How To Make Money On YouTube: 2021 Complete Guide

Written by: GetFans Team
On Jan 20, 2021 (Last Update: Feb 07, 2021)

How To Make Money On YouTube: 2021 Complete Guide

Who would've known, but here we are, at that junction in time where more kids want to be YouTubers than astronauts.

And this is not surprising, considering how much fun the work can be, but there's more to it than that — there's so much money to be made from YouTube. How to make money on YouTube in 2021 is indeed a popular topic as there are several monetization options available for YouTube. 

If you have the right audience, then the monetization process is much simpler and highly lucrative. Guess what? You could even buy views to reach out to an audience that's actually interested in your content. Or, you could create content that finds popularity over time.

Okay, let's come back to choosing between a YouTuber and an astronaut — a survey found out that kids from the UK and USA found out that they are thrice more likely to want to become YouTubers and vloggers than an astronaut. Guess what? We kind of saw it coming with all the hype around YouTube, vlogging, and YouTube monetization in 2021. 

We won't lie to you. The hype is real!

YouTube monetization has proved to be quite lucrative for top YouTubers who bank multi-million dollars through their YouTube channels.

Yes, YouTube is a gold mine, and it's totally up to you on how to make the best out of it and ace through the process of getting paid on YouTube in 2021.

But we all could need a little help, right? Things are not as simple as starting a YouTube channel and proceeding to make millions off it. There's a process to it — a whole monetization process that may seem confusing at first, but when you actually dive into it with a little help, it's not as complicated as it sounds. 

So what can you expect from this article on YouTube monetization in 2021? Well, we're here to look into some of the best ways to make money on YouTube. This will be the most practical guide to monetize a YouTube channel in 2021 so that you can finally achieve that lifestyle that a lot of people are wanting.

How Much Money Can You Make From YouTube in 2021? 

The answer for how much money you can earn on YouTube really depends on your audience location, your video content language, and your monetization method, but there are some things that you can expect -

On average, YouTube counts a milestone when it comes to video monetization. The average Cost Per Mile (CPM) for 1000 views is anywhere between $0.5 to $6 USD CPM, based on where your viewers are located and who your target audience is.  

Let’s use an example: Assume you have a video about 'smart investing' (and your channel is monetized, of course). Then, YouTube advertising algorithm will pick ‘Finance’ niche advertisers which advertise financial products or services, to be presented inside your video ads (because of topic relevance). As you can guess, advertisers from this niche are paying more per view or click than any ‘general’ type advertisers, such as Entertainment. 

The actual numbers tend to vary quite a bit, but you could expect to make at least $0.5/1,000 views by monetizing your YouTube channel on average.

That's a solid anchor point — front here, you can just figure out the minimum amount of money you might make through your videos. 

Is It Hard To Make Money On YouTube?

This is one question that a lot of people would want to know before they start thinking about monetizing their YouTube channel. How hard can it be to make money on YouTube?

This depends on a lot of factors, such as the quality of your content, the competition around your videos, your niche, your location and many more. It also depends on the time and effort you put in the process - 

You may start seeing some results once you have some decent and interesting videos in place that can attract viewers. The views on your videos accumulate overtime, making them more authoritative and helping your videos to rank better, and this may add to your overall earnings.

When Do You Start Making Money On YouTube in 2021?

So the thing is — nobody knows how fast you can start making money on YouTube. Unfortunately, you can't just sign up on YouTube and start making money, you need viewers. It always helps to have viewers who are actually interested in your content and become loyal to you so that they keep returning.

You need to keep posting unique and engaging videos regularly so that your viewers always have enough for their appetite. Notice how we keep returning to our favorite YouTube channels for new content? That's the trick, right there. Engage and cultivate!

Once you have garnered a healthy subscriber base and your video views start soaring, you can then consider monetization options.

How Much Money YouTubers Actually Make

The money YouTubers make depends on a lot of factors, and has mostly to do with the kind of traffic they get on their channel. Besides the AdSense revenue, they may also bank some money with sponsored content and affiliate marketing, and this might add to their overall revenue. The traffic keeps accumulating on the videos on their channel, which equates to more profit.

