How you can make money on YouTube without AdSense

Marija Krasnopjorova

3 strategies to monetize your YouTube channel

Running a YouTube channel is a great way to make some extra cash, with many people out there creating a successful full-time career from the platform.

When you think about how a Youtuber earns their cash, the first thing that likely comes to mind is ad revenue. However, it’s been getting increasingly difficult to earn AdSense revenue through YouTube. You now need to have a minimum of 1000 subscribers and 4000 watched hours in the last 12 months to be accepted to AdSense, and if you’re wanting to earn decent cash, you’ll need to be raking in hundreds of thousands of views.

So, what other revenue streams can you pursue? Today we’ll be discussing three ways you can monetize your YouTube channel so you can earn more.

How does AdSense work and how much can you make with it?

AdSense is an ad network that works alongside Google Ads and Google Display Network to create tailored ads for visitors to your website based on their cookies/tracking data.

Whenever a business signs up for AdWords, they’re automatically enrolled into the Google Display Network alongside millions of other businesses meaning that business A shows ads on business B’s website without having to ask that website directly. When they register for this, they pay a certain amount per click (CPC) or per 1,000 views (CPM).

So how can you make money from Google AdSense on YouTube?

PPC ads appear on your YouTube channel, not just on websites. Every time an ad is viewed you get a percentage of that payment. If someone clicks on an ad link, you’ll earn more of the CPC paid by the publisher (68%).

How much can you make with AdSense?

This really depends on your click-through-rate, view rate, and what the advertiser’s CPC is. However, according to Influencer Marketing Hub, it can work out at around $18 per 1,000 views on average.

Disadvantages of completely relying on AdSense

  • In the early days, you’re not going to see much revenue from AdSense, especially if your views are relatively low. Many say you don’t see the big bucks until you’re hitting 1,000,000 subscribers, however, you can still earn a primary income from YouTube with far less. Even if you just get 2,000 views per day, you could potentially generate $1,000 in revenue per month from this.

  • Also, YouTube doesn’t let you monetize certain types of videos and are constantly changing their guidelines so you need to stay up to date on them.

  • There’s nothing to fall back on. If AdSense suddenly removes you from their platform, you’ve lost 100% of your income, which is why you should have multiple revenue streams so all your eggs aren’t in one basket.

3 ways to earn money on YouTube without AdSense

  1. Affiliate marketing
  2. Getting brand sponsorships
  3. Donations from your audience

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn extra cash from YouTube, especially if you have a small, yet loyal following. You’ll likely even earn more from affiliate marketing than you do from AdSense.

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate marketing works by partnering up with brands and promoting their products or services on your platform; this could be a blog, social media page, or even a YouTube channel.

Once registered with an affiliate program, you’ll be given a unique link to the product/service that you’re promoting, and then when a user clicks that link and makes a purchase on the partner’s website, you’ll get a commission. These links usually have tracking cookies built into them and may have a time limit for when the customer makes a purchase. For example, with Amazon, it’s 24 hours, but with Wise, we have an indefinite cookie window for affiliates.

Join the Wise affiliate program to monetize your YouTube channel today

Who does it successfully on YouTube?

Just about all content creators include some kind of affiliate link on their YouTube channel. However, some choose to solely create YouTube channels for affiliate marketing. Tatianna James is a YouTuber who uses affiliate marketing as one of the 5 income streams that generate her $50,000 a month.

How to find the best affiliate program for your audience

The great thing is that there are affiliate programs for just about every niche and you can sign up to them directly with the company itself, or join an affiliate network so all your commissions are kept in one place. You can usually find a way to even promote products that aren’t directly in your niche and spin it to cater to your audience. Take Wise, for example, we have our own affiliate program for our multi-currency account and it’s very versatile, because who doesn’t want to save money on foreign exchange fees when spending abroad? Or when sending money to family overseas? Even shopping online.

Promoting products from brand sponsorships

Reach out to brands you’re interested in promoting directly is a great way to make money from YouTube. You can do review-style posts or even just mention the brand as your weekly sponsor and include a link to their site. Some influencers arrange special discount codes with brands so they can pass savings onto their fans. It also makes it easier for the brand to track sales that way too.

