I’ve always wanted to do more videos. It’s fun! I do shoot a lot of footage, I just fail at getting it into Final Cut Pro and making something worth watching. I don’t have flashy graphics and I’m just now learning proper “color grading,” and it all can be discouraging at times. I’ve had my YouTube channel for a couple of years but have only created about a dozen videos and have less than 50 subscribers. I uploaded my first video two years ago, and only two months ago decided to monetize my channel with the YouTube Partner Program.
About the YouTube Partner Program
The YouTube Partner Program is a fun way for YouTubers to make a little extra money on the content they create. You know those annoying ads you have to skip through? Yeah, that’s where the income is generated.
And a number of channels have made more than just “a little extra.” Some folks are making over six figures per year! And teenagers, no less!
There are requirements to have this opportunity available to you, and YouTube just drastically moved the goalposts.
Summary of changes to the YouTube Partner Program
Old requirements: have at least 10,000 total lifetime views to be eligible for monetization.
New requirements: have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months.
Changes go into effect February 20th, 2018. View more information about the changes on the YouTube Creator’s Blog.
Why YouTube made the changes to the Partner Program
From what I can tell, the changes are in response to one of their top creators showing a post-suicide victim in a video.
Logan Paul shared something very distasteful, and while that’s an issue on its own, advertisers were showing their ads on this video (though not intentionally). That’s a problem if you’re a company concerned about public image.
So YouTube responded by upping the standards on how you can make money with advertisers on their network. Odds are, if you have 1,000 subscribers and viewers have watched 4,000 hours of your videos in the past year, you have a channel worthy of ads.
Logan Paul met those requirements too, but there was a lot of negative feedback about that video. So YouTube will use other signals to determine if a larger channel should be stripped of ad revenue.
Overall these changes will “clean up” YouTube by removing ads on most of the smaller channels that may not be contributing much to the overall community (like mine), and removing ads from the crap channels that are always getting in trouble for sharing copyrighted content. Hopefully, it gives YouTube a little more genuine feel, instead of the fakery that has consumed Instagram.
Of course, these changes did not come without a lot of controversy.
What these changes mean to smaller channels
There was a lot of backlash about this in the days following the announcement. Many YouTubers are going to lose revenue.
Now let’s all settle down. YouTube has noted that 99% of the channels affected by this change were making less than $100 per year. And 90% of those made less than $2.50 in the past month.
Based on these stats, no one is losing any real money because of these changes. Thankfully a number of people still had the right attitude.
Why these changes should encourage you even more
I’ve heard of a number of people just throwing their arms up into the air and giving up. If I can’t make any money with what I have now, what’s the point?
Well, making money isn’t the point. And if you’re losing your partnership, you weren’t making any money worth noting anyway. Don’t get entranced by the few people making six figures; it took a long time for them to get there and some extremely hard work. It won’t happen to everyone, and definitely not overnight.
So there’s your motivation! Keep at it, work harder, make more videos that people will love, and you’ll quickly reach YouTube’s new standards!
But don’t go creating a ton of videos for the purpose of earning money because that will just be totally obvious.
Remember, it’s all about the journey, not the destination.
My own goals
Look, I’m the first one to admit my channel has a long way to go. There’s hardly anything on there, I don’t contribute regularly, and there are so many creators making much more aesthetically-pleasing videos than I am.
I’m losing my partnership. But I could barely buy a single beer with what I made in a month on YouTube, so do I really care?
Hell no. Wait, no, I do care. I think it has given me that little extra boost of motivation that I need – get some more practice editing, make fun videos people will actually watch and learn from, and build an engaging base of viewers. And I don’t even know if I’ll apply for monetization again once I meet the minimums – YouTube has been growing as a traffic source to this blog, and that’s what I care about more.
I’ve made a more structured plan for this blog starting in 2018, and I should do the same with YouTube. I’ve got a big list of instructional posts to publish this year, and I’d like to compliment them with videos.
Weekly goals: I’m going to go out with my GoPro, drones, and mirrorless camera and just record video. Then come home and edit the hell out of them. Practice, practice, practice. Even if I don’t publish them on YouTube – practice!
But, if you want to give up, give up. It just makes more room for the motivated creators to move in and find their own success!