It all started three years ago. Me, in my bedroom, with an idea. Admittedly I had watched a video by Lexie Lombard where she talked about her most popular video being “what your mom doesn’t tell you about thongs” and it struck me that that is a genius way to title a video.
So I made a video. A video that I don’t tell a ton of people about because it was years ago and mildly embarrassing (especially because as soon as you tell someone you have a video that did well on YouTube, they usually want to watch it right there in front of you). For your convenience here is the exact link so you can watch for yourself; I won’t make you dig.
The funny part about this video is that I actually did put a lot of effort into it. I spent time planning the tips I would give, the shots I would do and how the video would be edited. When I uploaded it there wasn’t much traction which was common for any video I uploaded.
Where does money come from?
It wasn’t until 6 months later that I got a piece of mail from Google telling me to finish setting up my Adsense account. I logged into the account and saw that I was making a few dollars a day on that cringe worthy video. That year I made $235.56 and rode a $5.95 CPM with almost 100% of the earnings coming from that one video.
February 2018 the rules for YouTube changed. They started to create more strict guidelines surrounding their earnings program and to my disappointment, I didn’t make the cut. It wasn’t until July 9th 2018 that I started earning again (still on that one video). In 2018 I made $491.97 ($5.12 CPM) even with the large gap in revenue. In 2019, without any revenue disruptions I made around $460.58 ($8.07 CPM). Throughout all the years my CPM and viewers fluctuated but how did I start earning $500 a year on YouTube?
How did it happen?
Well the truth it comes down to two things: the right time and the right topic. Although I was gaining views, subscribers and money, the content that was going “viral” wasn’t the normal content I would like to be making. This niche content about my bearded dragon was done in a format and tone that other content in that niche hadn’t touched yet. If you look at my analytics the majority of traffic was driven from my video being a “suggested video” and from the “browse features” on YouTube (meaning, the algorithm liked it and populated it on people’s home page). So, like probably anyone would, I started to create more videos under this topic just to see what would happen.
The secondary videos I created did gain some traction but nothing near the popularity of my original video. As you can see from the screenshot below every one of my videos that contributed to over 0.1% of my views was about my bearded dragon.
How can you make money on YouTube?
This is the question isn’t it? I think what it comes down to is: Right place. Right time. Right topic. And also: keep trying things. At this point I am not anywhere near as invested as I was into YouTube and really this blog takes most of my attention. BUT it is nice to get that check deposited into my account every few months. If you’re hoping to create a video to generate passive income here are a few things to consider:
- Is there a video on YouTube that is missing?
- For me this was a bearded dragon video that was approachable to the young female audience. Most of what was online at the time was unapproachable people whose lives revolve around their bearded dragons. They made me feel like someone like me couldn’t own one.
- What kind of title would you click?
- Another important consideration…would you click on the video? This doesn’t mean make it clickbait but make sure that you have a good hook like you would at the beginning of an essay in middle school.
- Is this a video that is evergreen?
- Companies ALL the time are asking for “evergreen” content and really all that means is that the information in the video would be interesting to a viewer no matter when or where they watched it. My video did fall into this evergreen category because there is a good chance my tips would stay the same through the test of time. It also didn’t pertain to any specific season: owning a bearded dragon was a year-round endeavor. A vlog? Not so evergreen (unless it’s a Zoella Vlogmas vlog.. I re-watch and go back to those ALL the time).
I don’t know if this was entirely helpful or interesting to anyone but I still thought it was a fun story to tell and let you in on my small, mildly embarrassing secret.