Google pays around 68% of the money AdSense generates, which means that for every $100 that the advertiser shells out from their pocket, you get $68 of that share in your YouTube paycheck and the rest of it goes to Google.

Talking about the actual rates that are paid by the advertisers, it's usually between 10 to 30 cents per view, and this really depends on the geographical factors.

How Much Do Small YouTubers Make

YouTubers who are just starting out might wonder how much does YouTube pay. Small YouTubers can expect to make the same amount of money, but in a lower proportion, as they won't have a lot of viral videos on their channel. As they continue to grow the channel, they can see their revenue climbing up like all the other bigger and more established YouTube channels that are making money,

How YouTube Pays You

Unless your YouTube channel is part of a multi-channel network, all the money that you make on YouTube is paid to you through your AdSense account, and this means that you need to sign into your Google AdSense account so that you can process your payments.

You will be paid once the earnings in your AdSense account reach the local payment threshold. Depending on your location, you could choose between direct bank transfers or cheque.

How Much Money Do YouTubers Make Per 1,000 Views

On average, YouTube channels can expect to make around $18 for every 1,000 ad views, which sums up to between $3-$5 for every 1000 video views.

How Much Does The Average YouTuber Make A Year?

Okay, let's use some numerals to calculate this. Say you get around 20,000 views on your videos per day. By putting it next to our minimum rates mentioned in the section above, you can expect to make a minimum of $60 per day, and this equates to a minimum of $21,900 per year.

Now, that's not the right amount, but only the minimum, as your views will grow and accumulate over the year, and if you are using affiliate marketing and sponsored content, then you might actually make much more than this per year.

How To Make Money On YouTube in 2021 - 10 Best Ways

Now, there are several ways to make money from YouTube, and you are not obliged to a single method. Many YouTubers use a variety of methods and even use a particular combination that gives them the desired results.

Depending on the video, some methods may work better than the others — but it's no rocket science, you can quickly figure it out as you go. 

There are several different ways through which creators are paid. If you’ve partnered with YouTube’s Partner Program and are displaying ads on your channel videos, then you can be paid based on pay per view, pay per click, mid roll ads, et cetera. Here's more on the different advertising formats on YouTube.

So without further ado, let's explore some of the best ways to make money on YouTube in 2021

1. YouTube Partner Program

YouTube partner program is often the most recommended way to monetize your YouTube channel. 

Suggestive of its name, the partner program lets creators monetize the videos they upload on their channels by letting ads run on them and providing them with some other features that we will shortly talk about.

However, YouTube wants to ensure that it only gets quality channels on its program and has set some qualification criteria. So what are these qualification criteria for enrolling in the YouTube partner program?

Qualification criteria for YouTube partner program

Here are some of the things YouTube wants you to check off your list before you can apply for its highly popular partner program.

  • You must have at least 4,000 watch time hours over the last 12 months
  • You must have at least a 1,000 subscribers
  • You need a Google AdSense account so that you can run ads
  • You must agree to the terms and conditions on YouTube

Once you are set up, and YouTube accepts you in their program, there are several ways through which you can make money on the YouTube partnership program. The most popular is to get ads on YouTube, but it's just not that. Some of the other options for monetization include:

2. Channel Membership

This is where you introduce some premium perks to your YouTube channel for viewers who are willing to pay for your content: When a viewer purchases a membership to your channel, they get access to extra features such as perks and badges, which in turn might also increase viewer loyalty to your channel.

However, you need to have at least 30,000 subscribers to access channel memberships. Of course, no one would want to subscribe to a channel that is not as popular. If you have a small channel, then you need to grow it. For a lot of YouTubers, that can be a full time job, but it's much easier if you are creative and you know what you are doing.

3. Superstickers And Superchats

Superstickers and superchats are an excellent way for your video viewers, or fans, to express how much they like your content. If you are streaming a video, your fans can purchase these super stickers with some money, and then their comment will be pinned to the top of the chat. 

4. Merchandise Shelf

Merch Shelf’ monetization is eligible for channels with minimum 10,000 subscribers, YouTube gives them the option to display merchandise on their channel. If there's a shirt that promotes your channel, you can put it up on your page. If people like and buy it, then you make money right there. It's like a little shop.

