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How much do YouTubers make? The real numbers behind the videos.

It depends on many factors.
November 29, 2022
YouTube on smartphone stock photo 3
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

It seems super tempting to start a YouTube channel. After all, you can slap your camera phone on a stand and start filming yourself today. But while it might seem simple, there’s far more to the story when it comes to the question of how much YouTubers make. Here’s what you need to know before starting your channel.

How much do YouTubers make?

A Lenovo Smart Tab P10 in its dock on a kitchen counter showing a YouTube video

Before addressing how much YouTubers make, we must discuss how making money on YouTube works. If you want to start making money on YouTube, you need at least 1,000 subscribers and become a member of the YouTube Partner Program. That’s when YouTube will enable monetization via AdSense. Furthermore, you must have 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months, have an AdSense account, agree and sign the terms and conditions, and get approved.

AdSense pays out 68% of the total revenue from ads to a channel owner.

After that point, Google pays out 68% of the total revenue earned from ads served via AdSense. The actual amount that AdSense pays depends on a few factors. These include the length of the ad, the audience viewing the ads, how many views the video has, and many other things. It often ends up being $0.10 to $0.30 per view according to multiple sources, with an average of $0.18 per view. That means a YouTube channel can get $18 per 1,000 ad views or around $3 to $5 per 1,000 video views.

With the basics in mind, remember that viewers must watch ads for at least 30 seconds (or half an advertisement if the associated video is very short) for the ad view to count. Plus, you only get a payout once your AdSense account reaches $100 or more.

One major caveat to consider is advertisers have content standards. They will not run ads on videos they deem inappropriate. That’s what YouTubers mean when they say a video has been “demonetized.” YouTube determined that a video was not advertiser-friendly and did not allow ads to run on the video. As a result, that video cannot generate any ad revenue for you.

How much does YouTube pay for one million views?

As mentioned, there are a lot of variables that go into how much you can make from a YouTube video. If we use the $5 per 1,000 views figure from above, a YouTube video with one million views can make $5,000.

This is just an estimate, however. A hypothetical one-million-view video could make more or less than this. That’s because advertisers weigh many other things in addition to view count. For example, advertisers consider views from people in high-income countries like the US to be worth more than low-income countries. Furthermore, the more competition that exists in a certain category, the higher the rates advertisers have to pay. For instance, the finance category has lots of competition. Videos in this category usually attract higher rates from advertisers than, say, gaming- or animal-focused channels. Advertisers also like to get ads in front of viewers in the lead-up to holidays like Christmas, and they’ll pay more for those ad slots. Google has an AdSense estimator available to give you an idea of how much money various topics may earn from advertising.

How much do popular YouTubers make?

samsung galaxy z fold 4 youtube folded 2
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Now that you know how making money works on YouTube, here’s what some top earners earned in pre-tax revenue in 2021, according to Forbes. Note that these figures are estimates and consider multiple sources of income, including sponsorships, merch, and more, not just ad revenue.

  1. MrBeast: $54 million
  2. Jake Paul: $45 million
  3. Markiplier: $38 million
  4. Rhett & Link: $30 million
  5. Unspeakable: $28.5 million
  6. Like Nastya: $28 million
  7. Ryan Kaji: $27 million
  8. Dude Perfect: $20 million
  9. Logan Paul: $18 million
  10. Preston: $16 million

Frequently asked questions about making money on YouTube

The rate you’re paid is not directly tied to your number of subscribers. However, getting lots of views on your videos is easier if you have plenty of subscribers because they are more likely to consume your content. So, subscribers end up being an essential part of the formula for making money on YouTube at the end of the day.

Yes, you can also sell merchandise, get sponsorships, and make affiliate links. You will have to partner with other brands and companies and disclose that you’re being sponsored or have an affiliate link if you use them.

Viewers must watch ads for you to get paid. If they block them or skip them, you won’t get paid.

No, the number of likes is not used to determine ad revenue rates.

Yes, even though you don’t enable monetization through the Partner Program, YouTube may still put ads in your videos. You won’t get any revenue generated from those ads if you disable monetization, however, according to the terms of service.