How Much Money Do They Make on YouTube: Exposed

Renetto: The roundest face since Karl Pilkington

Renetto. Paul Robinette. Remember him? He makes about $55 a day from YouTube, and I once stalked him and shaved my head to assume his persona. He’s one of the guys behind one of the most interesting video website stats and mobile applications you’re bound to love and forget. It’s called MyU2B. See– I had to look at the website just to get that stupid name right.

The good news? If you’re an OCD creator or media buyer, than this is (and you can quote the guy who wrote the book on YouTube) “the crack cocaine of video statistics.” The bad news? The name is so damned forgettable I want to punch Paul Robinett in his branding boob. Half the reason I’m writing this post is so I can find his website searching the many alternative names my brain has given MyU2B: u2be, myu2be, ub40, u2b4, my2be u2be u2bme, and finally “renetto, youtube, stats, website, with, stupid, name.”

MyU2B iPhone App kicks the ass of YouTube's default mobile viewer.

MyU2B is my indispensable iPhone YouTube viewing app because it’s incredibly easy to sort by my favorite creator’s (people, channels, accounts, profiles) most recent videos. This is a common but impossible task via the caveman-like primitive search functions on YouTube’s own mobile app, and I call that a “deal breaker” or “functional obsolescence” for any regular viewer. MyU2B tells me exactly how many videos my favorite person or channel has posted since I last checked them. It solved a problem most don’t yet know we have.

The app (free and $1.99) also allows me to “super subscribe” to select people (although I haven’t figured out how to delete people like the incorrect jaaaaaa). There are about 2-3 dozen people I don’t want to ever miss, and for that I prefer this app to using YouTube on a computer. On YouTube I’ve “oversubscribed” like many people, so I miss some fresh videos by my favorite peeps. It really sucks to not be current on some of my favorite creators or friends.

The MyU2B stats site, although new and somewhat buggy, is entirely different (yet shares the horrible name). It gives you some pretty decent estimates of how much money each channel/person makes on could make (per comments below) on YouTube, and even sorts estimated revenue by individual video. That’s badass, even if it’s assuming CPMs (revenue per view) that are impossibly inconsistent and volatile. It’s a cool tool just to track who’s getting views and comments… instead of the somewhat archaic method of tracking subscribers… like on VidStatsx. Vidstatsx is an equally crappy named but remarkably useful website, though the latter is a bit too focused on subscriptions (which is not nearly driver of daily views it once was). And tip from Zipster08, who I never miss (despite the mocked screen shot): allow MyU2B to load completely before searching for someone. (Zipster checks hourly). MyU2B doesn’t yet allow you to bookmark or link to a specific search string, but it does index more than 11,000 individual channels.

See below for an example… are they the potential estimates accurate? I don’t know. YouTube doesn’t give me reporting this precise, but I know for a fact that CPMs by individual videos for the same creator can vary from pennies to dollars — by individual video.

Since we YouTube Partners are all contractually obliged to conceal our revenue, it’s hard to know if it’s over or understating revenue/earnings. But feel free to comment (anonymously) if you want to share feedback on its precision! I’m glad it’s not accurate, because I don’t want people thinking about the money I earn from YouTube (it’s equally embarrassing whether it’s high, low or accurate).

MyU2Be (or whatever it's called) can easily track estimated earnings by creator and by video

Finally, let’s help these useful resources with their branding. Anything, including the word “pizzle,” would be better.

Improve Your Friday With Batman’s Fake Shark

Are you enjoying your Friday afternoon? Well here’s my gift to you to improve it. Batman and Robin fight the fakest shark ever. Now a free piece of cheese for anyone who can find me a video clip of Batman telling Robin, “drunks are people too” as they decide to not toss a bomb into a bar.

No batman since adam west knew how to beat the crap out of a fake shark

Tell me, dear friends… Did Christian Bale ever kick a fake shark’s ass? How about Val Kilmer? Nope even Michael Keaton didn’t carry bad-ass shark repellent.

