By Alonzo Torres
Making money on YouTube is harder than I thought.
I’ve been watching YouTube videos for years now- ever since I learned how to surf the web- and once I found out that the people I watched profited from their videos, I wanted to try it myself.
There are several people out there who thought about YouTube the same way I did; in fact, every YouTuber thought about YouTube the same way I did.
Take Pewdiepie for example. He is the most subscribed YouTuber on the Internet raking up over 44 million subscribers and counting. Even the most successful YouTuber had the same dream as many of us and now he’s dominating the domain.
Salvador Lara and Rudelisa Solidarios are two College of the Canyons students that are aspiring YouTubers who had the same dream as many other YouTubers: to make money.
Lara started his channel doing “Let’s Play” videos that consisted of playing story-based games and even multiplayer games, such as Call of Duty and Counter Strike
Solidarios started her channel doing video logs or, as it’s more commonly known, vlogs, about her life and even trips to different parts of the world.
I started my channel making random videos of my friends and causing shenanigans out in public, along with videos of me ranting about different things and uploading short films and skits.
When we realized that we weren’t making the same amount of money as other YouTubers, or not making money at all, we started to get a little discouraged and our motivation to upload daily or weekly content was going down. You can’t just upload a video and expect to get a paycheck at the end of the month.
YouTube works with AdSense, which is a network run by Google that allows businesses to put advertisements on their websites or, in this case, YouTubers to put ads on their videos. That’s how YouTube gets paid and that’s how they pay their employees, which includes their YouTubers.
YouTubers, or as YouTube calls them, “content creators,” make money by uploading videos and putting advertisements on those videos with just a click of a button. “You have the option of monetizing your videos individually,” Solidarios said. “You have the option of enabling ads on those videos as well.”
When you decide to monetize your video YouTube will then review the submission and determine whether or not your content is suitable to make money. This includes originality such as music and any other outside sources.
If your video passes the originality test you are then eligible to monetize your content and YouTube will put the ads for you. If it doesn’t pass the test it’s not a big deal, your video will still get uploaded, but you won’t be making money from it. The money the advertisements make from that video will go directly to the original sources and you won’t get any revenue.
That is why it is important to be original.
According to YouTube’s support website, in order to actually make money from your videos you need to make an AdSense account and then link it to your YouTube account.
You then need to be a part of YouTube’s Partner Program. This program helps content creators monetize their videos; it also helps improve their creativity and collaborate with other YouTubers.
After you’ve done all of that good stuff you are now ready to make money. But, wait, here’s the catch; AdSense is the one in charge of distributing the money to its users, but in order to actually receive money you first need to generate a certain amount of revenue; AdSense calls this the “payment threshold.” The threshold is $100, which means you won’t be able to receive money from your content until you start making $100 in earnings at the end of every month.
Pewdiepie is currently making $8 million to $13 million a year, and that’s just from his YouTube channel alone. Unfortunately, not everyone is as fortunate as him. “When I was consistent, I was barely making $2 a month and I never received a paycheck,” Solidarios said.
Then again, Pewdiepie’s content is mostly gaming videos, which is the dominating topic on the YouTube servers. Plus the way he presents his content is usually in a comedic way, which also attracts millions of viewers. Now, there is a bright side to this story but it also includes doing additional work.
Each view an advertisement gets is roughly 18 cents, which means every time your video gets seen that’s 18 cents that YouTube receives. YouTube pays their creators 64 percent of that revenue.
For example; you upload a video and based on the amount of subscribers you have, say 200, as well as the amount of range it gets from outside viewers, you may get roughly 800 views on that video. If you do the math, that video will receive $144 and thanks to the 64 percent cut, you, as the creator, will receive $92.
That’s not bad for one video, but you still didn’t manage to break the threshold, which is why it is important to stay consistent and of course as original as possible; it is the Internet after all. This will get you a lot of feedback from your content and most likely more subscribers.
But, if you’re just starting out, like the rest of us, you have to think about the creativity in your content. You have to make sure its original and that you are not stealing ideas from different sources. It sounds repetitive, I know, but YouTube can be kind of picky and a lot of its creators don’t agree with their terms and conditions.
“I would say that YouTube should change the game on who can make what and allows everybody to make videos and post them for everyone to see,” Lara said.
Fortunately, just like its content creators, YouTube listens to their audience and has slightly bent the rules on certain things. Before they actually let people upload videos with copywritten music, they used to flag the video and take it down permanently and give you a copywrite strike; three of those and your channel will get terminated. This rule still exists, but they are not as strict about it as they used to be. Now they just take the money you make from it and don’t give any of it to you.
I said before that we got discouraged because we weren’t getting paid but that never stopped us from continuing our YouTube activity. All three of us are film students, so we have to devote more time to creating content for our career than creating it for our viewers.
We still upload our vlogs and “Let’s Plays” from time to time, but not as much as we used to or as much as we’d hoped to.
If you’re an aspiring YouTuber don’t get discouraged or scared; on the contrary, this should help you try to get your channel started. If YouTube is really what you want to do commit to it. Be original, be creative and most importantly be consistent. Remember uploading one video and hoping to get paid at the end of the month will not help you get where you want to be; one day you could be like Pewdiepie too. Just don’t be too much like him or you might get a copyright strike.