How to get paid by YouTube

Samuel Clennett
4 minute read

As the world’s number 2 ranked website¹, YouTube is well worth the attention of anyone looking to make money online. And in fact, there are several ways that you can use the site commercially.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to get paid by YouTube using Google AdSense.

To receive a payment via AdSense, you’ll need a bank account in the country where you’ve registered your address². But things can often get tricky managing international payments online.

If there’s any chance you’ll be receiving payments in multiple international currencies, Wise Business can really help you out. For no monthly fee, it gives you virtual bank details in a range of international currencies – including Australian, New Zealand and US dollars, British pounds, and euros. So you can pay and get paid in any of those currencies just like a local.

But anyhow, here’s what you need to know about getting paid by YouTube.

How do I get paid on YouTube?

Before you can get paid through YouTube, you’ll need to be accepted onto the YouTube Partner Programme³.

To be eligible for that, your YouTube channel needs to be of a certain size already – with more than 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours’ worth of views from valid public viewers in the past year⁴.

You’ll also need to have linked AdSense to your account already – and to make sure that your site follows all of YouTube’s monetisation policies⁴. That’s stuff like their community guidelines, copyright, terms of service, and so on. Don’t take this for granted: they will review your channel and its content, so it’s definitely worth taking this seriously⁵.

Once you’re accepted into the Partner Programme, there are several different ways you can start earning.

How to make money through the YouTube Partner Programme

Here’s an overview of the ways that the YouTube Partner Programme lets you get paid³.

  1. Through ad revenue. This is the most basic way you can earn money. When ads appear on your channel, you get a cut of the revenue YouTube makes from them.
  2. Through channel memberships. Members of your channel can set up recurring monthly payments in exchange for extra features – little things like virtual badges, or bigger stuff like exclusive content⁶.
  3. Through merch. You can also set up a “merchandise shelf” where people can make one-off purchases.
  4. Through Super Chat/Stickers. This allows your fans to pay for their messages to be highlighted during chat streams.
  5. Through YouTube Premium Review. YouTube Premium subscribers get to use YouTube without ads. But you may not be deprived of ad revenue, because you can receive a portion of their subscription fee instead.

However, bear this in mind. Just because you’re a YouTube Partner, doesn’t mean you’re actually eligible for any of these ways to earn money. Each of them has slightly different eligibility criteria.

For instance, you can only do channel memberships if you have more than 30,000 subscribers, and Super Chat/Stickers are only available in certain countries or regions (including Australia⁷)³.

How much can I make from YouTube?

This may be the million-dollar question, but the answer… may be less than that. Or then again, it could be way more.

Simply put, you’re likely to earn more if you have a bigger channel – so, as you might expect, it pays in general to build your channel up as large as possible. This will mean more views and more revenue from advertising (and YouTube Premium too).

A bigger channel will also increase the likelihood of your earning money through channel memberships and merchandise, which can be lucrative.

What about the actual numbers? Well, create a hit channel like Ryan ToysReview (now Ryan’s World)

More realistically, the numbers are likely to be pretty low unless you become stratospherically popular. What you’re paid depends on the hard-to-predict metric of CPM (costs per thousand views), which varies considerably depending on a number of factors including the user’s location⁹.

While CPM varies widely and unpredictably, we’re generally talking a few US dollars per thousand views.

Australia tends to have a relatively high CPM, so that’s good news if your audience is mainly based there¹⁰. Silvermouse reported that, for their own channel, views from Australia gave them an average CPM of USD 6.15 (currently AUD 8.96) over a one-year period⁹,¹¹.

But remember, CPM isn’t the same as RPM – which is revenue per thousand views. That’s how much you’ll actually earn, which is only a fraction of the total – YouTube keeps the rest for itself. It’s been reported that the split is 45% to YouTube and 55% to creators¹².

Google AdSense

AdSense is Google’s platform for advertising, and it’s the platform through which you actually get paid. It doesn’t just do YouTube – it handles Google ads in other places too.

You need to register with Google AdSense before you can be eligible to earn money through YouTube⁴.

Through AdSense, you’ll be able to keep track of how your channel is performing financially, and see what payments are due. They’ll pay you monthly, but only if you’ve earned more AUD 100 or more¹³.

What is YouTube Preferred?

Specifically designed for YouTube, Google Preferred is a programme for advertisers rather than content creators.

It allows advertisers a little more control over where their ads appear, so that they can target the most popular channels of all.

It’s recently been announced that Google Preferred is going to be replaced by YouTube Select, which similarly gives advertisers more of a say in where their ads are placed¹⁴,¹⁵.

Google Preferred and YouTube Select may affect which ads appear on your channel, but if you’re making the content, they’re out of your hands.

YouTube direct advertising

Getting paid by YouTube isn’t your only option when it comes to monetising your YouTube channel. It’s also possible to work directly with brands, who might want to sponsor your channel or a particular video, or have you review or feature their products.

This can prove a more lucrative method – although of course you’ll probably need a professional-looking site with great metrics before you can get a foot in the door.

Don’t forget that Wise Business might be the perfect option when it comes to getting paid by Youtube.

All in all, you won’t be earning megabucks through YouTube unless or until you have a sizeable following – and we’re talking thousands upon thousands, or better still millions.

But ad revenue is really only the start of the ways you can use a popular YouTube channel to make money – so if you have great content and the time to invest in the project, it could certainly be well worth it.


  1. Alexa Site Ranking
  2. Adsense
  3. A few things to know
  4. Eligibility
  5. Policies
  6. Guidelines
  7. Chat
  8. Forbes - How much do Youtubers make
  9. Countries ranked by YouTube CPM / RPM
  10. CPM Rates
  11. Exchange Rate at 13:32 BST, 27 June 2020
  12. How much do you make from Ads
  13. Payment Thresholds
  14. Youtube Originals
  15. Youtube Select

All sources accurate as of 27 June 2020

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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