I've been wondering the same thing for years, and now that we're in 2017 it seems like something worth asking more explicitly -- can you make money on YouTube without posting your own content? And if so, what are some of the ways people actually use their channels to generate income?
The obvious answer is yes! But there are plenty of examples where it doesn't work out so well. You see someone who has thousands of subscribers on her channel but she only posts once every few months because she wants to focus on other things. Or maybe she makes great videos about science or cars or whatever else she loves, and then finds herself overwhelmed by all the things she'd love to talk about. It would be nice to have options when you don't want to put effort into creating new material.
It turns out that there are tons of ways to earn passive income off your existing online presence. People often find themselves using these methods as side hustles, supplementing their regular careers (or even replacing them). The fact remains that most popular personalities aren't earning their millions solely through producing original content. In this article I'm going to discuss some of those methods in detail.
Yes, you can. There are a number of different types of revenue streams that exist within YouTube, and each type requires its own unique approach. Some require hundreds of hours spent building up your audience, while others involve little-to-no time at all. Here are three main categories of revenue sources.
Many creators rely heavily on advertising to help pay their bills. This might seem counterintuitive since most people tend to think that advertisers are interested in pushing products rather than paying for exposure. However, the truth is far less cynical. Advertisers will gladly pay top dollar to reach specific audiences with relevant ads. Channels that produce high quality content tend to attract larger brands looking to advertise directly against relevant demographics. If you create great stuff, people will watch it regardless of whether or not they care about your brand, which means you get paid twice for the same ad impression.
While similar to advertising, brand sponsorship deals come with significantly higher payout potential. Sponsorships typically offer a longer term commitment from companies eager to take advantage of the massive audiences found on YouTube. They also allow for deeper integration between creator and sponsor, meaning greater opportunities for cross promotion down the line. A good rule of thumb is to look for brands who align with your interests, both in terms of product category and target demographic. For instance, if you enjoy cooking shows, try contacting food manufacturers looking to promote their latest flavor concoction.
This method involves selling links to various physical/digital products for big brands. Affiliates earn commissions based on the volume of items sold via their affiliate links. Most popular YouTube channels maintain large followings primarily because of their ability to capitalize on this model. Popular hosts such as PewDiePie, Bethany Mota, Jenna Marbles, Shane Dawson, and Laura Lee bring in tens of millions of dollars per year simply by promoting certain brands.
As you can probably tell, none of these models are particularly complicated. All you have to do is identify what kind of content you already produce, figure out what kinds of products you could potentially sell, and contact whichever company would benefit most from having access to your audience. Once you establish working relationships with major players, future partnerships become relatively easy to secure.
There are lots of other ways to monetize your channel without putting any additional effort into creating new content, but these four are among the easiest and fastest to build. Many successful channels fall under two other general categories: either 1) affiliates, 2) subscriptions, or 3) live events. Let's briefly explore what exactly happens behind the scenes before discussing how to leverage your existing social media accounts into real cash.
If you have 10k followers on Twitter, chances are pretty low that you'll ever hit $1 million in annual salary. Likewise, if you have 5k subs on Patreon, you'll never hit $50K. These figures may sound extreme, but consider this -- the average subscriber count for a music artist was around 50,000 back in 2007. Nowadays, artists manage upwards of 150K subscribers. As you can imagine, the gap between what it takes to break into mainstream success and failure continues to grow exponentially.
On YouTube, things are slightly better. While it's impossible to give exact numbers due to platform limitations, you'll generally start seeing six digit monthly earnings after racking up somewhere in the neighborhood of 100k views. To put this another way, if your current channel has 500k viewers, you should expect to bring home roughly $5,000 per month. Keep in mind that these figures vary wildly depending on several factors, including popularity, genre, location, etc., but they provide a decent ballpark estimate nonetheless.
