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YouTube stars explain how to make the most money possible from video ads

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  • Creators who are part of YouTube’s Partner Program are able to make money from their YouTube channels by placing ads within a video.
  • These ads are filtered through Google’s AdSense program and there are a few steps to getting started. 
  • Some top YouTube creators have various strategies for earning the most money from a single video, including looking at the back end of their channels to determine where the best ad placements are for them.
  • Business Insider talked to industry insiders about how to monetize a YouTube channel through Google AdSense, what types of ads exist, and strategies to maximize ad revenue.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

YouTube creators say there are clear strategies you can employ to earn more money from advertising on your videos.

“I make all of my videos over 10 minutes long because I feel like if not, it’s a wasted opportunity,” Natalie Barbu, a social-media influencer and YouTube creator with 228,000 subscribers, said. She also has a strategy to determine where to place ads within her videos to make more money. 

Videos on YouTube earn money through Google’s AdSense program. How much money these ads generate depends on factors like a video’s audience and which advertisers are buying, Petar Mandich, the chief talent officer at Addition, a talent management company focused on influencers and creators, said in a recent interview with Business Insider. 

Business Insider talked to industry insiders about how a YouTube creator can monetize their channel through ad revenue and the tactics influencers are using to earn tens of thousands of dollars from a single video. 

Read more: YouTube creator Natalie Barbu breaks down how much money she earns from a video with 100,000 views

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1. Apply for YouTube’s Partner Program.

Creators with at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours in the past year are eligible to apply for YouTube’s Partner Program, which lets you put ads in your videos. These ads are filtered and placed by Google, and will earn a certain amount of money depending on factors like a video’s watch time, length, and viewer demographic.

Overall, the program allows creators to start monetizing their channels through ads, subscriptions, and channel memberships.

Here’s how to apply, according to YouTube’s help center. 

  • Sign in to your YouTube account. 
  • Click your account icon on the top right, the select “Creator Studio.”
  • Select “channel” on the left menu, then click “status and features.”
  • Under “monetization,” click enable.
  • Then follow the provided steps. 

2. Understand the different types of ads. 

There are a few different types of ads a creator can choose from, but YouTuber Marina Mogilko, who has three successful channels on YouTube, said just because a creator selects certain ads, it doesn’t mean that YouTube will show all of them.

Here’s a breakdown of the different types of ads you can include in your video: 

  • Display ads appear on the upper right side of your video, above the video suggestions list. 
  • Overlay ads appear as a banner within the lower portion of your video. 
  • Bumper ads are non-skippable ads that must be watched by a viewer before your video. These ads last 6-seconds or less. 
  • Sponsored cards display relevant video content within the right side of your video. 
  • Mid-roll ads 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. 

Marina Mogilko

3. Figure out the right number of ads to include per video and how long each video should be.

Mogilko said she normally places three ads per video, which appears to be a rough average for YouTube creators, based on conversations Business Insider has had with industry insiders. 

Shelby Church, who has 1.2 million subscribers, said she usually includes one pre-roll ad before the video, which she said is the default on YouTube, and two ads within the video, three or four minutes apart. Her videos are typically about 10 to 12 minutes long.

“I think this amount has been good for my audience,” she said. “They don’t usually comment about it being too much.”

Barbu posts videos twice a week to YouTube about her day-to-day life experiences. She follows the same 10-minute-video strategy as Church, and said on average, she’ll include about four ads on a single video that’s over 10 minutes long: one preroll ad at the start of the video, two in the video, and one post-roll ad (the ad after the video is finished).

Shelby Church

4. Know where to place your ads to earn the most money. 

On your creator dashboard, you can see when your viewers are dropping off and look into why that might be happening.

The key to earning the most from these ads is to place them before your viewers will typically “drop off” or click off from your video, Barbu said. 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.

5. Consider changing the type of videos you make.

Entrepreneur Kevin David, who has a YouTube channel under the same name with 660,000 subscribers, said in a recent interview with Business Insider that he made just under $50,000 in Google AdSense revenue from his how-to guide for using Facebook ads, which got 2 million views. 

He said because of the type of content he produces: detailed how-to videos (like how to make money online or sell products on Amazon) and e-commerce tutorials, he’s able to earn more money on YouTube through AdSense. 

Mogilko said advertisers pay more for their ads to be placed on educational and business-related videos on YouTube.

That means a creator might want to consider changing the types of videos they make, or launch a second channel, if they are looking to maximize their revenue per view through AdSense. 

Mogilko said her 265,000-subscriber business channel, “Silicon Valley Girl,” makes much more per view in Google AdSense than her other two channels, even though it has fewer subscribers. That’s because “Silicon Valley Girl” is focused on business and more appealing to certain advertisers than the other channels.

On average, that channel makes $10.73 per 1,000 views, while the others make $4 and $2.71, she said.


For more on how to become a successful influencer, according to YouTube and Instagram stars, check out these Business Insider Prime posts:

YouTube star Shelby Church breaks down how much money a video with 1 million views makes her

How Instagram influencers land their first brand-sponsorship deals

YouTube creator Natalie Barbu breaks down how much money she earns from a video with 100,000 views

A 21-year-old college YouTuber who has worked with brands like Amazon and Sephora on how to start an influencer career

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