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How to Monetize Your YouTube Channel? Top 5 Actionable Steps

Last updated:
4th Nov, 2021
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How to Monetize Your YouTube Channel? Top 5 Actionable Steps

So, you made a YouTube video that has gone viral. Your viewership is off the charts. You have become a self-made celebrity of sorts by creating great Content and earning an audience because of it.  

When you have put in so much effort to either entertain, inform, teach, review, or be yourself, isn’t it right that you should be able to gain some monetary benefit from it? 

Therefore, the right question to ask is – how to monetize your YouTube channel?

If that is the question in your mind, then you have come to the right place. 

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Your Step By Step Guide To Monetizing Your YouTube Channel

It used to be as simple as uploading great Content on your YouTube channel to get you millions of views. Big money would start rolling in through ad revenues. 

For example, YouTube sensation Ryan from ‘Ryan’s World’ makes approximately US$ 22 million just by playing around with toys and dissembling them. Today, that is no longer the case where YouTube is an exclusive income stream for the select few. 

There are plenty of opportunities available that can be built into steady income streams for anyone who puts in the effort and deploys the right YouTube monetization strategies. 

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Before You Start:

Mastering YouTube algorithms and analytics is not the only way on how you can monetize your YouTube channel. It would be best if you also had a good grasp of the YouTube monetization policies

Even though YouTube has a habit of revamping its monetization policies from time to time, it is still important to be aware of the general ins and outs before you start earning an income from your video content. 

In addition to this, you need to give your channel the best chance of getting approved to be monetized by YouTube. Before hitting the ‘Enable’ monetization button, there are a few things that you can do to speed up the approval process.

  • Avoid duplication of Content and focus on the quality and accuracy of the Content that you create
  • Have the appropriate licenses when using audio or stock footage to avoid copyright issues

Joining the YouTube Partner Program 

To start earning revenue, you first need to join the YouTube Partners Program. Becoming a YouTube Partner allows you access to multiple income streams, not just making ads alone. You can earn from YouTube Premium subscription fees, features like Super Chat, sponsored Content, channel memberships, and so on.

Eligibility Criteria of the YouTube Partner Program: 

To become a member of the YouTube Partner Program, you need to meet the basic eligibility criteria. Check if you have reached the required number of 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time in the past 12 months, which is what the current YouTube monetization policy demands. 

No specific format breakup is given at the video level to achieve the minimum 4000 watch time hours. For example, you may get 200 hours of views on one video, 10 hours on another and 375 hours on a third video, and so on. 

Moreover, you may not require the entire 12 months to achieve this goal. For instance, Despacito attained a billion views in 97 days, whereas the famous Gangnam Style performed the same feat in 5 months.  

YouTube will only look at the total watch time hours for the 12 months and see if it has met the minimum eligibility requirements. This will allow your enrolment into the YouTube Partners Program to proceed forward. 

Linking Your Google AdSense Account:

If you have successfully met both the parameters of minimum subscribers and watch time, you need to ensure that you have complied with all of YouTube’s outlined policies and guidelines. This should be followed by setting up your Google AdSense account. This is a key component of how to monetize your YouTube channel strategy because that is the only way YouTube can pay you when your videos are monetized. 

If you have an existing AdSense account, then you can straightaway link it with the YouTube Partners Program. Alternatively, you can set up a new one during your application process for the YouTube Partners Program too. 

Remember that you can connect multiple YouTube channels with a single AdSense account. 

Enabling Monetization on YouTube:

The physical act of how to monetize YouTube is simple and straightforward. Now follow these steps to ‘Enable’ monetization.

  • Click on your account icon, which is located in the top right corner of your browser.
  • Click on YouTube Studio in the dropdown menu. 
  • Locate your Channel Menu, which should be placed on the left side of the screen.
  • Click on ‘Monetization’
  • The monetization window should open up.
  • Click on ‘Start.’

YouTube then takes up to days to review your application. This means that until YouTube signs off on your application, you will not be able to start generating revenue on your Content which can be as long as 30 days.  

As soon as your application for monetization is approved, you will see a green ‘$’ appearing next to your videos. You can check this on your Video Manager tab. 

5 Ways To Monetize Your YouTube Videos

Having ticked off the ‘must dos’ on your list, it is time to brainstorm strategies and focus on how to monetize your YouTube channel. Perhaps you have specific requirements such as ‘how to monetize YouTube channel on mobile?’.

Take a look at these top 8 actionable ways in which you can accomplish your goal. 