And I’ve always had a thing for Batman because he was the only super hero who had no magical powers. Just an assload of money and free time. And a sidekick, butler and city commission as his personal bee-atches.

America’s Funniest Videos Take YouTube By Storm

In a very interesting model, the producer of America’s Funniest Videos is bringing an archive of 1970s-present user-generated content to YouTube. And, no, Bob Saget and Tom Bergeron are not hosting, VHS players are optional, and the AFV brand isn’t involved. Thank God.


Instead Vin Di Bona (who, trivia here, used some of my 1980s clips in the trailers promoting AFV) is teaming with Phil DeFranco (Sxephil) and Toby Turner (Tobuscus) in what’s called CuteWinFail. Read about it on NewTeeVee if you actually want facts. The premise is that the audience decides if it’s cute, a “win” (victory) or “fail” (embarrassment).

Toby is one of few people who can pull off hosting this format with his manic delivery, clever writing and genuine nature. He celebrates the archaic clips without pandering to them… and avoids falling into the dangerous trap of Webjunk and Tosh 2.0, where the host snubs the content. Toby walks the fine line in a way that Phil probably couldn’t have done — simply because he couldn’t likely hide his contempt for the clips (but who among us can throw a stone?). Toby, on the contrary, mocks and celebrates the cheesy moments in what can only be called Tobuscumockercelebration.

I believe it’s one of the smartest collaborations between traditional media and YouTube, and far more likely to emulate the popularity of FailBlog than most production/network “fails” on YouTube. It’s also likely to get Phil and Toby on the big-boy radar since it has the credibility of AFV’s producer.

The biggest difference between “Cute Win Fail” and Failblog, of course, is that the clips are owned by the channel, so advertising is fair game. Poor FailBlog could be making several hundred thousand dollars (actually well more) if it was monetized, but it’s mostly “ripped” content. Di Bona’s production company (see NewTeeVee) owns loads of cheesy b-roll, and it would have been a horrible embarrassment to start uploading and monetizing it without Sxephil and Tobuscus vouching for it and putting it into YouTube context… and allowing it to be self aware of the “cheese” factor in a way that even the smooth Bergeron couldn’t have done.

Texas Tech Football Fail Does 3.5 Million Views in Days

Remember we were discussing the new definition of “viral” as about 4 million views in a short period? 22 seconds of last week’s Dallas Cotton Bowl will reach that distinction. Texas Tech’s Red Raiders tried an onside kick in the first quarter of a game. However, Donnie Carona’s kick only traveled 8 yards, and while he and two teammates stood around wondering what to do next… Bayler’s Terrance Ganaway picked up the ball and ran 38 yards for a touchdown. In fairness,Carona’s kickoff did not travel the required 10 yards for Tech to recover it.
To make matters worse, in a 52-38 loss to Iowa State two games ago, according to SportsDayDFW, Tech tried an onside kick late in the game, but the Cyclones’ Jeremy Reeves ran back Donnie Carona’s kick 42 yards for a touchdown. (additional source: MyPlainView).

YouTube Goes Bollywood: Game On

Gautam Anand, director for content partnerships (Asia Pacific), told the Hindustan Times, “We are looking to significantly ramp up our long-form Bollywood movies catalogue. Full length catch-up shows have been getting a tremendous response from across the globe.”

It seems even the most celebrated Bollywood songs have taken to recent parodies like the recent Guild dance: “Game On: A Bollywood Themed Gamers Anthem.” See Codex (Felicia Day) and Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh) almost kiss, and Zaboo punch “Real Life” in the face. We dare you not to dance to “Game On.”

So we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.

Nalts in Annoying Orange

Hey Kevin, sorry to hijack your blog, but I promised daneboe I would make sure you knew if he offered you another chance to be in Annoying Orange.

I’ve already emailed you, texted you, and left a message in your voicemail, but I’ve still got a few more tricks up my sleeve just in case you miss all of those. Hopefully you’ll get the message before I start using more drastic measures. I’ll give you a couple of days.

