How to Make Money on YouTube (With A Small Following)
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How to Make Money on YouTube (With A Small Following)

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.

Did you know you can make money on YouTube?

Wondering how many views does one need to rake in huge amounts?

How do you become successful as a YouTube content creator?

These are just some of the many questions commonly asked today. The answers, however, to these queries depend on who you ask.

You probably encounter answers like “No, you won’t make that much.” Other people would say otherwise.

In the same way, different people also give different answers to the question of how many views on YouTube to get paid.

Also related to that question is how much do you make per view on YouTube.

Is it $5 for every thousand views or do you make $1,000 after a million views?

In this article, I’m going to discuss the basics of making money on YouTube.

So let’s do this, starting with the most important question of them all.

Can you make money on YouTube?

Yes, you can.

But before you can begin making money on YouTube, you need to build an audience.

To build a following, you need to come up with videos that your target audience really enjoy watching.

Making these videos should also be consistent, following a certain schedule in producing them.

And like everything on YouTube, you need to comply with the website’s regulations.

As a video creator, you need to check with YouTube’s Community Guidelines.

Once you’re good and ready, you can apply to join the YouTube Partner Program. This is where content creators like you can request to monetize the YouTube videos.

How do you qualify with the YouTube Partner Program?

There are three requirements.

  1. First, you need to be a YouTube account owner in good standing.
  2. Second, you must have logged in 4,000 watch hours on YouTube in the last 12 months.
  3. Lastly, your YouTube channel must have at least a thousand subscribers.

Applying is one thing; joining the YouTube Partner Program is a different story.

You can apply to join the YouTube Partner Program at any time. However, when it comes to monetizing your videos, you need to hit these stats, threshold, and requirements first.

If upon review, everything looks good and you get the approval, you can begin earning money from ads posted on your videos.

Did you know there are other income streams that you can tap into under the YouTube Partner Program?

Once you’re in the YouTube Partner Program, you can also earn cash aside from ads.

There are programs like Channel Memberships or Super Chat. If you meet the requirements, then you can make money from them.

FAQs on how to make money on Youtube

You probably have a ton of questions running through your mind right now. So let’s tackle them one at a time.

One of the commonly asked questions on the subject is around channel reviews.

When will your channel be reviewed for acceptance into the YouTube Partner Program?

Most people think their channel already qualifies for the program, but no one from YouTube has reviewed it yet.

Well, the folks at YouTube will usually get back to you after a month or so to look into your channel. This period is a good time for you to make sure you hit the thresholds to qualify for the program.

Until then, just continue what you’re doing and focus on creating great content and nurture your audience base.

What to do if your channel didn’t get approved?

One of the main reasons why people don’t get approved to join the YouTube Partner Program is because their channels didn’t meet the requirements.

It could be the failure to reach the thresholds or non-compliance of certain policies under the program or in YouTube’s Community Guidelines.

Should you fail to get the approval to join the YouTube Partner Program, you can apply again after 30 days.

But before sending another request to join the program, I suggest you reread the policies and guidelines again. You may also want to review your videos, making sure they meet these policies and guidelines.

If you believe you have videos that violate these regulations, you can edit or delete them. Removing the offending bits off your channel is the best way to ensure you meet YouTube’s standards.

Do you need to qualify every year?

Here’s another commonly asked question from content creators who have qualified into the YouTube Partner Program.

After successfully getting into the program, do creators need to meet the threshold and other stats every year?


Once you got into the program, you don’t have to worry about the 4,000 watch hours or the 1,000-subscriber count each year.

However, you need to maintain an active channel through regular uploads and community posts.

Should you channel become inactive for six months and you fell below the threshold, YouTube may remove you from the program.

How can you make money on YouTube?

Do you earn from views or do you make money per engagement?

Contrary to common belief, you don’t make money on YouTube views.

Rather, you get it from the viewers’ engagement with the ads posted in your videos.

You’re probably wondering what does engagement mean.

Here, engagement means your viewers watched the featured ad for more than 30 seconds or clicked on that ad.

YouTube Advertising follows the same framework in the Adwords platform. The advertisers may choose the CPC or the CPV model.

CPC stands for cost per click while CPV means cost per view.

Let’s look into these two ad models.

What is CPC or cost per click?

Under this model, the advertiser pays based on the number of clicks their ad gets.

So if someone clicks on the ad, the advertiser will pay the corresponding amount.

This amount will be multiplied by the number of times the ad was clicked. Now that’s the total amount that the advertiser will pay.

Wondering where do these ads appear?

Pop-ups and similar ads usually show up on the lower area of the screen as the video plays. It may also appear on the right side of your YouTube channel.

What is CPV or cost per view?

When the advertiser pays for views, that’s CPV or cost per view.

But it isn’t just any view. The person watching the video must also view the ad for at least 30 seconds; or if the ad’s length doesn’t reach 30 seconds, at least half of its running time.

It’s possible that the advertiser won’t be charged any amount even if the viewer clicked on the ad a hundred times. That’s because he isn’t paying for the clicks; instead, he’s paying for the 30-second views.

In addition to the two ad models, there are also three types of ads.

