Despite being around for almost two decades, YouTube is still growing.
Each day, hopeful creators join the platform wanting to earn big money. The good news is that it is still possible to make money on YouTube if a creator can deliver engaging content and leverage monetization strategies to attract and convert viewers.
A common benchmark for success on YouTube is 1 million views per video. But what is that actually worth? Short answer: YouTube pays between $1,200 and $6,000 for one million views.
Keep reading to learn more about the earning potential on YouTube and different ways to monetize a channel. We’ll also report on how much the top creators earn.
How Much Does YouTube Pay for 1 Million Views?
At one million views, creators can expect to earn between $1,200 to $6,000 from ad views. The reason why this range is so broad is that your ad earnings on YouTube can depend on so many factors, mainly your niche and country.
Other sources mention that in 2021, YouTube ad revenue reached $28.84 billion, with a video earning $3–$5 per 1,000 views. This can help us narrow the figure down to $3,000 – $5,000 per million views, although it’s still safer to stick to a wider range since it can vary greatly.
However you look at it, these earnings are significantly higher than what you can earn on other creator platforms. For example, it’s much more than what TikTok pays for one million views, which makes sense since getting to a million views on YouTube can be a tough job.
Much like on TikTok, YouTube creators looking to make money must apply to YouTube’s Partner Program and create an AdSense account to run ads. Only channels with 1,000 subscribers and at least 4,000 watch hours are approved.
Here are some factors that can impact your ad revenue on YouTube:
- How engaged your viewers are: If people don’t watch your videos for long, they won’t have the opportunity to see your ads. Also, YouTube will be less likely to include ads on channels that don’t have an engaged audience.
- What type of content you post: Content in some industries, such as real estate and finance, generates more money per ad than vlogs and other niches. AdSense is an auction platform in which advertisers bid for keywords, so if a certain phrase is competitive, advertisers will pay creators more to show their ads.
- Where your channel is registered: Advertisers in regions where people have more disposable income, such as the US and EU, will pay creators more for ads because their return is greater.
- Use of AdBlock: Almost 43% of YouTube viewers use AdBlock in the browser. This means depending on how internet savvy your audience is, nearly half of your viewers might not see ads at all.
- How many premium users watch your content: YouTube Premium is a subscription service with 50 million users who pay for a better experience, including ad-free access. But unlike ad-block, creators do still get paid for YouTube premium views based on how much of their video is watched.
To understand how ad money trickles down to creators, let’s understand the advertiser/YouTube relationship.
On average, advertisers pay $0.18 per ad view, with the range being from $0.10 to $0.30. Of this amount, creators get 68%, with the rest going to YouTube.
Extending this to 1,000 views translates to $18, but as mentioned above, external factors reduce that amount to about $3–$5.
|Number of Views||Estimated Earnings|
|How much does YouTube pay per 1,000 views?||$3–$5|
|How much does YouTube pay per 100,000 views?||$120–$800|
|How much does YouTube pay per 500,000 views?||$1,000–$3,800|
|How much does YouTube pay per 1,000,000 views?||$1,200–$6,000|
You can also use our YouTube earnings calculator to get an estimate of how much money you can earn from YouTube views. To get a broad estimate, you can keep your CPM within the average of $3 and $5. To get a more accurate estimate, enter the estimated CPM of your exact industry/country.
However, ad income is just one method for creators to earn from content.
What defines how much a YouTube creator can actually earn is their monetization strategy.
How Much Can You Make as a YouTube Creator?
To maximize earnings from YouTube, creators need to diversify revenue streams beyond ads.
In 2021, the highest-earning YouTuber was Mr Beast, who took home $54 million. A big reason for his success was the popularity of Mr BeastBurger, available for order only via an app or partner restaurants.
If a channel is open to unconventional monetization tactics, subscriber count does not have a major influence on overall success.
In fact, one million YouTubers earn a full-time wage despite there being only 29,000 channels with more than one million subscribers.
Generally, 100,000 subscribers are more than enough for creators to leverage their brand.
Here are a few popular monetization strategies for creators:
Sell Your Own Products
An engaged audience is likely to support the creator if given the chance.
Many YouTubers start their own e-commerce store selling unique merchandise, such as T-shirts, hoodies, and souvenirs.
