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Comparing Revenue Streams on YouTube

As the community of people creating content specifically for YouTube continues to grow, many are wondering how to generate income from their content. There are several ways that people earn money on YouTube, here is a comparison of three of the major revenue streams that YouTubers use. 

Revenue Streams on YouTube

Before a channel can make any type of income a real possibility, it must have a substantial audience (number of followers, subscribers). Beginners can buy YouTube live stream views, or find other ways to boost their subscriber count.

YouTube Partner Program

This is the most basic method to earn money on YouTube, and often the first that content creators try their luck with. YouTube ads are placed on (and around) content that is monetized, and they share a portion of their revenue generated from these ads. This in turn encourages people to create more content, and get more views to earn more money. With more than 4 billion users globally, there is potential for high earnings if the content is high quality.

Pros

  • Creative control, as long as it appeals to the masses.
  • Very low requirements to monetize your channel.

Cons

  • Earnings are comparatively lower.
  • YouTube can change the terms of its program at any moment.
  • Viewers may use ad blockers, significantly impacting your revenue
  • No income stability


Affiliate Marketing

Companies often have programs set up to allow for content creators to include (affiliate) links to their website in an attempt to drive traffic towards their website. You can apply to several programs for a variety of different products according to your preference. The companies assess your channel and provide a link to track any purchases that result from users clicking through your channel.

Pros

  • Unlimited potential for earning - you can apply to as many as you want.
  • Complete creative freedom, you can market the product however you like. 
  • More choice of products to be affiliated with, you can pick and choose the ones you like.
  • Low requirements for applying to affiliate programs (in general). 

Cons

  • No contract so you cannot monitor or expect a certain amount of income
  • Entirely dependent on making a sale.


Sponsorship

This is a more difficult revenue stream to take part in, because usually, companies approach channels (with a substantially large fanbase) asking to pay them a fixed rate in exchange for including a previously scripted advertisement in their content. Usually, this is a marketing strategy for lesser-known brands or startups that are trying to raise brand awareness and attract customers. 

Pros 

  • Fixed income, you always know how much you’re getting
  • A contract guarantees your rights. 
  • The income is generally considered to be higher than other ways of generating revenue on YouTube.

Cons

  • Less creative control - even if the ad is not scripted, they may require revisions of the ads you write. 
  • It is very hard to get sponsored, usually, channels need to wait for companies to approach them. 


Conclusion

With a comprehensive comparison between different ways of generating revenue on YouTube, you can easily choose the best method suited to your needs. You may even try a combination of two or all three methods to maximize your earning potential. 


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