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How much money YouTube pays creators: 1 million views


  • YouTube’s Partner Program lets creators earn money by monetizing their channels with video advertisements.
  • Advertisements generate a certain amount of money depending on a video’s watch time, length, and viewer demographic.
  • Austen Alexander, a YouTube influencer with 135,000 subscribers and an active duty sailor for the US Navy, told Business Insider that a video with roughly one million views earns about $6,000 in Google AdSense revenue for him. 
  • Alexander also broke down the different factors that affect his earnings.

When Austen Alexander isn’t working as an active duty sailor for the US Navy, he’s creating content for his 135,000 subscribers on YouTube.

Alexander started his channel in 2016, and now he posts videos like “A Day in the Life of an Enlisted US Sailor,” (800,000 views) or “Ms. Bikini Olympia Attempts the US Navy Physical Test” (3.6 million views).

YouTube influencers like Alexander, who are a part of YouTube’s Partner Program, can earn money from their videos through advertisements placed by Google.

“I can make these videos that I really enjoy filming and editing,” Alexander told Business Insider. “It didn’t seem real that I could earn money off of them.”

Alexander’s first Google AdSense paycheck was for $42, he said. 

Today, Alexander said, on average, he earns about $6,000 for a single YouTube video with one million views. That’s a bit higher than the amount earned by YouTube creator Shelby Church, who previously told Business Insider that she earns between $2,000 and $5,000 from a video with roughly one million views. 

Alexander’s videos range anywhere from 10,000 to 3 million views, depending on if a video get’s picked up by YouTube’s algorithm, and recommended to viewers.

He broke down the factors that go into earning the most money possible from ads, like a creator’s CPM rate (or how much is earned per 1,000 views), and how he optimizes his ad placement. 

How much a YouTube creator earns per 1,000 views

On YouTube, how much a creator earns per 1,000 views is called the CPM rate. 

Alexander’s CPM rate is currently between $7.70 and $9.50, which is considered a high CPM rate for a YouTube creator, according to industry professionals.

But Alexander said that number fluctuates day to day, “like a roller coaster.”

“It’s really hard to have a steady CPM,” Alexander said. “I don’t use profanity or any songs that are copyrighted, so a lot more businesses are wanting to advertise on my channel.” 

When he was first starting out, his rate was around $3, he said. As he continued to make advertiser-friendly videos, or videos specific to a certain subject, without profanity or copyrighted music, his CPM rate increased.

“If your video appeals to more companies and falls within those certain guidelines that the company wants to advertise on, then your CPM will go up,” he said. “YouTube subscribers really mean nothing when it comes to revenue.”


How to earn the most money from a single video

On YouTube’s creator dashboard, users can see when viewers are “dropping off” and look into why that might be happening. The key to earning the most from ads is to place them before your viewers will typically “drop off” or click away from a video.

Alexander said he increases his video’s watch time by building up the anticipation at the start of a video.

Natalie Barbu, a social-media influencer and YouTube creator with 228,000 subscribers, said in a previous interview that in her experience, she’s noticed that viewers will drop off more if she has a longer intro, talking for too long about one thing.

Don’t forget to optimize your ads, Alexander said. He enables every ad option on his videos, which include banner ads, pre-roll, and mid-roll ads. He also ads an “ad break” in the middle of a video, which he said has helped his earnings.

“Now we live in a digital age where a lot of transactions are happening online, and people shopping ecommerce,” he said. “It all leads down to advertisements, on YouTube, Facebook wherever. As long as you can capture someone’s attention, then you will be able to make a living doing something that you enjoy, online.” 

For more on how much YouTube influencers are earning in AdSense revenue, check out these Business Insider Prime posts:


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