Sincerely,
StalkerOfNalts

Top Viral-Video Advertisements of All Time

Topping OldSpice and Evian, the most-viewed online-video advertiser is Blendtec, according to “The Top 10 Viral Ads of All Time,” by AdAge (AdvertisingAge) and VisibleMeasures.

Seriously we’re not tired of it.

Want to guarantee your video goes viral? Um, yeah, about that...

Here’s the page on YouTube where you can sort videos and channels by most-viewed , most-liked, most-subscribed by day, week, month, all time. Find me a few advertisements on here and I’ll give you a piece of candy.

I think I get the first copy of my book, Beyond Viral, in a week or less. The central premise is that it’s time for advertisers to stop pinning all their hopes on going viral. Leverage popular creators and channels. When the web was new we all scrambled to create the ultimate website for our target audience… now we’re back to advertising and public relations.

With online video we can do a “Hail Mary” and maybe land on AdAge’s chart. Or we could sponsor a webstar and guaranteee a sizable audience without luck or paying for views.

But they’re amateurs! They may say something bad. Yeah, no. You sponsor them and you get to review their videos before they’re live… and still I literally got a text yesterday from an agency friend who wondered who might produce a viral video for her.

I wonder if archaic advertisers and marketers will blend? I mean I wouldn’t press the button, but if you could build a big enough blender… MAN that would go viral.

Want Your Ad to Go Old-Spice Viral? You’re More Likely to Develop Abs Like Isaiah Mustafa.

When I see my sweet AdAge pour more gas on the “Old-Spice goes viral” story, I feel like it’s time to remind my fellow marketers that they’ve got a better shot of developing (the shirtless actor) Isaiah Mustafa‘s abs than getting their TV or online-video spot viral.

Your man will never look like me, and your video will never go as viral.

This is another excellent example of the exception not the rule. Old-Spice’s dramatization is funny, slick, self-deprecating and memorable. Like other viral commercials, it stands out. It’s worthy of the 5 plus million views. But remember that people as obscure as me (nalts) with smaller audiences than me can fetch that each month. The one-hit wonder has given way to the webstars that are now building sustainable audiences, and they’ll promote your brand for less than it cost to groom Isaiah’s horse.

Now ask your friends and family to tell you the last time they sent or received a link to a commercial. Not your buds in the agency and marketing circles, but your friend next door that doesn’t understand what the hell you do for a living.

Television ads occasionally go viral, but viral is largely dead. We’re still seeing some twitches from the corpse, but the age of viral commercials will not see a resurgence. If you don’t believe me, read Beyond Viral when it comes out in a month or so (it’s already on Amazon, so I have bragging rights on that).

Maybe after a few more Benson & Hedges and my pension, I'll hear this damned machine's alarm. Wait, never mind. I sold my hearing aid for my third Scotch.

Now you read this, but like an elderly, smoking woman in Vegas, you’ll still play the odds. That’s fine. Just don’t bet the farm, eh? And hedge the bet- step away from the roulette table now and then and try the nickel slots.

Exclusive: How Much Money YouTube Partners Make

{Update from 2013 reveals YouTube stars making $4 million plus per year}

How much do YouTube stars make each year? Oh for goodness sakes. Just like my same 5 YouTube videos (see right column of channel page here) represent the majority of my online views… It seems that most of WillVideoForFood’s blog traffic comes from people searching for how much YouTubers make. If you’re curious, read on. If you want to make big bucks, buy my book first. You’ll still be facing tough odds, but at least you’ll wander into the jungle equipped with some survival tools.


We YouTube “Partners” (or “stars” as I hate saying) are all contractually forbidden to share our revenue. But I’ve given hints and clues over time. For those of you who Googled your way here, I’m both a marketer/advertiser and a creator/YouTuber, so that gives me two lenses into this Da Vinci-Code like mystery. Davinci made me think of “Da Bears.”

I’d estimate there are have at least a few dozen YouTube Partners earning $100K per year. That’s great money if you’re in your 20s or 30s and have minimal costs in production or overhead (like 4 kids and a horrific mortgage). But it’s a rounding error for a professional content creator or network.

