How many YouTube subscribers do you need to start making money

  • Creators who are part of the YouTube Partner Program can monetize their videos with ads.
  • To apply, creators must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of total viewing time.
  • Insider spoke with dozens of creators who shared how they started making money on YouTube.

YouTube creators don’t need hundreds of thousands of subscribers to start making money or to turn gigging into a lucrative side business.

To start making money directly from YouTube, a creator must be a member of the YouTube Partner Program. To apply, creators must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past year. Once accepted, creators can begin monetizing their channels through ads filtered through Google’s AdSense program, subscriptions, and channel subscriptions.

Besides the partner program, creators can also qualify to receive a bonus between $100 and $10,000 per month for posting short videos from a $100 million fund for short films.

The most common way for creators to make money directly from YouTube is through ads placed on Google. For example, Jen Lauren, a creator with 5,000 YouTube subscribers, told Insider that in the past month her channel has earned $213 from ads. (Learn more about how Lauren makes money as a nano influencer.)

Some creators have specific strategies for participating in the Partner Program and getting the most out of videos.

Amanda Wan, who has 8,500 YouTube subscribers, told Insider she filmed longer videos, between 10 and 15 minutes, to help meet the required viewing hours. Wan lives in Canada and she is filming a video about her student life. And YouTube creator Shelby Church (1.6 million subscribers) told Insider that she likes to include four ads on a single video longer than 10 minutes, which helps boost her monthly earnings.

Learn about how much money 15 YouTubers make per month from AdSense

Here are some of the different types of ads you can include in your YouTube video:

  • Display ads appear at the top right of your video, above the list of video suggestions.
  • Overlay Ads appear as a banner at the bottom of your video.
  • Bumper Ads are non-skippable ads that must be viewed by a viewer before your video. These ads are 6 seconds or less.
  • Sponsored Maps display relevant video content in the right side of your video.
  • Mid-roll ads can be placed in videos longer than 10 minutes. These can be both skippable and non-skippable ads. A creator can decide if they want mid-roll ads to be automatically generated by YouTube or placed manually.

Once these ads start generating revenue, the creator will receive a check in the mail from YouTube after earning at least $100.

“I think my first paycheck was about $124,” said Zoe Pritchard, who has 23,000 followers. “I was so excited. I went to buy a ring light with it.”

Besides ads placed on Google, some nano-influencers also make money through direct sponsorship deals with brands. Lauren shared the 3-page media kit that helped land her first brand deal. She charges around $350 for an Instagram endorsement (a post in the feed) or a YouTube endorsement (brand mention), and that price will vary depending on the scope of the job, she said. (See Lauren’s full media kit.)

Creators who make money on YouTube should also keep in mind that they will have to pay taxes on any income they make from the platform.

Jen Lauren

Jen Lauren has 5,200 subscribers on YouTube.

Jen Lauren

So how much money do creators make on YouTube?

For 1,000 ad views, advertisers pay YouTube a certain rate (CPM). YouTube then takes 45% and the creator gets the rest. YouTube’s central monetization metric is called revenue per thousand (RPM), which shows how much revenue a creator earns per 1,000 views after YouTube shuts down. Certain topics, like personal finance or cryptocurrency, can increase a creator’s ad rate by attracting a lucrative audience.

Here’s a full breakdown of Insider’s coverage of what YouTube creators earn per 1,000 views

Overall, Insider spoke with dozens of YouTube creators, from less than 2,000 subscribers to over 1.8 million, about how much money they make.

Here’s our coverage of monthly YouTuber creator earnings:

  • Tiffany Ma, lifestyle designer with 1.8 million subscribers
  • Andrei Jikh has 1.7 million subscribers and films cryptocurrency videos
  • Nate O’Brien, a personal finance creator with 1 million subscribers
  • Kelly Stamps, creator of lifestyle minimalism with 600,000 subscribers
  • Charlie Chang, a personal finance creator with 350,000 followers
  • Charli Prangley, a web and graphic design creator with 200,000 followers
  • Erin Winters, a business creator with 200,000 subscribers
  • SemideCoco, ASMR creator with 150,000 subscribers
  • Levi Hildebrand, zero waste designer with 125,000 subscribers
  • Chloe Tan, a creator of university life with 80,000 subscribers
  • Macy Schmidt, a lifestyle designer with 50,000 subscribers
  • Marissa Lyda, personal finance creator with 50,000 followers
  • Erica Boucher, a designer with a DIY candle production line with 31,000 subscribers
  • Meghan Pruitt, a university influencer with 6,800 subscribers
  • Jen Lauren, a nano influencer with 5,000 subscribers

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