In this article, we are going to look at 4 different types of ways to make money on YouTube that doesn’t involve ads.
But why should there be any other way? What’s wrong with simply focusing on ads?
More and more people are making a living by creating videos on YouTube. According to the YouTube Partner Program, YouTube has seen a 40% year-over-year of channels making 6 figures from viewer ads engagements.
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The answer to this question varies depending on the channel and the audience, as YouTubers don’t make money for views but rather from how often people engage with the ads. If a viewer watches more than 30 seconds of the ad or clicks it, then the YouTuber will make money.
This is a general estimate of how much a YouTuber can make from ads once they qualify:
- 68% of advertisers ad spend goes to the video creator. If advertisers spend $100, creators get $68.
- $0.18 is the average rate per ad view.
- 1000 ad views will equal approximately $18
- 1000 video views will equal between $2-$5
Why It’s So Hard for YouTubers to Make Money From Ads
For new YouTubers, it is getting harder and harder to get to that point where their sole income can be from YouTube ads. Before they can make a penny, they must first qualify.
- Creators need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time in 12 months before they can turn on monetization
- YouTube pays in $100 increments
Once they have monetization turned on, it’s only the beginning. YouTubers need to create good content consistently. In order to earn $100 for the initial payout, they need an average of 50,000 views. That’s just $100! A lot of views and not a big payout. Hardly enough to quit your day job.
That is why it is essential to have alternative ways to make money on YouTube, and not rely on the ads shown on your videos. So, without further ado, here are 4 other ways to make money on YouTube:
1. Sell Your Product or Service:
YouTube is one of the most effective means of marketing and selling your products and services if you are able to use it effectively and drive people to click and buy.
Here are some examples of products and services you can offer:
- Licensed content
- Online course
- Channel/brand merchandise
YouTuber, Jake Paul uses eCommerce platform Fanjoy to sell his merch.
- Consulting work (strategy planner, financial advisor, etc.)
YouTuber and entrepreneur, Sunny Lenarduzzi uses YouTube as a platform to get clients for her consulting business.
How to Sell a Product or Service on YouTube
YouTube is a vast platform and if you don’t have a clear direction for what you are selling, you might be making videos for an audience that isn’t interested in buying what you are selling.
Here is how you should go about selling your product or service on YouTube:
1. Your content must be discovered by the right people: If the wrong people find your content, then you aren’t going to make any sales. To get the right eyes on your videos, you’ll need to do some research on your target audience and what keywords they use when searching for your product or services.
If you are selling a meditation eBook and guided meditation services, type in some possible keywords in the YouTube search bar. What appears will be some popular searches:
From there, take your possible keywords and put them into a tool such as Ubersuggest to find other related keywords. This will help you create discoverable content that will catch the interest of those who will buy what you are selling.
2. Your content must have value: You cannot start with the Call to Action or try selling to your audience right away. You must first build trust and prove that what you are selling has value.
In the video, he offers tips on how journaling can help the viewer reach their goal. The way he intends to make money is through people signing up for his course. The course is the product he is selling, but he doesn’t say that. He knows the viewers are not there to enroll in a course. They are there to learn about what he is offering.
The video is over 9 minutes long and not once does he tell his audience to buy anything. However, he does encourage the viewer at the end to download a free eBook. Selling is about focusing on the long game.
3. Your content must lead the audience to a place where they can buy: You don’t want to force people through a door, but you do want the signs to be visible. You will need to direct the viewer to a place where they can make the purchase. YouTube has a few ways to point your viewers in that direction.
Link in the description box:
The YouTube Card:
You can add one or multiple cards to direct viewers to your website or to another related video.
Call to action button:
Once the viewer is on your website, make sure the path is apparent as well. Have a clear call to action somewhere on your website. This is where your viewers become customers.
But What if You Don’t Have a Product Or Service to Sell Yet?
While some YouTubers certainly start with their product and service in mind and find their customers to sell through YouTube, many others go the opposite way and discover their audience first.
Lilly Singh did not start a YouTube channel to sell her book, How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life. Her YouTube channel gave her an audience and proved to publishers that there was enough demand for her to write a book that people will read.
As you grow your audience you will find that there will be a demand for certain products or services that don’t already exist. This is where you put on your entrepreneur hat and think of something that your audience will pay money for and make it happen. Odds are, when it happens, it wouldn’t even be a mystery, your audience will tell you to make or supply it.
For example, Remi Cruz, a YouTuber with over 2.2 million subscribers. Remi created a beauty brand and DIY face mask, Honey Pop, which could only have happened after taking the time to understand her supportive audience.
2. Affiliate Marketing:
Businesses know that there are more eyes watching YouTube than ever — behind Google, YouTube is the second most popular place for people researching what to buy — and influencers and reviews are an effective method of getting sales. You can leverage that by participating in affiliate marketing as a YouTuber.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work On YouTube?
As a YouTuber, you can share your thoughts on products or services, and if there are products that you recommend, by simply adding a personalized link to the product page, you can get a commission for every sale of that product that came through your link.
The average affiliate commission rate is between 5% to 30%, with a lot of variables. Some low price range items will have a higher commission, while higher-priced items will have lower commissions.
Travel YouTuber, Sorelle Amore’s affiliate links to her vlogging gears.
Keep in mind that people are most likely going to take recommendations from people they trust. You wouldn’t buy a computer from a nutritionist and you wouldn’t buy vitamins from a gamer, so consider what you are an expert in and what products you have the most authority to speak about.