1. Ad Revenue: 

Your first strategy for YouTube monetization is undoubtedly ad revenue. This is a primary income stream that can be initiated as soon as you join the YouTube Partner Program. 

As soon as your application is approved, you can instantly turn on ads for all the videos that you upload on YouTube. This enables your videos to accommodate adverts that are shown whilst your Content is watched by your audience. However, the videos must meet YouTube’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines to be approved for monetization. 

When YouTube gets paid by these advertisers, you receive 55% of those earnings, and YouTube retains 45%. The payment is made to you via the Google AdSense account. 

2. YouTube Premium:

The next stop with your how-to monetize YouTube strategy should be focused on boosting earnings via YouTube Premium. The YouTube Premium account is open to all YouTube users who wish to have an upgraded, ad-free experience. This means that they can watch videos minus the ad interruptions. Moreover, it enables the YouTube application to run in the background without having to pause the video. 

You can qualify for this revenue stream as and when you join the YouTube Partner Program. You can initiate a secondary income stream that does not require you to make any additional changes to your account every time a YouTube Premium member watches your Content. With over 20 million YouTube Premium members, that can translate into a lot of watch hours and a substantial income stream. 

3. Channel Memberships: 

You may also consider a third monetization method for your YouTube channel, which depends on generating revenue via a membership program. This implies that your subscribers must pay a pre-determined fee in order to view the bulk of your Content or perhaps get access to special videos, badges, live chats, emojis, and more. 

This in no way means that you stop producing free Content. That is essential to growing your channel. However, ‘Channel Memberships’ can help you optimize your revenue stream from some of your best-performing videos. Having said that, you need a minimum of 30,000 subscribers on your channel to unlock this monetization stream. 

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4. Super Chat and Super Stickers:

If you engage in Livestream quite often, then developing your income stream from ‘Super Chat and Super Stickers’ should definitely be a part of your overall how-to monetize your YouTube channel strategy. 

This is because many users who wish to see their message featured or pinned to the top of the chat purchase a super chat or super stickers to do that. There have been instances when users have spent as much as $500 for super chat, and the channel owner is able to retain a 70% cut from it. With a huge audience watching your live streams, this can result in sizable revenue over the long run. 

Do bear in mind that this revenue stream comes with geographical limitations and is not available in every part of the world where YouTube may be active. 

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5. Make Sponsored Content: 

As your strategy for how to monetize YouTube evolves over time, you can look outside of the YouTube Partner Program to make money. Sponsored Content is a popular medium where you can create videos that are sponsored by specific brands integrating their products or services within the Content. 

There is a growing market for this as several brands are opting to market their products and services via YouTube influencers who have a significant subscriber base. With a large and engaged audience, and if your Sponsored Content does generate great views, this can actually become your primary monetization channel over a period of time. 

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Final Takeaways

While you will hear of the so-called success stories on YouTube, do not let those huge numbers sway you away from your path to your YouTube channel. However, if you wish to give your channel the best possible chance to be successfully monetized, you may certainly consider enrolling for the Advanced Certificate in Digital Marketing and Communication program, an online certification course offered by upGrad that is backed by the likes of Facebook and MICA. 

Program highlights include:

  • It can be completed between 7 to 11 months from the comfort of your home
  • Pick up skills in SEO, SEM, Social Media and Content Marketing, Branding, Marketing Analytics
  • 15 Case Studies and Live Projects
  • Fortnightly Coaching by Industry Mentors

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If you have additional questions on how to monetize your YouTube channel feel free to take a look at the FAQs given below.


Robin is an experienced digital marketing savvy, Search Engine Analyst with expertise in domains that includes online shopping, online ticket booking, travel/hospitality, healthcare/medical, EdTech, software products, chatbots, real estate, and more.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1Can I make a lot of money becoming a full-time YouTuber?

You can learn how to monetize YouTube and consider becoming a YouTuber full-time. However, the success of your channel and how much money you can make if them will depend on a number of factors such as: a). Finding a niche for your videos, b). Work on building quality content and knowing how to best present it to your audience, c). Post regularly to build a loyal audience base

2How can I get 4000 watch hours fast?

You can reach your 4000 watch hour milestone by following these hacks: a). Create longer YouTube videos, b). Optimize your YouTube videos, c). Create customized thumbnails, d). Add video cards and end screens, e). Recommend related videos in your video description and comments

3Who are the highest-paid YouTubers?

In 2021, the top 3 highest paid YouTubers include: 1). Daniel Middleton with earnings of US$ 16.5 million, 2). Evan Fong with earnings of US$ 15.5 million, 3). Dude Perfect with earnings of US$ 14 million

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