I’ve been fortunate enough to start making money off of my YouTube videos. Small ads pop up on the bottom from Google AdSense. Mind you, it’s very little money. I’m up to $3.41. (Edit: There’s some potential for much more-check out Entire Channel at the bottom) The reason for this is that my videos shoot up in popularity, then drop into obscurity. It’ll get a few hundred or a few thousand views in one day and then nothing the next.
This is the chronology of events that takes place over the course of a few days:
- The video gets popular (a few hundred to a few thousand views)
- YouTube sends an e-mail asking if I want to sell ads
- I apply for the program
- Ads go up
I wanted to share how this happens, and hopefully help people make some money from their videos.
First, here’s a video detailing how to make a video suitable for ads, and then how to publicize it.
How to promote
I have a word file where I write the name of the video, the date it’s uploaded, it’s address and embed code.
Then, there’s a chart with all the different places I tend to send them: Stumbleupon, Tosh, etc. I don’t send every video to every place. There are some sites, like www.iheartchaos.com, that are monitored by human beings and they probably won’t appreciate me spam submitting things every week. There are some videos that work on their site, and some that don’t. I only submit the ones that do. When it comes to someplace like Reddit or Digg, no human has to approve it going up. It just goes up. So I send everything to these places.
Here’s some videos of mine that have started to make money, and how it happened (Some of them have really inappropriate humor):
Smooth Randy and The Socky Show
Smooth Randy and The Socky Show: This was my first video that I started making money off of. It was uploaded 3/4/11. It got 2,700 views in one day! Most of them were from Reddit. 2,700 views is a drop in the bucket in YouTube terms, but still, it got the ball rolling on making money back.
Later in the week, I got an offer from YouTube to start selling ads on it. But by this time, it was already too late. Nobody was watching the video anymore, so no one was watching the ads anymore.
I wound up making 19 cents on Smooth Randy. This post was almost called “How to make 19 cents off YouTube,” but then I got a few other small successes:
Really Big Hole
Really Big Hole was uploaded 6/20/11. It got an invite June 23 after 2,200 views. It received 1,700 views from IheartChaos.com on June 21. About 500 more views on June 22.
I’m not sure when it got the invite. Maybe it was just after the first day’s views of 1,700 on June 21.Who knows?
Parenting: Making Sacrifices
Parenting: Making Sacrifices got an invite at midnight on June 24, after 487 views, 250 of them on June 21, and 150 on June 22. Of these, 420 came from www.buzzfed.com
This is pretty strange because I uploaded it 12/2/10. So this was a case where someone else came upon it – probably from watching Really Big Hole – posted it to buzzfed and it just took off.
A Good Transformer Movie Should Be Easy
A Good Transformer Movie Should Be Easy. This one is safe for work and not offensive. I was very excited that this got chosen so quickly. I put a lot of time and effort into the Transformers movies. The first one is almost up to 10,000 views right now, but it never got invited in. This one did, though. This leads me to believe that after a little bit of success in advertising on other videos, you get invited quicker.
It was uploaded on 7/7/11. I got the e-mail 7/9/11 after 275 views. The views came from all over (because I promoted it all over), but the largest referrer was www.tfw2005.com.
Another video of mine received 270 views in one day a few months earlier, but it was not enough for YouTube to consider ads. So, back then, I figured the magic number must be somewhere between those two. Until the above Transformer movie got an invite after 275. So, either there really is no rhyme or reason or the invites flow more freely if you’ve already got ads on other videos.
Parenting: Testing Boundaries
Parenting: Testing Boundaries. This one was really strange. This video was uploaded June 5, 2011. It got 6,000 views on June 22. It was invited into the AdSense system on 7/10/11. (5,000 views were from I-am-bored, and 1,200 views were from buzzfed.com. I remember logging into my YouTube page and seeing 6,000 views suddenly there and thinking there must have been a mistake.)
I got a big boost on several videos on June 22 and 23. Back then I counted 10 total videos that could get invited into the adsense program. And I waited impatiently for the invites. This is the only straggler. So, maybe they just take a while. I don’t know.
I posted a question to YouTube’s forum about what process YouTube uses to decide what gets invited and what doesn’t. The responses were that there didn’t seem to be any real rules. It just happens.
Elmo Demands Executive Producer Credit On Sesame Street
By way of comparison, this video, “Elmo Demands Executive Producer Credit,” received 900 views in one day after Katy Perry was cut from Sesame Street, (and later the Grover Old Spice ad parody aired), and I was sent an offer from YouTube for advertising. However, this was made before I really understood the copyright rules, so I can’t have ads on it.
Seemingly out of nowhere, the entire channel gets the invite for ads July 27, 2011. This was after 60,000 lifetime views, about 150 a day for two weeks. And about a month after that big hit where I got 20,000 views at the end of June.
Now, I was able to go through every video I had and enter it into the monetization program to get ads.
Even more importantly, I can enable ads the second I upload a video. Therefore, if the video takes off, there will already be ads on it.
YouTube has a partner program that allows for far more money to be made. I don’t qualify for this yet.
Firstly, all your videos have to have no copyright problems. About 8 or so of mine are still made of pictures I didn’t take. I’m working on reshooting these, though.
Secondly, every video has to have thousands of views. I’m nowhere near that yet.
Hopefully, this helps you make some money off your videos. Let me know if it works.