How Do I Monetize My YouTube Content?

The number #1 question asked by youth in our research is how can I make money on my channel?! We’ve gathered some answers, although young people would be advised to check with their parents before posting the one video Google requires to monetize content.

How does Monetization work?

 YouTube’s monetization program is called AdSense.

According to YouTube’s parent Google, money is made based on share of advertising revenue generated when people view a creator’s video - so more views may lead to more revenue (see the Digital Math comparison).

Creators need at least one video approved for monetization to be considered a YouTube partner. Partner status allows creators to attend Google workshops to learn shoot tips, channel and audience building skills, and, if you show real potential, they’ll provide 1:1 management consulting.

Once you’ve submitted your video and you’re approved for monetization, YouTube will place ads “inside or near the video” so an audience can watch a video In-Stream or In-Video. That formal linking of the AdSense account to your YouTube account, kick starts your love affair with Google and you will – in theory - earn revenue that is generated from the ads. 

How much? 

This is the 6 million dollar question and even creators seem fuzzy about the earnings equation. A few things are important:

  • Having more subscribers pays more than just clicks on views – essentially it moves you to a new pay scale. Subscribers represent more of a commitment, hence, the push on all creator videos to subscribe.
  • Impressions pay!! Creators have a CPM assigned to their channel/videos and your CPM or pay scale is defined by number of subscribers, but also by the way advertisers buy and bid on YouTube channel inventory.

Pay via CPM or cost per thousand views

  1. Reserved in-stream $$$$
  2. Reserved unknown $$$
  3. Auction True-view in-stream $$
  4. Reserved display $$
  5. Auction in-stream $
  6. Unknown
  • If the viewer presses the Skip Ad button (Google calls this the skippable ads option TrueView)? No Monetization! Advertisers pay based on hard impressions delivered to their target audience. If viewers don’t watch the ad, the advertiser doesn’t pay and the creator doesn't get paid.
  • Non-skippable ads are called In-stream Ads and are available in 15 or 30 second formats called pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll. But do you want to risk annoying your audience? At least TrueView gives them an option to “engage” and only 5 seconds of potential pain.
  • For those ads that appear on the video? These are called In-video Ads, appear on the bottom portion of your video and are usually text based. If the viewer clicks on the ad on the video, the viewer gets paid.
  • The best videos to monetize are those that are 100% your own content – your own music, your own video, your own idea. If you use background music that isn’t your own original music, a percent goes to that artist. To maximize your margins ($$$) think vlog style videos with original content and only monetize what is yours so you aren’t paying a share of your revenue share to others. 

Some specifics from Google on videos that aren’t eligible:

  1. You are singing words of your favorite copyrighted song and there is copyrighted audio in the background, such as instrumental or karaoke tracks.
  2.  You have used content from someone else without permission, but you haven't yet received a copyright notice on your video.
  3. Your video does not provide proper attribution or credits as required by a license.(Source:

Earnings also depend on a number of factors:

  1. The type of ads
  2.  The pricing of ads appearing with your videos. Ads on a YouTuber channel with 2 million+ subscribers will obviously reach more eyeballs and cost more
  • You will receive a payment based on:
  1. The number of valid clicks on ads displayed on your properties.
  2.  The number of valid impressions of ads displayed on your properties, or other valid events performed in connection with the display of ads on your properties, per the criteria established by Google.
  3. Google pays creators at the end of the calendar month as long as their earned account balance equals or exceeds the applicable threshold which in Canada and the US is $100. 


YouTube Red – Viewer Watch Time is your best friend and the killer metric!

  • Gives fans the option to watch videos uninterrupted – i.e. sans commercials! Creators are not paid by clicks or views – it’s all about watch time and engagement.
  • This new paid membership lets subscribers (now a monthly paid subscriber) watch any video on YouTube without ads while still supporting creators….the longer fans watch, the more the creator makes.