Estimates for YouTube's annual revenue, nearly all of which still comes from ads, vary a fair amount. But many of the estimates are now above $10 billion. At different points, Bank of America and Mizuho forecast that YouTube would post 2017 revenue of $13 billion and $12 billion, respectively. And in February, Baird's Colin Sebastian estimated YouTube is doing around $15 billion in annual sales.
Next let’s break down the types of advertisements on YouTube. You’re probably familiar with them if you watch any amount of YouTube videos. There’s the bottom text based ad that is displayed at the bottom of your video, and then there is the clip that plays at the beginning of your video. You can select which of these ads your video can have, and it might make a difference depending on your audience or how much revenue your video brings in.
"Whether your business is closer to Boeing or P&G, or more like YouTube or flickr, there are vast pools of external talent that you can tap with the right approach. Companies that adopt these models can drive important changes in their industries and rewrite the rules of competition"[134]:270 "new business models for open content will not come from traditional media establishments, but from companies such as Google, Yahoo, and YouTube. This new generation of companies is not burned by the legacies that inhibit the publishing incumbents, so they can be much more agile in responding to customer demands. More important, they understand that you don't need to control the quantity and destiny of bits if they can provide compelling venues in which people build communities around sharing and remixing content. Free content is just the lure on which they layer revenue from advertising and premium services".[134]:271sq
User entitlement -- A key to the plan of scaling up and eventually figuring out how to make money is free services for users. The minute you charge people, most walk off, particularly when they've been trained to assume that services should be free. YouTube has clearly told people that they should expect free video streaming, even if it has considered an ad-free paid subscription service. Getting consumers to change their behavior after they've become used to not paying is next to impossible.
Instead, YouTube success takes time and dedication. Kelli Segars, the co-counder of Fitness Blender, a YouTube channel with over 5 million subscribers, spent two years posting new workout videos every week before she and her husband could quit their day jobs in 2010 to focus on the brand full time. Still, without YouTube, Fitness Blender probably wouldn’t exist. “When we first set out to create free online workout videos, we found that most streaming platforms charged so much to host content that we were never going to be able to break into the industry at all, let alone offer free content to our (then nonexistent) audience,” says Segars.

Remind your YouTube viewers to subscribe to your channel, during or after the video plays, and in the description or comments section. Tag your videos with relevant keywords, so people can find your work. Push traffic to your YouTube channel from other social platforms. “Boosting your subscribers won’t happen overnight, but keep it up. Consistency is key, and you can reach out to other creators for advice or collaboration,” adds Ezarik (YouTube says collaboration is critical, too). Interact with your viewers by responding to comments.
Where eyeballs go, money follows. “People giving up TV and getting video content through mobile devices is a huge trend, and brands are spending huge amounts to reach those audiences,” says Evan Asano, the CEO of MediaKix, an influencer marketing agency. “It’s a similar, if not bigger market for influencers than Instagram.” Another reason brands love YouTube is that its numbers are harder to fake. “You can buy views on YouTube, but it’s much more expensive than buying followers and likes on Instagram,” Asano says. “It’s pretty cost-prohibitive to drastically inflate a channel’s views on a consistent basis.”
17. Don’t increase video length in an effort to increase watch time. “When YouTube decided to mothball the view metric, it replaced it with ‘watch time,”’or how long a viewer watches a video. Not only are individual videos ranked by watch time, but so are your channels, according to YouTube: ‘Channels and videos with higher watch times are likely to show up higher in search results and recommendations.’
Just ask Justine Ezarik (a.k.a. iJustine), an L.A.-based creator with 3.7 million YouTube subscribers on her channel, and with more than 630 million views on her videos. “Essentially, I’m a content creator who gets to talk about everything that I love – namely, cooking, tech, travel, and video games,” explains Ezarik in a telephone interview with USA TODAY. “YouTube is an extension of myself.”
For people who dream of making money on YouTube, there are lots of online celebrities and channels to aspire to imitate. There's makeup superstar James Charles, who became the first male CoverGirl model. Liza Koshy's fame on Vine and then YouTube has led to traditional film and TV gigs, including a role in a Tyler Perry film. Even pop star Justin Bieber got his start on YouTube. According to YouTube, the number of channels that earned five figures or more grew by more than 50 percent from July 2017 to July 2018. Channels earning six figures per year increased by 40 percent.
Unlike other social networking platforms, YouTube exclusively hosts video content. If you’re only creating a YouTube channel to upload one video and have no intention of maintaining the platform, you might want to reconsider. You’ll need to set aside plenty of time to plan, film, edit, market, and analyze content on a consistent basis. You’ll need to define your brand’s goals and plan for how video specifically can help you achieve these. However, if you devote an appropriate amount of time and energy into the platform, you’ll be able to create engaging, shareable content for your growing audience.
×