These results are consistent across almost everyone who achieves significant viewer growth. Even if you initially post mediocre content, your following grows organically and eventually becomes attractive enough to land bigger fish. Eventually, the amount of traffic your channel receives exceeds anything you personally produced, and your viewership skyrockets along with your bank account. Of course, the road to becoming a true influencer takes a lot more than hitting a magic view threshold. Don't believe me? Just ask anyone who manages to achieve viral fame overnight.
To understand how easily YouTube generates passive income, let's compare it to traditional TV networks. When you tune into ABC Family during prime time, you know the show won't suddenly change format halfway into the episode. Nor does Fox News host Bill O'Reilly decide to dedicate his entire broadcast to talking puppies. Content producers know that audiences thrive on predictability. Sure, sometimes a network will pull a surprise stunt here and there, but overall they strive to deliver the same experience week after week. On YouTube, however, this concept barely exists.
One reason why it's difficult to draw parallels between the two mediums comes down to the nature of digital versus analog distribution. With television, studios regularly send copies of episodes straight to homes. Viewers can choose to watch whenever and wherever they please. By contrast, YouTube users usually consume prerecorded content exclusively through computers. Since platforms rarely control how quickly a user consumes information, it's virtually impossible to guarantee consistency. After all, what works best for a casual glance on Reddit might feel jarring coming out of a 30 minute sitcom commercial break.
Even though streaming services are notorious for being inconsistent, most of us still assume that viewing habits remain largely predictable. We turn on our favorite Netflix series expecting the same old jokes and plot twists. We listen to Spotify playlists knowing full well we'll hear the same songs again tomorrow. Yet somehow we always end up surprised when a beloved character dies unexpectedly, or a climactic moment fails to occur as expected.
Due to YouTube's lack of centralized delivery mechanism, content providers must instead depend upon their own efforts to ensure repeat engagement. Without reliable data tracking tools, it's nearly impossible to determine whether fans consistently return to a particular clip or playlist. Furthermore, it's challenging to replicate the "TV" feeling of watching shows on demand. Why waste precious minutes waiting for commercials when you can skip ahead whenever you wish?
That said, there are certainly instances where YouTube's unpredictable platform provides benefits. One such scenario occurs when you upload a short film to share with friends and family. Because no one knows quite when it will air, it's possible to score free marketing buzz for a couple weeks leading up to release date. Other times viewers appreciate unpredictability, perhaps because it serves as a reminder that nothing truly lasts forever. Either way, if you plan on uploading original content on YouTube, you shouldn't hold onto any expectations regarding longevity.
Simple videos on YouTube make money
When you first launch your channel, you'll likely devote considerable energy toward growing your audience. Your goal is to increase the size of your fan base until it reaches a point where profits exceed expenses. From there, you begin to shift priorities and slowly transition away from active creation towards passive growth. What happens next depends entirely on your individual goals. Ideally, you'll continue adding value to your community members by providing helpful advice and guidance. At worst, your channel stagnates indefinitely.
Either outcome represents a win for your business. Obviously, nobody likes to lose. That said, it's important to remember that there are pros and cons associated with choosing one path over another. Depending on your circumstances, your preferred career trajectory may dictate the direction you ultimately pursue.
For example, say you decide to stick with YouTube as a source of passive income. Next, you realize that you hate producing content and would prefer spending more time traveling or pursuing hobbies. Fortunately, there's nothing stopping you from doing both. Simply set aside a portion of your earnings from advertisements or subscriptions for discretionary use. Then invest the rest into extra travel adventures. Later, you can reinvest those funds back into your YouTube channel.
If you're looking for ways to earn extra cash from home, then one of the easiest and fastest methods is through creating content for YouTube channels. With all those free advertising opportunities that come with having millions of people watching your videos every day, there are also some drawbacks. One huge drawback is not being able to monetize your channel until after thousands or even hundreds of videos - which can be frustrating if you've already spent time putting together great original content.
But don't worry! There are other ways out there where you can start earning income immediately as soon as you upload your first video. In today's article we'll look at those options. We will see what kind of unique content works best in order to get started making good money right away.
