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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 ...
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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, creators must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of overall watch time.

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, creators must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past year, or 1,000 subscribers and 10 million views on Shorts within 90 days. Once accepted, creators can start monetizing their channels through ads filtered through Google's AdSense program, subscriptions, and channel memberships.

Amanda Wan, who had 8,500 YouTube subscribers when she spoke to Insider in January 2022, said that she filmed longer videos — between 10 to 15 minutes long — to help reach the required watch hours.

Aside from the Partner Program, creators can also qualify to receive a bonus between $100 and $10,000 a month for posting short-form videos from a $100 million Shorts Fund.

Beginning next year, in place of the YouTube Shorts fund, YouTube will start sharing revenue from Shorts ads with creators.

YouTube is also launching a new tier of the Partner Program next year, with lower thresholds of eligibility for long-form, live, and Shorts creators. The terms of eligibility have not been disclosed, but these creators won't be able to monetize with ads. Instead, they will only 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 to 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 19 YouTubers make per month from AdSense

Some of the different types of ads you can include in your YouTube video are:

  • 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 spoke to Insider in January 2022, when she had 23,000 subscribers. "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 or cryptocurrency, 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

Overall, Insider has spoken with dozens of YouTube creators, from under 2,000 subscribers to over 1.8 million, about how much money they make.