Over 17 years ago, YouTube changed the way we consume content. What started as a place to watch quirky cat videos has grown into a massive empire of influencers in almost any niche imaginable, from makeup tutorials to feature film-length video essays.
As the platform evolved, YouTube found the funds to start paying some of your favorite online creators. Presumably, a lot. How much are some of the top YouTubers actually making?
How Do YouTubers Make?
How much money content creators make on YouTube depends on multiple factors. The biggest factors include:
- Video length: videos that are eight minutes or longer have the opportunity for mid-rolls, advertisements in the middle of the video
- Ad blockers: if viewers watch a video with ad blockers enabled, the creator makes less money
- Ad quality: not all ads are created equal; some bring more revenue than others
- Video views: videos with more views typically make more money
- Ad clicks: viewers clicking on an advertisement also impacts revenue; more clicks are better
The YouTube Partner Program
Before YouTube pays, a creator must apply for the YouTube Partner Program. Acceptance into this program means the creator meets all of the following criteria:
- Have 1,000 or more subscribers
- Have 4,000 or more watch hours in the past 12 months
- Agree to terms and conditions
- Sign up for an AdSense account
Once a creator signs up for this program, YouTube pays them after reaching their first $100 in views.
How Much Money Do YouTubers Make Per View?
YouTubers make money online on their videos through the YouTube partner program in collaboration with Adsense. According to sources like AdSense, the amount of money a YouTuber makes per view reaches upward of $0.30 for top creators.
The total average per view for most creators is around $0.18 per view. This amount may not seem like much, but these pennies add up quickly for creators with millions of views per video.
The amount YouTubers make per view depends on several factors. Below are a few aspects that affect how much a content creator can make per view.
You’ve probably been enjoying a YouTube video and interrupted once (if not more) in the middle of the video to watch an ad. These advertisements follow an algorithm that caters to your interests – meaning Google only shows you ads for products and services that they think you’ll purchase.
Every time a viewer engages with an AdSense advertisement, a YouTuber makes money from the ad. Content creators take home 55% of the profit, and YouTube receives the other 45%. Depending on the overall view count and followers, a YouTuber can make $0.01 – $0.03 per ad (about $.18 per view).
Note that you can only use AdSense if you have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watched hours on your channel.
View counts are the most influential factor for YouTuber payments. Without high view counts, a new channel cannot apply for AdSense and the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), which shrinks the chances of making money off a video.
However, popular content creators report making between $2 and $12 per 1,000 views on a given video, which equals a payment range of $80 – $55,000 per month. A video with successful ads may earn nearly $20. Simply put, the more views you have, the more money you make on YouTube.
Ad Blockers & Skipping Ads
We’ve all been there – engrossed in a makeup tutorial, commentary channel, or true crime story on YouTube and immediately clicked on the skip ad option that pops up. While it may be convenient to skip the advertisement, it also lessens the profits the creator makes from the video.
For a YouTuber to receive payment for ads, viewers must engage with it or let it play for at least 30 seconds. Without those requirements, the creator will make no money from AdSense. Ad blockers also prevent YouTubers from receiving payment from advertisements.
It may not matter much for channels with enormous follower counts, but ad blockers can seriously impact per-view income for small creators. Many YouTubers utilize sponsorships in their content to make up for users with ad blockers.
Other Ways YouTubers Get Paid
Not all YouTubers use the partnership program and AdSense for a reliable income. Many creators also rely on:
- Sponsored Videos: Many YouTubers make money through branded sponsorships. Many brands reach out to creators to review or promote products and services in exchange for cash and free items. YouTubers benefit from the extra income, and brands benefit from the increased exposure.
- Affiliates: Affiliates are similar to sponsorships. However, affiliates provide longevity. Many YouTubers get discount codes or special links for specific products. When viewers use this code, the creator receives a percentage from the sale.
- Merchandise Shops: Merchandise is a great way for creators to supplement income and connect with their audience. YouTubers sell shirts, hoodies, hats, and more with logos or clever sayings related to their channel.
Do YouTubers Make Money From Subscribers?
The subscriber count does not determine how much money a creator makes. YouTube does not pay video creators based on the number of subscribers they have. Instead, YouTube and AdSense pay YouTubers according to views and advertisements, as mentioned above.
However, subscribers are still important to YouTubers. Subscribers are how creators build a fan base or community of people who consistently like, comment, and share their videos. This consistent interaction helps boost the YouTuber’s content to a larger audience, garnering even more views.
Subscribers are crucial for success on YouTube. More subscribers mean more views, shares, and ad engagement.
However, it may surprise you that YouTubers do not receive payment based on subscriber counts. Channels with millions of subscribers do not profit from those subscriptions – only the ads and views they receive from their videos.
