Since the success of short-form content on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, YouTube shorts have become another popular platform for short-form creators to share their videos with the world.
Whether you’re looking to specialize in shorts or use them as a way to support your main channel, YouTube shorts can be an excellent source of online revenue with the right approach to the format.
In this guide, we’ll delve into the YouTube shorts format, what it takes to build a successful channel, and how to try monetizing your YouTube shorts with the best possible rate of success.
What Are YouTube Shorts?
YouTube shorts are short-form, vertical videos with a maximum length of 60 seconds. They’re similar to the default format on TikTok and video content on Instagram, the platforms which are credited with popularizing short, vertical-aligned video content.
Shorts can be published either as one pre-edited video, or a string of 15-second videos. Content that’s less than 60 seconds in length will be automatically recognized as a short by YouTube’s upload portal.
Monetization Options for YouTube Shorts
There are several different options for the monetization of YouTube shorts which work in slightly different ways.
These options include:
Shorts ad revenue sharing, where YouTube totals the revenue generated from ads on the shorts platform, then distributes this to a ‘Creator Pool’ of creators who are eligible for monetization, based on their share of the total views generated in your country.
YouTube Premium subscription revenue sharing, which works similarly to ad revenue sharing, but is calculated as a share of revenue from Youtube Premium subscriptions.
YouTube Shopping features, a system where revenue is generated by YouTube Shopping, a platform that allows you to promote products through shorts.
Fan Funding, where fans can make monetary donations to the creators they follow.
Strategies for Making Money with YouTube Shorts
There are many variables that can determine how successful a YouTube shorts channel is. When looking into how to make money with YouTube shorts, it’s important to bear in mind the following methods and strategies for the best possible outcome.
Building a Successful YouTube Shorts channel
Your potential for monetization depends heavily on the level of traffic and engagement your YouTube Shorts video content receives. Use the following conventions to develop your channel and gain the kind of traction you need to start moving the monetization needle:
Optimize the Text and Hashtag Fields to Help Organic Visibility
YouTube-focused SEO tools can help you find popular keywords that people use to find content like yours. Including these kinds of keywords in your videos’ titles, hashtags, and captions, and you’ll greatly increase your chances of being discovered through YouTube’s search engine.
Structure Your Content with Storytelling Techniques
YouTube offers its users countless hours of content to its users, and you need to convince them that yours is worth their time. This is especially important when you consider the Shorts viewing experience, where users can move onto the next piece of content with a quick swipe of their thumb.
Make sure that you structure your content so that it has a strong and engaging hook in the first few seconds, leading into fast development and a satisfying payoff. Learning and applying these techniques will help you consistently meet your audience’s demand for great content and help increase your subscriber count.
Optimize Your Thumbnails
Similar to the hook in the first few seconds of your video rolling, the thumbnail for your short is going to be a major deciding factor as to whether or not a YouTube user engages with your content.
Check out some of the channels in your niche that you admire, note down some of the key visual elements they’re using, and see how you can take inspiration from these while setting your channel apart from the crowd.
Collaborating with Brands and Sponsored Content
While the main monetization options we listed earlier are facilitated by YouTube itself, many creators receive the bulk of their YouTube revenue through independent collaborations with brands, in which they’re paid to promote products and services as part of their content.
There are countless potential combinations of brands and creators currently generating money for YouTube creators, but whatever kind of brand you’re hoping to collaborate with, we recommend that you try to attract paid partnerships by consistently producing personalized, authentic content that demonstrates a good relationship with your audience.
Brands want to work with people who show they can convince an audience to make a purchase, and they know you won’t be able to achieve this if your tone is overly professional, disconnected, or aloof.
Try to think about the kinds of brands and products you’d like to collaborate with, then use your shorts content to show that you’re the kind of creator who’d have genuine, real-world use for these products. When you can demonstrate your skills for personable and authentic promotion of products, brands will be much more inclined to reach out and offer you sponsorship deals.
Potential Earnings and Monetization Rules for YouTube Shorts
As you develop your strategy of how to make money with YouTube shorts, it’s important to understand the overall potential for earning, and the polices you’ll need to stick to for long-term success.
Understanding YouTube Shorts Monetization Rules
In order to qualify for YouTube Shorts monetization, you’ll need to meet certain requirements measured across different metrics.
To qualify for fan funding, you’ll need:
- At least 500 subscribers.
- To have uploaded three videos over the past 90 days.
- At least 3,000 public watch hours in the last year, or 3 million public views on your shorts over the past 90 days.
To qualify for both fan funding and ad revenue, you’ll need:
- At least 1,000 subscribers.
- At least 4,000 public watch hours from regular YouTube content over the past year, or 10 million public shorts views over the past 90 days.
Once you’ve qualified for either of these, you’ll need to abide by certain policies to ensure your content remains eligible for YouTube’s monetization program.
- Making sure your content stays within YouTube's Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines.
- Avoiding copyright protections by not using owned video content without editing it enough that it can be considered original content.
- Not using other creators’ content without offering a new perspective or editing it into something new.
- Not paying for fake or automated views, comments, or other manipulations that can make your content seem more successful than it is.
Estimating Earnings from YouTube Shorts
The earning potential for YouTube shorts isn’t as strong as regular videos, which is why many creators use shorts mainly as a promotional device to stimulate interest in their more detailed content, their business, or other projects.
YouTube expresses earnings as Revenue Per Mille (RPM), a metric showing how much a creator can earn from 1,000 views, which is calculated based on several earning sources including Ads, YouTube Premium revenue, Channel memberships, etc. Generally, creators report earning an RPM of $0.05 to $0.07 (USD).
If, for example, you’re able to reach the top of this range at $0.07, and your content garners a million views, you’ll earn $70.00 total.
To get a more accurate projection of how much you’ll earn through YouTube shorts, we recommend detailed research into content creators in your niche to find out how their engagement metrics have translated into earnings.
Additional Ways to Monetize YouTube Shorts
Aside from the main monetization options offered through YouTube’s own monetization platform, there are other, more independent methods of earning from YouTube shorts which you should be aware of.
These methods include:
Affiliate Marketing on YouTube Shorts
Affiliate marketing involves including paid links and promotions in your content, leading to an advertising brand’s product or service.
While affiliate marketing programs don’t tend to pay as well as paid content collaborations, they are usually more accessible, and won’t require as much painstaking editing to your content. Research some affiliate programs that are friendly to shorts creators and follow their application instructions to see if this is a viable opportunity for you.
Selling Merchandise and Products
YouTube allows creators who have at least 1,000 subscribers to sell their merchandise directly through YouTube. However, even before you reach this milestone, there’s nothing stopping you from using your content to promote your own independent ecommerce store.
Bear in mind that creators who make a decent amount of revenue from their merchandise tend to have large, active audiences who are excited to show their support for the channel. If you’re still growing your audience, we don’t recommend investing in merchandise products until you have reasonable projections for success, or use a more cost-effective merchandising method like print-to-order.
YouTube Shorts present a wealth of opportunities for content creators to monetize their creativity. By understanding the platform's features, implementing effective strategies, and adhering to monetization rules, creators can unlock the full financial potential of their short-form content.
We hope that this guide has given you a better understanding of the YouTube shorts monetization landscape, and helped advise your strategy for boosting revenue from your content.