In a move that even out-shadowed the whole demonetization controversy of 2017, YouTube announced significant changes to its partner program in early 2018. As a result, many smaller YouTubers got booted from the YouTube Partner Program because they no longer met the new requirements. As a refresher, the new requirements called for at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours watched in the last 12 months. And no one was grandfathered into the program either.
It’s through the YouTube Partner Program that video creators could monetize their videos using Google AdSense. This includes the pre-roll video ads and the banner ads shown in the video themselves, among other possible placements. Without this revenue source, many YouTubers felt distraught… but maybe they’re forgetting about all the other opportunities to make money on YouTube too. Here are a few that you may have left on the table (that you should now pick up if you haven’t already).
It probably won’t surprise too many of you to learn that many of the people who watch YouTube are interested in what equipment goes into shooting YouTube videos. This is especially the case with vloggers and other channels that target creative professionals (and amateurs and prosumers too).
One of the simplest things to do is to leverage Amazon’s affiliate program and provide links in the video description to the gear that you use. Similarly, you should be including links to any products you mention in the video too, just as I did in the video where I compared different Amazon Kindle versions. If someone is watching a product video, they’re probably interested in buying it.
You might remember when I wrote about Patreon in the context of YouTube monetization a few years ago and it’s arguably even more relevant today. The basic idea here is that instead of trying to get money out of sponsors and advertisers, you get money from the people who are watching your content in the first place. It’s a much more direct relationship and Patreon only takes a 5% fee for providing this platform.
Many of the top YouTube channels have taken this approach. Science video channel SciShow, as of this writing, brings in over $20,000 a month from over 5,000 patrons. That’s nothing to sneeze at and even if you have a smaller subscriber base, Patreon can provide a more consistent and predictable source of income that isn’t subject to fickle algorithms.
Affiliate Lead Generation
If you want to talk about the bigger bucks, this is definitely John Chow’s preferred method of making money from YouTub e. To put this all in perspective, his YouTube channel brings in about $1,000 a month in AdSense (as reported for May 2017). His MOBE earnings for the same month was nearly $250,000 and YouTube referrals accounted for almost a third of that. Put another way, the resulting MOBE affiliate earnings beat out his AdSense revenue by about a factor of 70-to-1.
When you position and target your YouTube videos accordingly and partner up with the right big ticket affiliate program, your earning potential can shoot through the roof.
Your Own Products and Services
You’ve got an online business, so why not leverage your YouTube channel to help build and promote that business even further? The natural tie-in would be if you have a specific product to promote. If you just published a new book or launched a new membership site, there’s no reason why you can’t spread the word on YouTube or include a “promotional message” (from yourself) at the beginning or end of your videos to coincide with the launch.
Collaborations and Sponsorships
Influencer marketing is bigger than ever before. It’s a common misconception that brands only want to work with online influencers who have millions of followers. That’s just not the case. Brands are oftentimes better off working with a larger number of influencers with smaller followings to get the most bang out of their marketing buck.
Speaking for myself, I worked with Subaru Canada on a video that showcased the new Impreza at a local event and that was a sponsored video. Similar partnerships, collaborations and sponsorships are available both through influencer networks and by working with brands (and their PR agencies) directly. Don’t be afraid to reach out. There’s no harm in asking.
Of course, there are innumerable other opportunities for making money on YouTube beyond the AdSense alternatives listed here. Do you have any favorites? Share your experiences and insights in the comments below!