And remember, these aren't necessarily going to work for everyone. Everyone has different tastes and interests so you may need to experiment with things you like to find out what kinds of videos tend to bring in the most viewers (and therefore revenue). If you are interested in finding out more about any specific topic, check out our list of recommended sites for learning everything about it.
First off, you should know that you won't start seeing money deposited into your account until after you hit 100 views on each video. So keep that in mind when planning out future videos because otherwise you might end up spending hours uploading new ones instead of focusing on generating traffic elsewhere. Once you reach 100 views per video, however, you'll receive $0.30/viewer per month. This amount increases depending on how much ad revenue your views generate. For instance, once you hit 1k views per week, you’ll see another increase of $0.60/viewer. Keep track of your earnings via PayPal here.
The average number of views needed to make money on YouTube varies based upon who you ask but generally speaking you probably want to aim for around 500-1000 total views for your entire collection of vlogs. The reason why is simple -- it takes awhile to build enough momentum to attract advertisers. Think of all the popular YouTubers you follow now -- they typically didn't create their big hits overnight. They took years of consistent effort to grow their audiences. That said, you could always try to break through fast and shoot for higher numbers sooner rather than later. Just know that the odds are stacked against you unless you really nail down a strong niche audience.
As far as length goes, anything under 15 minutes tends to perform better than longer clips. As such, shorter "how-to" style explainer videos seem to produce the highest clickthrough rates among subscribers. However, longer educational type videos still pull in decent amounts of attention too. It really depends on what your particular focus area is. Here are some general guidelines though:
Videos between 5-10 mins: $0.20-$0.50/view
Videos between 10-15 mins: $0.40-$1.00/view
Videos above 15 mins: $2+/video
So let's say you wanted to shoot a 20 minute tutorial video. At $0.40-$1.00/view, it would only cost you 40-100 views to earn a single dollar. With upwards of 1500 views, you'd easily rack up 2-5 dollars. But again, this doesn't apply to everybody since everyone follows different trends. Experimentation is key.
This question gets asked quite often, especially if you haven't been making progress towards earning larger sums of money yet. On average, it usually takes somewhere between 400-500 clicks to achieve that goal. Why? Well, it simply comes down to supply and demand. When advertisers bid on certain keywords, the price point is set accordingly. Unfortunately, if there isn't a large enough demand for related keywords, they won't pay very high prices. As such, if advertisers aren't bidding on relevant terms, your view count will become less valuable.
For instance, let's consider a hypothetical scenario where two similar videos were uploaded simultaneously to YouTube. Video A had 600 views while video B had 700 views. Let's assume both videos received equally low bids from advertisers ($0.25/click) since neither was drawing enough interest. Now imagine adding a third competitor called C with 900 views. Assuming advertiser costs remained constant, A would sell for $1.50, B would sell for $1.75, and C would sell for $1.75. Since C is bringing in more targeted visitors than either of its competitors, Google's algorithm rewards them with higher placement within search results pages. If C happened to rank highly on page #3, they could potentially pull in 3x more conversions than video A alone!
Keep in mind that this calculation is somewhat simplified due to various variables. All else equal, the bigger the volume of impressions your views deliver, the greater potential impact ranking well will have on sales. Also note that these calculations are idealized scenarios meant for illustration purposes only. Advertiser budgets vary widely and fluctuate substantially throughout the course of a campaign.
Now let me show you something real life. Recently I put together a short tutorial series entitled “How To Build Your Own Website & Blog From Scratch". The objective was to help others learn how easy it is to setup a website using WordPress.com – something anyone can do regardless of technical skillset. After producing the tutorials, I went back and tallied my stats.
Here is what happened:
Video Views | Likes | Comments | Shares
Total: 509 | 1755 | 709 | 862
View Count Breakdown:
Week Ending Date Total Viewers Unique Visitors Referring Site Visits
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 01 061 30 345 654 912 980 1279 1357 1416 1626 1802
I'm glad to report that since publishing the initial video, I did manage to net myself $1337.70 in profits. Granted, it wasn't exactly instantaneous either. It took almost three months of hard work and persistence, but hey, it worked eventually :)
To recap, the steps involved were:
Create a few informative instructional videos featuring step-by-step instructions to complete tasks.
