Why did it take five months for Gangnam Style, a previous most-watched YouTube video, to hit a billion views, while Despacito reached the same result for just 97 days?
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More active users. (1.8 billion logged-in viewers each month, to be specific.)
More time spent on YouTube. (A billion hours of watching videos per day, which is equal to 114,000 years, by the way.)
Today, YouTube had become the world’s second largest search engine and third most visited site after Google and Facebook. So it's no wonder why most bloggers try hard to benefit from this platform.
Some generate content on their own, others look for alternative ways to learn these ropes, but all want the same: to conquer YouTube and monetize it.
Here are the top three ways to do that.
1) YouTube Partner Program (YPP)
For those not in the know:
All those commercials we come across on YouTube while watching and in sidebars are how the platform makes money. And if you are a blogger generating video content on a regular basis, YPP is your choice to monetize it.
How does it work?
You publish a video with ads in it, subscribers spit but keep watching, and you share the PPV (pay-per-view) revenue with YouTube. It's a partnership: they give you a platform to create content and build an audience, and you pay for getting benefits from it.
To join the program and become a YouTube partner, you need to have at least 1,l00 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours at your channel. These are changes YouTube has established in February 2018 to protect content creators from cheaters attempting to plagiarize others' works and earn views by crooked means.
How to join the YouTube Partner Program
- Sign in to your channel.
- Go to your account icon and select Creator Studio there (1).
- Select Channel > Status and features (2).
- Go to Monetization and click Enable (3).
After that, follow on-screen steps to apply for the program. Once you reach the before-mentioned limit, YouTube will review your channel to decide if you can join the program and start making money with your content.
Working with media networks
Besides AdSense with their PPV politics, you can cooperate with media networks that are corporate bodies and YouTube partner companies. They also share earnings from AdSense with bloggers but take a part of them.
For what do you pay them?
- Simplified cash-out.
- Access to extra instruments for promoting your content.
- Participation in their training events.
They potentially promote you, though have no obligation to do that, and gixve several benefits such as providing you with their AdSense account, supporting you with copyright issues, and supplying you with higher paying ads.
To become a partner with media networks, follow the rules of monetization as well as any additional conditions they might have. Thus, to connect to AIR Network, your channel should have 1,500 subscribers and 5,000 hours of watch time during the last 12 months.
To choose between YPP and media networks, mind that YouTube shares 55% of earnings with bloggers, while media networks give 25-35%.
Your income will depend on several factors:
- A number of views. (It counts if users watch ads all the way through or 30 seconds minimum.)
- Ad formats and their cost.
- Viewers geography.
- Audience reach and retention.
- Your content quality and topics.
Use YouTube Analytics to see the anticipated revenue of your channel. As for the exact amount of income, you can check it in Google AdSense account. Services such as Socialblade allow you to estimate a prospective income from working with the YouTube Partner Program by examining other channels in your niche.
What can motivate you to choose this monetization method is that nothing will distract you from the creative process of content creation.
You won't have to communicate with advertisers, coordinate and agree on scenarios, or follow deadlines. YouTube will choose ads to show in your videos. The only recourse you will have to do is creating engaging videos on a regular basis and checking YouTube Analytics/AdSense reports from time to time.
Two options are waiting for you here: work with advertisers aka YouTube stars or become an advertiser yourself.
Who are YouTube stars?
They are bloggers with thousands or millions of subscribers, asking money for your content or product mention/placement in videos. At sufficiently high marketing budgets, you can cooperate with them to promote your blog and therefore get more income from it.
Most popular YouTube stars in the world get seven or even eight figures from their channels. It took them years of a direct relationship with fans to rack up millions of subscribers, but it was worth it, don't you agree? As a rule, such top influencers on YouTube don't work with customers (you) directly, relying on advertising agencies instead.
What does it look like to promote your brand with YouTube stars?
For instance, beauty and fashion vlogger Zoella who has 12 million subscribers feels okay with promoting makeup products and linking back to them in her video descriptions.
Her ads for Lush brought thousands of new customers to this company.
