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YouTube monetization: A hand holds a phone with the YouTube logo on it.

How to Set Up Youtube Monetization in 4 Steps

Last updated: June 19, 2019
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In today’s digitally connected world, nearly anyone can become a content creator on a social media channel like YouTube. The only things you need are a camera, computer, and some great ideas that people will eat up online.

And who knows — if you’re good enough, maybe you can turn your hobby into a source of income, perhaps even a full-time job.

In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about taking your YouTube hobby and turning it into an income-generating machine. Through a few simple steps, you can set up YouTube monetization and be making money in no time.

YouTube Monetization Overview

YouTube allows its content creators to make money off the videos they put on its platform. Through advertisements, memberships, third-party applications, and additional monetization instruments, you can start making money off your YouTube channel.

How Does It Work?

Once your YouTube channel is up and running and you’re beginning to gain traction, you should start thinking about ways you can monetize your growing audience. You can do so by becoming a YouTube Partner, signing up for AdSense, enabling advertising on eligible videos, and allowing ads to be placed within your videos. After that, a portion of the revenue generated through your videos will be sent directly to your AdSense account.

It’s as simple as that, but don’t worry, we’ll go into more detail below regarding setting up monetization and the different types of advertising. But first, let’s see how much money you can make.

How Much Can You Make?

Your payout for enabling monetization and advertising features on your YouTube channel all depends on how much traffic you can generate to your videos. The more engaging your video content is, the more people will watch, and the more you’ll get paid in the end.

In order to make a decent amount of money, you’ll need to be able to attract many viewers. This means being able to hit high viewing metrics in order to even qualify for monetization, which we’ll discuss further below.

Two other factors that play into how much you’ll be able to make are the type of ad and the pricing of ads that show up in your video. But at the end of the day, you’ll need high user engagement and viewership to make a significant dent.

Which Videos Are Eligible for Monetization?

It’s important to realize that not all videos are capable of being monetized. YouTube enforces strict guidelines as to which videos can bring in cash.

YouTube allows you to monetize videos that are your original content where you have the commercial rights to use every aspect of the video. This includes getting the written permission if others have made contributions to your video in the form of audio, visuals, or any other type of content you didn’t create yourself.

For example, if you have a video that features background music that someone else owns, you’ll either need to prove that it’s royalty-free music and provide a link in the description or obtain written permission from the owner to use it in your video.

Videos that violate these copyright rules will not be allowed to be monetized. If you know that you don’t host any videos that violate these rules, then let’s get you set up with YouTube monetization.

4 Steps to Set Up YouTube Monetization

If you’d like to make money off your YouTube channel, you’ll need to follow these four steps to enable monetization on your channel.

The application process consists of agreeing to YouTube’s Partner Program guidelines, signing up for AdSense, choosing your monetization preferences, and getting reviewed after you hit a certain level of viewership.

You can begin this application process at any time, however, you can only be reviewed once you hit 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and you have at least 1,000 subscribers.

1. Agree to YouTube Partner Program Terms

The first step is agreeing to the YouTube Partner Program policies, terms, and conditions. Once you read through the fine print, you can head to the next step.

YouTube monetization: the website pop-up window to agree to YouTube Partner Program terms

2. Sign Up for Google AdSense

The next step is setting up your Google AdSense account. This also includes agreeing to a series of terms and conditions, as well as selecting your payment preferences. AdSense is what enables you to get paid for having advertisements on your videos, so make sure you set up your payment details before moving on.

YouTube monetization: the Google AdSense page to setup your payment address details

3. Assign Monetization Preferences

After that, you can be proactive and tell YouTube which types of ads to run once you’re approved. Remember, you can’t make any money until you’re approved by YouTube, but it’s still a great idea to have everything set up for the moment your channel is approved.

YouTube monetization: the web page to set your monetization preferences

By default, all of the ad formats will be enabled, so if you’d only like certain ad types, make the required changes now.

You can also select whether or not you want to monetize all of your videos or just pick and choose which ones. If you take the latter route, you’ll need to manually go into your YouTube account and set which videos you’d like to monetize.

4. Get Reviewed

After you’ve completed all of the previous steps, the only thing left to do is reach the viewing and subscriber threshold of 4,000 watch time hours in the previous 12 months and at least 1,000 subscribers.

