So, YouTube has opened monetization up to everyone across 20 different countries. This can be a very profitable venture for so many content creators that have yet to receive the coveted partner or monetization invitation in their inbox.
Now, you can start making real money from your videos, regardless of whether or not they attract a particularly large audience. In fact, even a small audience can generate a healthy amount of revenue for the content creator.
There are some tricks to the trade that can help you make the most of this feature. Here they are.
Google AdSense has an interesting way of going about paying its content creators. If you haven’t generated $100 or more in ad revenue during a given month, your earnings roll over to the next month and no payment will be made. Often, you may not see a check for three or four months, depending on your viewer counts and click-through rate.
Earning money through ads can be a long-term investment of your time, but with every video comes another avenue of revenue. Simply put, the more good content you create — the better your chances of generating significant traffic.
After a few weeks of making 2-20 cents per day, things can look mighty bleak. Trust me, if you stick to your guns and strive to make the best videos you can, the profits will follow. You never know when one of your videos will suddenly catch on and become the next big thing.
Chris Crocker, famous for doing his “Leave Britney Alone” video, had been making content on YouTube for over a year prior to his one big hit that put his account over the top. The same could be said for just about any “YouTube celebrity” out there. Not everyone hits a grand slam on the first swing.
Practice Smart Pre-Roll Ad Placement
Pre-roll ads are described as TrueView in-stream ads by YouTube. These ads play before your videos. While they offer a great per-view payment, they may also be hindering your ability to attract new subscribers to your channel.
Simply put, no one likes sitting through a 30 second advertisement to watch a one-minute video. Use these ads on long videos that last fifteen minutes or more, or on content that is absolutely exclusive to your channel and can’t be found anywhere else.
For example, if you’re the only person with a video up about how to add a watermark to a video using Final Cut Pro X, then that video serves a needed purpose for the viewer and they may be more inclined to sit through the advertisement to get the information.
You still receive income from Overlay in-video ads, which appear as lower-third advertisements over your video for a brief time. I’ve personally had better luck sticking to just these ads than using both the Overlay and TrueView options.
If you wouldn’t want to sit through it, neither would your potential viewer.
Keep a Close Eye on Terms and Conditions
Terms and conditions are important to YouTube Partners and anyone else that earns money from their channel. These terms set the standard for what you can (and can’t) get away with in your videos if you expect Google to send you an AdSense check at the end of the month.
Often, these changes are minor and don’t really impact you directly. Sometimes though, these changes can mean being able to display your own ads in your videos or not. Either way, you risk losing all of your revenue (and your videos) if you fail to read the fine print before posting.
Are you allowed to sell your own ads in addition to YouTube monetization? Can these ads be tied to the content, or do they have to be still images? How long can these images be on screen in a given video? All of these questions can be answered in the terms and conditions.
As an additional resource, you might want to download the official YouTube Playbook, a step-by-step guide of best practices and tips to help you build your audience without breaking terms and conditions to do so.
Every monetized video comes with a small survey that you’re asked to fill out. This helps Google determine if your video contains anything that may be subject to copyright. Music playing in the background, video game images, screenshots of programs and art that you didn’t make, and considerations need to be documented before you hit that monetize button. If you answer dishonestly, you could have your video removed from YouTube and risk losing your ability to monetize your channel entirely.
Also, if you do use someone else’s work as part of your video (even with permission) you should consider giving them a link in your video’s description or offering an annotation somewhere in your video that sends viewers to the other channel. This could pay off for you in a big way as that person returns the favor and sends their viewers your way. Karma has a strange way of making everyone’s life a little better in the tech world.
The First 10 Seconds are Critical
In many cases, your views don’t count unless your audience watches your video at least most of the way through. Ads don’t always appear at the exact beginning of your videos, either. In fact, many of the overlay ads happen at some point near the middle. In order to get credit for the impression, you’ll want to pay attention to how you tease your video at the very beginning.
Take a few seconds to tell viewers what they can expect later in the video. At the very least, start each video with a compelling pull that catches viewer’s attention and makes them want to keep watching.
The best examples of this I’ve seen can be found on professional podcasts. You’ll notice that they record a brief intro giving hints to the three or four biggest (or most interesting) points made throughout the remainder of the show. This is all done in the first 5-10 seconds, with no delay between the start and the tease.
“Hey there YouTube, I’m Matt Ryan AKA the Frugal Geek and I can’t wait until Friday. Friday is when I get to switch on my new solar panel array.”
Could be changed to…
“Hey there YouTube, I’m Matt Ryan and today I’m going to show you how to save money on electricity.”
The hook has to be there at the very beginning, and it needs to instantly relay what the viewer will get out of the rest of the video. Even if you do a silly vlog, make the first 5-10 seconds as interesting and informative as possible.