Upload videos to YouTube and promote them across social media.
Set up affiliate links for products used in the videos.
Start promoting individual product offers via email marketing campaigns.
Monitor ads performance daily and adjust pricing whenever necessary.
Again, these are just examples of what works. Again, it really boils down to experimenting and tracking data. Try several types of content and discover what resonates most strongly with your target demographic. What are they searching online for? How can you provide value in ways that appeal to them? Then use that information to develop your own strategy for maximizing returns. Don't give up hope, it definitely IS possible to make money on Youtube without making your own videos.
What have you personally found to work well for driving traffic to your site? Share your thoughts below!
I've been thinking about creating my own online business, and one of the biggest questions has always been "how can I make money on YouTube?" It seems like everyone is trying to get viewers for their channels, but what if you're not comfortable being in front of the camera at all? If that sounds familiar, don't worry! You aren't alone. There are plenty of people out there who want to work from home as well, but they can't because they're too shy (or self-conscious) to record themselves doing anything. Don't feel bad - it happens to the best of us! In fact, many successful internet marketers have started by first working in other fields before going into entrepreneurship. We'll talk more about this later.
So let's say you already have some experience or training in whatever field you'd like to use to build an income around. Or maybe you know nothing at all, so you need help figuring out where to begin. Either way, chances are good that you will eventually be putting yourself in front of cameras to promote products, services, and opportunities. But we won't focus on that now. Instead, here are three ways anyone could set up shop on YouTube and start earning passive affiliate commissions while using someone else's footage instead of theirs. Let's take a look.
The most common method used by affiliates when promoting a company product is through videos. The problem for those who would rather avoid public speaking or simply cannot stand in front of the camera is simple -- they must still show up somewhere, right? Enter the third option. This strategy involves setting up your account under a pseudonym and letting others handle everything. Let me elaborate further.
There are several different types of accounts available for new content creators on YouTube. These include creator, verified, partner, and private channels. A basic creator account allows you to upload any type of content you wish, including promotional material such as sponsored ads and promos. Verified channels require approval prior to uploading video content. Partner channels allow companies to manage their promotions on your behalf. Private channels only exist within the user's profile and are limited to 10,000 subscribers and 100 hours per month.
One advantage to choosing a partner channel is that the platform provides marketing tools which may enhance your ability to earn affiliate commission. For example, ClickBank offers an easy system called VideoTab to streamline the process of adding links to various affiliate programs within your description box. They also provide access to thousands of relevant products and categories. Once approved, these links appear in the top section of every video uploaded to your account.
Another benefit of partnering with a major brand is exposure. Affiliates often receive press releases announcing upcoming campaigns, product launches, sales, etc., giving them ample opportunity to generate buzz for said brand. It doesn't hurt either that partners typically pay higher commissions than regular users. On average, ClickBank pays $50 per sale generated via a promoted link vs. $20 for nonpromoted traffic.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the idea of having to actually produce/record videos, fear not! Several popular platforms offer prerecorded clips specifically designed to maximize earnings potential. One of the largest distributors of quality HD stock footage is StockVideoWorld.com. Since 2005, SVW has provided millions of high definition images and animations to clients ranging from small businesses to global corporations. All submitted materials undergo rigorous review processes which ensure the highest level of professionalism possible.
For those looking for short segments to fill empty space during live broadcasts, Vimeo offers hundreds of royalty free music tracks, sound effects, ambient noise, and even original compositions. As far as production value goes, few sites come close to matching what Vimeo has to offer. Not only does Vimeo boast impressive search results, its site itself looks pretty cool too.
Other options for finding professionally produced footage include iStockPhoto, 123RF, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, Fotolia, and Bigstock. Most of these websites are great places to purchase photos, graphics, clip art, vector shapes, icons, illustrations, vectors, textures, backgrounds, clipart, and much more. When searching for stock photography, check out their respective photo libraries for royalty free images related to topics such as lifestyle, food & drinks, nature, sports, technology, health, travel, pets, fashion, entertainment, education, automotive, real estate, weddings, holidays, and more.
