In its short thirty-year history, the internet has completely upended the world of publishing and democratized media to its core. Where once we relied on just a limited number of print, radio, and TV companies for our media content, these days, anyone can set up as a broadcaster in a matter of minutes.
With the continued growth of social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, publishing content online has never been easier. Indeed, these days, there is an increasing number of vloggers and influencers making a comfortable living from posting videos online – but how do you monetize YouTube content and start generating a profit?
The basic requirements for YouTube monetization
While establishing a content channel on YouTube might be easy, making any money from it most certainly isn’t, and attracting viewers remains a challenge for many YouTube account owners. To allow the monetization of your account, YouTube requires:
- At least 1,000 active subscribers on your channel
- A minimum of 4,000 hours of watched video on your channel in the last 12 months
- The channel must comply with YouTube’s extensive policies and guidelines
- The channel should have a linked AdSense account to process payments
The YouTube Partner Program (YPP)
Presuming you meet all the requirements listed above, you will be allowed onto the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) and after that can start monetizing your content. However, it’s important to remember that only non-copyrighted material can be monetized, so, for example, if you use a commercial music track in your content, you will not be able to earn any money from it. Furthermore, if you violate copyright rules, you may end up being blackmarked by YouTube – possibly resulting in exclusion from the YPP. If you’re in any doubt, you should read the full conditions before taking any chances.
Tips to improve your viewership and hours watched figures
Whether you’re trying to build your watch hour total to gain entry to the YPP or looking to increase the return on your videos after already being accepted, there are several best practices you should follow that will help increase your view times on YouTube.
Include transcriptions in your description: While YouTube’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) is improving all the time and making a better job of understanding video content, there’s still no substitute for including a text-based transcript of your audio. Automated transcription software can scan the speech in your video and provide an accurate text version which you can place in the video description field.
Design your own thumbnail: You should avoid using the YouTube uploader’s automatic thumbnail selection tool and instead design one yourself. The thumbnail image you use is normally the first thing a visitor will focus on, so you should ensure it also contains a striking text description. It’s worth remembering, too that, should a user share your video to another platform, the thumbnail will appear in the link.
Remember short and long-tail keywords in your title and description: YouTube is part of the same company as Google Search, so it employs complex search algorithms to suggest content. You should provide as much information in your title and description as possible to help it understand your content. The use of short and long-tail keywords will help the engine categorize your videos, so they’re more likely to be found.