This method is effective because as long as your subscriber count increases, so does your revenue. But it is very competitive, with many YouTubers already doing it.
Another option is selling online courses like creator Make Money Matt.
Courses are one of the best ways to monetize your channel since you don’t have to compromise your content for revenue.
Unlike e-commerce stores, you won’t have to invest in marketing, and courses are an extension of content your audience already enjoys.
Offer Exclusive Content and Privileges for a Fee
Once a channel reaches 30,000 subscribers, YouTube unlocks the paid membership feature.
This allows loyal fans to support their favorite YouTubers financially with a tiered monthly subscription in exchange for special perks. Some options include custom emojis, loyalty badges in the comments section, bonus content, live-stream access, or even access to a private Discord channel.
Although YouTube will take 30% of those membership profits, it’s a great way to build loyalty and drive engagement.
Once a membership program is created, subscribers just need to click the “Join” button on a YouTuber’s homepage and complete payment.
A great example of a YouTuber who excels in channel memberships is PrinceCharming.
Known for his reaction videos, quirky personality, and gaming live streams, PrinceCharming offers a mid-tier membership plan that allows viewers to game with him. Not only does this benefit him monetarily, but it also helps establish a loyal audience who will help market him.
Recommend Products You Use
Another lucrative income opportunity for YouTubers is affiliate marketing or the promotion of products for a commission of the sale price.
Ideally, this should be an organic recommendation and be accompanied by a video reviewing the product, unboxing it, or showing it in use. This will make the recommendation feel genuine.
To do this, first sign up for an appropriate affiliate program.
Here are some options:
- Amazon Associates
- eBay Partner Network
- Commission Junction
Once you’ve signed up, you can share unique affiliate links in your video description. If a viewer clicks through and makes a purchase, you’ll get paid.
Remember to disclose your affiliate link. This is considered good practice because it enhances your credibility.
But a creator doesn’t have to choose the largest affiliate program. Some brands, such as Christian Dior, have their own personalized programs. In some cases, it may be more beneficial for a fashion or makeup channel to directly contact the brand to get affiliate links.
Promote Other Products Organically
A channel with an engaged audience will likely catch the attention of big brands looking to get in front of potential customers.
Hence, brand sponsorship deals are quite common on YouTube.
The arrangement works by either having the creator promote the product or service during their video or reviewing the product after getting a free sample.
Although there is some overlap, brand sponsorships are not the same as affiliate marketing. In the former, a brand pays a creator to showcase its product, whereas in the latter, a creator decides to promote a product on their own and share affiliate links as part of their monetization strategy.
Create a Subscription Service
If creators find the 30% channel membership cut taken by YouTube excessive, another option is to use a subscription platform.
The platform provides an alternative option for creators to monetize extra content by placing it behind a paywall. Depending on the plan, Patreon takes 5%–12% of creators’ earnings.
Besides more income, Patreon users are more accustomed to paying for content than the general YouTube audience, so creators will benefit by having a presence on the platform.
How Much Money Do Top YouTubers Make?
In 2021, the top 10 YouTubers earned a collective $300 million, a jump of 20% from 2020.
Some of these stars are outright celebrities in their own right.
|Mr Beast||129 million||$54 million|
|Jake Paul||20.3 million||$45 million|
|Markiplier||34.3 million||$38 million|
|Rhett and Link||4.97 million||$30 million|
|Unspeakable||15 million||$28.5 million|
|Nastya||104 million||$28 million|
|Ryan Kaji||8.99 million||$27 million|
|Dude Perfect||58.6 million||$20 million|
|Logan Paul||23.6 million||$18 million|
|Preston||22.6 million||$16 million|
As the list reveals, subscriber count isn’t everything.
With just 4.97 million subscribers, Rhett and Link rank fourth with a take-home income of $30 million. Their success boils down to experimentation. The duo ran multiple channels in different niches before deciding to focus on their most popular, Good Mythical Morning.
That success then evolved into other shows and even a paid live-stream event that drew 70,000 viewers at $50 each.
Although Tiktok and Instagram have stolen the spotlight in recent years, YouTube remains a reliable and powerful way to earn money.
Although figuring out how much YouTube pays for one million views will never be an exact science, it will likely be a considerable wage if you can achieve it.
Have any thoughts you’d like to share? Or tips? Feel free to comment below. We’d love to hear your opinion!