- Many YouTube creators experienced a decline in ad-revenue rates during the start of the pandemic.
- Now, rates have bounced back, and some creators are earning much more off videos than they were in 2020.
- We spoke with six creators who broke down how much money they make for every 1,000 views on YouTube.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
This is the latest installment of Insider’s YouTube money logs, where creators break down how much they earn.
Many YouTube creators experienced a decline in the average ad-revenue rates the platform paid them early last year, during the start of the pandemic, in response to advertisers cutting budgets.
But industry insiders say these rates have now largely bounced back, and some YouTubers are earning much more money on the platform than they were last year.
For instance, entrepreneur and YouTube creator Marina Mogilko told Insider that around the week of April 4, 2020, the ad rates on her language channel Linguamarina, which has 3.5 million subscribers, dropped to the lowest rates that year. Her channel typically earns around $2 for every 1,000 views, but during April 2020, the channel’s average “RPM” rate was around $1.
Mogilko said her channel’s average YouTube revenue rate has since increased, and that her earnings on YouTube are returning to normal.
YouTube creators who are part of the Partner Program can monetize their videos with Google-placed ads. Creators must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past year to apply for the Partner Program. Google then pays creators 55% of the revenue their channels earn from the ads that run on them.
YouTube’s central creator monetization metric is called revenue per mille (RPM). That rate shows how much revenue a creator earns per every 1,000 video views (after YouTube’s 45% cut).
In YouTube’s creator analytics dashboard, RPM sits beside YouTube’s old central monetization metric, CPM (cost per mille). CPM is the cost advertisers pay per 1,000 YouTube ad views (and is calculated before YouTube’s 45% cut). Unlike the CPM rate, RPM also takes all YouTube revenue (not just ads) into account. That’s relevant if a creator has channel memberships, super chat, or super stickers, though none of the creators Insider spoke with used these features.
Overall, no creator consistently makes the same amount of money per view every time they post a video to YouTube. And some subjects, like personal finance, can boost a creator’s rate by attracting an audience that’s valuable to advertisers. The rate can also depend on seasonality, with generally lower rates at the start of the year and higher ones toward the end.
We spoke with six YouTube creators, all with varying content categories, who broke down their recent average RPM rates on YouTube.
Here’s what they said:
Marina Mogilko — around $2
Mogilko has three YouTube channels: a language channel, a lifestyle channel, and a business channel.
She lives in San Francisco and is the cofounder of a travel agency, LinguaTrip. For her YouTube business, she has worked with brands like Audible and Skillshare on sponsored videos.
Mogilko shared the current RPM rate for her language channel, which she launched in 2016 and today has 3.5 million subscribers. She uses this channel to teach people English and American culture.
On average, her RPM rate is around $2, and her CPM rate is around $4, she told Insider in May.
She said this rate is generally low because of the channel attracts a global audience, which makes it less appealing to advertisers than her other two channels.
Mogilko also sells a course on how to become a blogger and YouTuber creator.
Read more about Mogilko’s YouTube business here:
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Michael Groth — between $2 and $4
Groth films Pokémon-related videos and scripted content for his YouTube channel MandJTV, which has 1.4 million subscribers.
He posts videos about twice a week and films them from the studio in his house.
On average, his RPM rate is between $2 and $4, he told Insider in May.
In April 2020, Groth told Insider that his channel’s CPM rate dropped by 50%, which corresponded directly to a drop in total earnings of about half.
“I thankfully am a large enough channel that this doesn’t financially break me, and I’m not worried about not being able to pay rent and stuff like that,” he said in April 2020. “But it’s obviously not fun to see, and I worry about smaller creators.”
Groth started his channel as a hobby in 2009 when he was 14 years old. He began focusing on YouTube full time four years ago, after he graduated from college, and he said the revenue he was earning directly from YouTube allowed him the freedom to do so.
Read more about Groth’s YouTube business here:
Some YouTube creators say their ad rates have dropped sharply in recent weeks and increased views haven’t made up for the loss in income
Marissa Lyda: $6
Lyda is a full-time YouTube creator who films videos on budgeting and her life as a mom.
She started her YouTube channel in 2016 and now has about 53,000 subscribers.
On average, her RPM rate is around $6, she told Insider in March.
Lyda launched her YouTube channel in 2016 after paying off $87,000 of student loan debt. Over the years, her YouTube business has evolved into becoming her full-time job.
Lyda’s videos, from how she spends her $10,000 monthly income to investing for beginners, are a part of a community of creators on YouTube who are known for sharing personal-finance advice.
She spends time batch-filming 3 to 4 videos on the weekend while her husband watches their son. During the week, Lyda edits those videos, creates thumbnail images, and answers emails in-between her son’s nap times, she told Insider in March.
Read more about Lyda’s YouTube business here:
A YouTuber with about 50,000 subscribers breaks down how much she earns per month from personal-finance videos
Shelby Church — between $9 and $12
Church has 1.6 million subscribers and she films videos on her channel about photography, technology, and her Tesla.
Her main source of revenue as an online creator is brand sponsorships, but her second biggest is the money she earns off the Google-placed ads in her YouTube videos.
On average, her RPM rate is between $9 and $12, she told Insider in May.
There are several strategies creators can use to get more revenue from YouTube, Church said. For instance, creators should pay attention to three important metrics: the length of the video, the watch time, and the audience demographic.
In general, advertisers on YouTube also pay more for a business-related video than a vlog or clothing haul, she said.
Read more about Church’s YouTube business here:
A YouTube star breaks down how much money a video with 1 million views makes her
Natalie Barbu — around $10
Barbu is a social-media influencer and YouTube creator with 295,000 subscribers.
Barbu has been making YouTube videos since 2011, and her videos range from lifestyle, to fashion and beauty, to personal finance videos — like how to start a business or how to optimize your YouTube channel.
On average, her RPM rate is around $10, she told Insider in May. In the last year, her average RPM rate was around $9, she added.
Barbu didn’t start making money on YouTube until two years after launching her channel, and in those first two years she didn’t think she could make any money.
Her top piece of advice for starting a YouTube channel is to create videos that you actually enjoy watching. Start thinking about your audience and ask yourself what videos would they want to watch.
Read more about Barbu’s YouTube business here:
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Griffin Milks — $11
Milks is a YouTube creator who films videos about personal finance and investing.
He started posting finance videos to YouTube in 2018 and now has about 81,000 subscribers.
On average, his RPM rate is around $11, he told Insider in May.
Milks started consistently uploading videos about personal finance and investing in 2018. In late 2020, he quit his full-time job to focus on his YouTube business. On his channel, he talks about personal finance, stock-market investing, and real-estate investing in Canada.
“If your video is engaging, and you have a long watch time, you will make more money,” Milks said. “You are typically going to make more money from a longer video because you can place one extra ad in there.”
Now that he has established an audience, he receives between 10 to 30 emails each week from various brands looking to sponsor his videos, he said. He added that he turns down about 95% of those offers.
“When I first started my videos were really bad, and somewhat embarrassing even, but it doesn’t matter because you get better over time,” Milks said. “You get less camera shy and and your audience is going to tell you as you grow what content they would like to see.”
Read more about Milks’ YouTube business here:
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