How to Become a YouTube Partner and Get Paid in 2023

YouTube has become one of the most popular ways for creators to earn income online. With over 2 billion monthly logged-in users visiting the platform, there is a massive audience and potential to monetize content.

Becoming a YouTube partner opens up features like monetizing videos with ads, selling channel memberships and merchandise. Although it takes work to reach the application thresholds, the income potential is immense.

This article will cover:

  • Requirements to become a YouTube partner
  • Steps to apply for the YouTube Partner Program
  • Tips for increasing views and subscribers
  • Calculating potential YouTube earnings
  • Comparing the best affiliate programs
  • Other ways to make money online

Requirements to Join the YouTube Partner Program

To qualify for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), creators must meet these application thresholds:

1. 1,000 Subscribers

Building an audience of 1,000 subscribers demonstrates to YouTube that viewers enjoy your content. While getting the first 100 subscribers can be difficult, using YouTube SEO optimization and consistently producing quality content will drive more traffic over time.

2. 4,000 Valid Public Watch Hours in the Last 12 Months

In addition to subscriber numbers, YouTube wants partners to have a good viewership base. Creators need 4,000 public watch hours of their content in the past year to meet this threshold. This equates to around 240,000 minutes or 4,000 hours of view time.

Meeting both requirements demonstrates that a channel provides value to viewers. In addition, these metrics show there is potential for generating advertising revenue.

How to Apply for the YouTube Partner Program

Once creators meet the subscriber and watch time thresholds, they can apply to the YouTube Partner Program. The steps include:

1. Sign Up for Google AdSense

Since advertisement revenue provides the bulk of income, partners need to connect their YouTube channel to an AdSense account. This is the program that displays ads on videos and content, tracking views and earnings.

Additionally, AdSense requires its own application and approval process. So it’s wise to apply for an AdSense account before reaching the YouTube Partner thresholds.

2. Agree to YouTube’s Terms of Service

YouTube partners agree to additional terms that allow YouTube to display ads and provide a portion of the revenue. It also requires creators to continue meeting community guidelines and produce original content.

3. Get Reviewed and Approved

After linking an approved AdSense account and agreeing to the terms, YouTube reviews channel applications. This process checks that all qualifications are met and that channel content adheres to policies.

The review may take several weeks. YouTube contacts creators directly if they require any additional information or changes.

Tips to Get More YouTube Views and Subscribers

While the application process is relatively straightforward, building an audience to meet the view thresholds takes significant effort. Here are some best practices:

Optimize Video Metadata

  • Write compelling titles and descriptions using keywords people search for. This helps videos rank higher in YouTube and Google searches.

  • Fill out metadata completely including optimizing thumbnails, tags and closed captioning videos.

  • Research competitor videos and leverage YouTube Trends features to identify popular topics and terms.

Engage Viewers and Promote Videos

  • Ask viewers questions to spark conversation and engage with commenters.

  • Promote new uploads on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

  • Join relevant online communities, forums and groups to share content.

  • Collaborate with other creators for shoutout videos or shared productions.

Analyze Performance

  • Use YouTube Studio Analytics to see which videos perform best and worst.

  • Experiment with different video styles, topics and lengths to see what viewers respond to.

  • Check traffic sources and demographics to better understand your audience.

Executing on these consistently over time leads to exponential channel growth. Not only will this help meet the YouTube Partner requirements faster, but also build an audience to maximize long term revenue.

Estimating Potential YouTube Earnings

YouTube advertising earnings vary widely depending on viewer demographics, niche, seasonality and more. However, here is an overview of the YouTube revenue splits and potential income:

YouTube Revenue Split

YouTube pays partners a 55% share of the total ad revenue their videos generate. The remaining 45% covers YouTube’s costs for hosting content and serving ads.

Google AdSense displays ads on YouTube videos and tracks earnings. Video ads come in several formats like display, overlay, skippable and non-skippable. Different ad types have different rates based on performance. Earnings depend on ad CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions).

Calculating Potential Earnings

While individual CPM rates vary, averages across YouTube are about $7.50 per 1,000 ad views. Based on this, YouTubers can potentially expect to earn the following estimated revenue:

  • 100,000 views per month = $412.50 per month
  • 500,000 views per month = $2,062.50 per month
  • 5 million views per month = $20,625 per month

Top YouTube creators often get 2-10X higher than the average CPM though. With 10 million monthly views at a $15 CPM, earnings could reach $82,500 per month.

In addition, channel memberships, merchandise sales, sponsorships and more provide additional income streams.

While getting views in the millions is difficult, it demonstrates the immense monetization potential for those that build a large audience.

Comparing the Best Affiliate Marketing Programs

In addition to display ads, affiliate marketing is another great way to monetize online content and earn passive income.

Affiliate programs allow partners to earn a commission from sales they refer to a company. You simply share special links and if any viewers click and buy products, services or sign up for trials, you receive a percentage.

