The ultimate guide to YouTube Shorts monetization & strategies

The ultimate guide to YouTube Shorts monetization & strategies
Estimated reading time:
minutes

YouTube Shorts are video platform YouTube’s version of TikTok videos and Instagram Reels—short-form videos that are hyper-digestible and engaging. Many YouTubers have started creating short-form videos to share on the Shorts feed as a part of their YouTube strategy. However, YouTube didn’t initially have a way for creators to monetize those videos. Now, there are several ways that YouTubers can easily use their Shorts to increase their revenue from the video sharing channel.

Throughout this article, we’re going to talk more about how YouTube Shorts monetization works plus five strategies you can use to make money with your Shorts.

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How YouTube Shorts monetization works

Due to the nature of YouTube Shorts and the feed used to watch them, the ad revenue payout is a bit different from traditional YouTube video ads. With traditional ads, one sole creator gets paid for all of the ads that run during their videos. However, with YouTube Shorts, ads are being played between every few Shorts videos, so it doesn’t make sense for all of that revenue to go to a single creator.

Instead, the revenue from those ads are pooled together into a single “creator pool.” These funds are then allocated out to Shorts creators based on their share of total views.

This ensures all creators are being fairly compensated for their content, with the split based on the total number of views. So creators with a higher reach will, of course, be paid more from the creator pool, and vice versa.

YouTube Shorts monetization requirements

To qualify for YouTube Shorts monetization, you must first apply to be a part of the YouTube Partner Program.

Your YouTube channel must comply with these requirements in order to apply:

  • Your channel must be compliant with the YouTube channel monetization policies
  • You must live in one of the 120+ countries where the YouTube Partner Program is available
  • You must have two-factor authentication turned on and access to advanced features
  • You cannot have active Community Guidelines strikes on your channel
  • You need a Google AdSense account to link to your channel

If you meet those application requirements, then you will need to meet one of these two guidelines in order to be eligible for monetization:

  • Have 1,000 subscribers with 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months OR
  • Have 1,000 subscribers with 10 million valid public Shorts views in the last 90 days

6 ways you can monetize YouTube Shorts

If you meet the above requirements, you can apply for the YouTube Partner Program—do this in your YouTube Studio—to start making money from your YouTube content. Here are six YouTube monetization strategies to consider.

1. Ads on YouTube Shorts

This is the most common monetization strategy on YouTube. It’s easy to do—and as long as you continue to create high-quality, engaging content, you should continue to generate passive income from this outlet.

According to YouTube, these are the ads used for creator pool funds:

earn money

They appear seamlessly as users scroll through the Shorts feed and 45% of the revenue is allocated out to creators based on their share of the total views.

Here’s a visual of how the pool works:

Ad revenue shorts

Take a look at this hypothetical example from YouTube to get a better understanding. This is based off of a creator uploading a Short with a single music track and the revenue that one Short would bring in a single month:

  • There are 100 million total Shorts views in Country A, and all views are on Shorts uploaded by monetizing creators.
  • $100,000 is earned from ads that play between Shorts in the Shorts Feed.
  • 20% of these Shorts use 1 music track, so the Creator Pool is $90,000 and $10,000 is used to cover the costs of music licensing.
  • Your Short is viewed 1 million times, so you are allocated 1% of the Creator Pool, or $900. Your allocation from the Creator Pool is not affected by your use of a music track.
  • The 45% revenue share is then applied to your allocation, and you earn $405 for your Shorts views in Country A.

2. Sponsorships

Another great YouTube Short monetization strategy is sponsorships. A sponsorship is essentially a partnership between a brand and a creator, where the creator puts together a video showcasing a brand’s products or services.

These have long been done for traditional YouTube videos, but long-form videos come at a premium cost as they’re a much larger production. Shorts, 30-60 second videos, are much quicker and easier to put together, making them more affordable for brands. If you’re new to sponsorships in general, start putting together packages and rates based on how many subscribers you have. Since the YouTube Partner Program requires you to have at least 1,000 subscribers, that’s a good threshold for reaching out for brand sponsorships as well.

3. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing involves promoting products you love for a small commission. Many brands have affiliate programs—Teachable has an affiliate program as well.

Creators can easily make money by tagging affiliate products that are prominently featured in their videos. Eligible creators can tag products right inside the video. Here’s an example of what that would look like:

Affiliate marketing YouTube

YouTube’s tagged product policy states that only prominently featured products can be tagged. The point is for someone watching the video to have access to a product they’d be interested in specifically because of the video’s content.

If you’re ineligible for direct linking, you can also include affiliate links inside your Short’s description.

4. Merchandise

If you build a loyal audience, you can create and offer your own merch as an additional revenue stream. Create video content that features your merch and announces new merch launches and tag your products in those videos. Or, again, you can link to the merch store right inside your description.

Here’s an example of what featuring your merch in your YouTube Short videos could look like:

public watch hours

Remember that to tag products, it needs to be heavily featured in the video. With your personalized merch, you get a bit of leeway with this. If you’re wearing it, you may be able to get away with tagging it.

5. Channel memberships

Another YouTube Shorts monetization strategy is channel memberships, or paid YouTube subscriptions. Channel memberships allow creators to offer additional content behind a paywall. Eligible creators can turn this on inside their YouTube Studio by heading to the Earn section and clicking on the Memberships tab.

You can then create membership levels at different price points, very similar to how Patreon works. More expensive levels get more perks.

Perks you create and share might include:

  • Community posts
  • Videos
  • Live streams
  • Live chats
  • Recognition

Essentially, channel memberships are a way for you to offer more content for those who are paid subscribers.

Most channels that are eligible for the YouTube Partner Program have the same eligibility guidelines for channel memberships. However, channels that are set as made for kids are ineligible to offer paid subscriptions.

Start promoting your channel memberships in your YouTube Short videos. You can do this by teasing the types of content you share with members and the different perks available.

6. Super Thanks tips

The last major way you can get paid with YouTube Shorts is with the new Super Thanks feature. Previously called Viewer applause, Super Thanks is essentially a form of tipping. A “Buy Super Thanks” button is featured on eligible YouTube Shorts and viewers who love that video or creator can easily send in a tip, or a “Super Thanks” to the creator.

Here’s an example of what this looks like below:

YouTube studio sharing

Viewers can send in tips of $1.99, $4.99, $9.99, or $49.99 while also leaving a quick message for the creator. If you’re eligible, you can turn this setting on and have the button appear on your Shorts in order to bring in even more income.

FAQs

Can YouTube Shorts be monetized?

Yes! We cover six different YouTube Shorts monetization strategies in this article to help YouTube creators increase their income from their channels. A few of these strategies include:

  • Ad revenue from the YouTube Partner Program
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Channel memberships
  • Super Thanks tips

How much will YouTube Shorts pay for 100k views?

With the YouTube Partner Program, 100k views will earn creators about $3.33. However, if they continue creating new content and reaching a wider audience, that number can increase exponentially. Plus, there are more ways to make money from YouTube Shorts than one.

How many watch hours do you need to monetize YouTube Shorts?

There are two different criteria used to determine monetization eligibility. Channels need to meet just one: either 4,000 watch hours or 10 million Shorts views in order to monetize their YouTube Shorts.

Chloe West

Chloe West, Chloe West is a digital marketer and freelance writer, focusing on topics surrounding social media, content, and digital marketing. She's based in Charleston, SC, and when she's not working, you'll find her playing card games or watering her plants.

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