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How Much Money Do YouTubers Make?

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In the late 2010s, a new internet phenomenon arose—the “YouTuber.” While making money in the entertainment field was previously gated for a lucky few, anyone with an internet connection today can earn a living doing what they love—provided they put in the work.


The idea of becoming a YouTuber has become popular for several reasons. Beyond the financial perks, these people are often seen as more accessible to their fans than Hollywood celebrities.

But how lucrative can YouTube be? How much do YouTubers make on average, and how do they differ from the big channels? Let’s find out.


How Much Money Does the Average YouTuber Make?

Starting a YouTube channel is complex, and many creators earn nothing. To generate money on the platform, you need to hit specific criteria—which we’ll talk more about later.

For those that do qualify, median earnings vary significantly. For example, if you have one million subscribers, you could earn around $5,000 per month or $60,000 per year.

Views are more important than subscribers when determining a YouTuber’s salary from ad revenue. If you’re a YouTuber, your average earnings will vary depending on the cost per mille (CPM) for ads on your videos.

However, it’s important to remember that many people don’t solely rely on ad revenue from their channels to live; YouTubers earn money in several ways. Sponsored videos are one way to generate additional income; these can come from one-off and long-term partnerships. You can also make money even if you aren’t yet eligible for ad revenue.

A YouTuber may also sell products like Lightroom Presets to generate additional money. The video below offers a more comprehensive breakdown of some ways that YouTubers make money away from the platform:

How Much Do High-Earning YouTubers Make?

While many YouTubers don’t earn significant money from ad revenue alone, some channels can more than support themselves through the money they get paid from the platform.

Below are examples of six channels that have made enormous amounts of revenue from YouTube, with a description of what they do and how much they’ve earned.

Ryan Kaji

One of the most prosperous YouTube channels is Ryan’s World, of which the star is 10-year-old Ryan Kaji. Ryan’s World provides family-friendly content designed to help kids learn more about the world and have fun in the process.

At the time of writing in September 2022, Kaji’s channel accumulated over 33 million subscribers. In 2020, Ryan’s World made over $20 million from ad revenue alone.

MrBeast

Another prominent YouTube channel is MrBeast, run by gaming enthusiast Jimmy Donaldson. In September 2022, MrBeast had over 100 million subscribers.

MrBeast has a host of other channels doing well, too. For instance, MrBeast Gaming has over 28 million followers, whereas that number stands at 19+ million for Beast Reacts. Another channel that focuses on short-form videos, called MrBeast Shorts, has over 15 million subscribers.

Donaldson made $24 million between June 2019 and the same month one year later.

Logan Paul

YouTuber and boxer Logan Paul is a well-known name among generations X, Y, and Z. He has surpassed 23 million subscribers on his main channel at the time of writing in September 2022. However, he didn’t post as frequently in 2021 compared to previous years.

In June 2020, industry speculators estimated Logan Paul’s earnings to be roughly $20 million annually.

KSI

KSI has been on the YouTube scene for several years. He started posting gaming videos and is well known for his FIFA 13 “Road to Division 1” series. He helped inspire a generation of YouTubers and has more than 24 million subscribers on his main channel as of September 2022.

Since the early days of his channel, KSI’s content has evolved a little. He does several reaction videos (on his channel JJ Olatunji) and has also made a career in the music industry. KSI has also fought against Logan Paul in various boxing matches.

In May 2020, the soccer publication Goal reported that KSI earns roughly $4.5 million a year from YouTube.

PewDiePie

Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie is one of the platform’s most prominent names. As of September 2022, he has 111 million subscribers—second only to Indian channel T-Series.

PewDiePie has been active on YouTube since 2010. Like many, he began his career on the platform, sharing content related to video games. Since then, what he shares has evolved and covers multiple topics—though it primarily revolves around internet trends.

Vlogger Gear has calculated PewDiePie’s lifetime YouTube earnings to be around $100 million.

Nate O’Brien

Nate O’Brien runs a YouTube channel under his own name, with the bulk of his content focusing on finance—especially long-term investing—and personal development. As of September 2022, he has more than 1.2 million subscribers.

O’Brien openly talks about money-making strategies that have worked for him and seeks to offer digestible steps for those interested in learning more about improving their financial situations. According to Business Insider, he has earned $444,000 in a single year from ad revenue on YouTube.

How Much (and How) Does YouTube Pay?

To become eligible for monetization on YouTube, you must have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers. On top of that, you also need to have accumulated at least 4,000 watch hours from others.

Once you qualify for monetization, YouTube takes a 45% cut from ad revenue. Generally speaking, YouTubers generate around $18 per 1,000 ad views—or between $3 and $5 for the same number of views on their actual video.

How much YouTube pays depends on several factors. Your audience’s location can play a crucial role; an audience member living in Norway might earn you more than someone from Argentina. You might also find that some niches are more profitable than others when it comes to CPM.

To maximize income, it’s also vital that the user doesn’t skip ads. A YouTuber whose audience watches ads all the way through might earn more than one where this isn’t the case, even if the former has fewer subscribers. Ad blockers can, therefore, harm creators’ revenue; you’re better off subscribing to YouTube Premium if you want to skip ads.

Making Money on YouTube Is More Complicated Than It Looks

YouTube has provided a platform for many creators worldwide to create fulfilling careers. These individuals have inspired and educated others while simultaneously pursuing their passions.

While it might seem like the ship has already sailed, you can still generate income on YouTube. It’ll take a long time and very hard work, but you’ll be successful if you stick with it in the long run. The best way to stay committed to YouTube is choosing a niche you enjoy, even if the CPM is lower.



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