YouTube is the world’s #1 video sharing site, and it carries this title with pride. But with great power comes an insane amount of conditions, limitations and issues.
After Google bought YouTube in 2006, it started working on a way for video creators to earn money from their videos. By 2007, it launched the YouTube Partner Program where video owners could enable ads on their videos and make money via ad-based revenue streams.
It was a revolutionary time in the digital video streaming sector since vlogging was born. People would create videos accounting their day-to-day activities in a fun and visually attractive way.
Over time, YouTube launched several other services like YouTube Red (now YouTube Premium), YouTube TV, YouTube Music, Vevo, TVoD services and its own live streaming solutions.
How Does YouTube Monetization Work?
Once you have ample no: of videos at your kitty, it’s time to make some decent money out of it! Earn revenue through your YouTube videos through any of the following methods.
YouTube Partner Program (YPP)
Once you are a part of the YouTube Partner Program, you will get paid through an AdSense account. However, it has to be noted that only certain countries support this program, also every content owner needs to meet certain eligibility to be a part of the YPP.
Some of the checklist you need to clear with to enable the YouTube partner program on your channels:
- Make sure your YouTube channel follows the policies and guidelines issued by YouTube,
- Don’t forget to enable two-step verification for your Google account which may result in the delay of your application review.
- Must have at least 1,000 subscribes for your channel and content that meets all the guidelines and policies,
- Valid Sign-in of YPP terms, enable notify me when I’m eligible,
- Once done with all the process, your YouTube channel will be processed automatically to review by YouTube reviewers.
There are various Ad types that can be placed either at the beginning, middle or below the player and so on.
Overlay Ads – These desktop semi-transparent ads appear on the bottom part of the video covering around 20% of space.
Skippable & Non-Skippable Ads – As the name indicates, the former one allows to skip an ad after 5 secs runtime whereas the later type makes it mandatory for the viewers to watch till the end mostly 15 -20 secs in length.
Display Ads – This desktop ad type can be placed either at right side or top of the video.
YouTube Monetization Requirements
Below are the minimum eligible criteria as per YouTube monetization rules updated in 2020.
- Watch hours should by at least 4000 hours in the last 12 months
- Make sure you have only one AdSense account synchronized with Google account,
- Should live in a country or region that supports the YouTube Partnership Program
- Have minimum 30,000 subscribers to get access for Channel membership feature
- Should consistently maintain the subscribers and watch hours with high drop rates
YouTube Just Made It Harder to Monetize Videos: Here’s Why
YouTube Monetization in Early Days
YouTube monetization rules in 2017 and before were blocking controversial and sensitive subjects. Also, creators thought these restrictions hindered their creative side.
Monetization Rules in 2018
YouTube monetization rules in 2018 gave content creators a tough time to produce ad-worthy content as more than 50% of their revenue came through advertisements.
Monetization Rules in 2019
YouTube monetization requirement for 2019 came up with 2 additional criteria like having minimum annual view time of 4000 hours and 1000 subscribers within 12 months period.
Like any other progressive technology, YouTube also started upgrading its algorithms and terms of the YouTube Partner Program for making money through advertisement.
To provide better and more relevant content to its viewers, and to push creators to make better videos, YouTube added a clause to the monetization feature.
In order for creators to monetize videos, their channel needed to have over 10,000 lifetime views on their videos. This drove creators to generate better content on the platform and improve their reach.
There were a lot of users on the platform who uploaded copyrighted content and content owned by other people in order to make money from videos. To rid the platform of such bad actors, YouTube enabled this rule.
It was enough to evaluate the authenticity of the content & the user and the cap wasn’t too high to discourage new creators to join the YouTube community.
New Rules in Video Monetization on YouTube 2020
By the end of 2017, YouTube was struggling with controversies and criticism from every angle because of its inability to filter monetized creators and fix monetization issues quickly. The platform was taking fire from both the creators’ side and the advertisers’ side.
In order to avoid a 6-year setback, YouTube announced changes in its monetization policies and rules. The new policies/rules stated that for a channel to be able to monetize its videos, it must have at least 4000 hours of total watch time in a 12 month span and a minimum of 1000 subscribers.
This move was made completely out of self-preservation: to protect the company and the platform. The updated set of rules was sort of a compromise between the advertisers and the platform and the platform got to keep its top tier YouTubers. But it got a lot of criticism from small to mid-level YouTubers who couldn’t fulfill the new requirements.
Since YouTube’s monetization rules for 2020 are quite strict, the channels getting monetized for every content has to be in the line of their policies issued by YouTube. Your channels must undergo each of the major policies issued by YouTube, else you could have to experience the following:
- YouTube will turn Off ads from your content, irrespective of the count
- Suspend all your participation in the YouTube Partner program,
- Suspend the entire content and channel or even terminate your YouTube channel,
- The YouTube review team will notice the actions that would affect your monetization.
Factors That Affect The Monetization Rates
Out of the revenue generated by creators through ads, they keep 55% of it while 45% becomes YouTube’s cut.
Therefore, there exists a lot of pressure on creators to generate ad-worthy content on their channel. But what makes a video ad worthy on YouTube?
This question has always stumped a lot of people. Since the top tier YouTubers gather the majority of their revenue from off-platform sources, variable monetization rates only affect the small to mid-tier YouTubers.
Here is a list of things to look out for while creating video content for your YouTube channel to ensure that you attract the best advertisers:
Higher the quality and production value of your videos, better the advertisers. Ad companies tend to pay more for videos that grab attention.
You’ll get better & higher paying advertisers if your videos engage with a large number of people. More subscribers equals higher revenue.
Advertisers like videos that engage with its viewers and are interactive in nature. They’ll pay more if they see a high number of likes or comments.
Viral videos are prone to infringement so the best way to promote yourself and attract advertisers is branding in a way that doesn’t go unnoticed.
While you get higher engagement on long videos, video should be of moderate length depending on the niche & the viewing trends.
Creating controversy or talking about controversial topics affects the brand of the channel and some advertisers don’t affiliate with such a brand.
Additional Changes That Affects on Making Money in YouTube
More prevalent of predatory behaviors makes it “Not safe for Kids” platform with inappropriate content affects the reputation of YouTube channels
As a result, in 2015 YouTube launched YouTube Kids but failed to prevent the violated contents like inducing suicidal thoughts between cartoon clips leading to loss of subscribers
More bad actors intruded into the platform like spammers, impersonators taking advantage of the original creators. This made YouTube to create a New rule in 2018, with 10,000 lifetime views with 1000 subscribers, only then they will be eligible to enter into the YouTube Partnership Program.
These rules already affected 99% of them and were making less than $100 per year. This mainly gave a hard hit to the budding content creators and small-sized video channels.
The flipside would have been something like this:
1. Advertisers wouldn’t trust the platform to provide decent ROI and thus would have ended their alignment with YouTube.
2. This would have lead to all the top YouTubers leaving the platform because of lack of monetary incentive.
3. And with no money coming in, YouTube would have become a video archive where people could upload and store videos but couldn’t start a video career.
The baseline remains that there are still people who upload copyrighted videos as their own for their personal gain. As such, YouTube has initiated a lot of policies to ensure action is taken against bad actors like these. It has initiated Content ID, a copyright strike system, where if a person uploads any copyrighted content which is filed in Content ID, the channel gets a strike. Migrate to a platform which offers you with several monetization options. And like in baseball, three strikes and the channel is banned for life. But even now, people are moving away from the platform, finding alternatives to YouTube and trying to migrate their subscribers on to it.
They also consistently implore people to use branding initiatives on their video content and, recent policy changes aside, inspires people to create awesome videos.