Does being a YouTuber actually pay off?
We all know YouTube superstars like MrBeast and PewDiePie who earn enough to stage extravagant giveaways. Swimming with sharks for $100,000. Giving their 100,000,000th subscriber a private island. That kind of jive.
But how much do most regular YouTubers make? And is it worth it as a legitimate career move to get started on the platform?
In this article, we’ll first take a look at YouTube’s super rich before diving into what determines a YouTuber’s earnings, and how much they make on average on a video and in a year.
Ready? Let’s dive right in.
How much do the richest YouTubers make?
According to Forbes, MrBeast is pretty close to being the first YouTube billionaire going by brand worth. We know for a fact that his personal fortune is well in excess of $100 million, and that he earned over $54 million off YouTube last year alone.
And according to the official list, he’s not even the richest YouTuber as of 2023. Depending on how you calculate it, that title goes to Jeffree Star, who built his channel in sync with his makeup empire. He’s currently worth over $200 million.
Jeffree Star may be the richest YouTuber, but he also runs a lucrative makeup business.
Other major YouTubers include Logan Paul ($45+ million), PewDiePie ($40+ million) and Ninja ($40+ million).
Then, there’s a whole band of hyper-successful kid YouTubers who are making a fortune off the platform. Heading them is Anastasia Radzinskaya, of Like Nastya fame, who’s worth over $106 million, followed by Ryan Kaji (Ryan’s World) at $100+ million, and Vladislav and Nikita Vashketov (Vlad and Niki) at $88+ million.
But what decides how much these YouTubers actually earn?
What Decides How Much YouTubers Make?
There are a few different factors that go into how much YouTubers actually make.
The first of them is their niche. Essentially, that’s the type of content they produce – whether it’s unboxing videos, fun for children, makeup tutorials, pranks and challenges, or gaming content.
Not all niches are similarly profitable. In fact, some have a much higher money-making potential than others. (Check out our list of the highest-paying niches for more info.)
A second factor is a YouTuber’s monetization strategy. While most YouTubers join the Partner Program to get a share of the ad revenue of their content, successful creators usually diversify their income streams.
Tipping and subscription platforms, merchandise sales, brand partnerships: These are only some of the options that YouTubers can use to make a living off their content. Interested in learning more? Have a look at our introduction to YouTube monetization to get the full run-down.
Finally, there’s the actual number of subscribers and views that a YouTuber’s channel has. Typically, the more subs and views you can boast, the more you’ll earn. However, those numbers aren’t everything. With the right monetization strategy, you can earn a solid income without having dozens of millions of subscribers.
Case in point: The richest YouTuber, Jeffree Star, actually has a lot less subscribers (15.9 million) than the two runner-ups: Like Nastya has 104 million, MrBeast currently has 130 million. For more, check out the top subscribed YouTube channels!
How Much Do YouTubers Make per Video?
So, depending on these factors, how much do YouTubers make per video?
Let’s focus on just the ad revenue for the moment. Once they’ve joined the Partner Program, YouTube pays creators 55% of what it makes off ads run on their content (45% for Shorts, after YouTube’s paid for the licensed music).
The exact payout per video depends on how many people watch it and what the ad rates are like. As mentioned above, ads earn creators more on some types of content than on others. For instance, personal finance and investments are highly-paid niches on YouTube, while lifestyle and beauty earn significantly less.
Ali Abdaal’s video on passive income ideas has earned over 10 million views since being released in 2021. Investing advice is a fairly profitable niche.
A solid benchmark for YouTube income is RPM – revenue per mille. This is a measure for how much a YouTuber earns per 1,000 views.
The average RPM in the US is $18. However, it can vary significantly, going all the way up to $30.
Those are the US rates, though. A creators’ geographical location has a major influence on their earnings potential.
For example, YouTubers based in Western Europe see some of the highest RPM rates in the world. In contrast, those in the Asia-Pacific region typically see lower rates.
To calculate how much a creator earns off a video in total, though, you also need to factor in other monetization avenues, like affiliate links, tipping and subscription features, brand sponsorships, and merchandise sales income.
How Much Do YouTubers Make per Year?
Calculating an average annual income for YouTubers is tricky. As we’ve seen so far, their revenue depends on a ton of factors – their niche, their location, their monetization strategy. That’s not even factoring in how active they are on their channel and how often they upload content. Even when they upload can have an impact.
That hasn’t stopped people from trying: Large-scale studies have found that US-based YouTubers make around $4,600 if they work on their channel full-time. In a year, that amounts to about $55,000.
But these numbers don’t really reflect the huge variation in income. According to Business Insider, average monthly earnings for mid-range YouTubers vary between $82 and $83,000, or about $1,000 to $1 million annually.
The Bottom Line
Becoming a YouTuber can be a lucrative full-time career. If you choose the right niche and the right monetization strategy.
By looking at creating video content as a job from the get-go, you’ll be able to make all the right strategic decisions to help your channel take off – and earn you a full-time income on YouTube.
Ready to start your YouTube adventure? Have a look at our free starter’s guide and email series!
On average, US-based full-time YouTubers make about $55,000 per year. How well an individual YouTuber gets paid, though, depends on what niche they’re in, where they’re based, and what their monetization strategy is like.
The average YouTuber in the US working on their content full-time makes about $4,600 per month.
On average, YouTubers earn about $18 for 1,000 views from YouTube’s partner program. The exact value, however, depends on their niche, their geographical location, and what kind of content they produce.
The richest YouTubers by net worth are Jeffree Star ($200+ million), Anastasia Radzinskaya (Like Nastya, $106 million) and Jimmy Donaldson (MrBeast, $100+ million). However, according to some calculations, MrBeast is valued at over $1 billion.