As mentioned earlier, another big bonus to becoming affiliated with a large corporation is exposure. Many brands choose to run social media contests wherein users submit creative ideas for advertising campaigns. Winners usually win prizes valued anywhere between $500-$5,000 USD. Additionally, contest sponsorships give users a chance to try out new products and learn more about their competitors' offerings. So if you ever decide you'd like to branch off on your own, remember to keep tabs on current trends and stay informed about future developments within your chosen industry.
Yes, and no. Yes, because you can definitely earn revenue based solely on the number of unique visitors each individual video receives. However, since viewing numbers are directly affected by factors such as time spent watching, clickthrough rate, ad impressions, etc., the amount earned per view tends to drop significantly compared to paid advertisements. Unless you plan on monetizing exclusively through organic growth, consider investing in PPC advertising.
Paid promotion gives you complete control over your visibility and placement. By optimizing your keywords, bidding strategies, landing pages, ad copy, and targeting parameters, you increase the odds of appearing above irrelevant searches and boosting conversion rates. While the exact cost per impression varies depending on location, size of market, competition levels, and other variables, general estimates range from.05 cents to $1.00 per thousand impressions.
Now that you understand the basics behind generating cash flow on YouTube, let's discuss methods for establishing a faceless presence.
With a little bit of creativity, it's possible to establish a completely separate identity on YouTube by masking your appearance. Below are two examples of how to achieve this feat:
Example #1: Create multiple YouTube profiles.
This approach requires registering multiple accounts under different names and aliases. Each account should contain different information pertaining to gender, age group, ethnicity, sexual orientation, interests, profession, hobbies, political affiliation, religious persuasion, geographic region, preferred communication style, etc. Basically, think of each username as representing a specific persona.
Once registered, log onto your alternate accounts whenever necessary. Keep track of what you post so that your main account remains relatively fresh. Do this for as long as it takes until your desired effect manifests. Make sure to update your personal details regularly to maintain consistency across all profiles.
You might also want to customize your browser homepage to reflect your alter egos. Try installing custom themes featuring your favorite characters, mascots, celebrities, cartoon characters, fictional characters, logos, comic book superheroes, movie posters, famous landmarks, animals, plants, vehicles, spaceships, ships, robots, aliens, dinosaurs, monsters, virtual worlds, fantasy figures, dragons, wizards, elves, fairies, unicorns, mermaids, angels, demons, ghosts, gods, goddesses, historical figures, mythological creatures, mythical beings, extraterrestrials, and anything else you can imagine. Personally, I created themed page headers for each of my YouTube identities.
Example #2: Use existing footage as opposed to recorded content.
A lot easier than Example 1, this alternative involves using previously filmed footage that belongs to someone else. Simply visit Google Videos, Blip.tv, DailyMotion, Metacafe, CollegeHumor, FunnyOrDie, Photobucket, Hulu, Veoh, Revver, MySpace, Yahoo Screen, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Flickr, Snapchat, and countless other sources and pull down tons of suitable video clips. Upload the content to your account using Video Tab or similar software. Then add text boxes containing links to your affiliate website(s). Finally, save the file locally and name it something generic like "header" + title + url. That's really all you need to do to get started.
Remember, you can literally publish anything you desire. Your goal should be to become known as an expert in your particular field. People follow experts because they seek guidance from individuals they trust and believe in. After all, why wouldn't you listen to advice from someone who knows better than you?
To recap, here are some important things to bear in mind regarding passive affiliate streams on YouTube:
Create a profitable niche and stick to it.
Investigate and research popular markets.
Learn more about your target audience.
Become an authority figure.
Always remain positive and upbeat.
Focus on building relationships.
Don't forget to treat others as you'd like to be treated.
What kind of stuff do YOU recommend your readership consume on a daily basis? What kinds of articles do you enjoy writing the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
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