How Much Do You Make On YouTube? OP-ED


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Easily one of the most commonly asked questions of YouTube creators today is how much money do you make on YouTube? The answer however, is surprisingly complex.

YouTube is a business that’s done a lot of evolving over the years. From introducing the partner program to building fully functional studios in three locations around the world, the company’s expansion has been a boon for both those who got in on the ground level, and those who joined in later on.

But just how much money can someone make on YouTube?

Websites such as Social Blade have attempted to answer this question as reasonably possible by estimating a YouTube creator’s income based on their CPMs.

CPM stands for cost per thousand views. Basically, for every 1,000 views a creator can make anything from a few cents to a few dollars. CPMs are generally not disclosed, which is why statistic sites often have an enormous range when it comes to creators incomes.

The CPM is applied mostly to pre-roll and banner ads, with some bonuses for each time someone clicks the ad and goes to the advertiser’s site/product. CPMs are also usually set by YouTube, and can vary between creators.

Additionally, should your videos cater to a very specific niche, such as gaming or beauty channels, CPMs are often higher since advertisers can focus on their targeted market. When a company purchases adspace from YouTube, they aren’t necessarily able to choose exactly where the ad plays, but they can pay more to focus the marketing on a specific audience.

Additionally, creators can market themselves to brands, striking direct partnerships with advertisers who will pay them a certain amount per view. Brand deals can range from just a few hundred to several thousands of dollars, depending on the creator, style of content, length of campaign, etc.

If a creator has a manager or is part of an MCN, part of the money from that brand deal will be split.

This also doesn’t account for any larger deals, such as when channels are purchased by a larger conglomerate, such as with Philip DeFranco and Discovery Digital Networks, or any side projects a creator may have as well. Many creators have merchandise lines supplementing their incomes, along with potential book and television deals.

PewDiePie recently spoke about his earnings, publicly admitting he made $4 million in 2013 alone.

But it’s thanks to success stories like Grace Helbig or PewDiePie that we have footsteps creators can follow in. The first struggle for creators was carving out the space to begin with, and while that’s still happening, there’s also now so much more room for others to join the club.

On the flipside, because there’s so much room, the market is saturated with just about every shtick you can imagine. Creating a niche channels has become increasingly difficult, not only to draw an audience to, but brands as well. If YouTube is what you’re considering making your full time job, this is something you’ll definitely want to consider.

In the end, the question should not be “How much money do you make on YouTube?” It should be “What did you do to get there?”

Part of it is luck, and creating something different. Another part of it is working incredibly hard in the space you’ve been given, not to mention the companies that have been established to help creators get the deals they both need and deserve.

In the end though, these creators took something that was considered a hobby, and made it into an art form. The space is growing and evolving in ways we’d never dreamed it could, and honestly, we can’t wait to see where it goes.