YouTube rewards creators for channel growth using "Play Buttons," YouTube Subscriber Awards that they mail to creators who have reached certain milestones such as 100,000 subscribers. Due to user demand for more recognition of smaller channels, YouTube also introduced reward levels for channels that are still growing. These lower levels don't come with trophies, but creators who reach them should feel proud.
Here are all of YouTube's levels, from small to big:
YouTube won't award the YouTubers of these levels with physical plaque but will offer them alternative benefits.
#1: Graphite Level (0-1000 subscribers)
Graphite is the starter level. As soon as you start a YouTube channel, you will already be on this level until you get up to 1K subscribers. During this time, you should focus on learning how YouTube works and perfecting your video production and editing skills. If your YouTube Channel subscriber is over 100, then you will be allowed to custom the URL of your channel. For more information about Custom Channel URL, please read: How to Find and Change Your YouTube Channel URL – Super Easy! >>
#2: Opal Level (1000-10K subscribers)
After you get your first thousand subscribers on your YouTube channel, you will be on the Opal Level. This is one of the three requirements for getting access to the Partner Program for monetization. By this point, you'll have started to develop your own style and build a personal brand. This is the time to start networking with other YouTubers and trying to find collaboration partners.
#3: Bronze Level (10K-100K subscribers)
Getting ten thousand subscribers is a big deal. By this point, you have enough of a following that they could be called a fanbase, and you can start leveraging your platform to make money through AdSense. Once you pass 10K subscribers, it starts to become easier to find brand deals and sponsorships too. YouTube will offer an additional option of Teespring for the monetized channel at this level.
When a verified YouTube channel reaches a specific milestone and is deemed eligible for a creator award, they are awarded a relatively flat trophy in a metal casing with a YouTube play button symbol.
#4: The Silver Creator Award (100K-1 million subscribers)
This is the first level that comes with a trophy. YouTubers with a Silver Play Button probably won't be earning enough money from YouTube to support themselves, but they're in a good position to start going after more lucrative brand deals. Creators at this level may be earning enough to invest in some better camera gear. Channels at this level are also eligible to apply for a digital verification badge.
#5: The Gold Creator Award (1 million-10 million subscribers)
If people mean graphite when they say 'lead,' and alchemists turn lead into gold, then is YouTube really about alchemy?
At this level, you're making money. When you first reach 1 million, it may still not be enough to live off of, but you're getting close to being able to make YouTube your job (which you will probably be able to do before leaving the Gold Level). Things like your own makeup line or a book deal are not out of the question at this point.
#6: The Diamond Creator Award (10 million-50 million subscribers)
You're a YouTube star. You've made it. You're making enough money that YouTube/projects spawned from your YouTube channel support you completely, and you've probably got a team of helpers. Expect to be going on tours to meet and perform for your fans' live. Also, if you didn't have a book deal before, you almost definitely have one now.
Super High Level
The awards in these levels are absent from the Creator Awards page. Only a handful of channels achieved these levels.
#7: The Custom Creator Award (50 million subscribers)
For channels whose subscribers are over 50 million, PewDiePie is the first person to ever receive this reward. It was made by the shape of his channel logo, a fist bump. He nicknamed this custom play button the Ruby Play Button. If you manage to reach this level, you are beyond being a star on YouTube and are now a bonafide pop culture phenomenon.
#8: The Red Diamond Creator Award (100 million subscribers)
The play button at this level features a play button triangle with a large dark red crystal. If you are able to obtain the award at this level, monetization should never be for you to worry about. One hundred million subscribers mean that 1.3% of the people on this planet are watching you. You'd be a legend if you made it. As of August 2020, only PewDiePie and T-series have obtained this award.
Welp. Those are the YouTube subscriber awards. What level are you on?
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Richard Bennett is a writer and a lover of all things video.