Anyone earning well from a legit YouTube channel?

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I keep returning to this idea.

About five years ago I made 3 videos in a niche with few high dollar advertisers and it still pulls in a few bucks a month. That's nothing, but it shows how quickly it could snowball if you're consistent. And even more if you choose the right niche and do the keyword research, promote the videos, and stay active.

@Kevin is doing well with his, seeding it from his already well-off website. That's one way I've thought about going at it. Why not strengthen your main brand if you're going to do it.

My problem is it's real slow like SEO and it's really time consuming. A lot of it would be doing some PPC internally on YouTube or Facebook to get the metrics up so you can rank in YouTube. I know you can rank in the SERPs too.

I'm curious about it. As a standalone project it would be a blast, but that's inefficient when you can tack it onto a prior project and have an even bigger flip later.

An interesting one I saw recently was someone going through all of the public domain scifi, horror, mystery, radio shows, classic audiobooks that volunteers read, and uploading them.

At $2 CPMs I'd be willing to do a real channel and also a channel like the public domain audiobooks and win by volume.

I'm just blathering now. Anybody have anything to add?
 

Prentzz

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At $2 CPMs I'd be willing to do a real channel and also a channel like the public domain audiobooks and win by volume.

I'm just blathering now. Anybody have anything to add?

Yes, Adsense absolutely sucks. The real money is in getting sponsors for individual videos. I've seen people getting average 30,000 views and getting paid $1000 per video. In most cases YT Adsense ends up around $1 per 1000 views, that's just an average number that's gone by.
 
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I know a guy who had a channel. He now has a production crew and runs like 5 channels (1 mill+ subscribers).

Basically, from knowing him, YouTube success is all about finding a formula that works and creating that content.

Soo... the formula might be "Videos of things getting crushed by a hydraulic press" or "People reacting to viral videos" and then just create a new video every day or whatever.

It isn't rocket science, but it also isn't something anyone can do -- you'll have to figure out what is entertaining and be able to scale it.
 
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@Prentzz Good point about sponsors. That's the real money but also means you need to build a real following instead of getting passive views from search traffic. I'd like to have my quality be that high. It's like a big brand site instead of an SEO niche site.

@Philip J. Fry Yeah that is something I was thinking about. Scaling with a simple formula. These talking heads on YouTube can sit at their desk where the lights and mic are already set up, can ramble for 10 minutes, barely edit it, and get it published probably within an hour per video, not counting the time it takes to think up what to say. I don't want to do that, but the hydraulic press and shooting stuff in slow motion is exactly the kind of set up I need. Fast, easy, doesn't require creativity. Can crush or shoot whatever is trending, like a fidget spinner.

I see the whole operation like an email list. You have to be consistently publishing and you can get more and more value out of each subscriber. At a certain point you can start running ads for each video too, if you can start to figure out an average value of each video. If you're slick with optimization you might be able to be a big brand and still pull search term traffic.
 
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@Samwise89 Ugh... the second paragraph is totally off. After you've got subscribers, your security comes from the subscribers. No one's googling "videos of fidget spinners getting crushed" or "Top 5 facts about Bin Ladin" but people who find Crushing Videos or Edutament videos entertaining would watch them back to back (or daily).

So, yeah, you need a viewer base -- like any other show.
 

Kevin

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I keep returning to this idea.

About five years ago I made 3 videos in a niche with few high dollar advertisers and it still pulls in a few bucks a month. That's nothing, but it shows how quickly it could snowball if you're consistent. And even more if you choose the right niche and do the keyword research, promote the videos, and stay active.

@Kevin is doing well with his, seeding it from his already well-off website. That's one way I've thought about going at it. Why not strengthen your main brand if you're going to do it.

My problem is it's real slow like SEO and it's really time consuming. A lot of it would be doing some PPC internally on YouTube or Facebook to get the metrics up so you can rank in YouTube. I know you can rank in the SERPs too.

I'm curious about it. As a standalone project it would be a blast, but that's inefficient when you can tack it onto a prior project and have an even bigger flip later.

An interesting one I saw recently was someone going through all of the public domain scifi, horror, mystery, radio shows, classic audiobooks that volunteers read, and uploading them.

At $2 CPMs I'd be willing to do a real channel and also a channel like the public domain audiobooks and win by volume.

I'm just blathering now. Anybody have anything to add?