To calculate a particular Parner’s income, here are some tips:

  • You basically take the Partner’s total views for the month, multiply it by a fraction of a penny, and you have a rough idea. TubeMogul‘s Marketplace shows some of the most-viewed people (and their monthly views). But remember: the most-subscribed are not necessarily most-viewed and vice versa. YouTube doesn’t give a hoot how many subscribers you have (although that certainly helps drive views, but increasingly it seems less powerful than being a “related video”). In general, the commercial content is getting more daily views but the amateurs have a lock on subscribers.
  • Most ads are placed by advertisers based on total 1K views, but some is on a per-click basis (CPC text ads placed by Google Adwords/Adsense). Google/YouTube is usually paid by an agency or media buyer a CPM (cost per thousand, say between $5 and $25 dollars per thousand views), then shares some of that with the creator. This can be highly misleading, because:
    • Some views earn nothing (if they’re embedded and no ad follows it).
    • And increasingly advertisers are paying a high premium for specific content they commission, target, or hand select. Sometimes this might average a few bucks and others it might be much higher… $25 CMP was the published rate of InVideo ads and I know of specific integrated campaigns that command a higher premium from YouTube. Yey!
  • Another confounding variable: potty-mouthed creator turns away advertisers. So watch the ads on your Partner for a while. Are they premium InVideo ads with accompanying display (square) ads? Or are they garbage Adwords/Adsense ads?
  • The text ads may SOMETIMES be paid on a per-click basis, which can make them fruitless or profitable depending on people clicking and buying the advertiser’s product (the latter must occur, or a savvy advertiser will quickly stop the campaign that’s raping them of click dollars and not generating business). I was telling my YouTube buds to turn these off because they’re ugly and don’t make much money, but a few of them gave me a stern stare like they knew otherwise. So whatever… maybe they make money and maybe they don’t. I don’t get a breakdown on them, and they’re still ugly.
  • Then you have to factor in “sponsored videos,” where a YouTuber promotes a product or service for a flat fee (or variable based on views) via Hitviews or related companies. That can easily be more than YouTube shells out per month for ad sharing. The going rate here is incredibly wide: from $1K to $20K and higher per video.

So in conclusion:

  1. Do your own math using monthly views on TubeMogul and assuming some CPM (cost per thousand), but recognize YouTube takes a cut and some of the advertising inventory isn’t sold or is driven by keyword Google adsense text thingies. Maybe the creator/partner gets a few bucks per thousand views and maybe more or less.
  2. Use some of the assumptions above to calibrate your estimate if you’re trying to peak into the W-9s of your favorite “Stars” like Fred. There are now dozens of popular YouTube people that make a full-time living on YouTube revenue, and I’d guess a lot of $50K-$100K per year people. I am not among the full-timers. With a family of 6, I gotta have a day job too. But Shaycarl, Sxephil, Charles Trippy, Michael Buckley and many more… they’re full-time at this. If I was making the bucks I’m making via YouTube after college, I’d probably go full-time too. Fred? Let’s just say he’s got college covered, or a nice nest-egg.
  3. Before you get excited (or jealous), it’s a long haul to cashville. And if you start with the hope of making money, you’re doomed. You need to LOVE it, and be extremely patient as the road to loads of views is tougher to climb, and requires an ass-load of persistence. Start as a hobby and “just keep swimming.”
  4. Finally, there are two forces at odds that impact the sustainability of this revenue for YouTube amateurs. First, we’ll probably see continued competition from more professionally-produced content that fetches higher ad dollars because it feels safer to squeamish media buyers (see, I’m not calling them all dense anymore… only the ones that don’t read this vlog). But the good news is that dollars are projected to grow dramatically. Currently, as a marketer, I’d argue that YouTube is selling itself short.

How’s that? About as specific I can be without breaking my contract or confidence from my friends.

I know some of you peeps know more than I do, so feel free to comment below anonymously or not. Da bears.