Top 6 Ways YouTubers Make Money

The internet has become a global marketplace and YouTube, the most popular video streaming platform in the world, is gaining more and more attention from media enthusiasts daily. There are currently over 37 million YouTube channels and statistics show that monthly active users have increased from 800 million to over 2 billion between 2012 and 2020. 

So, that brings us to the question many people ask. How do YouTubers make money? There are different ways YouTubers can generate income, and I am going to briefly discuss a few of them in this article.


Google AdSense is one of the most popular revenue sources for YouTubers. By Joining the YouTube partner program, video content creators can generate passive income through AdSense. For YouTubers who qualify for Google AdSense, YouTube gives them a percentage of the revenue generated based on ad views and engagement. 

Content creators need to be over 18 or have an adult guardian who can help them handle payments. They also need to have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and over 4,000 valid public watch hours to qualify for the AdSense program.

Affiliate links

Affiliate marketing involves providing links to recommended products for viewers to follow and make a purchase. It usually entails a brief or extensive product review to encourage people to buy a product/service. 

For every purchase made through a Youtuber’s link, he/she gets a commission. There are a lot of organizations that partner with bloggers and video content creators to increase sales, the most popular being Amazon associates.

Online Patronage

Crowdfunding platforms like Patreon and Ko-Fi allow viewers to contribute by either paying for subscriptions or by making donations to the YouTube channel. 

To use Patreon, you would have to create a Patreon account and link it to your YouTube channel. You can create paid content or sort out a membership model with additional perks for subscribers.

 Ko-Fi allows viewers to support content creators by willingly making coffee-priced donations. 

Brand ads/sponsorship

Youtubers occasionally partner with brands in need of publicity. Brands that would like to reach a particular demographic contact YouTubers that appeal to that demographic. It usually involves creating content that promotes a product or service as a part of a video or as an entire video. 

Brand sponsorship is one of the top revenue sources for high-earning content creators as they pay well compared to the other means of making money on YouTube. However, brands are very strategic when choosing Youtubers they partner with.


This is another revenue stream that is most feasible for YouTubers with a high level of engagement. A YouTube channel is like a mini digital community and sometimes, dedicated viewers purchase items (usually branded) even if they do not have a pressing need for them. Content creators sell branded items like t-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, face caps, and an array of products. This could also increase a brand’s exposure and viewer participation. 

In order to build a successful brand on YouTube, you need to approach your YouTube channel like a business. Thus, the importance of creating quality viewer-friendly videos cannot be overemphasized.