How Much I Earn As a Small YouTuber with 7,231 Subscribers
Why your subscriber count may not matter as much as you think when it comes to YouTube monetization.
We’ve all heard stories about seemingly normal people who started a YouTube channel and now have hundreds of thousands of followers, millions of views on their videos, and unbelievable paychecks to match.
However, we usually don’t hear about these people until they have achieved massive success, which can be years, if not decades, in the making.
We rarely hear stories about creators who are in the beginning stages of growing their audience on YouTube. I think that’s unfortunate.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced while starting my own YouTube channel has been the dreaded comparison game.
I often see other creators in my niche who have a massive subscriber count. I tend to feel insignificant in comparison, even though I’m actually earning a respectable amount each month from my small YouTube channel.
So, I thought I’d share some insights that you may find interesting if you are a small YouTuber like myself or thinking about starting a YouTube channel this year.
When I’m writing this article (October 26, 2020), I have 7,231 subscribers on my YouTube channel.
Currently, I only have five videos on my channel, and I haven’t posted any new content in over a year. But I want to focus on growing my channel in 2021, which is why I’m documenting this now at the end of 2020.
I’ve earned around $500 a month consistently without uploading any new content for the past six months.
I’ve made $4,418.40 and gained 5,000 subscribers since the beginning of 2020. However, as you can see from the income earned each month in the image above, gaining additional subscribers did not impact my revenue.
Why Didn’t My Income Increase with More Subscribers?
On YouTube, the number of views that your videos get matters a lot more than your subscriber count when it comes to monetization.
Subscribers can be helpful, but they’re not “the end all be all,” so to speak.
For example, when you upload a new video, the more subscribers you have, the more views you will get shortly after uploading. In theory, this also helps the YouTube algorithm decide if your video is worthy of being promoted or not.
However, some channels have millions of subscribers but have a relatively low view count per video.
In this case, a channel within the same niche with a much lower subscriber count could theoretically earn more revenue than the channel with a higher subscriber count if the smaller channel’s videos get more views.
Since I haven’t uploaded any new videos in the last year, I haven’t benefited from the additional views that would come from having new content pushed to my new subscribers right after I upload.
Once I start uploading new videos again, I should see an increase in my revenue, assuming the new videos are relevant to my current subscriber’s interests.
Your Niche Matters
I’ve watched dozens, if not hundreds of videos of YouTubers sharing how much money they earn from their channels.
One of the things that I’ve noticed is that their “niche” or the specific topics they cover in their videos matter a lot when making money on YouTube.
YouTubers make money when people watch ads before, during, or after their videos. Advertisers are allowed to choose which videos they want to show their ads on.
However, the YouTube advertising platform is an auction-based system. Therefore, if many advertisers want to show their ads on your videos, you will likely earn more per view.
For example, right now, a lot of advertisers are using YouTube ads to sell educational programs. If you created a video on “how to buy stocks for beginners,” people who have created investing programs will potentially compete to show their ads on your video.
That’s why some YouTubers have a much higher “CPM” or “cost per thousand” views than others.
According to Media Shark, the average CPM on YouTube is between $6 and $8. However, since my channel is focused on education and “how-to” type content, my current CPM is around $90 per thousand views.
The “RPM” is the amount per thousand views that I keep after YouTube takes its cut. Based on this, I’m earning close to $.05 per video view — which is much higher than the average because there’s more competition for the ads in my niche.
So, while there’s nothing wrong with creating a vlog channel that documents your life or creating random videos for the sake of being creative, focusing on a specific niche that commands a higher price per click from advertisers will make it easier to earn more from fewer views and a smaller subscriber count.
If you want to understand which niches are the most profitable on YouTube, pay attention to the ads you see before or during the videos you watch.
If you are seeing multiple ads selling similar products or trying to get in front of a specific audience, there’s a good chance that you could earn money by creating a video that caters to the audience that the advertisers are trying to reach.
Learn YouTube SEO
Once you have chosen a profitable niche, the next thing that you’ll want to focus on is YouTube SEO.
There are several ways that viewers who are not currently subscribers find your videos on YouTube.
- YouTube Search — This is where a user types a specific keyword or query into the search box on YouTube, or
- Suggesting Videos — This is where YouTube recommends your video to people who are watching a similar video.
Both of these are significant ways that small YouTuber’s can get more views on their videos.
The catch is that you have to create titles for your videos that are “SEO friendly” so that YouTube will know when your video is relevant to a specific topic that a viewer is searching for.
One of the exercises that I did for all of my videos was to type my topic into the YouTube search bar. As you type, YouTube will show you a dropdown with suggestions.
These are all phrases that people are searching for on YouTube.
If you create a video with one of these keyword phrases in the title, you will have much better luck getting found by people searching for these topics, which can lead to getting more views on your videos and earning more revenue.
Another exercise that I did with my videos was to find similar videos that have the most views to try to get my video recommended after it.
I did this by searching for a keyword phrase, then sorting by “view count.”
Then I paid close attention to the keywords used in the title of the most viewed videos and made sure to include them (or similar phrases) in mine.
Currently, 43% of my views come from YouTube, suggesting my video after watching a similar video. 20% of my views come from viewers who searched for my video's topic in YouTube’s search bar.
Quality Over Quantity
I have always believed in quality over quantity when it comes to anything. Some YouTuber’s believe that you have to upload every day to keep the YouTube algorithm happy.
But it’s tough for most people to keep up that pace and create high-quality content.
I admit that I’d be much farther along in my YouTube journey if I posted each week or every few days consistently, but YouTube hasn’t punished me for not uploading consistently.
What they have done is rewarded me month after month with a consistent paycheck for creating a handful of videos that I invested time and effort into.
Video “watch time” is critical on YouTube. If you create videos that have enough educational or entertainment value to keep viewers’ attention, YouTube will promote your content.
If you create high-quality content that also happens to be in a competitive niche and optimized for YouTube SEO, you can earn a very respectable monthly income, even with a small number of subscribers.
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