The Fastest Ways to Create Additional Revenue with YouTube: 4 Ideas That Actually Work

By Jesse Young El

Do a YouTube search for “how much I made in 2021”  and you may be surprised to find how many YouTubers make good money with their videos.

Video Producers like you are making money on YouTube by posting relevant videos online — and if you’re not doing it, you could be missing out on revenue opportunities.

The Truth: creating revenue streams with YouTube is not as hard as you might think.

The biggest challenge for many people when it comes to making money with YouTube is that they don’t know how to do it effectively — the same is probably true for you.

You may not have a clear plan or strategy, or you may not know how to monetize your videos in a way that maximizes profits.

Another common challenge is that many people don’t realize that there are multiple ways to make money with YouTube — not just YouTube Ads.

In this post, we’ll outline key steps you can take to create additional revenue streams with your YouTube channel.

Let’s get started.

Understand the basics of making money with YouTube

Before you can start making money with YouTube, you need to understand how it all works.

The Quick Run-down:

YouTube cares about only a few factors when it comes to its videos.

When you focus on these three factors, you create situations for YouTube to make money.

And in return, YouTube rewards you with a fair portion of the money they make with your videos. Win-Win!

It’s that simple (well sort of). Let’s first go over the three factors you need to focus on:

1. Watch Time

Watch Time is how long viewers watch your videos and ultimately how long viewers stay on YouTube after watching your video.

The longer they watch videos and remain on YouTube, the better it is for your channel (and YouTube). Keep this in mind because I’ll go more in-depth later on in this post.

2. Viewer Satisfaction (Thumb Ups, Thumb Downs, Shares, etc.)

YouTube wants to match viewers with the content they’re interested in, and it does this by measuring how satisfied viewers are with your videos.

This is done through a variety of methods, but the most important ones are thumbs up/downs, comments, and shares.

3. Views & Click-Through Rates

Views are how many times your videos are watched, and this is the most basic metric for success on YouTube.

While it’s not the most important factor, it does matter because YouTube needs to show advertisers that people are actually watching the ads they’re paying to have played before, during, or after your videos.

The percentage of people who click on your video when it is shown with a thumbnail is known as the Click Through Rate.

Here’s an example: 

If 10,000 people see your video somewhere on YouTube, but only 200 people click, that’s a 2% click-through rate. In other words, the amount of people who were interested enough to click on your video was 2% percent.

SO, how do you get high Watch Time, User Satisfaction, and Views & Click-through rates?

And how does Watch Time, User Satisfaction and Views & Click-through Rates create additional revenue streams for you and your business?

Let’s tackle the first question in the next section, and the second question later on in this article.

Tips to increase Watch Time, Viewer Satisfaction and Views & Click-Through Rates

YouTube cares about how long viewers watch your videos and how long they stay on YouTube after watching your video.

Here’s how to increase Watch Time, Viewer Satisfaction and Views for your YouTube videos.

1. Increase Watch Time

This one is pretty simple (sort of): the longer your videos are, the more Watch Time they’ll generate.

Here’s an example:

Suppose the viewers watch 50% of all videos they click on.

If your videos are 2 minutes, expect to get 1 minute of watch time per view.

If your video are 10 minutes, expect to get 5 minutes of watch time per view.

So the more watch time you create with your videos, the more likely YouTube will recommend your videos to other viewers — which equals more views.

(We’ll go deeper into how this translates into cold hard cash in the next section)

BUT, it’s not enough to just publish longer videos, though — you also need to make sure that your videos are interesting and engaging enough to keep viewers watching until the end. You need to make videos that are relevant to your viewers.

This means you need to create quality content.

The information being provided, the visuals being seen and the audio being heard need to be high quality.

The quickest method to obtaining high-quality visuals is to use stock footage — Filmpac has this all covered with their massive library of affordable cinematic stock footage.

The same goes for high-quality audio — use stock music that quickly conveys the emotions you’re wanting the viewer to feel. Again — Filmpac is the quickest and easiest way to access thousands of stock music from many genres and styles.

YouTube measures the relevancy of the information provided within the video not only through Watch Time but also through Viewer Satisfaction and Views & Click-Through Rates.