These three ad types are classified based on their placement: pre-roll, in-search, and in-display.

Pre-roll ads are those that appear before the main video starts. You have the option to skip pre-roll ads after five seconds of its playing time.

In-search ads appear after you make a search on YouTube. These show up alongside the search results and highlighted in a light yellow box.

In-display ads pop up on the right side of the screen, in the suggested video area.

Even if you have a million views on your video, it’s possible to earn just a few dollars (although that is very unlikely). That’s because advertisers only pay if viewers click on the ads or watch them for a specified period.

So it’s NOT a question of how many views on YouTube to get paid; rather, it’s engagement on YouTube to get paid.

In fact, you don’t need hundreds or thousands of subscribers to earn money on YouTube.

Would you like to learn the secrets?

Check out the sources that make real cash from the website.

How can you make money on YouTube?

You have two main options that let you earn as a YouTube content creator.

I mentioned the YouTube Partner Program; the other option is working as an affiliate.

YouTube Partner Program

It’s the best way to monetize your content.

To apply to join the program, click on the Account icon on the top-right portion of the YouTube homepage then select Creator Studio.

On the left side, you can see Channel. Click on that and select Status and Features.

There’s a box that will appear; it says Monetization. Click Enable.

All that’s left is to agree to the terms and conditions of the YouTube Partner Program.

You can adjust your ad hosting preferences. The next prompt will be to submit your channel for appropriate review.

Here’s a good strategy to follow. If you want to build your viewership, publish multiple videos every week. Even before you get into the YouTube Partner Program.

The ad revenue is split between YouTube and its partners; your share is at 55 percent. So for a $200 investment by an advertiser, you will receive $110 as payment for the YouTube real estate that you own.

Affiliate Links

It’s like affiliate marketing, but only on YouTube.

In my other article, I mentioned how to make money with affiliate marketing.

As an affiliate, you can offer reviews on products and brands and make recommendations to your viewers. That’s an opportunity for you to turn those suggestions into paid product placements.

Unlike in the YouTube Partner Program, you earn money directly from the company that you’re an affiliate.

So if someone buys the product off the link you post on the description of your video, you earn a commission.

Here’s a bonus income-generating strategy as a YouTube content creator.

This one’s called fan-funding, which is usually common among gamers.

It’s a way of soliciting money from your viewers. If they enjoy your videos, you can ask them to donate to your channel.

Aside from YouTube, there are other platforms that allow fan-funding activities, which include

You can also sign up for Patreon and launch a members-only YouTube channel for a solid income stream off your videos.

Need more tips on how to make money on YouTube?

Here are easy steps you can implement to increase your chances of earning money.

Take the “Sniper Approach.”

Advertisers prefer YouTube channels that feature content with a defined demographic.

From an advertiser’s perspective, this narrow “sniper approach” to YouTube content has an audience that’s easy to target; in contrast to a “wide spray, shotgun approach.”

So if you’ll want to create content with a particular sector of society in mind.

Define your audience by making videos that specifically cater to them. This will make it easy for advertisers to decide whether you have their preferred target demographic.

Some keywords rank higher in terms of CPC.

Not all keywords are created equal. Some pay more than the others.

From an advertiser’s point of view, they’ll want to target keywords with high CPC because the end return tends to be higher.

Have you considered using a video production strategy?

Most content creators on YouTube have one common complaint. It takes too long to make even one video. It’s just time-consuming.

So what’s the solution?

Employ a video production strategy. Aim to have a system that lets you shoot, edit, and upload multiple videos in just a couple of hours.

Focus on creating a lean-back yet entertaining and informative content.

Did you know Google suggests that YouTube creators produce lean-back content?

Focus on making videos that are designed for easy viewing. Because people watch YouTube videos in the same way they watch TV in the evenings, which is to relax and unwind.

Maintain the same style of content.

If you are consistent with your content, people will keep coming back to your channel. They may also likely share your videos with other people who enjoy the recurring theme or topic of your content.

With a consistent theme comes familiarity, which can help you build a loyal following or fan base over time.

Don’t forget to optimize for search.

Get maximum exposure to attract advertisers. To do that, you need to optimize your content for improved search results ranking and better web traffic.

There are many ways to optimize your content. You can start by adding a major keyword in the title and using relevant tags. Also, make sure you have a well-crafted description.

Google also suggests making your content mobile-friendly.

Did you know more people are accessing YouTube on their tablets and phones?

Mobile users are reportedly twice as likely to watch videos on their handheld devices than go to their laptop or computer. So it’s logical to create content that’s mobile-friendly.

Conclusion: Make Money On Youtube

There’s no shortcut to making it big on YouTube. It takes time, effort, and patience to create good content and build an audience for your channel.

Check out these other ways to make money as an influencer:

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McKinzie Bean
McKinzie is a mom of two, and a personal finance enthusiast. She loves teaching other moms how to save money, make money, and take control of their financial situation. She has started five profitable businesses and in college, she double-majored in Financial Planning and Psychology. You may have seen her in publications like Forbes, The US Chamber of Commerce, Yahoo Finance,, The Penny Hoarder, & more.

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