Or, Austin Evans (over 3 million subscribers) who just mentions brands in his videos.
This method of monetization doesn't require content creation from you, as you are a brand paying for ads. But if you want to become a second Zoella or Austin, you are welcome to become an advertiser yourself and cooperate with other brands to get money for their product mentions or placements in your video content.
This approach brings more money but, at the same time, heavier responsibility to clients and your audience.
How to become an advertiser
Simple as that:
Build a YouTube loyal community, grow it by creating useful and interesting content of high quality, and write engaging scenarios for your videos to attract a new audience as well as retain subscribers.
Develop and improve your channel to outreach to brands.
Remember that 70% of viewers come to YouTube to find a solution to their problems; 86% use it to learn something new, and 57% of the YouTube audience visit the platform for entertainment. So plan your content accordingly.
Also, don't forget to optimize your content for SEO and create video headlines that drive views.
Product placement vs. integration into content
The first one requires fewer efforts. You take an advertised product, put it somewhere in the background so viewers could see them while watching the video, and don't even mention it during the record.
Examples are many, and I bet you noticed them in movies. Native advertising works by the same principle, looking natural and non-intrusive in the content. Like in the article at Venture Beat, where they used a viral meme "Laurel or Yanny?" to promote the upcoming conference.
The situation is different with product integration.
Subscribers will hardly like content where an author makes a pitch for products all the time to please advertising clients. Doing this, get ready for dislikes and comments a la "A sellout!"
Trying to explain yourself and tell followers that you make it for money, you'll run into flak of a client.
Making ads boring and clumsily integrated into content, you'll lose both.
To succeed here, develop communication skills and the ability to determine users’ moods and emotions as well as integrate ads into your content like a boss.
Yes, it takes time to agree on details with clients, write a scenario, deal with negative comments, decide disputes, etc. In the case of YouTube stars, agencies do all this work for them. If you are not a top blogger (yet!) and you don't have an agent, get ready to do everything on your own.
How to write scenarios for YouTube ads
Divide a sheet of paper into two columns. A left one will describe actions happening on the screen, while a right one – words you or actors say. Example:
In the case when words and shots aren't simultaneous but sequential, you can write a scenario like this:
Avoid the tiniest details. If working with decorators, operators, professional writers, and sound producers – they will know what to do and how to make it look better. If you are a one-man band, you don't need all that excessive explanations. The development of the action is the only moment to describe in scenarios.
Remember the following factors:
- a product;
- a content format;
Learn them all before writing a scenario. Have you got a great idea? Write it down but don't hurry up to implement it until you straighten out a subject. Otherwise, you risk spoiling everything.
Another way to monetize your content on YouTube is crowdfunding aka working with your subscribers.
It's an opportunity for subscribers to support your channel. In return of monthly fees, they get bonuses such as access to more videos, invitations to private groups on social media, mentions on behalf of their favorite blogger, additional emoticons, etc.
Far from all channels are eligible for sponsorships. To check if yours is, go to Creator Studio > Channel > Status and features. You need to have at least 100,000 subscribers to enable the feature.
Another way to earn on YouTube is donations while live streaming. The instrument such as Donation Alerts did it before, but now Super Chat is responsible for that.
Viewers pay to support a blogger as well as see their beautifully formatted comments pinned on the top of the list.
To gather donuts, you need to enable monetization and be 18 years old.
Despite all those stories and videos about generous philanthropists donating thousands of dollars to YouTubers, donuts and subscriptions are a rare and unsteady source of income. You can use it, but stay realistic: create compelling content and build a loyal community to start getting income from your channel.
To decide on the way of content monetization via YouTube, remember:
- YouTube Partner Program and media networks are stable and automatic, but the income is not high here.
- Working with advertisers or becoming an advertiser yourself is more time- and energy consuming, it requires responsibility and self-discipline, but the income is more ambitious here.
- Donuts and sponsorships work well for bloggers with super loyal subscribers.
So, build and grow the audience, create useful and interesting content of high quality – and monetization won't be long in coming.