8 Best Ways to Make Money on YouTube: A Social Media Strategy Guide

If you’ve been trying to find out how to make money online, then you should consider building a YouTube channel.

According to YouTube, the platform has over two billion active users each month that consume one billion hours of video content every single day.

Did you know that, according to Forbes, the world’s highest-paid YouTubers earned an estimate of $211 million in 2020?

If you’re ready to make money as a YouTuber, figuring out how to build a YouTube channel is the first step you have to take. Then you can take advantage of the best ways to monetize your content on the video platform, alongside a robust social media strategy.

Keep reading to learn:

  • The eight best ways to make money on YouTube
  • Why ads shouldn’t be your only source of YouTube revenue
  • Frequently asked questions about YouTube monetization

1. Earn Ad Revenue as a YouTube Partner

As a YouTuber, ad revenue is most likely the first monetization strategy you’ll benefit from.

Join the YouTube Partner Program to get access to multiple monetization features through Google AdSense on the platform. Keep in mind, you must be at least 18 years old to earn money from ads.

You should also make sure to create advertiser-friendly content. 

How to make money on YouTube with Google AdSense:

  1. Begin by building a YouTube channel.
  1. Grow your YouTube channel subscribers to at least 1,000 subscribers with 4,000 watch hours over the last 12 months.
  1. Log in to your YouTube account to enable monetization. You’ll need to agree to the YouTube Partner Program terms.
  1. Set up a Google AdSense account to receive payment. You can connect an existing account to your YouTube channel. 
  1. Choose your monetization preferences.
  1. Check your YouTube Analytics to see your estimated monthly revenue.

As a YouTube Partner, your channel should follow copyright law, YouTube Partner Program policies, and YouTube’s Community Guidelines

Why Ads Shouldn’t Be Your Only Source of YouTube Revenue

YouTube ads are the best way to make money on YouTube when it comes to passive income. However, don’t rely on ad revenue as your only YouTube revenue stream.

YouTube has specific standards and won’t pay content creators for videos that don’t qualify as advertiser-friendly content. 

Video creators are free to open a dispute if they feel YouTube’s decision not to monetize their video is a mistake. But this could be nerve-racking if revenue from AdSense is the only way you make money on YouTube. 

Applying to YouTube Premium is one of the best ways to make money on YouTube with ease. It’s a great option to explore other income streams, especially since Google takes 45% of your YouTube ad revenue.

2. Become a Brand Influencer

Promoting sponsored content on your YouTube channel is one of the best ways to make money on YouTube. As a YouTube influencer, the best part is that the money is all yours — no cut goes to Google.

How to make money on YouTube as a brand influencer:

  1. Make a list of brands you want to pitch to and contact them.
  1. Alternatively, you can connect with brands for sponsorships on influencer marketing platforms such as Upfluence, Klear, Channel Pages, and Grapevine Village.
  1. Negotiate a good deal depending on your audience’s size, engagement, niche, content quality, and project scope. YouTube videos are among the most expensive forms of sponsored content, so price your service well. 
  1. Post your sponsored content and check YouTube’s disclosure feature for sponsored content. This feature is to maintain transparency and abide by Google’s ad policies

3. Sell Merchandise: Physical or Digital Products

You can sell your own products, such as e-courses, T-shirts, backpacks, or caps on your YouTube channel to make more money. 

Having a loyal audience that feels connected to you and selling your products to them is another one of the best ways to make money on YouTube.

How to make money on YouTube by selling merchandise:

  1. Design a product that represents your brand and connects with your audience. If you don’t already have an idea, you can ask your audience what they’d like to buy.
  1. Create a website or shop where your users can buy your products. You can link directly from your videos to your website or any other YouTube-approved merchandise websites.
  1. As a YouTube Partner, you can enable the shelf feature for your merch.
  1. Promote your physical and digital products in your video content by wearing or using them. You can include user-generated content, which is content featuring people who love your products.
  1. Develop a viable social media strategy to advertise your merchandise outside of YouTube. Direct traffic to your channel to make sales.
  1. Encourage your viewers to make a purchase. In your YouTube video descriptions, add calls-to-action (CTAs) with a link to your store or product page.

4. Crowdfund Your Projects

If you need financial support for your project, crowdfunding is one of the best ways to make money on YouTube. All you need to do is ask for donations from your audience. 

How to make money on YouTube by crowdfunding your projects:

  1. Determine what project you want to fund, and set a realistic expectation for donations.
  1. Choose from the list of YouTube-approved websites to set up your crowdfunding account.
  1. Promote your project in your video content. In these videos, explain what you hope to achieve.
  1. Build an effective social media strategy to advertise your crowdfunding campaign on your social networks
  1. Add enticing offers and CTAs to encourage your viewers to donate. In your YouTube video descriptions, add a link to your crowdfunding account.

