With around 2 billion monthly users worldwide, YouTube is actually the world’s second-most-popular social network. The only social network that has more monthly active users than YouTube is Facebook.
Across the world, YouTube has made celebrities, stars, and immensely wealthy persons out of people who simply create videos of just about anything and upload them onto the internet.
Many of those individuals, especially those in the United States and Europe, rack up millions of dollars annually from video views and ad placements on the video-sharing platform. And several of them have become actual celebrities, who can be mentioned in the same breath as bankable movie stars and famous musicians.
These YouTube creators typically make money off the Google-owned platform through Google’s advertising network, AdSense, brand integrations in videos, and sponsored videos. Some of them have built a substantial following to rake in the goods via all of these revenue streams whereas many others have to depend on AdSense.
But AdSense has a catch — only the very popular YouTubers who get millions of views on their content from certain choice locations can earn significant sums through AdSense. And few YouTubers in Africa fall into that top category. It follows that, more often than not, it can be a struggle in these parts.
How Much Does YouTube Pay African Creators?
Tayo Aina is a rising Nigerian YouTube star whose growing YouTub channel (TayoAinaFilms) now has over 100,000 subscribers. Aina’s been putting out videos on YouTube on and off for the past three years, and only became a consistent YouTuber in the middle of 2019.
A filmmaker and photographer by profession who also runs an apartment/event centre booking startup called Spacebook.ng, Aina travels to different locations in various countries making original videos that touch on real estate, lifestyle, and travel.
Quite recently, he put out a video detailing the “money side” of his YouTube journey, and there were some very interesting takeaways.
“Making money from YouTube is hard, very very hard,” Aina began in a very frank tone.
“To monetise your YouTube channel, you need to first have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of content,” he said while also revealing that he didn’t even know he could make money off YouTube when he first started out and only discovered it much later.
In 2018, Aina shot a video featuring American rap star, J. Cole, who was performing at a concert in Nigeria. That video racked up over 1 million views over a one-year period. And guess how much Aina earned from that YouTube video? All of USD 132.95.
There’s a lot of literature on how YouTubers are underpaid and how many of them barely earn enough to take care of their basic needs, not to mention fund the creation of their content. And that paltry sum is an embodiment of that rhetoric. But there’s more to it, though.
“First of all, that video is a performance video, and from what I’ve learned such videos don’t make a lot of money,” he explained.
“Secondly, the video had J. Cole in it and he was performing his song. So YouTube capped the earnings of this video. This is actually why people should be mindful of using copyrighted content in their videos.”
Similarly, Aina made a video of Cardi B during her eventful visit to Nigeria late last year. The video currently has over 350,000 views but only made USD 20.11. That sum may actually be higher than a barrel of oil these days, but in Nigeria, it may not be enough for one Uber trip.
What Determines Earnings On YouTube?
Interestingly, Aina has also done a bunch of original travel videos with much fewer views on his YouTube channel, and those videos have actually earned much more.
One travel video he shot at Abuja which has over just over 200,000 views has raked in up to USD 580.00. There’s another travel video with about 120,000 views that has already made USD 509.00.
But how’s this even possible? For starters, a lot went into making those travel videos. In fact, after removing travel and logistics expenses, the net earnings may even creep into negative digits.
But beyond that, Aina also pointed out the determinants of how much a video can make on YouTube. And these include:
- Cost Per Thousand (CPM): This simply refers to how much YouTube pays creators for every 1,000 views. It’s also a measure of how much advertisers are willing to pay to advertise on that kind of video. For comedy and prank channels with a lot of viewers of disparate backgrounds and an unspecific audience, the amount is usually USD 2.00 to USD 3.00. Vlogs make USD 3.00 to USD 5.00. Tech and review channels make USD 5.00 to USD 10.00. The titans of CPM are the investment and financial channels which make USD 15.00 to USD 30.00 per 1,000 views.
- Length of Video: Aina said there are “rumours” that YouTube promotes videos that are over 10 minutes long. It follows that longer videos are likely to be promoted more and get more eyeballs and, by extension, make more money.
- Number of Ads: Multiple ads boost earnings on YouTube. Aina said he usually embeds three ads in his videos even though YouTube allows one to put in as many ads as they like. He also emphasized on making engaging content that can keep one glued to their screens until the last second. That way, all the ads get to be seen.
- Country From Where The Views Come From: According to Aina, the country with the highest CPM on his channel is usually the United States, though some other countries have a CPMs. For a channel like Aina’s, the CPM is around USD 5.00 for the U.S. So if a video gets a lot of views from there, the earnings will be higher than when the same video gets views from, say, Nigeria, where the CPM is just above USD 1.00. For perspective, Aina’s “This is Nigeria” video got 28 percent of its 100,000 views from the U.S. and made about USD 337.00. Only 11 percent of those views came from Nigeria. If the reverse had been the case, the amount earned would have been much lower. If that video had got 1 million views of which 28 percent came from the U.S., it would have earned Aina around USD 337 K.
Other ways of earning on YouTube besides AdSense? Aina mentioned Patreon (a special YouTube platform for exclusive content where creators can get financial support), brand collaborations, affiliate marketing, and the sale of original products and merchandise as good ways for YouTube creators to diversify their revenue streams.
Featured Image Courtesy: Freepik