How many YouTube subscribers you need to start making money
Jaime Fok has 28,000 YouTube subscribers.Jaime Fok
YouTube creators explain how they got started making money on the platform through Google-placed ads, brand deals, and ...

How many YouTube subscribers you need to start making money

YouTube creators explain how they got started making money on the platform through Google-placed ads, brand deals, and ...
  • Creators who are part of YouTube's Partner Program can monetize their videos with ads.
  • To apply to make money YouTubers must have 1,000 subscribers — and 4,000 watch hours or 10 million shorts views.

Creators on YouTube don't need hundreds of thousands of subscribers to start earning money or to turn the gig into a lucrative side hustle.

To start earning money directly from YouTube, a creator must be a member of the YouTube Partner Program. To apply to make money YouTubers must have at least 1,000 subscribers and either 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months, or 10 million valid public shorts views in the last 90 days. Once accepted, creators can start making money from their channels through ads filtered through Google's AdSense program on long-form videos and shorts, subscriptions, YouTube Premium, shopping, and channel memberships.

Amanda Wan, who had 8,500 YouTube subscribers when she spoke with Insider, said that she filmed longer videos — between 10 to 15 minutes long — to help reach the required watch hours.

Check out how much money 26 YouTubers make per month from the program

On February 1, in place of the shorts fund, YouTube began sharing revenue from shorts ads with creators. Those who have 1,000 subscribers and 10 million views on Shorts within 90 days can apply to qualify to receive a portion of the revenue from ads on their short-form videos.

Read about how much money 6 YouTubers are making from shorts via ad-revenue sharing

YouTube also announced that it would launch a new tier of the Partner Program later in 2023, which will allow lower thresholds of eligibility for long-form, live, and Shorts creators. These creators won't be able to monetize with ads. Instead, they will gain access to fan-funded monetization tools like Super Thanks (viewer tips) and channel memberships.

The most common way creators earn money directly from YouTube is through Google-placed ads

Even smaller creators can cash in. Jen Lauren, a creator who had 5,000 subscribers on YouTube when she spoke with Insider, said that in one month her channel made $349 from ads. (Read more about how Lauren makes money as a nano influencer.)

YouTube creator Shelby Church told Insider that she likes to include four ads on a single video that's over 10 minutes long, which helps increase her monthly revenue. (Here's how much she made from a video with 1 million views.)

Read more on how much money 26 YouTubers make per month

  • Display ads, which appear on the upper right side of your video, above the video suggestions list.
  • Overlay ads, which appear as a banner within the lower portion of your video.
  • Bumper ads, which are non-skippable ads that must be watched by a viewer before your video. These ads last 6 seconds or fewer.
  • Sponsored cards, which display relevant video content within the right side of your video.
  • Mid-roll ads, which can be placed in videos over 10 minutes long. They can be both skippable and non-skippable ads. A creator can decide whether they want mid-roll ads to be auto-generated by YouTube or manually placed.

Once those ads start earning money, the creator will receive a check in the mail from YouTube after they have earned at least $100.

"I think my first paycheck was like $124," said Zoe Pritchard, who had 23,000 subscribers when she spoke with Insider. "I was so excited. I went and bought a ring light with it."

Creators who earn money on YouTube must also keep in mind that they will need to pay taxes on any income they make from the platform.

How many YouTube subscribers you need to start making money
Jen Lauren has 5,200 subscribers on YouTube.Jen Lauren

So, how much money do creators make on YouTube?

For every 1,000 ad views, advertisers pay a certain rate to YouTube (CPM). YouTube then takes 45% and the creator gets the rest. YouTube's central monetization metric is called revenue per mille (RPM), which shows how much revenue a creator earns per every 1,000 views after YouTube's cut. Some subjects, like personal finance, can boost a creator's ad rate by attracting a lucrative audience.

Here's a full breakdown of Insider's coverage of what YouTube creators earn per 1,000 views

Insider spoke with six creators about how much they were paid for shorts in the first month of ad-revenue sharing.

For shorts payments, YouTube first pools revenue from ads on shorts, and then pays an undisclosed amount to record labels for music licensing, and creators receive 45% of the remaining money based on their percentage of the total shorts views on the platform

Here's how much those 6 YouTubers made in the first month of the shorts monetization program

Overall, Insider has spoken with dozens of YouTube creators, from under 5,000 subscribers to over 9 million, about how much money they make.

Here's our coverage of how much YouTuber creators earn monthly: