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YouTube Monetization Requirements, Policies & How to Apply

Learn about YouTube monetization, including the requirements, eligibility, and income amounts you can expect to earn as a creator.

vector graphic showing an illustration of YouTube monetization

You have put a lot of effort into creating multiple videos with interesting content for your YouTube channel.

Hours of your precious time and resources have been invested into learning and mastering YouTube SEO and the YouTube analytics platform.

You have gained an encyclopedic knowledge of how the YouTube algorithm works, and it’s safe to say that you consider yourself to be a bonafide YouTuber.

Now, you want to start earning financial rewards for all your effort. After all, you keep hearing about successful YouTubers like Graham Stephan, who owns a personal finance channel, earning huge sums like $6 million per year.

So, how did he do it, and how can you start earning cool cash too?

In this article, I will show you how to get monetized on YouTube and what you must put in place before your YouTube account can become a money spinner.

An Overview of YouTube Monetization

YouTube allows its content creators to make money off the videos they put on its platform. Through advertisements, memberships, third-party applications, and additional monetization instruments, you can start making money off your YouTube channel.

Once your YouTube channel is up and running and you’re beginning to gain traction, you should start thinking about ways you can monetize your growing audience.

You can do so by becoming a YouTube Partner, signing up for AdSense, enabling advertising on eligible videos, and allowing ads to be placed within your videos.

After that, a portion of the revenue generated through your videos will be sent directly to your AdSense account.

It’s as simple as that, but don’t worry, we’ll go into more detail below regarding setting up monetization and the different types of advertising. But first, let’s see how much money you can make.

Different Types of YouTube Monetization

YouTube offers several different ways to monetize on its platform. While display ads may seem like the most obvious format, there are a few other ways you should think about making money off your content.

Advertising Revenue

YouTube advertising revenue comes from when you place display ads, overlay ads, and video ads within your YouTube videos. Think of all those pop-up ads you see on videos or the video ads that play before you watch a video — these are all types of YouTube advertisements.

There are several different types of YouTube ads you can enable on your channel. Let’s take a look at what you’ll be working with:

  • Display ads
  • Overlay ads
  • Skippable video ads
  • Non-skippable video ads
  • Bumper ads
  • Sponsored cards

For more information, you can head to this guide to YouTube’s advertising formats.

Minimum requirements: You’re at least 18 years old or have a legal guardian who’s 18 and can accept payment via AdSense. Your content must also follow these advertiser-friendly content guidelines.

Channel Memberships

Instead of relying solely on ads to bring in revenue, you can also charge a monthly fee to your most loyal viewers. In exchange, Channel Memberships give special perks like exclusive content, access to live chats, badges, and emojis that they can display on your channel. This is an excellent way to lock in more monthly recurring revenues, however, the minimum requirements are a little more challenging to hit.

Minimum requirements: You’re at least 18 years old, have more than 30,000 subscribers, and don’t have any Community Guidelines strikes.

Merchandise Shelf

If your channel is continuing to grow, a great next step is creating your own custom merchandise that fans can buy on your page. Merchandise Shelf allows you to showcase these products directly on your video pages.

Companies like Teespring and Bonfire make it easy to design merchandise that limits your risks and the amount of overhead you’ll have. When you have your merchandise ready to go, you can feature it on your video pages for viewers to purchase.

Minimum requirements: You’re at least 18 years old, have more than 10,000 subscribers, and don’t have any Community Guidelines strikes.

Super Chat

YouTube also allows you to engage with your audience through a chat stream. Super Chat then allows your fans to pay to have their messages shown at the top of the chat stream.

In some cases, your subscribers can even pin their message at the top of the screen for a set amount of money.

Minimum requirements: You’re at least 18 years old and live in a country where Super Chat is enabled.

YouTube Premium Revenue

YouTube Premium is the paid subscription service that allows viewers to watch content without being interrupted by ads. You might be thinking, “But I’m supposed to be making money from ads on my videos.”

In order to combat this conundrum, YouTube pays out a small fee every time a Premium subscriber watches your content.

Minimum requirements: Create content that’s watched by YouTube Premium subscribers.

Additional YouTube Revenue Streams

If you’d like to pursue additional ways to monetize with YouTube or are too antsy to wait until you hit the minimum threshold for monetization, you can also turn to the following third parties to find more income streams.

  • Worthyt: Enables users to ask questions and interact with you via online messenger for a small fee.
  • FameBit: Gives you the ability to be an influencer and get paid for sponsorships in your videos.
  • PayPal: Allows you to add a PayPal button to your page so you can receive donations from your fans.
  • Amazon Affiliates: You can get paid every time someone purchases a product with an Amazon tracking link you’ve featured on your videos.

These aren’t the only third parties that allow you to monetize online, however, they are some of the more popular ones. If interested, there are also some other high-paying non-YouTube affiliate programs you can look into.

YouTube Monetization Requirements

You must be a verified YouTube Partner to earn money with your YouTube account.

Requirements include 1,000 subscribers, 4,000 valid watches over in the past year, and you must create an Adsense account.

You must also follow YouTubes community guidelines.

This includes not having spam, impersonation, or fake engagement on your channel.

There also can’t be any sensitive content such as nudity, child endangerment, or self-harm.

Violent content that includes hate speech, predatory behavior, or malicious attacks is also against YouTube’s policies.

All of their policies can be found here.

How Many Subscribers Do You Need to Monetize YouTube?

You must have at least 1,000 subscribers to join the YouTube Partner program.

How Many Likes Do You Need to Monetize YouTube?

Your videos must have had 4,000 watch times in the past year, but likes do not matter.

Is YouTube Monetization Exclusive?

Any content that follows YouTube’s guidelines is acceptable.

However, if the content has spam, violent, or sexual behavior, the video will become demonetized.

This means that the user cannot earn money from views on this video.

Is YouTube Monetization Available in All Countries?

YouTube Monetization is not available in all countries.

However, a user can change their channel country to the USA to still monetize content.

This will change who the content is shown to, so it is not against the guidelines.

Here is a list of the countries that allow for monetization.

Youtube Monetization Policies

It’s important to realize that not all videos are capable of being monetized. YouTube enforces strict guidelines as to which videos can bring in cash.

YouTube allows you to monetize videos that are your original content where you have the commercial rights to use every aspect of the video. This includes getting the written permission if others have made contributions to your video in the form of audio, visuals, or any other type of content you didn’t create yourself.

For example, if you have a video that features background music that someone else owns, you’ll either need to prove that it’s royalty-free music and provide a link in the description or obtain written permission from the owner to use it in your video.

Videos that violate these copyright rules will not be allowed to be monetized. If you know that you don’t host any videos that violate these rules, then let’s get you set up with YouTube monetization.

What Does YouTube Check When Reviewing Your Channel?

YouTube checks the main theme of the channel, the most viewed videos, the newest videos, the most significant proportion of watch time, and video metadata.

They may inspect any other parts of the channel as well.

Read over the guidelines and ensure that all of your content meets them.

What Is Allowed to Monetize?

Any videos that are daily vlogs, DIY videos, tutorials, short films, or original music videos can be monetized.

The video creator must own all rights to what they are posting.

The best way to ensure that your content is monetized is to make sure that all of the content was created by you.

Don’t steal or borrow any content from other videos.

If you do, the original owners should be mentioned.

This is why daily vlogs and videos about your life are smart ideas.

In addition, advertisers are more likely to place their ads on advertiser-friendly content.

For videos to be available for monetization, the creator must own all the audio and visual elements.

This includes thumbnails, logos, music, interfaces, and video games.

Therefore, if YouTube asks for additional rights documentation, you should always provide them.

Examples of these rights for original audio issues could include the artist’s name, song name, music label, and any third-party audio used.

Content That Violates These Guidelines

Any content that is not originally made by the video creator violates the guidelines.

Moreover, any content that goes against the YouTube Terms of Service or Community Guidelines is in violation.

This includes violent, sexual, or illegal videos.

What Is Needed To Monetize A YouTube Channel?

You will need to secure the following assets before you can start earning big bucks from your YouTube channel.

  • Content: You can’t really achieve anything on YouTube without quality content that is interesting enough to attract people in your target audience. No strategy, be it advertisements or influencer marketing, can work without the consistent output of quality content.
  • Video-Making Equipment: Good content is useless if it isn’t watchable. Viewers judge a video or YouTube short within the first few seconds; once they discover that they are watching a poorly edited video, they will move on. You can use video editing software tools and even your YouTube Studio tools to finetune your content.
  • YouTube Influencers: This can be a game changer for new content creators that want to quickly gain traction by leveraging the success of other established YouTubers in the same niche. The idea is that you will collaborate with YouTubers that already have a large audience to expose your channel to new viewers.

How To Get Monetized On YouTube: Step-By-Step Instructions

Follow the three-step process below to turn your channel into a credible source of income.

  1. Meet YouTube’s Requirements For Monetization
  2. Apply To YouTube’s Partner Program
  3. Explore Other Money Making Opportunities

Step 1: Meet YouTube’s Requirements For Monetization

Most YouTubers make the bulk of their income via YouTube AdSense, but as I mentioned in the FAQ section, you must meet certain requirements before you can qualify for the YouTube Partner Program.

Here are the requirements:

  • At least 1000 subscribers on your YouTube channel or YouTube Shorts channel
  • At least 4000 hours of watch hours over the past year for a traditional channel
  • At least 10 million views over the past 90 days for a YouTube Shorts channel
  • An AdSense account that is linked to your channel
  • No pending cases of a violation of YouTube’s community guidelines
  • A resident of a country that has access to YouTube’s Partner Program

If you are yet to build the required subscriber numbers, you will have to step your content output and YouTube SEO.

Take the time to do detailed keyword research, then place them in strategic places like your Video title, description, and tags to make it easier for YouTube’s algorithm to push your videos in front of the right audience.

Of course, the YouTube video you are creating for that audience must also be something that they would like to watch.

Audience research via a customer survey and YouTube Analytics can help you build a holistic picture of the type of people that would be interested in your videos and the types of content they want to see.

You want to know the following about your audience:

  • Gender
  • Age range
  • Geographical location
  • Employment status
  • Hobbies
  • Viewing times (so you know when to post)
  • Favorite content formats

With that data, you will be able to understand the preferences better of your audience. Competitor research can also give you more insights.

Step 2: Apply To YouTube’s Partner Program

vector graphic showing an illustration of money being made from Youtube

Once you have reached the required subscriber threshold and other guidelines have been complied with, you can proceed to apply for channel monetization.

Here is how the application process works:

  • Log into your YouTube account, then access your YouTube Studio platform
  • Click Features > Monetization via the sidebar
  • Indicate your consent to YouTube’s Partner Program terms, then link your AdSense account or create a new one
  • Indicate your Monetization preferences, then click Start.

It can take up to 30 days for you to get a response from YouTube, and that time should be spent growing your channel and adding new content.

One thing I should point out is that shady tactics can lead to rejection. If you are buying subscribers or uploading content that you do not have the copyright to, YouTube will reject your application.

It can get worse if Google feels that your actions are a gross violation of its policies; your account can be suspended or even terminated.

You will get an explanation if your application is rejected, and even if that happens, you can always reapply after 30 days.

If your application is approved, you will automatically become qualified for AdSense income.

Your profitability will be determined by the growth of your audience and the volume of your content output.

If things go the other way and your subscriber numbers fall below the required threshold or you stop posting content for a period of six months, YouTube will remove monetization from your channel.

Step 3: Explore Other Money Making Opportunities

Ad income is not the only way you can monetize your channel, there are several other ways YouTube creators can earn money on YouTube.

Here are some of the best YouTube monetization options:

1. Channel Memberships

If you are 18 years old and you have at least 1000 subscribers, you will be eligible to implement channel memberships. You can restrict exclusive content and benefits to your members in exchange for a period subscription fee.

2. YouTube Live

Live sessions can be much more engaging than traditional video content. Luckily, YouTube has introduced features like Super Chat, Super Stickers, Emoticons, and even personalized badges that your most loyal fans can purchase and use to set themselves apart from the larger audience during live streams.

3. YouTube Premium

Subscribers to this service are able to watch ad-free videos on YouTube. The company pays the creator a share of the subscription fee, but it’s not a source of income that is really within your control.

4. Affiliate Links

This is the easiest way for new content creators to monetize their channel. The idea is that you will recommend products that you can vouch for to your audience and earn a commission when they click your affiliate link to buy the item from the brand’s website.

5. Crowdfunding

Platforms like Patreon let you create patronage channels where your fans can donate funds to support your work. You can encourage them by offering exclusive content like behind-the-scenes footage to viewers who support you via donations.

6. Merchandise Sales

This can be very lucrative for established channels with a loyal fan base of people that will be eager to associate themselves with the content creator. You can sell things like clothing, mugs, towels, and other merch decorated with artwork or catchphrases that are commonly associated with your channel.

7. Online Courses

If you run an educational channel or better still, if you are an established authority in your industry outside of YouTube, you can offer online courses to your members.

8. Paid Sponsorships

This is another income source that is reserved for established content creators with large audiences. The idea is to endorse brands in exchange for a fee that is usually calculated based on the number of views you are getting on your channel.

Similar Tutorial Types To Check Out

  • How To Get More Views On YouTube: this article will help you discover proven strategies that you can use to get your content in front of new viewers on the platform.
  • How Edit Videos For YouTube: learn how to make great YouTube videos and discover free and paid tools that will make your work a lot easier.
  • How To Find Your YouTube Niche: this article will show you why a scattergun approach is a recipe for disaster on YouTube and how you can identify the right niche and target audience for the type of content you want to create.

Wrapping Up

There are several ways you can monetize your YouTube channel, and the best approach will be to try each monetization method over time until you identify the ones that work best for you.

For new content creators on the platform with small audiences, affiliate marketing, online courses, and crowdfunding are the most viable ways to make money early.

Finally, I recommend setting up a blog to complement your channel. That way, your blog content can serve as a consistent source of inspiration for your video content. You will also be able to promote affiliate links to both platforms.