Video Creators: 7 Ways To Make Money On YouTube

One question that nearly every video creator asks is, “How can I make money on YouTube?” You hear about YouTube celebs making six-figure incomes more and more, but how can you boost your income YouTube-style?   We’ve put together a list of all the different ways that people make money on YouTube. Hopefully they will point you in the right direction when it comes to setting your own goals and figuring out how you can make money from your online videos.

YouTube Partner Program

One of the best ways to make money is to become a part of the YouTube Partner program. All of YouTube’s biggest earners like Shane Dawson, The Annoying Orange, and Philip DeFranco are YouTube Partners. Partners partake in revenue sharing with YouTube – they earn a percentage of the ad revenue that YouTube makes from advertisements placed on their videos and channel page. They also take advantage of other features, such as being able to upload their own video thumbnails and being able to brand their channels.

Unfortunately, becoming a YouTube Partner isn’t possible for everyone – you’ve got to apply and YouTube has a number of requirements that users must meet before being considered as partners. There are two types of partnerships and there are different requirements for each:

Account Level Partnerships

Account Level Partnerships are reserved for users that have a strong YouTube following and consistently upload videos that get a lot of views. Account level partners that you are likely to have heard of include Ryan Higa, Fred, and Mystery Guitar Man.

Individual Video Partnerships

If you’ve created a single video that is popular then you could qualify for an individual video partnership. Channels that have one video that gets millions of views can qualify for revenue share off advertising on these specific videos. A good example of this is the super popular Laughing Baby video.

You can find out more in our post on the YouTube Partner program or apply for partnership here.

YouTube Rentals

Did you know that you could charge viewers a rental fee on YouTube? Well, you can. If you’re a partner, that is. Rentals are another feature that YouTube partners can take advantage of to make money. Of course, you don’t see a lot of YouTube celebs charging for their weekly videos, but rental fees aren’t a bad idea for exclusive content.

Imagine that you’ve seen an amazing film at Sundance and would love to rent it or purchase it to watch again at home, but it isn’t available in your local video store. I bet you wouldn’t have a problem with paying a small rental fee for it on YouTube, would you?

You can find out more about YouTube Rentals by clicking here and apply to become a part of the YouTube Rentals beta. Note that rentals are currently only available to content owners in the United States.

Branded Campaigns

If you’ve got something of a following on YouTube then a good way to make money is through a branded campaign. Brands pay content creators with niche followings to help them promote their products. For instance, if you’ve got a YouTube channel where you upload videos about makeup then a makeup company may pay you to review one of their new products.

You’ll see YouTube Partners creating branded videos on a pretty regular basis. Carl’s Junior, Pop-Tarts, Ford, Kia and Hasbro’s Trivial Pursuit all did branded campaigns with YouTube Partners. You can read about these campaigns in our post about 10 big brands using YouTube stars in their promotional campaigns.

Use YouTube To Promote Your Own Branded Merchandise

You can also make money through YouTube slightly more indirectly by promoting your own brand or product through your YouTube videos. A well thought-out video can get you traffic to your company website, it can get viewers interested in a product, and it can convert viewers into consumers, buying whatever it is you’re selling.

A lot of YouTube partners also earn additional revenue by promoting their own branded merchandise. Mystery Guitar Man shirts, anyone?


On YouTube there are always all kinds of branded contests going on and the prize is often (you guessed it!) money! Entering video contests on YouTube is a great way to put your work out there and, if you win, make some money and win trips and other cool prizes. Of course, you are never guaranteed to win but there’s always a chance you’ll be the big winner. You can always find out what contests are currently happening on the YouTube Contests page.

Use Your Videos On Your AdSense Website

If you aren’t a YouTube partner then you can’t make money off of advertising on your actual YouTube channel page. However, you can use your YouTube videos to promote your blog or website where you can advertise. YouTube is a great way to drive traffic to your own website or blog. You can tell viewers about site with YouTube Annotations, with your own titles within your videos, or you can simply tell your viewers to check out your site at the end of your video.

Ask For It

Finally, you can always just ask for money on YouTube. Last month comedian Craig Rowin asked millionaires, via YouTube, for one million dollars and he said that a millionaire offered to give it to him. Of course, that turned out to be a hoax, but I’m not convinced that Craig’s tactics wouldn’t work for someone out there. Maybe one million dollars was too much to ask for, or millionaires didn’t respond because Craig wasn’t asking for the money for the right reasons. I’d like to think there’s someone out there that could ask the Internet for money on YouTube and actually get paid. Maybe that someone is you.