How Much Money Do YouTubers Make?

Young man talking in front of camera.
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The popularity of YouTube has exploded since it first launched in 2005. With more than 2 billion unique visitors a month YouTube itself is hugely successful, but the site has also served as a platform for a series of internet celebrities to find fame and fortune. One survey from Variety found that the five most influential figures among Americans ages 13 to 18 are all YouTube favorites, overtaking Hollywood superstars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence.

These YouTube stars have huge fan bases and their videos rack up millions and even billions of views, bringing in impressive revenue from advertising, endorsements and other business ventures.

So just how much do YouTubers make? Check out some of the top YouTube earners of 2021 and ways you can cash in on social media.

How Much Money Do You Make on YouTube?

How much money you make on YouTube depends on your niche/audience and how many subscribers you have. According to YouTube, the number of creators earning at least five figures annually on YouTube grew more than 50% from the previous year. And YouTubers earning at least $100,000 per year grew 40% year over year.

Make Your Money Work Better for You

You can start side hustling faster with fewer subscribers through the YouTube Partner Program. To get accepted to the program you’ll need:

  • At least 1,000 subscribers
  • A minimum of 4,000 hours of your content watched in the last 12 months
  • A linked Google AdSense account for payment
  • To follow and agree to the YouTube channel monetization policies

How Much Money Does a YouTuber Make Per Hour?

Breaking it down to earnings per hour is hard. It all depends on how long it takes you to produce content and build an audience. It may take you months to make a living hourly wage when you’re just getting started. But as your audience grows and your YouTube production expertise gets better, you could conceivably start making YouTube star income. It’s easier to look at income by subscribers and views.

How Much Do YouTubers Make Per 1,000 Views?

The average YouTuber gets $18 per 1,000 ad views. There is no exact formula for how much you can make when you have a successful YouTube channel. According to Tubular Insights, “partners earn anywhere between $0.30 to $2.50 cost per thousand views, or CPM, but there are many exceptions to the rule, with some of the bigger YouTube players earning closer to $10 CPM.”

Make Your Money Work Better for You

However, only the more famous channels likely earn the highest CPM. Smaller audiences with 1,000 views can earn you some cash, but it will likely come mainly from Google Adsense revenue.

How Much Do YouTubers Make Per 100,000 Views?

If you can grow your subscriber base to a significant number to hit at least 100,000 views, you could take advantage of the higher threshold of up to $2.50. That means you can make $250 per month at $2.50 CPM if your video gets 100,000 views.

How Much Money Do You Make on YouTube per One Million Views?

The biggest YouTube Stars easily hit one million views per video, having access to a lucrative CPM of up to $10. That’s up to $10,000 in earnings for having a large audience and a sought-after niche. If you’re producing content regularly that gets million-plus views, you can make $10K per video you put out there. Once you go big with a channel, it’s much easier to make even more money by diversifying. That’s how the biggest stars hit millions of dollars per year.

How Much Do YouTubers Make When They Hit Big?

Did you know that Justin Bieber’s rise to fame started on YouTube? His videos performing music as a kid went viral and catapulted him into legitimate musician status. Bieber aside, how much money do YouTubers make?

Take a look at the trajectory of some of the highest paid YouTubers right now for inspiration. You’ll find that they are regular people, even some kids, who managed to grow a following that makes them millions of dollars today. Here are ideas on how to make money on YouTube from the stars that do it best.

Ryan’s World

Estimated income: $26 million

Ryan’s World is a YouTube channel that’s dominating in views, subscribers and income. Nine-year-old Ryan Kaji is the highest-paid YouTuber so far. He makes $26 million from his channel, but that’s nothing compared to the Ryan’s World annual retail sales of $200 million at major stores including Walmart and Target.

Dude Perfect

Annual estimated income: $20 million

The Dude Perfect channel has 56.7 million subscribers, making it the most subscribed sports channel on YouTube. The dudes of Dude Perfect make most of their money from the sponsored ads on their channel. Even if they’re splitting the cash five ways, making $4 million each per year, playing sports with your high school buddies is a pretty sweet way to make a living.


Estimated earnings: $18 million a year

The Like Nastya channel tops the list of most-viewed YouTube channels ever, with over 51 billion views to date. Nastya’s loyal, 69.6 million subscribers tune in regularly to watch the child star learn new things, study math or read a book with her dad, attend her friend’s birthday parties, play dress up and more. In addition to her YouTube fame, Nastya recently signed a deal to create branded merchandise such as clothing, toys and homeware.

Jeffree Star

Estimated earnings: $17 million

Jeffree Star got his start on Myspace as a DJ, but became a YouTube star and one of the highest-paid YouTubers for his makeup tutorials. He leveraged his skills (and audience) by launching Jeffree Star Cosmetics in 2014. Jeffree’s net worth is estimated to be $200 million, which includes $17 million in annual YouTube income and $100 million in cosmetic sales, plus other investments in real estate and the cannabis industry.


Potential earnings: $15 million a year

The star of PewDiePie, Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, is a Swedish video game commentator who got his start in 2009 by broadcasting videos of him playing video games. His wild and outrageous behavior isn’t for the faint of heart, but it has earned him over 110million subscribers.

How Do YouTubers Get Paid?

As you can see from the biggest YouTube stars, how to make money on YouTube is more than getting views. You’ll also need to go after a few different income streams. There are a few ways to make money on YouTube. The savviest stars take advantage of all of them, including:

  • Sponsorships and collaborations with brands promoting their products
  • Affiliate sales in which you get a commission if your audience buys a product or service you recommend
  • Selling your products and merchandise
  • Using the channel to promote your other projects

Good To Know

One of the coolest perks of being a YouTuber with an audience of at least 10,000 subscribers was the free access to YouTube Space, a production studio complete with all the equipment you can imagine to create the best YouTube videos ever. Available in major cities such as Los Angeles, New York, London and Tokyo, they’re closed due to the pandemic, but there are plenty of online resources for creators.

This article has been updated with additional reporting since its original publication.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

About the Author

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.

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