2. What is Viewer Satisfaction?

Viewer satisfaction is how engaged your viewers are with your videos and it’s measured through a variety of methods.

The most important ones are thumbs up/downs, comments and shares.

YouTube uses these signals to understand how relevant your videos are to your viewers, and the more relevant your videos are, the more likely YouTube will recommend them to other viewers.

Here’s how to increase viewer satisfaction:
It’s not enough to create videos about stuff you like. It has to ALSO be about topics the audience is interested in.

  1. Look at what’s popular in your niche and make videos about those topics.
  2. You can even use FREE tools like Ask The Public or even YouTube Search to find popular keywords related to your niche.
  3. Here’s a full article explaining how to find relevant topics.

3. Increase Views & Click-Through Rates with Metadata

Views are how many times your videos are watched and this is the most basic metric for success on YouTube.

While it’s not the most important factor for YouTube, it does matter for YouTube advertisers that need to know that people are actually watching the ads they’re paying to have played before, during, or after your videos.

There are a few actions you can take to increase Views & Click-through Rates:

  1. Use keyword-rich titles: The title of your video is the first thing people see, so make sure it’s both uses keywords (search terms) for YouTube algorithm to know what the video is about and be interesting and intriguing enough for human viewers to want to click and watch.
  2. Create high-quality thumbnails:  A thumbnail is the little image that accompanies your video title on YouTube. Make sure yours are high quality and attention-grabbing, as this will be another factor in whether or not people click to watch your videos.

So how does all of this equate to more money in your bank account?

These are key metrics to master in order to take advantage of the first Revenue Stream — YouTube Ad Revenue.

Revenue Stream #1: YouTube Ad Revenue

YouTube ad revenue is how most creators on YouTube make their money and it works like magic!

It’s a simple process: Advertisers create a video advertisement and choose how much they’re willing to pay to have it shown before, during or after certain videos.

Then, YouTube takes a cut of that advertiser’s spend and gives the majority to you, the content creator.

And like clockwork, every month YouTube will deposit cash into your account.

According to ZipRecruiter, top YouTubers make about $60,774 annually or $5K per month.

But how do you “turn on” YouTube Ad Revenue for your channel?

You have to be accepted into the YouTube Partner Program in order to monetize your videos.

In other words, you have to prove to YouTube that you are committed to creating relevant content that viewers will watch and advertisers will pay to run their ads on.

In order to to qualify to be a member of the YouTube Partner Program you have to meet certain eligibility  requirements — the two difficult requirements are:

  • Have more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months.
  • Have more than 1,000 subscribers.

4,000 Watch Hours

At first glance, this can be difficult to achieve if you’re just starting out because you’ll need a consistent stream of views every single day.

This is why the above tips for increasing watch time is vital to bringing in those additional ad dollars.

There are a few additional things you can do to increase your watch hours:

  1. Upload videos consistently & regularly (at least once a week)
  2. Create longer videos (15 minutes or more)
  3. Promote your videos on social media and other platforms

1,000+ Subscribers

This is also difficult to achieve if you’re just starting out because it takes time to grow your audience.

This is where paying attention to Viewer Satisfaction and Views & Click-Through Rates can make or break your YouTube Ad Revenue goals.

In addition to the tips listed in the earlier section, here are a few additional action steps you can take to reach 1,000 subscribers faster:

  1. Add a subscribe “call to action” to all of your videos
  2. Add a link to your subscribe page at the end of all your videos — YouTube calls these end screens
  3. Promote your videos on social media and other platforms
  4. Reach out to other YouTubers in your niche and collaborate and share each other’s videos

The YouTube “magic effect”

In my experience, there’s something “magical” that happens when your channel becomes monetized — YouTube begins recommending your videos 10X more!

Here’s a screenshot of one of my channels. That huge rise in views happened days after the channel became a YouTube Partner.

Why is this?

My suspicion is once you become eligible for the YouTube Partner Program, it becomes YouTube’s interest to recommend your videos to relevant viewers as much as possible in order to generate more Ad Revenue

REMEMBER – you split the Ad Revenue WITH YouTube.

Before you qualify for the YouTube Partner Program, your videos aren’t making YouTube any money.

So YouTube doesn’t have any reason to push your videos over other similar videos that are monetized.

