It’s certainly been an interesting few weeks on YouTube, especially on the revenue front. We’ve heard from several creators – both in and out of the Fullscreen Creator Network, that CPMs have dropped heavily and revenue is following suit. Since it doesn’t affect everyone equally, and there are a whole slew of reasons that CPMs are dropping, we’re going to save that for another day. Today, we’re going to tackle on a harder hitting topic.
Don’t expect to make money on YouTube.
This statement gains more weight each and every year, and likely won’t slow up anytime soon. The fact of the matter is, for most creators, there’s very little revenue to be made on YouTube – especially with the tighter rules and wider spread.
Are some doing well? Of course. A handful of creators are living very solid lifestyles thanks to YouTube, but the number of active channels earning enough to live comfortably is probably less than 1% of uploading users.
To add to this, many creators who were earning a decent living from YouTube no longer are – me being one of them. Until 2012, my educational videos were paying the bills and then some, but suddenly, and without notice, YouTube’s algorithm shifted and hit me hard. Combined with the growing number of educators entering the space, I found myself in a pretty ugly spot. You never know when the next round of demonetization will hit, or the next algorithm change will roll out. The uncertainty is very real on YouTube.
Who’s on top?
There’s no ‘secret sauce’ to success, but in general, the creators who are leading the pack typically sport these qualities.
- Very high production value
- Original content that stands out from the rest
- Frequently collaborating with other creators
- Consistent, scheduled uploads
- Actively posting on multiple platforms
- 110% dedicated to their business
Content creation can be a living, but don’t rely on YouTube.
If your hope is to earn a living uploading to YouTube, take a step back for a second. It’s likely not going to happen, but it can certainly play a role in your success.
Looking at many of the current successful creators, YouTube is less about earning revenue, and more about marketing the areas of their company that can make money; subscription payments, direct sales, and sponsored content are just some of those paths.
Hopefully you’re already doing this, but monetizing on additional platforms is crucial these days, and you should try to take advantage of as many as possible. Here are a few more common sources of revenue for creators.
- Patreon for subscription payments
- Spreadshirt or Teespring for direct sales
- Affiliate deals
- Stream on additional platforms, like Twitch
Prepare to monetize even further.
As platforms like Facebook and Twitter quickly build out their video tools, you should be preparing for when they eventually flip on monetization. As is the case on YouTube, a solid following is a big part of solid revenue, so if you’re not already building up your Facebook and Twitter base, you should probably get on that sooner rather than later.
Don’t get discouraged.
The industry seems to change on a daily basis, but if you stay ahead of the curve and embrace new platforms, you’ll not only find new fans, but new revenue streams, as well.
We’re here to help!
We’ve been working hard over the last few years to expand our opportunities outside of YouTube, and will continue to do so in the months and years to come. This includes direct-to-fan platforms, sponsorship opportunities, multi-platform uploading, and much more. Check out what we offer!