Channel subscriptions matter, though. If subscribers share and like a video and it gains traction, it can end up on the trending page of YouTube and result in more views.
What it Takes to Make Money From YouTube
As mentioned earlier, there are several requirements you have to meet to make money from YouTube. The primary factors are at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 total viewing hours.
A few other required milestones are:
- Comply with the current YouTube terms and conditions (read the fine print!)
- Create an AdSense account to receive payment from advertisements
- Approval from YouTube
After you submit your request, YouTube will review your account and approve or deny it. If you get rejected, don’t panic – you can always re-submit your information or appeal the decision if you believe you meet the qualifications.
You will need to make at least $100 from viewers to earn money from YouTube. Every view counts when you’re an up-and-coming channel, so ensure you share your videos and gain as much viewership as you can, in addition to running Google-chosen ads.
Google will provide you with 68% of the total revenue earned from a particular ad.
Ways of Earning
You can choose your desired payment method when you enroll in the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). The options include Cost Per Thousand (CPM) or Cost Per Click (CPC).
Cost-per-thousand accounts receive payment for every thousand views they earn. If your channel gets plenty of viewers, a CPM plan may work best for you, as it does not rely on viewer engagement with ads.
CPC earnings concentrate on ad engagement. The more viewers click on your Google AdSense advertisements, the more money you make.
Filling the Gap
Most people on YouTube without millions (or almost millions) of followers use other avenues to earn supplemental income if they want YouTube to be their full-time career. A few of the most popular ones are below.
Nearly every YouTuber partners with a brand at some point. Usually, this includes stating the name of the affiliate and including a commercial-like bit during the video.
Sponsored earnings are excellent for newbies, as it allows you to network and establishes your channel as a brand. Some brands may even send free products in exchange for your ad. Sponsored content makes money for YouTubers whenever a viewer clicks on the link (typically in the description).
Sponsorships also work well for creators that tend to post videos that get demonetized. If they don’t earn money from AdSense, they can still profit from a brand affiliation.
Merch is a top-notch way for creators to connect with subscribers, make extra money, and express their creativity. Most channels with a high follower count have merchandise of some sort, whether it be shirts, hats, bags, beanies, or even figurines.
Big-name content creators may have partnerships with design companies or artists that illustrate exclusive artwork for their merch. It’s another way to build your brand and expand your network. People will see your followers wearing your merch and ask about it, then look you up later!
If you choose to put out merch, remember to keep prices reasonable and work with a formidable, legitimate source. Too many YouTubers have had scandals involving scammy companies or low-quality products. Also, make authentic and original merch – fans want unique products.
Although they serve a similar purpose, affiliate links and sponsorships are two separate things. Affiliate links are consistent and regular contracts with brands that earn YouTubers money.
For example, a fashion vlogger may post videos with multiple links in the description, each with different labels or disclosures. They often comment about the product being their favorite (like a pair of jeans or a clothing brand).
When a viewer clicks on those links, the YouTuber and the affiliate make money. These tend to be longer-lasting than sponsorships, and span across videos on the entire channel and not just a single video.
When choosing your affiliates, choose wisely. Research the companies you want to reach out to and ensure they do not have past legal issues or a reputation for mistreating content creators. If a company reveals itself to be shady, your followers may disintegrate.
How Much Does Youtube Pay??
YouTubers That Make the Most Money
Now you understand how YouTubers get income. But how much can they make? Here are the top ten highest-paid YouTubers according to the most recent estimates.
Are you feeling inspired to create your YouTube empire? Below are the top ten highest-earning YouTubers as of 2022.
How much does a YouTuber make a year?
- Mr. Beast – $54 million
- Jake Paul – $45 million
- Markiplier – $38 million
- Rhett and Link – $30 million
- Unspeakable – $28.5 million
- Nastya – $28 million
- Ryan Kaji – $27 million
- Dude Perfect – $20 million
- Logan Paul – $18 million
- Preston Arsement – $16 million
As you can see, dedication and entertaining content can take you far on YouTube! Mr. Beast is one of the highest-earning YouTubers of all time.
Jimmy Donaldson, or “MrBeast,” first began creating YouTube videos in 2012. He grew quickly in popularity as a content creator on the platform with viral videos featuring outrageous stunts with his friends.
MrBeast is a successful entrepreneur. Aside from several YouTube channels and merchandise, he garners revenue from other side businesses. One of these businesses is an app called MrBeast Burger, which lets customers purchase MrBeast-branded food from participating restaurants.
Business aside, MrBeast is also a philanthropist, raising money for charity, planting trees, and more.
