Monetizing YouTube Videos

YouTube Partner Program

Probably the quickest way to start making a little bit of income from your YouTube videos is to be approved for their partner program.  You know those little ads that show before videos start playing or the popups that show while playing one of the videos?  Yes, that’s someone who’s enrolled in the partner program and has enabled monetization of their videos.  There’s a couple of stipulations to who can participate in the partner program and I’ll let you read those here:

I’m not going to go over the actual policies because Google can and will change those on an ongoing basis so just read through those on their site.  But, I will point one thing out.  When I first signed up for the partner program, if you’re not approved initially, you had to wait 6 months before you could apply again!  I think in order to get approved you had to show that you had a decent number of views and everything wasn’t being “thumbs downed”.  With that in mind, I would suggest that before you attempt to sign up for the membership program that you at least have a few videos live with a couple thousand views.  Now I know you’ll be thinking the same thing I was – I WANT TO MAKE MONEY NOW!!!  But keep in mind, if you get denied your first time around because you tried to sign up to early, then not only will you not be making money now, it’ll be another 6 months before you can apply again!

Just as a quick note – MOST of the Adsense income I make and report in my earnings comes from the YouTube partner program!!!

Affiliate Links in Your YouTube Videos

Another way to make great money from your YouTube efforts is to put links to your products in the description of your YouTube video.  While you could just put an affiliate link such as  you’re now pushing someone straight over to another site and you’re relying on their tracking software to tell you where the links came from.  There’s a few reasons why I wouldn’t personally suggest this:

  1. You’re losing any brand recognition – someone is seeing a link over to your affiliate (in the case above, is showing in the address) – As insignificant as it may seem in just a link, I think having something like   gets people used to seeing your website address and every little bit of recognition helps
  2. Tracking – while a site like Amazon has tools for tracking inbound links, let’s say that you have 10 different affiliate sites that you work with.  Now you have to go to 10 different places to find out where the traffic is coming from, and worse yet, what if some of those affiliate sites don’t have good tracking software – now you’re lost!  That’s why I recommend (if you’re using WordPress) getting a plugin like Pretty Link.  I’m currently using Pretty Link Lite on my site as it’s free and it currently offers pretty much everything I need.  I might purchase the pro edition in the future, but for the time being it works perfectly.  If you’d like to see other plugins I highly recommend, check out my favorite WordPress plugins here .  Once you get Pretty Link, what you do is you go to your affiliate sites and you get the links that would credit sales to you.  Once you’ve done this, you go into Pretty Link, create your new link, and then you use that in your YouTube description.  So the links above both go to the same place, but one I can use to track the number of times people click the link and where it was clicked from, plus I put my website’s address in front of people rather than their affiliates.  Check out some of the images below to see the types of information you get with this free plugin:

    Pretty Link Hit Counter

    Pretty Link Site Referral Activity

  3. Hackers – hackers love to hijack affiliate links – while it may be a little more difficult to do on sites such as YouTube, there’s no question that people try and get credit for work they didn’t do.  So, if you’re affiliate link is visible, someone’s going to try and find a way to inject their own affiliate id into the link – by using Pretty Link you’re hiding your affiliate id from your primary link and that just makes it a bit more difficult for hackers to take credit for your sales lead.

NOTE:  One of the frustrating things about YouTube is it works differently on just about every platform.  For instance, on the iPhone the description just shows up as a huge block of unformatted text with no clickable links.  This kinda kills linking to your affiliate site on that particular platform, but my suggestion is for you to put the links in there anyways considering that’s where a large number of my affiliate sales originate.  My hope is that someday, the various platforms will be more unified in their approach, which would certainly make sense seeing as how Google’s whole existence is based on advertising dollars!  My guess is Google is working hard on figuring out ways to make sure they can advertise on all platforms – so all this was to make you aware of it, but you should still put your affiliate links in your video description.

Utilize the Tags Effectively in Your Videos

The final tip I want to leave which isn’t a direct form of monetization, but could yield nice results if you focus your efforts properly is to ensure that you fill in the tags section properly, and with effective keywords.  For example, my review site is for headphones.  If I’m reviewing headphones that are direct competitors to a popular set of headphones, then it would probably be beneficial for me to tag that video with the popular headphones name.  Also, look at other people’s videos that are on your same subject matter and see what they’re using to tag their videos (pay close attention to those who have high viewing numbers).  Again, improving your tagging can increase the number of views your videos receive and this can be as important as the other two items mentioned above.

Wrapping Up

This should give you some ideas for what you can do to start monetizing your YouTube videos.  Get out there and start putting some of these tools to use and start growing your revenue.  YouTube is one of the most exciting things to hit online business in years as it involves users like writing just can’t do.  People seem to be drawn into video more so than any other medium so take full advantage of this and start earning more!

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