Here is an overview and comparison of the best affiliate programs to consider joining:

ProgramCommission RatesCookie DurationMinimum EarningsTop ProductsNotes
Amazon AssociatesUp to 10%24 hours$10Books, electronics, home goods, Amazon subscriptionsWide range of products. Up to 8% commission on some niche categories
ShareASaleUp to 75%+30-90 days$50Dating offers, apparel, softwareOver 4,000 merchant programs. High payouts in certain niches
Rakuten1-10%30 days$5Walmart, Best Buy, Macy’sBig mainstream retail brands. Extensive affiliate tools.
CJ AffiliateUp to 90%+3 days to 2+ years$50-$100Tech gadgets, beauty products, travel, fitness itemsRobust platform and marketplace to find offers. Tiered commissions
ImpactUp to 75%+30-365 days$100Financial services, subscriptions, insuranceFocus on high ticket offers in many countries

The best programs are easy to join, offer high recurring commissions, and have strong reputable brands.

Niche selection also plays a huge role in earning potential. Promoting products or services you genuinely like and already discuss on your channel or site builds credibility with viewers.

Other Ways Creators Can Make Money Online

While YouTube ads and affiliates provide relatively passive income, creators can generate multiple income streams online. Building multiple monetization channels creates more stability if one stream underperforms occasionally.

Freelance Writing Business

Offering freelance writing or editing services allows creators to generate income from their content skills. Sites like UpworkFlexJobs and Contena are great for finding these opportunities. Specializing in an industry or niche can increase earning potential over time.

Selling Online Courses

Creating an online course lets you generate sales leveraging content you already produce. Upload pre-recorded lessons to platforms like TeachableThinkific or Podia and sell to interested students.

Consulting Services

Leveraging your expertise by providing consulting services is another option. This can involve offering coaching, account management, design services, business strategy and more.

Dropshipping Business

Building an ecommerce store that sells products dropshipped from a supplier is also popular. This allows creators to focus on marketing and store design vs. warehousing inventory.

Social Media Management

Managing social media accounts and campaigns for businesses allows creators to monetize their platform expertise. Many companies lack specialized skills in this area.

Final Tips for Online Business Success

No matter what online monetization models you pursue, consistency and gradually building multiple income streams is key. Avoid seeking “get rich quick” systems and instead focus on creating evergreen and hard to replicate income channels.

Here are some final best practices that set up any creator business for sustainable success:

  • Deliver significant value - Building trust and authority with an audience across platforms takes time. Provide genuinely useful and engaging content that stands out from competitors.

  • Own your data and audience - Avoid building audiences only on third party platforms. Capture emails, build owned communities and control your income channels.

  • Reinvest to compound gains - Reinvest a portion of profits into improving content quality, outsourcing tasks and further developing monetization programs. Treat content channels like a business.

  • Explore emerging platforms - Newer platforms like TikTok often have huge audiences and less competition. Getting traction early can allow exponential growth.

Implementing even a few of these online business models provides creative ways to earn income from producing content. Experimenting to see which options best fit skills, interests and lifestyles is key.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are other requirements to join the YouTube Partner Program?

In addition to 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours in the last year, creators must:

  • Produce original content that follows community guidelines
  • Have a linked AdSense account in good standing
  • Agree to additional YouTube monetization terms and policies
  • Live in a country where YPP is available. (It’s unavailable in some countries)

Applicants also undergo a background check evaluating channel conduct and content.

How much money do you get per view on YouTube?

The average display ad CPM on YouTube is $7.50 per 1,000 views. Google AdSense pays partners 55% of total ad earnings that their content generates. Rates vary significantly based on audience, niche and seasonality though. Top creators often earn $15+ per 1,000 views.

In addition to ads, creators can generate income from channel memberships, merchandise, sponsorships, affiliates and more.

Can I make money on YouTube without being a partner?

Without joining the YouTube Partner Program, creators cannot monetize content directly on the platform. However, those under the application thresholds have options like affiliate marketing, selling merchandise or offering Patreon memberships. Building audiences and skill sets on YouTube aids partner applications later.

What are the best niches for earning income on YouTube?

Some of most popular and lucrative niches on YouTube based on ads and affiliates include:

  • Finance / Investing
  • Software / Technology
  • Gaming
  • Beauty / Fashion
  • Cooking / Food
  • Health / Fitness
  • Education Lessons
  • DIY / Crafts
  • Kids Content

Niches aligned to strong buyer intent categories tend to perform best. Research smaller sub-niches within these broader topics for less competition too.

Can I make money on YouTube without creating videos myself?

Yes, you can monetize content without appearing on camera yourself. Some options include:

  • Text-based video content using images and video clips
  • Animation explainer videos
  • Screencast tutorials showing software
  • Compilation clips packaged into new videos
  • Podcasts uploaded to YouTube
  • Live streams with guests and interviews

The most important component is providing engaging content that attracts viewers consistently.


Becoming a YouTube partner unlocks immense income potential from video ad revenue, channel memberships, merchandise and more. While the program requires hitting subscriber and view time thresholds first, the application process is straightforward for those that qualify.

Optimizing metadata, promoting content across social platforms and analyzing analytics aids growth. And supplementing YouTube earnings with other monetization models creates more stability long-term.

Delivering significant viewer value should remain the top priority though. Building loyalty and trust will compound over time by consistently improving content quality and expanding authority.


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