Services like Grapevine house a directory of currently available brand collaborations and sponsorships that you can browse and send proposals to. All you need is 2000 subscribers to get started.

Gather a fanbase and get donations

Once you’ve built a bit of a loyal following, you can use sites like Patreon to receive donations that help fund your YouTube channel. Patreon subscribers usually get a little something extra in return like extra video content, access to exclusive live chats/discussion threads, merchandise, and even shoutouts on the channel.

If you have over 1,000 subscribers, you will be able to allow your audience to make use of the superchat and superstickers. They will pay a small fee to be able to send a message or use your unique stickers. YouTube has an online course about this revenue channel, if you’re interested to find out more.

How to maximize revenue from your YouTube channel

Do research to choose the right topics and keywords

Just like you optimize a website, you need to also optimize YouTube channel for maximum success. First, you need to pick a niche. Pick something specific so you attract the right type of audience, but also something that seems to be doing well in terms of popularity. You can use Google Trends to determine the popularity of a niche.

Then, you can use specific tools to help you choose the right keywords like the Ahrefs keyword explorer, or if you’re looking for a free tool you can try the keyword tool.

You should always consider the searcher’s intent. Once you have your keyword type it into YouTube, see which results show at the top and this will give you a good idea of what people have been looking for.

Understand how the YouTube algorithm works

Understanding how algorithms work is the key to ranking, especially if you’re vlogging in a competitive niche. YouTube wants to deliver the optimum content for each individual user and while videos used to be ranked in order of no. of views received or length, it’s now based on multiple different factors that YouTube doesn’t really want to share.

However, there are two factors known to have an impact on rankings. These are the metadata and how well the footage has performed to date in terms of engagement (i.e. comments/likes etc). Be sure to include keyword-rich titles and descriptions on your videos and be thorough in the keywords section too when uploading.

In addition to this, YouTube says that other factors like the frequency that you upload videos, the length of time users are spending on your videos and the types of videos users usually watch can all impact your position in the search results. Remember to stay up to date with algorithm updates that YouTube. For more information on understanding the YouTube algorithm, check out this article from Author’s Guild.

Create compelling, high retention content

Content that has a high retention rate (view duration) will ultimately rank better in the search results over time. If people are clicking off your video after 20 or 30 seconds, it’s a pretty good signal that something is wrong. You can view your retention rate in the analytics section and try to increase it over time by constantly tweaking your videos until you hit the sweet spot with your viewers.

Using other factors like the number of likes, dislikes and comments may even give you further insight as to why your viewers are either staying on the video or clicking away.

Keep it varied and entertaining, but also be helpful. ‘How to’ content is the second most popular type of YouTube video and finding a relatable issue/problem in your niche that you have a solution for could go a long way and even score you some subscribers. Give your audience a hook so they know what’s going to be coming up in the video and how it’ll benefit them. Keep it fluff-free and if you’re using cards to get them to stay on your channel, leave this to the last 20% of the video.

Get your audience engagement up

As we mentioned above, audience engagement does have an impact on how well you rank on YouTube for future videos you post.

But how do you encourage audience engagement? First, you need to see what’s actually going on behind the scenes. If you can understand how your viewers are behaving on your videos you can tailor them to keep your retention high and create better engagement.

You can access analytics for all your videos in your creator studio under analytics where you have access to metrics like audience retention, the number of likes, dislikes, shares, and comments. You can also check out the demographic of your viewers to see which content is appealing to certain types of people. Hootsuite has a more in-depth guide to going through your analytics here.

From there, you can try to boost your engagement using several techniques. Thumbnails are the best way to capture attention and get users on to your video. Also by just straight out asking your audience to like, comment, and subscribe, you can increase your engagement rates by a few hundred percent – using annotations that the user can click make it even easier. If you encourage your viewership to share opinions too, you’ll likely get better engagement, which will help you rank better for videos in the future, increasing viewership and therefore, revenue.


As you can see there are plenty of ways to make money on your YouTube channel without AdSense. Get creative, do some outreach to see if you can collaborate with cool brands in your niche. By doing this, you’ll not only make more revenue but you’ll be simultaneously be helping your audience by giving them recommendations that will have them coming back for more.

If you’re looking for more tips and tricks on how to grow your YouTube channel check out this useful guide from Ahrefs.

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 Wise Payments 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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