What Videos Are Best for Affiliate Marketing?
There are no restrictions on what will make a good affiliate marketing video, but there are best practices.
What’s important is understanding the purpose of the video. If the video is about vlogging microphones, then it makes complete sense to have an affiliate link to your favorite microphone. Odds are the people who are watching the video may be considering buying a new microphone, so the link is helpful for them.
Here are a few types of videos that make for good affiliate marketing opportunities:
- Product reviews
- Top 10
- Cheap vs expensive
- What to pack for…
How to Get an Affiliate Marketing Link for YouTube?
Which affiliate marketing program you choose to sign up with will depend on the products you want to link to through your content. Do some research on what each network has to offer in regards to your niche.
Here is the list of 4 popular affiliate marketing networks:
You can also partner with brands directly as many of them, such as Sephora and Canon, will have their own affiliate program.
3. Brand Deal or Sponsorships:
Selling out, that is often the thought when we hear creators getting brand deals and sponsorships, but that stigma is unfounded if the brand and the content are properly aligned. As your channel grows, you will begin to recognize brands that match your values — and the values of your viewers — and those that don’t.
In an ad for Beats by Dre’s #BuiltForBosses campaign, YouTuber Liza Koshy outperformed the likes of Tom Brady and DJ Khaled.
While it does take significant effort on YouTube to acquire a following, it is possible for a YouTube channel with 1,000 subscribers to get a brand deal. Getting the buy-in from brands is a numbers game, and according to Video Creators, the minimal number of views per video shouldn’t be lower than 2,000 if this is the path you want to head in.
How to Get Discovered By Brands
The decision-makers behind brands might not be aware of influencers with a smaller following — those who have just cracked the 5,000 subscriber mark. The odds of a brand reaching out to you, as a small creator, is unlikely to happen.
If you want to get a brand deal and become an influencer on YouTube, then you will have to put yourself out there to be discovered and that is on an Influencer Marketing Network, such as Famebit.
How Influencer Marketing Platforms Like Famebit Works
When you sign up for Famebit or other influencer marketing platforms you have an opportunity to get in front of brands who are seeking influencers to share their product or service.
Steps to getting a brand deal:
Find brands and campaigns that match your audience.
Pitch your creative ideas and present the proposal to the brand within their parameters (product review, 30-60 shoutout, etc.)
If accepted, you are hired and will begin collaboration with the brand to produce the project.
Build our content.
Receive approval from the brand.
Unlike celebrity marketing, YouTube creators have shown brands over the years that they are inventive and clever with how they can present the brand to the audience to drive the best results. This type of independence is what makes YouTube influencer marketing special.
If you are creating valuable content and have a loyal following, you can start thinking about crowdfunding. It doesn’t take stardom to start asking for donations, pledge, or support from your fans. There is a demand for quality content and if you are creating something of value, even on a free service like YouTube, people will happily pay to support it.
But how can you approach crowdfunding so it doesn’t look like you are begging?
3 Popular Types of Crowdfunding:
- Tiered Rewards: You can give incentives for your patrons in different tiers. Example: a donation of $2-$10 gives them a shoutout in your next video, a donation of $20-$100 gets them an exclusive spot in a live stream, and more extravagant offerings as the donations increase.
- Membership:This method of crowdfunding allows your fans to donate on a recurring basis. Treat your channel like it’s HBO and deliver higher-value content. Your members will be the first to see the increase of quality in and frequency of your work.
- Project-based: Is there a special project you have in mind, get support for it. A longer-form video or one that your fans have been wanting for a while, by highlighting this anticipated project, you can get more backing behind it financially.
From Sept-Oct 2011, the YouTube channel Freddiew (aka RocketJump) went on Kickstarter to crowdfund so they can produce a web series called Video Game High School. In 30 days, they were able to surpass their goal of $75,000 with $273,725 and 5,661 backers. The result is a multiple season web series, the first one published onto YouTube in May 2012.
Without crowdfunding, the project would unlikely have been produced and published for viewers in such a short amount of time.
Set Crowdfunding Goals to Encourage Donations
Have you ever gone up to a friend and ask for $5? What did they say?
“What do you need it for?”
We are more willing to give money if we know where it is going. Let your audience know exactly what you are planning to spend the funds on and how it will benefit them. One way to really encourage them is to have a goal, for example, a trip to a conference, and a special video will be produced to highlight the event.
Set a $$ Target
If you have a pie in the sky goal, you aren’t going to fully leverage the message to your audience. Understand how much money you need to produce a video or to pursue a more ambitious project. What do you need in order to grow and make the best channel you can.
How Does Patreon Work for YouTubers?
When it comes to crowdfunding for YouTubers, Patreon is the platform of choice. While other platforms such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe are focused on entrepreneurial pursuits, large projects, or charitable causes, Patreon is designed to support creatives and reward and incentivize donors.
There are many ways to make money off of YouTube, I encourage you to try a few of these different strategies and see how they perform and which one suits your channel and your audience the best.
Directing your viewers to your website where they can pay for a product or service that you offer.
Sign up with an affiliate program such as Amazon Associates and create content about interesting products.
Find brands that match your channel’s values and propose ideas via influencer marketing platforms such as Famebit.
Set up a Patreon page and encourage viewers to donate to get incentives or to support a bigger better project.
Got questions about making money on YouTube? Leave a comment below. We love to help you get paid for the videos you create.
Richard Bennett is a writer and a lover of all things video.