Video Creators: Don’t Let YouTube’s Monetization Changes Get You Down
Earlier this week, YouTube dropped a bombshell on small channels and would-be creators. Starting next month, the terms of the YouTube Partner Program will change to only include channels with more than 1,000 subscribers and over 4,000 hours of watch time in the past year. Before this, the barrier to entry was 10,000 lifetime views. Making matters worse, creators who met the initial requirements and had been running ads on their content will no longer be allowed to unless they reach the new thresholds.
I’ll admit that, when I first heard this news, I was pretty upset. Ever since I started my channel, I’ve been looking forward to hitting that 10,000 view benchmark and being able to monetize my content — not because I thought I’d get rich but because I viewed it as a big step toward being a “professional” content creator. Incidentally, I actually surpassed 10,000 views a few weeks ago and have been waiting for YouTube to complete my channel review, which won’t be necessary now (in the meantime, I’ve actually reached more than 25,000 views). As annoyed as I am that YouTube essentially moved the goal post as my kick was sailing in, I can only imagine what creators who have been making some revenue from their channels must be feeling about these changes.
Despite that initial reaction, the truth is that this curveball (now I’m mixing sports metaphors) hasn’t discouraged me from wanting to continue to grow my channel. Yes, it would have been nice to make a little ad money, but that opportunity is still there — it’s just a little further down the line. Furthermore there are actually better ways to monetize your content than YouTube ads. For example, on my video review of Dosh, I included a referral link for the app. With Dosh’s current promotion entitling users to $15 per reference, one person signing up is likely far more lucrative than YouTube ad revenue from my video views.
While this is a very specific case, there may be other affiliate and referral opportunities that can help you monetize and ultimately reinvest in your channel. Alternatively or additionally, it may make sense for some creators to join platforms like Patreon or to create merchandise for your channel using sites like Teespring. Even with a small but dedicated audience, these moves could not only help you build your brand but also help put some money into your channel.
As it stands, my channel currently has 1,137 hours of view time and 202 subscribers. That puts me at just over a quarter of the way toward meeting the first requirement and one-fifth of the way to the second. Moreover, that’s all happened in just three months! So, all things considered, I’m just as excited about my YouTube venture now as I was when I started — and I hope you are too.
Also published on Medium.