8 YouTube creators revealed their single highest-earning videos, including one that made $97,000


Shelby Church influencer

  • How much money a creator on YouTube can earn from a single video varies depending on the audience that watches it, the amount of time they spend watching, and how long the video is, among other factors.
  • YouTube’s Partner Program allows influencers to earn money directly off their channels by placing ads within videos, which are filtered by Google.
  • We spoke to eight YouTube stars who each shared the most they’ve made from a single video, from $6,000 to $97,000. 
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Creators on YouTube often have no idea how much money they will earn off a single video after they upload it to the platform.

While creators with 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours are eligible to have their videos monetized with ads by joining YouTube’s Partner Program, the amount they get paid per thousand views (CPM) can vary wildly. Why is that? The ads that play in their videos are filtered by Google, and how much money a creator earns depends on the video’s watch time, length, video type, and viewer demographics, among other factors.

YouTube star Shelby Church (1.4 million subscribers) told Business Insider that extending her videos to over 10 minutes long helped her channel earn more money because she could place more ads and boost her rate. And some topics, like finance, get a higher rate because the audiences they attract are valuable to advertisers.

Many creators also try to avoid swearing or copyrighted music in their content because those factors can increase a video’s chance of getting flagged by YouTube and demonetized.

So if a creator does everything right in the eyes of YouTube, how much can they expect to make?

Business Insider spoke to eight creators with very different channels and they shared the most amount of money YouTube has paid them for a single video.

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Kyra Ann — $6,000

Kyra Ann is a minimalist who shares her experience and tips on YouTube with her 77,000 subscribers.

Her three main revenue streams are her day job at a nursing home, her YouTube channel, and the commissions she earns through affiliate links. 

She told Business Insider in March that the most she’s earned from a single YouTube video was about $6,000. 

“I didn’t keep any of that money,” she said. “I actually threw it all to my student loans.”

Kyra earns more money a month from her YouTube channel than at her day job, she said. In February, she earned $1,817 from AdSense. 

Read the full post: A minimalist YouTube creator shares exactly how much money she makes in a month with 77,000 subscribers — and what she spends

Natalie Barbu — $8,000

Natalie Barbu is a 22-year-old social-media influencer and YouTube creator with 227,000 subscribers. 

Barbu posts videos twice a week to YouTube about her day-to-day life experiences. 

She started her YouTube channel about eight years ago, while she was in high school. She’d post videos talking about fashion and beauty as an after-school hobby, long before she knew she could be earning any money from the platform, she said.

Barbu graduated with an engineering degree from NC State University and said while she was attending college, she began to take her channel more seriously. She would post one video to her channel a week about her college life experiences and what it was like to be a girl studying engineering, she said. 

The most amount of money she’s earned from a single YouTube video was around $8,000 from her video on how to start an online store, which has 390,000 views, she told Business Insider in February. 

Read the full post (and watch the video): CRASH COURSE: An influencer explains how YouTube ads work, her advice for making more money, and how much she earns

Ruby Asabor — $9,000

Ruby Asabor is a 22-year-old YouTube content creator and motivational speaker.

She has 140,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, Lavish Ruby, which she started four years ago, and today she has established several revenue streams around her digital business. 

She said on average she earns between $2,200 and $2,500 for a every 100,000 views on YouTube. 

Asabor’s finance- and business-related videos target an older audience, which is favorable to Google’s advertisers. Her average viewer is someone who cares about financial education and the advertisements that play in her videos will often be for banks or stockbrokers, she said. These advertisers pay more than others because there are fewer videos on YouTube that attract their target audience.

The most she’s earned from a single YouTube video is around $9,000, she told Business Insider in February. 

Read the full post: A recent college grad living in New York says she makes a 6-figure income as a YouTube influencer. She broke down how she does it.

Alyssa Kulani — $23,000

Canadian YouTube creator Alyssa Kulani has 676,000 subscribers. 

Kulani, 20, said her first YouTube video was a vlog, which she uploaded to her YouTube channel when she was 13 years old, around 2012. By the time she was in high school, she had around 100,000 subscribers. 

Kulani never finished high school, dropping out her senior year, she said. That’s when she began working in retail, and soon after, her friends on YouTube, who had channels of their own, encouraged her to take her channel more seriously because she was “missing out on a huge opportunity.”

In late 2018, YouTube’s algorithm picked up and recommended a video she posted in October of that year titled, “Telling my best friend I like him…*PRANK*,” which prompted the video to go viral and gain 4 million views. 

She told Business Insider in November, that she earned $23,000 from that video, and that she continues to make money from it today. 

Read the full post: A 20-year-old YouTube creator explains how she earned $23,000 in ad revenue from a single video

Shelby Church — $30,000

Shelby Church is a YouTube creator with 1.4 million subscribers.

In 2019, Church said she earned around $140,000 from YouTube ads, which is more than double what she made in 2018.

Last year, she realized that if she extended her videos to over 10 minutes, she could include more ads and earn more money. She said she usually includes one pre-roll ad before the video (which 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.

Her video about Amazon FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) had an unusually high CPM rate, she told Business Insider in January. The video earned her about $30,000 in AdSense revenue from 1.8 million views.

Read the full post: How much money YouTube paid a creator with 1.4 million subscribers during 2019

Kevin David — nearly $50,000

Kevin David is a YouTube influencer and entrepreneur with 900,000 subscribers. 

David told Business Insider that he’d made as much as $50,000 in Google AdSense revenue from a single YouTube video.

His how-to guide for using Facebook ads made just under $50,000 in Google AdSense revenue, and his “Shopify Tutorial for Beginners” video, which required minimal production because he filmed it using the screen-record feature on his laptop, had made over $40,000, he told Business Insider in August 2019. 

David gets the ideas for his content by looking at the Google Ads Keyword Planner to see how often people are searching particular phrases, and at other combinations of video topics and thumbnails that have been successful in view count, he said.

He said he made his Shopify tutorial video while staying in a cheap hostel in Australia, with no camera or equipment.

Read the full post: A YouTube creator explains how he made nearly $50,000 in ad revenue from one video, without millions of subscribers

Brian Barczyk — $50,000

Brian Barczyk, 50, is a YouTube creator and reptile influencer who posts vlog-style content about his life and the animals he breeds.

He told Business Insider that he supports himself and his family financially from the money he earns as a YouTube creator. 

Barczyk’s highest-earning video is one he posted in July 2017, titled “MY SNAKE IS EGG BOUND!!! NOW WHAT?!!!” Today, the video has over 28 million views.

Barczyk earned around $50,000 in AdSense from the video, and continues to earn about $300 to $500 a month from it, he said. That’s the most he’s made from a single video, according to a screenshot viewed by Business Insider in January. 

He said his channel gained around 300,000 subscribers from the video as well. 

Read the full post: How much money YouTube paid a creator for 28 million views — on a video about snakes

Paul Kousky — $97,000

Paul Kousky has 11.8 million subscribers on his YouTube channel PDK Films.

In 2015, Kousky dropped out of college to focus on online video as a full-time job. Now 24, he said that he earns a majority of his revenue through the ads in his YouTube videos. 

He films videos about Nerf guns, and he told Business Insider in December that his video titled “Nerf War: Tank Battle,” with 166 million views earned around $97,000. 

“Some people think that’s low; some people think it’s high,” he told Business Insider. “For me, that’s just what I’m used to on my channel. Some people get a couple million views and pull in $100,000 in AdSense off that.”

He posted the video to YouTube in February 2018, and it went viral worldwide six months later, he said. 

Read the full post: A YouTube influencer explains how he made $97,000 from a single video