5. Encourage Fan Funding 

Fan funding is another one of the best ways to make money on YouTube if you need donations from your fans for support.

How to make money through fan funding on YouTube:

  1. Start live streams and enable Super Chat for fan funding. You can also use other popular fan funding websites like Patreon and Tipeee.
  1. Promote channel membership. Your audience will get access to members-only exclusive content and benefits, which can include badges, custom emoji, and live chats with you.
  1. Encourage your audience to become YouTube Premium members. This way, you get paid each time they watch your channel.

6. Share Your Viral/Quality Videos to Other Media

If you create a YouTube video that goes viral, TV news outlets, other online platforms, and creators might pay you to get rights to use your video.

Even if it’s not a “viral” video, you can still license a video in exchange for money if it’s valuable, high-quality, or newsworthy.

How to make money on YouTube by licensing your videos to other media:

  1. Make it easy for people to reach you for business inquiries. Update your contact details in the About section of your YouTube channel and your video descriptions.
  1. Register with a video content marketplace like Jukin Media for faster purchases and legal use. 

7. Create a Sales Funnel For Your Business

You can make money by optimizing your YouTube channel as a sales funnel feature in your content marketing and social media strategy.

How to make money on YouTube by creating a sales funnel and a social media strategy:

  1. Start a website in a profitable niche and learn how to build a YouTube channel.
  1. Create high-quality content for your channel and grow an audience interested in your niche.
  1. Apply to the YouTube Partner Program.
  1. Promote your shop, course, membership programs, one-on-one programs, or email list in your videos. Include links to where viewers can join your programs or order your products.
  1. If you have a blog, repurpose its content into a YouTube video series to build authority and stay top of mind.
  1. Direct traffic to your YouTube channel from other platforms using a well-planned social media strategy.
  1. Encourage new viewers from other social media platforms to become subscribers and direct them to your main website to read a blog post or make a purchase.

8. Start Affiliate Marketing

Besides ad revenue, becoming an affiliate marketer is the second-best way to make money on YouTube as passive income. 

How to make money on YouTube through affiliate marketing:

  1. Find a suitable niche and learn how to build a YouTube channel.
  1. Select affiliate partnership programs. Start with the simplest, such as the Amazon Associates affiliate program or ShareASale.
  1. Create product review videos and recommend the best items to your viewers. 
  1. Add your affiliate links in the video description to direct viewers to where they can buy the items you reviewed. You’ll earn a commission each time someone makes a purchase through your links.

Frequently Asked Questions About YouTube Monetization

Now that you know the best ways to make money on YouTube, here are the answers to some of the questions you might be asking:

How Many Subscribers Do You Need To Make Money on YouTube?

Your channel needs to have at least 1,000 subscribers to be eligible to join the YouTube Partner Program and explore monetization opportunities.

How Many Views on YouTube To Make Money?

Although a channel needs 4,000 watch hours for the YouTuber to become a YouTube Partner, this number of views doesn’t exactly equal revenue earned. 

YouTube bills an advertiser when a user clicks or watches an ad. So, if a video gets thousands of views but no one clicks the ad, your ad revenue will be zero. 

However, if your subscribers become YouTube Premium members, you’ll earn from their video views.

How Much Money Do You Make on YouTube?

The amount of money YouTubers make varies depending on how many views they get. 

Google uses a 45/55 share for ad revenue on YouTube. This means Google pays 55% of AdSense revenue to a content creator for every amount an advertiser pays.

An advertiser pays between $0.01 to $0.03 for an ad view, which equals $3 to $5 per 1,000 video views for a YouTuber.

What Kind of Videos Make the Most Money on YouTube?

You can monetize any kind of video content so long as it follows YouTube’s guidelines. Several YouTubers in various niches upload different kinds of videos.

Final Thoughts: Here Are the 8 Best Ways To Make Money on YouTube

Once you learn how to build a YouTube channel, you can explore the different ways to make money as a YouTuber. 

Create quality videos and optimize them with YouTube SEO (search engine optimization). Use an effective social media strategy to direct millions of people to watch your content. 

While growing your YouTube channel and income, keep in mind that you need a reliable website to build a solid brand, provide more access to your content, and sell your merchandise.
Ready to build a website that helps provide you with the best ways to make money on YouTube? Check out Bluehost’s Professional Marketing Services.

Machielle Thomas
Machielle Thomas | Content Manager
Machielle Thomas writes and curates web and email content for marketing professionals, small business owners, bloggers, and more.

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