- Approximate earnings: $54 million
- Subscriber count: 105 million
One of YouTube’s famous (and controversial) names, Jake Paul, finds himself back on lists such as Forbes, doubling annual earnings from the past few years. Though, this influx in income does not come from YouTube videos.
After several controversies that put Jake and his brother Logan in hot water, they lost much of their online income streams. YouTube demonetized them temporarily, and sponsors dropped them.
In 2022, Jake posts less content on YouTube than he did in the past, opting for a career pivot toward boxing. Now Jake’s boxing success fulfills most of his annual earnings.
- Approximate earnings: $45 million
- Subscriber count: 20.4 million
Markiplier’s increase in earnings is largely thanks to his Unus Annus YouTube series. Markiplier created Unus Annus in collaboration with friend and fellow YouTuber Ethan Nestor-Darling. One year after starting the channel, Markiplier purposefully deleted all of the videos. Unus Annus merchandise sales skyrocketed, increasing Markiplier’s revenue.
The YouTuber rose to fame with videos playing scary games like Five Nights at Freddy’s. Recently, Markiplier hopes to gain popularity on the big screen, too. Last year, he created a TV thriller called The Edge of Sleep with the hopes of selling it to streaming platforms like Netflix.
- Approximate earnings: $38 million
- Subscriber count: 33.7 million
Rhett and Link
Rhett and Link began their YouTube journey with their Good Mythical Morning channel, producing light-hearted daily talk show-type videos. Now, in 2022, Rhett and Link have built a lucrative brand complete with merchandise, collaborations, and side channels.
One of their most popular YouTube series is titled Mythical Kitchen, which contains cooking videos hosted by Josh Scherer.
Rhett and Link do not mind sharing their wealth, either. They are vocal about up-and-coming creators. The duo also plans to invest money into these YouTubers to show support and help further careers.
- Approximate earnings: $30 million
- Subscriber count: 17.9 million
Nathan Graham, or Unspeakable, has been uploading content to YouTube for over a decade. His viewers love his Minecraft gaming videos. Unspeakable also gained popularity for his challenge and stunt videos, similar to the style of MrBeast.
Graham helped cement his spot as one of the top highest-paid YouTubers by selling some of his videos to a company called Spotter. Founded in 2019, Spotter purchases YouTube videos, allowing creators to grow their brand and business with extra cash.
- Approximate earnings: $28.5 million
- Subscriber count: 14.5 million
At just seven years old (the youngest on this list), Like Nastya takes the sixth highest paid YouTuber spot. Anastasia Radzinskaya is a Russian girl who makes content under the name Like Nastya. She documents her life through a series of high-quality videos, complete with cute special effects.
Like Unspeakable, Nastya also sold her older YouTube content to Spotter, which helped her break the threshold into the top paid content creators.
Aside from Spotter cash, Nastya also makes great earnings from selling merchandise and NFTs.
- Approximate earnings: $28 million
- Subscriber count: 101 million
When Ryan’s parents began posting content online of the then four-year-old reviewing toys, they had no idea it would turn into a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity. Today, Ryan is ten years old with a net worth of over 27 million dollars, making him the seventh highest-paid YouTuber this year.
Over the past few years, Ryan’s income streams grew larger than only YouTube videos. He now sells toys and other merchandise in stores like Walmart and Target. Ryan’s business team also plans to license the beloved animated characters that co-star with Ryan in some of his videos.
- Approximate earnings: $27 million
- Subscriber count: 33.5 million
Dude Perfect consists of a group of five men (Tyler, Garrett, Cody, Cory, and Coby) who live for an adrenaline rush. These men perform incredibly (and sometimes dangerous) tricks and stunts to post on YouTube, where millions of fans enjoy the antics and banter.
Aside from online content, Dude Perfect released a book in 2021 that explains exactly how readers can perform their own stunts at home.
The group also enjoys touring across America, cracking jokes, and executing trick shots for live audiences.
- Approximate earnings: $20 million
- Subscriber count: 58.3 million
Just like his brother Jake, Logan Paul makes the cut for the top highest-paid YouTubers. Pushing past controversy, Logan continues making vlogs and podcasts on YouTube, though not as much as he has in previous years.
Also, like his younger brother, Logan has recently strayed from video content in favor of boxing. In one of his most popular matches, Logan stepped into the ring with professional boxer Floyd Mayweather in a tight match.
- Approximate earnings: $18 million
- Subscriber count: 23.6 million
Preston Arsement makes content for several YouTube channels, but his most successful one to date is PrestonPlayz. On this channel, Preston (you guessed it) plays various video games. Though, his viewers seem to love his Minecraft content most.
Preston’s lucrative YouTube videos, alongside his popular merchandise line, make him the tenth highest-paid YouTuber.
- Approximate earnings: $16 million
- Subscriber count: 13.4 million