5. YouTube Premium Revenue

Another way to make money off YouTube's partner program is the YouTube membership fee - many YouTube users are premium members, which means they are subscribers of YouTube Red. In order to avoid confusion, let's clarify that YouTube Premium used to be known as YouTube Red. YouTube has been aggressively pushing its premium feature. So when these people watch your videos, you get a part of the subscription fee. According to YouTube, the amount of money you make is based on how long premium members watch your videos.

6. Creating Sponsored Content

Creating sponsored content is another effective method for making money on YouTube. It also happens to be one of the easiest and fast methods. Basically, you promote a brand, a product, or a service.

Wait, what's a better way to explain what is sponsored content than give an example?

So imagine you love fruit loops and have a YouTube channel about them where you talk about the best fruit loops, their flavors and everything around them. And it happens so that your YouTube channel is really popular.

Now, a company which makes fruit loops reaches out to you with an offer that they will be glad to pay you some money if you can talk about their newly launched sugar-free fruit loops.

You accept the offer and make a video about how sugar-free fruit loops are a thing and how people can purchase them to introduce some healthy habits to their diet. Here, you also include a link to the product so that your viewers know where to buy them from. This is how you create sponsored content and make money on YouTube. 

Even if you are a beginner with monetization, but are a highly popular creator in your niche, then you will have enough offers coming your way. Otherwise, you might have to reach out to brands and talk about how great it would be to promote their product or service on your channel through your videos that have great engagement.

Brands love engagement, and if your videos have that, then sponsored content can help you make a lot of money on YouTube. You can expect a decent paycheck with this process.

Sponsored content also works well for virtual products and services. Anything that can be sold and falls under YouTube's guidelines can fall under sponsored content.

7. Sell Merchandise By Creating A Niche

YouTubers who have a fan base can use their popularity to sell stuff through their videos. Imagine running a highly popular gaming channel. Your viewers love the way you game, and they'd give anything to be able to game like you, or even have a set up such as yours.

Now, you manage to get hold of a really cool customized mouse — one which happens to have a significant margin. With a product at hand, you can tell your viewers about how cool it is and sell it to them.

Sounds familiar, is it like sponsored content? No. With sponsored content, you are making money by promoting someone else's product — you won't be shipping them or have them shipped. On the other hand, selling merchandise through your channel means that you will be selling products and services that more or less belong to you — you either ship them yourself or have them drop shipped.

This can be a really lucrative way to make money on YouTube and monetize your YouTube videos. Again, the more engaged your viewers are, the better are the chances of making more money. It also depends on the product you are offering — if they are excellent, they can actually get viral, and then it's just business from there.

8. Donations - Ask Fans To Pay You

YouTubers often wonder how to make money without ads. Well, what's better than a good ol' donation? Would you donate to a cause you love, especially if it's a non-profit? Perhaps yes!

If you are making content that many people are falling in love with, or if you are creative videos that are aiding the community in any way, then there are chances that people might appreciate your work and even pay you for it.

The chances of getting paid are even higher if you are a non-profit organization and need to pay the staffers. It is a really wholesome and satisfying way of making money through YouTube.

Most of the time, your subscribers will appreciate your work and just donate to you; at other times, you might want to tell them how much their value their donation holds and how it can help you grow as a video producer. This is a great way to make money without monetization with ads.

You might want to set up a Patreon page, have your PayPal ready, or find other popular alternatives such as Buy Me A Coffee so that your viewers can tip you. Here's a bit about each of them and how they are different.


PayPal is one the most popular ways to accept payments online in different currencies. It has several integration options across platforms. Viewers can click donate through PayPal by using their credit or debit card, and the donation will land in your bank account in your local currency.

However, PayPal also charges a bit of transaction fee, and that's one reason why people look for alternatives.


Patreon has emerged as a popular alternative to PayPal as you get to select perks and membership levels. You also have the option to choose recurring donations. You also get a customizable that you can add to your site along with a link to your YouTube channel.

If you're looking for a highly custom way to accept payments and donations, then Patreon is something that you might want to explore.

