Most people are familiar with YouTube ads as a way to make money on YouTube in 2020, and whilst it’s a great revenue stream, it’s actually the smallest one we have in our business. That’s because we’ve found better ways to monetize YouTube videos that are far easier than YouTube ads, and you can implement them no matter what size your channel is.
In this article, we’ll share the top 6 ways we’ve found to make money on YouTube, starting with enabling ads with the YouTube partner program, and moving onto the more powerful revenue streams that we’ve been using to grow our business.
The good news is that once you know what options are available, you too can add these into your business model to ensure that you’re maximizing the money you make from your YouTube channel.
Important: When available, we use affiliate links and may earn a commission!
1. Make Money from the YouTube Partner Program
One of the first things that comes to mind when you’re thinking about how to earn money from your YouTube channel is turning on the ads feature to allow others to advertise on your videos. YouTube ads are managed through the YouTube partner program and enabling this feature means that you’ll receive a percentage of the ad spend when people choose to run ads on your videos.
Ad revenue generates an income stream that requires very little extra effort on your behalf after creating the initial video. We refer to this as a ‘high leverage’ activity which we love here at Primal Video.
It’s worth noting that there are a few requirements which your channel must meet to be accepted into the YouTube partner program – currently you need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time. Once on board, you’ll see that you have the option to manually turn off ads for individual videos if you don’t want them to run.
We love the YouTube partner program because:
In addition to ad revenue, you also have access to 3 other monetization opportunities which are:
- Merchandise – sell your official merchandise (t-shirts, hoodies, phone cases etc) from the links below your videos.
- Memberships – create a membership program for your channel where your fans can pay a monthly fee in exchange for special content and exclusive access to you.
- Supers – enable ‘super chats’ or ‘super stickers’ to give fans the option to tip you money during your live streams.
At Primal Video, the money we make from YouTube advertising is awesome, but it’s actually the least profitable way we’ve found to make money from our YouTube channel. There are definitely other ways that are far more effective at driving revenue for us. We’ll run through them below so you can see what’s possible and what might work for you.
2. Make Money with Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a powerful way to leverage the credibility you have with your audience on YouTube. When you have products or services that you love using, recommending them to your audience and providing affiliate links means that you’ll receive a commission or referral fee when someone buys.
Affiliate Marketing is a ‘win-win-win’ scenario because it gives:
- Your viewers the opportunity to buy the exact tools you’re using.
- New exposure and customers to the company you’re recommending.
- A percentage of the sale to your business.
Everybody wins with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is also something that you can implement from day one so you should sign up for affiliate programs early on. We’ve found that the Amazon affiliate program is one of the best programs available due to their huge range of products and their reliable and fast shipping service. You can read more about their program here.
Be sure to include affiliate links for the products and services that feature in your videos or you’d like to recommend to your viewers in the description box below YouTube video. As your audience grows, so too will the number of link clicks you receive, meaning that your affiliate revenue will increase over time.
Here at Primal Video, affiliate marketing plays a huge role in our business and we invest a lot of time and energy into researching, testing and recommending gear, software and services to our audience that we know they’ll love. Wherever possible, we make sure we’re providing affiliate links so that people can easily view the products we’re recommending.
3. Make Money with Sponsorships
Monetizing your YouTube videos with sponsorships and brand deals is another great way to introduce a new revenue stream into your business model. A sponsorship or brand deal is when you are paid a fee or ongoing amount to mention a product or a service in your videos. Your agreement with the company sponsoring you could be for:
- A certain number of videos on your YouTube channel that mention their product or service.
- A one-off mention that your video is ‘brought to you’ by a specific brand or company.
- Posts on your social media channels mentioning their product or service.
Sponsorships are great because:
- You don’t necessarily need to have a massive channel to get a deal – an engaged, small audience is still valuable.
- You can shape and tailor the deal to make sure it works for you and your channel.
The downside to sponsorships and brand deals is that they are not as leverage-able as other revenue streams like affiliate marketing. Often a deal is done for a specified time period with an end date, so when the deal ends, so does your income stream. Unlike affiliate marketing which tends to be continual, sponsorships and brand deals have a short lifespan.
At Primal Video, we tend to lean away from sponsorship deals in favor of affiliate marketing, despite receiving countless email enquiries every week. In our experience, paid sponsorships do raise some questions around objectivity so we prefer to steer away from this issue. That being said, sponsorships are still a great way to earn money by leveraging the power of the community you’re cultivating on your YouTube channel.
4. Make Money with Consulting and Coaching
If you’re still wondering how to make money from your YouTube videos, you may have noticed that a lot of YouTube channels mention their consulting or coaching services to their audience.
If you’re already creating videos that solve a problem for someone, then it could be a great fit to mention that you also offer a consulting or coaching service where you share your knowledge and experience with people one-on-one.
We recommend consulting/coaching because:
- You can help people by completing a task for them or coaching them through a process.
- It’s one of the quickest ways to make money off the back of your YouTube channel.
- As you start getting busier, you can increase your hourly rate meaning that your time becomes more valuable and your revenue grows.
However, it’s important to realize that one of the drawbacks to a consulting or coaching service is that you’re effectively trading your time for money, so it’s hard to scale this without a big team. We refer to this as a ‘low leverage’ activity and in the early days at Primal Video, we did a lot of one-on-one consulting, helping individuals and businesses to harness the power of video marketing. Nowadays, we’ve shifted our focus to working with people inside our Primal Video Accelerator program where we teach them how to monetize YouTube videos and develop their business strategy.
5. Make Money with Drop Shipping
Drop shipping is a term used to describe the process of selling physical products without handling the fulfillment side of the process. That means that when a customer places an order with you, the product is automatically shipped to them on your behalf by the supplier.
Making money from drop shipping can be easy when you have an engaged audience on your YouTube channel who want to connect with you on a deeper level. It could be as simple as selling t-shirts or coffee mugs, where the demand is created by you on your channel, and then the product is made and shipped by someone else when an order is placed.
We love drop shipping because you don’t need to:
- Buy inventory in bulk – meaning the start-up costs are low.
- Make the product yourself.
- Ship the product yourself.
- Rent a warehouse to store the product.
We don’t currently drop ship products at Primal Video because we’ve chosen to focus on other revenue streams, but we do know just how profitable it has been for a lot of our friends with YouTube channels.
6. Make Money with Digital Products
Creating and selling digital products is another great way to make money off the back of your YouTube videos. Digital products are things like e-books, unreleased content, courses, templates, presets, and membership sites.
We love digital products because:
- You create them once but can sell them multiple times.
- They’re an infinite resource with no expiry date.
- They don’t require you to trade your time for money.
- They’re available 24/7 with almost zero additional work involved to deliver them to your customer.
You can use your YouTube channel to drive awareness to your digital products by suggesting them as a ‘next step’ for viewers that like the content in your video. At Primal Video, we’ve put this into practice and created our own digital products, the biggest one being our Primal Video Accelerator program.
So now you know the top ways to make money on YouTube in 2020 so you can grow your business and maximize your earnings. Here’s a quick recap:
Ways to Make Money from YouTube:
The YouTube Partner Program
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