YouTube Money: How Much Do People Make?

YouTube money of over $700,000 a year is being paid to 1,750 “ordinary” people, but the path to YouTube riches is not an easy one. In fact it takes about 16 million YouTube views per year to earn the typical US household income and the odds of reaching that level aren’t high. The YouTube pay scale below shows roughly how much people can expect to make in ad revenue from the video sharing site. There’s also a section on what it takes to make real money on YouTube and a section on who’s making the most. The short answer is that it would take about 48,000 YouTube views per day to make $68,000 per year.

YouTube Money: How Much Do People Make?

YouTube Money Scale
YouTube Money Per 1,000 Views$1.00$7.60$4
YouTube Money for 10,000 Views$10$76$43
YouTube Money for 100,000 Views$100$760$430
YouTube Money for 1 Million Views$1,000$7,600$4,300
YouTube Money for 10 Million Views$10,000$76,000$43,000
YouTube Money for 100 Million Views$100,000$760,000$430,000
YouTube Money for 1 Billion Views$1,000,000$7,600,000$4,300,000

The table above shows a rough YouTube money scale. Generally speaking, most people can expect to make about $4 for every 1,000 YouTube views. Someone looking to make $50,000 a year or more will need about 12 million views. We say generally because there is no hard and fast rule for exactly how much a YouTube view is worth. That’s because YouTube pay really depends on the viewer’s engagement with the ads. Someone with a YouTube channel that gets a lot of views where viewers are watching the ads and even clicking through to them will make a lot more than someone whose viewers ignore or skip the ads. That’s why the table above has a “min,” “max” and “average” column. It’s entirely possible for someone to make a lot more or a lot less than the average. Stars like Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift tend to create a lot more engagement with the ads, so they likely make money in the upper range. Bieber has the #2 YouTube channel in the world right now. #1 is owned by gamer PewDiePie with 13.3 billion views. The video below is by a guy who makes over $600,000 a year on YouTube.

Related: How Much is YouTube Worth?

What it Takes to Make YouTube Money

What it Takes to Make YouTube Money
Number of YouTube channels making over $700,000 each5,000
Percentage of the top 100 YouTube channels run by ordinary people35%
Number of ordinary people making $700,000 each on YouTube1,750
How much money the typical American family makes per year$68,000
Number of YouTube views needed to earn $68,000 a year in YouTube money16,000,000
Number of views per day to make $68,000 a year in YouTube money43,836
Number of "average" videos to make $68,000 a year in YouTube money2,667
Total number of YouTube channels500,000,000
Approximate number of ordinary people making $68,000 a year in YouTube money100,000
Odds of making $68,000 a year on YouTube1 in 5,000
Odds of getting into the NBA1 in 3,000

YouTube MoneyThe bad news is that it isn’t easy to make YouTube money. Yes there are a lot of people making it, but there are even more people trying unsuccessfully. How many people? We don’t have exact numbers, but we have some good top line stats and we can do some estimating. The table above shows that there are 5,000 YouTubers making over $700,000 each. Stats site Socialblade has compiled a list of the top 5,000 YouTube channels. Every single one has over 165 million views. 35% of the top 100 channels are owned by ordinary people who’ve hit it big. A rough estimate suggests that 1,750 of those are run by ordinary people who’ve made more than $700,000 each. While that may sound tantalizing, let’s give it a dose of reality. The typical American family makes $68,000 a year. To make that much from YouTube, we’d need 16 million views per year. According to video marketing site Tubular Insights, the average YouTube video gets about 6,000 views. That means we’d need 2,667 average videos to earn $68,000 in YouTube money. That’s seven per day. On the upside, some quick and dirty estimating tells us there are about 100,000 people making $68,000 a year from YouTube. That’s a lot of people making decent money, but there are over 500 million YouTube channels. Figuring the odds, that means only about one in 5,000 people who starts a YouTube channel makes a decent living wage. The odds of making it into the NBA are one in 3,000. In short, it’s easier to get into the NBA than to succeed financially at YouTube.

The Good News

To avoid too much rain on the YouTube money parade, it’s doubtful that everyone who starts a YouTube channel is trying to make money. Most are simply not even trying to deliver quality content, so the NBA analogy isn’t quite apples to apples. Further, videos don’t expire after a year, so someone who’s been at it for three years doesn’t really need to make 2,667 average videos per year. They just have to have 2,667 average videos total. Also, people with talent and perseverance can learn to make above average videos. The bottom line is that anyone who loves making videos and has fun with it ought to do it. Who knows what could happen? But anyone who’s thinking about quitting their cubicle job to reap easy YouTube riches should think several more times.

The video below from James Wedmore explains how to make money on YouTube. Take it with a grain of salt, the channel averages 1 million views per year or $4,250.

Related: How Much Money Do the Top Ten Youtubers Make?

Who Makes the Most YouTube Money?

The table below shows the top ten YouTube money makers. Number one is gaming humor legend PewDiePie with 13.3 billion views and $101 million made so far, though because of taxes and expenses he’s kept about half of that. Justin Bieber is second and FunToyzCollector is third. FunToyzCollector opens up Disney and other collectible toys in YouTube videos. That’s it. With only that kind of video, the channel has amassed nearly 12 billion views. Commercial sites emimusic and WWE are next, followed by Rihanna with 9.8 billion views and Russian cartoon streaming site Get Movies with 9.6 billion. Next comes Taylor Swift and LittleBabyBum, an animated nursery rhyme site. #10 is Маша и Медведь, another Russian cartoon site. Apparently the Russians really love their cartoons. For a list of the top ten regular people who’ve made big YouTube money, see our article about that here.

Who Makes the Most YouTube Money?
YouTube ChannelYouTube Money Earned
Justin Bieber$94,513,600
Get Movies$72,906,800
Taylor Swift$72,344,400
Маша и Медведь$68,027,600