“The first step in producing a video that ranks high in your niche is finding the right keywords. You should find keywords that have YouTube video results on the first page of Google so that your video also has a high likelihood of ranking near the top of the page for the relevant search terms.” – Raghav Haran, A YouTube Video Marketing Guide to Increase Prospects in Your Funnel, Single Grain; Twitter: @singlegrain
One reason is that it caters to a narrow audience of young viewers. Music videos are its most popular content. YouTube’s stars remain relatively unknown. Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg is the biggest star, with 35 million subscribers to his wacky videogame montages. Even Ms. Wojcicki hadn’t heard of him before joining YouTube, she told a conference last fall.
The money you earn on YouTube is entirely dependant upon how many views your videos receive. If you have a large number of subscribers and all of your videos receive thousands of views, the ad revenue will be high. If your videos have a low number of views, those videos will not generate much in terms of revenue. “Gangnam Style,” for example, was a viral hit that received over two billion views and generated as much as $5.9 million in revenue. However, even popular users generally see views in the thousands rather than the billions, so earnings are considerably lower on average. As of 2013, it is estimated that one video with a million views can earn the creator between $800 and $8,000.
Alternatively, you can also become an affiliate for brands and make residual passive income through commissions from every sale you generate through your channel. This works especially well if you review products as part of your YouTube channel. Since there's no risk involved on the brand's end (they only pay when they make sales), there's usually a low bar to getting started.
Have you ever watched a YouTube star’s video and thought, I could’ve done that? Me neither. Out of all the influencer platforms, YouTube strikes me as the most intimidating. But it can also be the most lucrative, with top YouTubers earning well into the six figures from advertising revenue alone. And this pie is only getting expanding: YouTube recently reported that the number of users earning over $100,000 on the platform has increased by more than 40 percent annually; currently, 75 percent more channels have surpassed a million subscribers versus last year.
Today, there are tons of examples of successful, high-profile YouTube marketing campaigns. From Moz and Rand Fishkin’s informative Whiteboard Fridays to Chipotle’s acclaimed series of emotionally powerful animated shorts, there are plenty of brands currently demonstrating just how much potential there is to create value and awareness by promoting great video content on YouTube.

YouTube also has a more democratic appeal. Unlike Instagram, where the biggest influencers are mainstream megastars in their own right (Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Beyoncé), YouTube is dominated by homegrown celebrities, such as Jenna Mourey (a.k.a. Jenna Marbles), Mariand Castrejón Castañeda (a.k.a. Yuya, a Mexican beauty vlogger), and a bunch of gamers that I’ve never heard of but have millions of fans. The world’s highest-paid YouTube star is Daniel Middleton, a British 26-year-old who goes by “DanTDM” and gained his fortune (an estimated annual income of $16.5 million, per Forbes) by posting videos of himself playing Minecraft. Last year, he did an international tour that included four sold-out nights at the Sydney Opera House.
“We are still in investment mode,” Wojcicki said at the Fortune Most Powerful Women summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif. on Tuesday. She explained further that the declining TV viewership of people in the 18 to 34-year-old segment represents a massive opportunity for her team, which Google (googl) bought for $1.6 billion in 2006. Areas where they are investing, she added, include virtual reality. “There’s no timetable,” she said, referring to a question on profitability.

Let’s talk about YouTube. We’ve all heard of it, and chances are, we’ve all spent a wasted afternoon watching one silly cat video after another. YouTube is a great source for funny, entertaining content, but it’s also increasingly becoming an essential tool for marketers. In fact, nearly half of all marketers (48%) plan to add YouTube to their marketing strategy over the next 12 months according to the State of Inbound report.
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