertisers are charged each time their ad plays.
If a channel owner is part of the YouTube partner program, YouTube pays the creator a percentage (55%) of the ad revenue generated by their videos.
To join the YouTube partner program, your channel needs to be in good standing, have at least 1,000 subscribers, and at least 4,000 hours of watch time on your public videos. You must also be at least 18 years old, or have a legal guardian who can handle your payments.
The YouTube Creator Academy has an entire course on meeting the requirements to monetize your channel.
CPM stands for “Cost Per Mille” (pronounced like mill), which means cost per 1,000 views.
Advertisers bid on placements on your videos, and the amount they pay for placements on 1000 monetized playbacks is the “CPM.” Often when talking about CPM, it is the average rate advertisers paid for ad placements on a particular video or the entire channel.
When you multiply your channel’s views by the average CPM (and divide by 1,000), you will get the gross revenue generated by ads on your channel. YouTube still takes a percentage (generally 45%), and the remaining amount is what the creator gets paid by YouTube.
RPM stands for “Revenue Per Mille” and represents the actual payout to the creator per 1,000 views. A rough estimate of RPM can be found by multiplying the CPM by .55 (55% of the CPM).
Technically, RPM also includes other channel features and Premium revenue share, and is based on all video plays, even if they are not monetized. If you find that RPM is not ~55% of CPM, this may be why.
Google has an official support document outlining the difference between CPM and RPM if you want to dig into the specifics.
Do Youtubers get paid if you skip the ads?
Advertisers can choose to pay only when ads are clicked, or only when at least 30 seconds of an ad is viewed. If none of these conditions are met on a skippable ad, the creator will generally not get paid for the view if the ad is skipped.
YouTubers can still earn revenue if you watch a different ad on their video (like a mid-roll ad), if you are a YouTube Premium subscriber, or if they monetize the video in other ways.
YouTube Premium (Previously YouTube Red)
YouTube Premium allows an ad-free YouTube experience. When a YouTube Premium subscriber views your videos, you will not be paid for ad plays. However, if you are part of the YouTube Partner Program, you will receive a share of the revenue generated by YouTube Premium.
Youtube offers several other options to monetize your channel, outside of ads. Each feature has its own requirements and revenue share.
Superchat or Superstickers give the ability for live viewers to “tip” a creator to pin their comment or sticker to the top of the chat.
YouTube keeps approximately 30% of Superchats and the creator gets the other 70%.
Enabling channel memberships allows people to join a channel for a monthly fee. You can offer benefits to channel members such as badges, emojis, and exclusive video content.
Youtube keeps 30% of channel memberships as their fee.
Merch Shelf allows channels to showcase their official merch right on YouTube.
To enable Merch Shelf, you’ll either need 10,000 subscribers, or an official music video channel.
Sponsors / Paid promotions
Whenever you have an audience that wants to hear from you, advertisers will often be interested in getting you to make an official endorsement for their brand.
YouTube allows creators to do custom endorsements on their videos, as long as a few guidelines are met. You are required to disclose paid promotions, and you are not allowed to insert “commercials” provided by companies into your videos (since that is the service YouTube sells with their ad platform).
I’ve seen several “rules of thumb” for estimating how much you should charge for sponsored videos, including:
- $500 per 10,000 page views (average of your past 6 videos) for a 60-90 second spot.
- With 1 million subscribers, most sponsors offer between $4,000-20,000 per video.
- $20-$30 per 1,000 views based on your last 10 videos.
Let’s just say that if you get around 10,000 views on each video, a good rule of thumb is to start negotiations between $300-500 per sponsored video. You can adjust based on demand.
Affiliate marketing is when you send your audience to someone else’s product in exchange for a commission.
One of the most popular examples of this with YouTubers is Amazon Associates. Many creators will list the gear they use to create their videos or items they used in the video and link to Amazon where viewers can buy the product. Amazon generally pays 1-4% on any purchase that visitor makes within 24 hours.
Many other companies (large and small) offer affiliate programs, and some pay 50% or more for referrals. For many YouTube channels, affiliate income is among the highest of revenue sources.
Merch / Product / Course / Consulting Sales
Perhaps the MOST valuable way to monetize your YouTube channel is by selling your own product.
For some channels, this may be as simple as merch or branded products. For others, it may be a course or digital product. If you offer a local service or have a storefront your YouTube channel can drive customers who are eager to buy your product.
The possibilities for selling your own products are endless, and YouTube can be a great way to increase your sales. One of my consulting clients makes about 50x their monthly adsense revenue by selling products in their online store. Even small channels can make a significant income if they have a product to sell.
How much YouTube paid me videos
There is a popular trend where YouTubers create a video showing how much YouTube paid them. The trend really started to spread when Shelby Church created an income report video that went mildly viral.
I searched YouTube to find a list of these videos, added them to a spreadsheet, and watched every single one all the way through.
While I watched, I not only made notes when the creators gave helpful tips, but also recorded the numbers they reported in their videos.
I also looked at the creator’s channel to determine the number of subscribers (at the time of creating the spreadsheet), their niche, and their geographical region.
Some videos reported how much they were paid on a single viral video, some reported the lifetime earnings of their channel, and some reported how much they made in a specific timeframe (usually a year or a month).
I tried to standardize the reporting by breaking down revenue per month, revenue per view, and by giving an RPM instead of a CPM for each channel.
Below is a table listing the videos included in the CPM calculations for this post. I watched at least 20 more videos, but threw out any that were not in English or where they did not give enough specific details to calculate RPM.
If you’d like to see the entire spreadsheet with all numbers calculated from these videos, it is available as a free bonus for subscribing to my email list where I’ll send updates with future YouTube related content!
- The overall trend for doing these videos skews toward the “make money online” niche, which generally has a high CPM. Therefore, the averages from this study are likely high if compared to overall YouTube averages.
- Some creators gave numbers for their entire channel, and some gave only for monetized playbacks. This will have some impact on the accuracy of RPM.
- Some creators reported long timeframes, even though the majority of their revenue was from a short period. This impacts average revenue per month.
- 100-120 videos is still a small sample size, but this data gives real-world insight into how much YouTube pays in different scenarios.
- The study was done at the end of 2020, and most videos were created in 2019 or 2020. I have watched several follow up videos since, and the numbers seem to still be good estimates for 2021, even with changes in how YouTube places ads on non-monetized channels.
- I did my best to make accurate calculations, but mistakes are possible. These numbers are presented as estimations only. Your results may vary significantly.
Tips to make more money on YouTube
In the 100+ videos where successful YouTubers revealed their income, they also gave plenty of tips about making money on YouTube.
This isn’t advice from marketers or “industry experts,” but from real YouTubers who have learned with real-world experience.
The snippets below aren’t DIRECT quotes from the YouTubers, but my notes after watching their videos (the video is linked below each snippet).