How Much Money Do YouTube Stars Make? [Infographic]

By Devon Glenn 

Billions of views on YouTube now equal millions of dollars for YouTube’s most successful partners, according to an estimate of how much advertising revenue YouTube’s top partners are earning with viral videos like “Harlem Shake” and “Gangnam Style.”

In 2010, the top-grossing YouTube partners were bringing in more than $100,000 per year. As of 2012, some of these video creators including The Annoying Orange and Smosh are making millions of dollars, while others like Ryan Higa and The Young Turks have pushed further into the six-figure range. Today, stars like Psy, whose channel has racked up 2.12 billion views for an estimated $5.9 million in revenue, can earn even more. In fact, one million views could bring in between 800 and 8,000 dollars for the person who uploads the video.

YouTube gives its content partners more than half of the ad revenue they bring in, and the types of ads they use in their videos may also be a factor in how much money they earn. Pre-roll ads, which lead into the beginning of the video, are believed to bring in $5 for every 1,000 views. Banner ads are arguably less obtrusive, but also bring in less money at an estimated $0.80 cents per 1,000 views.

See these and more statistics in the infographic below. Note that since YouTube has opened its partner program to everyone, the criteria for YouTube partnership are different now than the application process that’s shown here. Infographic by