YouTube monetization: the webpage to review your monetization details

Once you hit this mark, your channel will automatically be reviewed by YouTube before you can start monetizing. This review process may take at least a month, so don’t worry if you don’t hear anything back immediately.

If you’re accepted, then you’ll be sent an email confirmation. Then it’s all downhill after that. Now all you need to worry about is creating engaging content, increasing your viewership, and tinkering with the different ad formats that YouTube has to offer.

Different Types of YouTube Monetization

YouTube offers several different ways to monetize on its platform. While display ads may seem like the most obvious format, there are a few other ways you should think about making money off your content.

Advertising Revenue

YouTube advertising revenue comes from when you place display ads, overlay ads, and video ads within your YouTube videos. Think of all those pop-up ads you see on videos or the video ads that play before you watch a video — these are all types of YouTube advertisements.

There are several different types of YouTube ads you can enable on your channel. Let’s take a look at what you’ll be working with:

  • Display ads
  • Overlay ads
  • Skippable video ads
  • Non-skippable video ads
  • Bumper ads
  • Sponsored cards

For more information, you can head to this guide to YouTube’s advertising formats.

Minimum requirements: You’re at least 18 years old or have a legal guardian who’s 18 and can accept payment via AdSense. Your content must also follow these advertiser-friendly content guidelines.

Channel Memberships

Instead of relying solely on ads to bring in revenue, you can also charge a monthly fee to your most loyal viewers. In exchange, Channel Memberships give special perks like exclusive content, access to live chats, badges, and emojis that they can display on your channel. This is an excellent way to lock in more monthly recurring revenues, however, the minimum requirements are a little more challenging to hit.

Minimum requirements: You’re at least 18 years old, have more than 30,000 subscribers, and don’t have any Community Guidelines strikes.

Merchandise Shelf

If your channel is continuing to grow, a great next step is creating your own custom merchandise that fans can buy on your page. Merchandise Shelf allows you to showcase these products directly on your video pages.

Companies like Teespring and Bonfire make it easy to design merchandise that limits your risks and the amount of overhead you’ll have. When you have your merchandise ready to go, you can feature it on your video pages for viewers to purchase.

Minimum requirements: You’re at least 18 years old, have more than 10,000 subscribers, and don’t have any Community Guidelines strikes.

Super Chat

YouTube also allows you to engage with your audience through a chat stream. Super Chat then allows your fans to pay to have their messages shown at the top of the chat stream. In some cases, your subscribers can even pin their message at the top of the screen for a set amount of money.

Minimum requirements: You’re at least 18 years old and live in a country where Super Chat is enabled.

YouTube Premium Revenue

YouTube Premium is the paid subscription service that allows viewers to watch content without being interrupted by ads. You might be thinking, “But I’m supposed to be making money from ads on my videos.”

In order to combat this conundrum, YouTube pays out a small fee every time a Premium subscriber watches your content.

Minimum requirements: Create content that’s watched by YouTube Premium subscribers.

Additional YouTube Revenue Streams

If you’d like to pursue additional ways to monetize with YouTube or are too antsy to wait until you hit the minimum threshold for monetization, you can also turn to the following third parties to find more income streams.

  • Worthyt: Enables users to ask questions and interact with you via online messenger for a small fee.
  • FameBit: Gives you the ability to be an influencer and get paid for sponsorships in your videos.
  • PayPal: Allows you to add a PayPal button to your page so you can receive donations from your fans.
  • Amazon Affiliates: You can get paid every time someone purchases a product with an Amazon tracking link you’ve featured on your videos.

These aren’t the only third parties that allow you to monetize online, however, they are some of the more popular ones. If interested, there are also some other high-paying non-YouTube affiliate programs you can look into.

Content Is King

Now that you know how to set up your YouTube account to make money off your videos, it’s time to focus on ways you can continue to create engaging content that viewers love to watch.

The better you can connect with your viewers, the more likely they are to come back and keep watching. If you’re able to create a loyal fanbase, you can steadily increase your revenue month after month.

Who knows, maybe one day you can leave your day job and focus on your YouTube channel full-time.

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