How to make money on YouTube

Make Money on YouTube

Looking to earn some extra scratch from your huge collection of adorable cat videos? Think you’ve got a shot to go viral with that heroic three-story bellyflop you did last summer? No matter what kind of footage you’ve got, there’s a way to make money off of it.

That being said, you should know that YouTube isn’t some kind of cash cow just waiting to be milked. Sure, there are a handful of YouTubers that make bookoo bucks, but they are the exception, not the rule. There are hundreds of millions of YouTube channels out there, and the vast majority of them only make a few cents a day. Earning a sizable amount of money on YouTube takes time, dedication, hard work, and oftentimes just plain luck. But hey, if that Fred kid can be make millions of dollars and land a movie deal just from being ridiculously annoying, who’s to say your channel can’t bring in a few bucks? It’s worth a shot.

Thanks to Google’s YouTube Partner program, monetizing your videos is extremely easy. If all’s well with your account, you can have ads up and running on your videos in just a couple hours, ready to start building your retirement fund a few pennies at a time. Below we’ve covered the steps you need to take to get started, along with a few tips for making great videos that people will watch.

How to monetize your YouTube account

Before you can start making money off of your videos, you need to enable monetization on your YouTube account. In doing so, you become a “YouTube Partner,” which basically means you allow Google to place ads on your content in exchange for payment each time one of those ads is clicked.

Step 1: To enable monetization on your account, make sure you’re logged in to YouTube and go to account features. Once you’re there, look to the middle of the page and find the Monetization section listed under Features. Click the Enable button and agree to Google’s terms of service to continue. 

warning32 In order to be eligible for account monetization, your account must be in good standing. If you’ve uploaded any copyrighted content or disregarded YouTube community guidelines by posting horrible comments, Google might not allow you to monetize your videos.

Step 2: After you’ve agreed to the terms of service, you’ll be greeted with a dialog that looks something like this:

YouTube Monetization Screen

At this point you’ll need to decide what kind of ads you’d like to be displayed on your video. Overlay ads are the small banners that occupy the lower third of the video, whereas TrueView ads are video ads that play before your video. Using both isn’t always the best plan – depending on the content of your video, you might want to opt for one over the other.

Think about the type content you’re working with and be conscious of the audience likely to consume it. If your video is a tutorial on how to rope a goat, tie a bowtie, or some other piece of valuable educational material, then your viewers are more likely to sit through an ad. If your video is just something silly and fun, you might want to opt for just Overlay ads, as TrueView video ads can often turn people away from your video before they even watch it. Don’t stress too much about which ads will be more effective though – you can always change your settings later. Just keep an eye on your Adsense page to track views and clicks so you can get an idea of what works best. 

Step 3: Click that big ol’ Monetize button in the lower left and you’re all set. Your videos will be under review for a short period, but after that they should start to display ads whenever they’re played. 

Getting paid:

Now that you’ve got your account all set up and monetized, any earnings you get will be funneled into your Adsense account. If you don’t already have an Adsense account, you’ll need to set one up at some point, but Google doesn’t force you to do it until your video starts generating a decent amount of revenue. In order to fully set up your Adsense account and receive your earnings, you need to complete the five steps listed here.

The last of these five steps requires you to meet a payment threshold before Adsense gives you money. Basically what this means is that you’ll need to accrue at least $100 before you get paid. If you don’t meet this threshold by the end of the month, your earnings will be rolled over to the next month (and the next month, and the next month if necessary) until the threshold is met. Depending the popularity of your video(s), this could take anywhere from a few hours to a few months – or even years.

1930's YouTubers

So you want to be YouTube famous…

Don’t we all? Unfortunately, no one here at DT is a YouTube star (yet …), but while we’re definitely not experts on becoming Internet famous, we do know a thing or two about making content that people like. Here’s a few general-purpose tips for making great content that people will want to watch:

  1. Do something original. You’re not going to be the next big thing by copying what somebody else did. You might make a bit of money if you’re riding a popular trend wave, but it won’t last. Take all those zillions of Harlem Shake videos for example. Sure, they were hot for a minute, but if you jumped on the bandwagon late you probably only got a few dozen views before you fell out of the spotlight.
  2. If you’re hoping to go viral, make sure your video grabs people’s attention in the first 10-15 seconds. The Internet has the attention span of a goldfish with ADD, so you need to make a good hook if people are going to watch your video in its entirety.
  3. In order to make YouTube a viable source of income, you need to generate a regular stream of content that will attract subscribers. Just one video isn’t likely to bring in a steady stream of earnings, so it’s best to plan your videos as part of an ongoing series.

Are you YouTube famous? Feel free to share some of your wisdom in the comments below!

Product Review

Hotter than a Dot? Google's Home Mini outsmarts, doesn't outperform Amazon rival

With voice match and improved artificial intelligence capabilities, the $49 Google Home Mini is a voice assistant that seamlessly puts the Google platform on the tip of your tongue.

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step by step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.
Social Media

Over selfies and an onslaught of ads? Here's how delete your Instagram account

Despite its outstanding popularity and photo-sharing dominance, Instagram isn't for everyone. Thankfully, deleting your account is as easy as logging into the site and clicking a few buttons. Here's what you need to do.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Social Media

3D Facebook photos jump out of the newsfeed, no glasses needed

You're not seeing things -- that photo in your Facebook newsfeed is 3D. Launching today, 3D Facebook Photos use the depth maps from dual-lens smartphones to add dimension to an image as you move your phone.
Social Media

Instagram is testing a new way for you to look through your feed

Instagram is constantly tweaking its app to help give its users the best experience possible, so how do you like the sound of tapping — instead of swiping — to look through your feed?

Was your Facebook account hacked in the latest breach? Here’s how to find out

Facebook now reports that its latest data breach affected only 30 million users, down from an initial estimate of 50 million accounts. You can also find out if hackers had accessed your account by visiting a dedicated portal.

Hinge's new feature wants to know who you've gone out on dates with

With its new "We Met" feature, Hinge wants to learn how your dates are going with matches in its app. That way, it can inject the information into its algorithm to provide future recommendations that better suit its users' preferences.
Social Media

Like a pocketable personal stylist, Pinterest overhauls shopping tools

Pinterest shopping just got a bit better with a trio of updates now rolling out to Pinterest. The first replaces Buyable Pins with Product Pins for more features, including knowing whether or not a product is in stock.
Smart Home

Facebook’s new Portal device can collect your data to target your ads

Facebook confirmed that its new Portal smart displays, designed to enable Messenger-enabled video calls, technically have the capability to gather data on users via the camera and mic onboard.
Social Media

YouTube is back after crashing for users around the world

It's rare to see YouTube suffer serious issues, but the site went down around the world for a period of time on October 16. It's back now, and we can confirm it's loading normally on desktop and mobile.
Social Media

Twitter has sorted out those weird notifications it was sending

Twitter started churning out weird notifications of seemingly nonsensical letters and numbers to many of its users on Tuesday morning. The bizarre incident even prompted Twitter boss Jack Dorsey to get involved.

Adobe MAX 2018: What it is, why it matters, and what to expect

Each year, Adobe uses its Adobe MAX conference to show off its latest apps, technologies, and tools to help simplify and improve the workflow of creatives the world over. Here's what you should expect from this year's conference.
Home Theater

Facebook might be planning a streaming box for your TV that watches you back

Facebook is reportedly working on a piece of streaming media hardware for your living room with a built-in camera for video calls, something people may not want given the company's recent controversies.