I would never do YT to monetize solely off of ads unless I already had a nice income stream / job elsewhere, or 100% didn't give a fuck about how much I'd make and wanted to do it purely for the love of it. Just my 2c as someone who does earn a bit from YT.
 

Prentzz

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I would never do YT to monetize solely off of ads unless I already had a nice income stream / job elsewhere, or 100% didn't give a fuck about how much I'd make and wanted to do it purely for the love of it. Just my 2c as someone who does earn a bit from YT.
Presuming that you mean automated ads i.e. Adsense, I agree completely. You should have an idea in place of a way you can monetize your videos. I keep saying it, but sponsored videos and sponsored posts can charge a lot and are a good choice if you don't have your own product, presuming you have a very engaged and niche audience. @Kevin is in this position. If you only create videos about a particular niche, you can reach out to advertizers (or just give an influencer agency a %) and earn significantly more than adsense.
 

Kevin

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Yup, the sponsored content is the way my YouTube efforts will go from now on (while I work on my own products). @Prentzz
 

NickEubanks

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My designer's cousin has a channel with ~680k subscribers and most of his videos do in the 10's of millions of views.. it's so strange (they're not *good* -- it's just, weird) but he's pulling in like ~8-9k/mo
 

Andrewkar

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Don't know what "earning well" means to you, but I know someone who does YT channel and he is earning some nice $ I would say. And as @Prentzz already have said, this guy makes money thanks to sponsored videos. It's a YT channel about cooking, and they guy is professional chef. Long time ago he spilled the beans and it looks like he is making around $15,000-20,000 a month profit (in my country it's around 40x minimal wage). He got half mil subscribers, very active channel. To get to this level it required about 5 years I think. BTW, videos are made with a lot of humor, but are rather simple and not very "pro". Just cooking vids from regular chef (because he isn't any kind of star or taste master...).
 

Prentzz

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this guy makes money thanks to sponsored videos. It's a YT channel about cooking, and they guy is professional chef. Long time ago he spilled the beans and it looks like he is making around $15,000-20,000 a month profit (in my country it's around 40x minimal wage).
In my opinion, if you're creating a YouTube channel the AdSense ads you run should be a last resort and should only represent a small % of your income. Sponsors are the next step up, then maybe your own info product, then a physical product or service, then a large brand channel.

But you can use YouTube just as a platform to build your own personal brand. If you guys aren't aware of a woman under the name 'Zoella' you need to check her out. She has a huge YT channel, she's turned that into TV appearances, book deals, her own beauty line in a HUGE British store, etc.

Our own @Kevin is using it to try and sign his own book deal.

Around September I'm planning on starting a new channel and if I can finish up some things I'm working on, I'll do 100 vids in 100 days and log it in my follow-along thread here. No promises... but it's something I'd like to do.

How would I monetize it? Without giving away my social security number and address.. There's some offline attention that I want. I'll likely push the first 30-50 vids with 0 advertising, then grab a few sponsors here and there (relatively easy in this niche), with the priority still being offline deals.

I've got some decent experience in filming and making videos so it might be interesting for people to follow-along with, even if I can't share the channel. Regardless, most of us can create a video in 4-hours. It's not that tough.
 

Kevin

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I'd be careful about setting a quantity goal in a quantity of days. Videos follow power law, best ones do 100-200x more views than worst. I'd focus on making less videos, but way better.
 

Prentzz

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I'd be careful about setting a quantity goal in a quantity of days. Videos follow power law, best ones do 100-200x more views than worst. I'd focus on making less videos, but way better.
It's an arbitrary goal, sure, but you can look at the data and make the opposite correlation if you wanted; the channels with the most views make videos the most frequently.

Also, the power law really only applies in the situation when quality begins to decline. I see no reason why your quality should decline at one video per day, unless you're creating artistic content or have another good reason for why it takes that much time. I've edited plenty and most YT videos can be created in 2-3 hours.

If you can create quality content that regularly, why wouldn't you? Spending an extra few days on most videos will add nothing to the quality, simply because they don't take that long to make.
 

Kevin

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Just my 2c having a 25k+ subscriber channel and trying both strategies.
 
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Yeah you're leaving huge money on the table if you're using adsense.

Smart YouTubers disable ads on their channel for better user experience and drive the traffic to their own funnel/product ecosystems.

YouTube = a very solid traffic source.