You can also set up recurring monthly payments on your videos, which may ensure that your subscribers pay you some money every month. 

Buy Me A Coffee

This is similar to Patreon, except there are a bunch of other features, such as the option to set up a shop and 24x7 live chat support. It's also cheaper than Patreon and lets people get on an yearly plan. It also offers instant payouts, compared to Patreon which may take up to 30 days to process the payment.

9. License Your Viral Videos To Media Networks

Okay, so you really love viral content and have a viral channel for yourself. You shoot a lot of viral videos, and many of them are hits on social media channels. Now, what you could do is try to license one of these videos to viral media sites.

Viral sites such as ViralHog and UniLad will take the video from there and pitch it to different publications, including TV programs. You can talk to them about where they would want to host the video — whether they would redirect traffic to your channel, or whether they would host it on their platform.

Having visitors come to your platforms can help you gain more subscribers. However, the catch is that you might have to split the revenue. 

If you let the videos run on their platform, then they usually pay you a flat fee, and then a share of the ad revenue.

It can be a good idea to license your next viral cat video to these media channels as they have the perfect marketing techniques in place and have a lot of connections.

You might not even have to worry about finding the perfect platform as most of the time, representatives that front these viral platforms will reach out to you if you have some viral videos running on your platform.

10. Affiliate Marketing

People often wonder: is it hard to make money on YouTube? For them, another popular way of YouTube monetization and getting paid on YouTube is affiliate marketing, and popular with bloggers.

Affiliate marketing involves promoting products through purchase links — if a viewer purchases a product, you get some commission. You can sign up on platforms such as Amazon affiliate marketing to promote a product and get a commission on it.

Dos and Don'ts of YouTube Monetization in 2021

Now that you are aware of some of the most popular ways of YouTube monetization, it is also crucial that you know what to do and what not to do while trying to monetize a YouTube channel.

Things To Do With YouTube Monetization

Create Engaging Videos That People Actually Like

This is the foundation of your channel. It goes without saying that the videos you create need to be engaging and provide value to the community. Once you establish that, your videos start gaining more attention. You gain more subscribers, and this in turn increases your chances for monetizing your videos.

Getting Your Basics Right

So your content is great? Congratulations! The second step is to know that presentation is also the key. Besides, a bit of SEO for YouTube is also essential. You would want to make sure that you have your video title and tags in place.

You would also want to ensure that you have a catchy title and thumbnail so that people actually watch your video. The videos you make also have to be unique and offer value to the watchers. Otherwise, it's just another drop in the big ocean of YouTube videos.

Using Multiple Advertising Options

Some monetization options might indeed be more profitable than others for your YouTube channel, but having a mix will always help you grow your revenue. For example, you can get ads on YouTube, and also do a bit of affiliate marketing.

More advertising channels equate to more revenue

Things To Avoid While Monetizing Your YouTube Channel

While the dos might be easy to grasp, the don'ts are something you might want to watch out for. Here are a couple of things to avoid while trying to make money from YouTube.

Never Break YouTube Policies

Your account will be safe if you do not break YouTube policies. Unfortunately, violating YouTube terms and rules might be ended with demonetization of your YouTube channel

Try to stay away from illegal stuff, such as advertising weapons and trying to sell them online, as things like these can easily get you banned.

You would want to have a clean profile on YouTube and avoid making videos on things that are, well, not good for the community. Be nice and kind to the community and the results can be rewarding.

Don’t Forget To Analyze Your Competitors

If you are thinking about how to grow on YouTube, then you might want to stand out of the crowd and offer some unique perspectives to your audience. But how do you do that? By analyzing the competition. 

If you analyze your YouTube competition, then you would know what to offer.

So yes, never not analyze your competition. It is a must have if you are doing stuff that many other video makers are doing.

Wrapping Up

So, yes, that was our tutorial on YouTube channel monetization that covered the basics of how to make money on YouTube in 2021. By now, you must be aware of these amazing ways to monetize YouTube channel.

It will be best if you could tackle these options one by one, see which ones work best for you depending on your channel's subject, or even try multiple options at once.

So that is it for now. Happy video making!

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