Meet YouTube’s eligibility requirements, and watch the views soar in!

Makes sense?!

Revenue Stream #2: Affiliate Commissions

Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s products or services.

And it’s a great way to make money because there’s no upfront cost, no inventory and no shipping!

Plus, you can promote products or services that you’re passionate about and have a vested interest in.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Find a product or service you want to promote — think about products that your audience will need to buy to better accomplish their goal.

    This can be equipment, tech, software, apps, hardware, clothes, books, courses, etc.
  2. Sign up for their affiliate program and receive a special link with your ID embedded.
  3. Share the link on your YouTube channel, social media, website, etc. Also make yourself familiar with powerful content marketing tools to boost your reach.
  4. As viewers click your links and make purchases on the sites you send them to, you receive commissions on each sale.

This can make you a little cash at first, but over time, affiliate cash builds up to significant monthly revenue of $10K a month or more!

Revenue Stream #3: Sell Merch

As a YouTuber, one of the easiest revenue streams to overlook is merch.

Merch sales come from the products that you sell on your channel and are usually related to your channel brand.

These merch items range from tshirts,  to mugs, to posters and more!

How to design your merch

You have mainly two options: hire someone to design your merch or design it yourself.

Hire a designer: these days you can find phenomenal designers on fiverr.com to get the job done without breaking the bank. Just keep your designs simple and to the point to keep the price down.

Design it yourself: many free tools arm you with everything you need to design your own merch — mainly Adobe Express and Canva. Start with professional design templates, customize your text and logos and you’re ready to go!

How to make your merch: Just as with designing your merch, your two main options are: get another company to make your merch or make your merch yourself. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Get another company to make your merch:

The advantage of this option is that you don’t have to deal with any of the risks associated with making your own merch. All you need to do is upload your designs and they will take care of the rest — printing, shipping and customer service. The disadvantage is that it’s more expensive because you’re paying for someone else to do all the work or they take a greater portion of your profit.

Good companies for making your merch: Fouth Wall, Spring or Spreadshop

Make your merch yourself:

The disadvantage here is that there are more risks involved because you’ll have to invest in the production equipment and production of the merch.

The advantage of making your own merch is that you get to keep all the profits! And you can make merch in small batches so you’re not sitting on a ton of unsold inventory.All you really need is a good Cricut Machine, a compatible printer and the merch materials (T-shirts, hats, mugs, etc).

Revenue Stream #4: Brand Deals

Brand Deals are how the biggest YouTubers make the majority of their money.

A Brand Deal is when a company pays a YouTuber to promote their product or service in an advertisement.

This is different from YouTube Ads — as the Brand Deal ad is actually a part of the video itself — not an ad that ran at the beginning of a video.

As a result, that particular video will forever be advertising the brand’s product!

YouTubers get paid a LOT of money for these deals, sometimes totalling up to millions of dollars!

So how do you get a brand deal?

Here are two main approaches: Go where brands make offers or approach brands with offers

Go where brands make offers

The easiest way to go where brands are making offers is through YouTube BrandConnect.

YouTube BrandConnect is a platform where brands and YouTubers can connect with each other to create content and close deals with each other.

The main requirement to access YouTube BrandConnect is that you are part of the YouTube Partner Program.

Afterward, if you meet the requirements, YouTube will send you an invite. Chi-ching!

Approach brands with offers

The second approach is to reach out to brands with your own offers.

This is how many deals are closed and how YouTubers get their start.

There are a few avenues you can take when approaching a brand:

  • Find the contact information for the marketing/PR department on company websites and send them an email to consider a brand deals.

Use platforms like Mavrck and Influence.co to connect with brands looking to collaborate.

Wrapping things up

Creating additional revenue streams with your YouTube channel is an excellent way to make more money from your content.

In this post, we outlined 6 different ways that you can do this.

Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages, so choose the one that best suits your needs and get started making more money today and implement the others over time!And if you want even more ways to make money this article is incredibly valuable.

Jesse Young El is a creator who has been working for 20 years professionally in the creative industry. 

He specializes in video production, content marketing, online courses and web design. On JesseYoungEl.com, he writes about the best tools for course creators and the strategies he is using in his own life and how they can be used to help others.

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