Many of us use what is considered ‘new media’, such as YouTube and Facebook, to stay in touch with the rest of the world and be provided with entertainment. This works perfectly, as channels and pages subscribed to are directly related to specific interests, and this gives people the ability to pick and choose which creators they would like to invest time into. Whilst some are happy to observe, others are curious just how these creators make a living from a broadcasting hobby like this to millions of people globally. Here is a general overview of how it is done and how much the big hitters are making.
Founded in 2005, YouTube is the most common online video streaming service currently owned by Google. YouTube began its monetization project just a year after launching in 2006, aiming to provide its users with the ability to make an income.
The primary source of monetization on YouTube comes from advert overlays, and while this method may not be the most profitable for some, for larger channels, having millions of eyes on an instream 30-second advert can generate multiple figures of income. These overlays are provided by YouTube and customized by content creators to be placed in specific segments. This is the most relatable form of advertising, as just like traditional television, it is simply companies paying YouTube, who in turn pay their members to run the adverts within their videos. A realistic look at profits can be seen here.
A YouTube channel is to achieve specific milestones before monetization becomes available, such as having more than 4,000 valid watch hours within 12 months, while also having 1,000 subscribers and a linked AdSense account is required to activate advert overlays.
Affiliate marketing is the next widely used technique, and rather than monetize through YouTube itself, creators can network with companies within their specific niche and begin advertising an associated product or service. This is fantastic for a company’s marketing methods and profit-boosting for the YouTuber in question, making it a win-win for everybody. These products and services span from cars to training courses, so your chances of making commissions largely depend on the goods you are offering and how invested your audience is.
Merchandise and Memberships
Many creators in the YouTube space sell their merchandise. The popular ones to note are items of clothing, such as t-shirts, hoodies, and hats. Some even make keyrings and extremely specific items associated with their channel, such as Donut Media, who have created an entire line of display cars called ‘Stocky’, which certainly reflect the brand’s influence in the automotive creative space. These techniques are great for keeping an audience engaged with the brand and increasing your chances of receiving premium members. Premium memberships are also a thing on YouTube, ranging from $4.99 up to $49.99. You can become a premium member of channels that you follow, receiving perks the average viewer may never see or discounts on the creator’s merchandise. The membership scheme was launched in 2018 and is beneficial for the more established channels.
Founded in 2011, Twitch is another video streaming service that is greatly targeted toward gaming. Twitch has seen great profits for its more prolific, and users in the top ten in 2021 begin at 2 million dollars.
Twitch sports similar in-stream ads systems to YouTube, but what differs is the ability to donate to your favorite streamers. Twitch is a community containing extremely loyal followers, and streamers regularly remain online for 12-hour periods, constantly engaging with their audience. This leads to an extremely loyal following who are likely to donate regularly and subscribe to your membership schemes, which can start at $24.99 per person. You can find out more about becoming a twitch affiliate here, and successful Twitch streamers can make a lot of money, with some of the most passionate audiences tuning into their day-to-day gaming.
Facebook, founded in 2004 with an estimated 2.9 billion users, is another site that can be monetized for those who strategically place their pages in front of the correct audiences. You could simply open your very own Facebook store and sell your physical products. On the other hand, you could use that same store to sell affiliate products for companies associated with your niche. Of course, this requires creating a page and building a following by posting consistent, engaging content.
Facebook has recently developed the ‘creators’ studio’. This area of Facebook allows users with popular pages to post monetized content, such as in-stream ads on published video footage. This sounds familiar. This system is very much the same as YouTube and Twitch, and this makes Facebook a worthwhile investment for creators, forcing them to engage with their audiences. Requirements for this form of monetization differ globally, but the basic requirements are 10,000 plus followers and 600,000 total minutes viewed across 60 days. This can be quite a challenge, but those who apply themselves can begin to benefit from this monetization avenue, with profits averaging $8.75 per 1,000 views.
Technically, this is a form of affiliate marketing, but unlike the previous two examples, Facebook can utilize different techniques. Everybody is aware of the ability to post on Facebook – it’s the reason Facebook exists. Now, for those with a larger following, is the option to advertise for a niche-related company and posting their products on your page can greatly increase your income and make all that hard work pay off.
The ‘influencer’ markets continue to thrive, and it is not impossible to join them yourself. We haven’t even mentioned the likes of Instagram and TikTok – the opportunities are endless for those with creative flair and a hard-working attitude.