Creators share payouts from the first month of YouTube Shorts monetization

  • On February 1st, YouTube began sharing ad revenue from short videos with creators.
  • With this program, revenue from ads is pooled and then shared with creators based on their views.
  • Creators shared how much they made in the first month of the program and what they thought about it.

When YouTube announced it would share ad revenue from short-form content with creators in late 2022, James Seo was so excited he decided to give them priority.

“Now I’m grinding up the shorts and posting every single day,” he told Insider in November. He wasn’t alone. Several TikTokers also told Insiders the change prompted them to focus on YouTube for the first time.

But after Seo received his payout for the first month of the program, his excitement waned.

In February, he earned about $1,455 for 32.4 million views — about $0.04 per 1,000 views.

“I’m neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed,” he said. “I take $1,500 just for posting. I don’t rely on the platform’s revenue, so it’s all a bonus.”

Seven creators shared how much they made in the program’s first month and their RPMs, or earnings per thousand — the amount a creator makes for every 1,000 views of a video. Their RPMs ranged from $0.04 to $0.06. (This differs from CPM, or cost per mille, which refers to the amount an advertiser pays for every 1,000 views.) Insider verified its earnings using documents.

All of the developers and industry experts that Insider spoke to said their payouts were small, but most expressed optimism about the program’s future.

Two creators said that while their earnings for shorts were significantly less than what they can earn from long-form videos, the visibility shorts provide makes them worth posting.

YouTuber Julia McNamee made $3.15 from eight short films on her channel ASMRxBABEE, compared to $585 from long content. But her short videos were shown 83,000 times on the shorts feed, which made for good visibility, she said.

Riley Lemon, whose channel has 92,000 subscribers built primarily on short-form content, agreed.

“Perspective is key here,” Lemon said. “Yes, right now you wouldn’t be able to quit your full-time job from Shorts alone, but it presents a unique opportunity to grow your personal brand on YouTube at a pace unattainable for most YouTubers.” “

Thomas Walters, founder and European CEO of influencer marketing agency Billion Dollar Boy, emphasized that “the real prize for creators is the revenue potential from brand deals.”

“And if YouTube can help increase visibility using shorts, then that’s the key asset developers should focus on,” he said.

This is how much seven YouTubers earned in February:

  • Julia McNamee (55,000 subscribers): $3.15 for 50,500 views. RPM: $0.06
  • Riley Lemon (92,000 subscribers): $383.13 for 7 million views. RPM: $0.06
  • Ammon Runger (155,000 subscribers): $140.37 for 2.9 million views. RPM: $0.05.
  • MattyKay (220,000 subscribers): $465.79 for 11 million views. RPM: $0.04.
  • Alasdair Mann (360,000 subscribers): $1,075.35 for 25.6 million views. RPM: $0.04.
  • James Seo (650,000 subscribers): $1,455.04 for 32.4 million views. RPM: $0.05.
  • Kaz Sawyer (3.3 million subscribers): $4,207.31 for 115.9 million views. RPM: $0.04.

To set payments for shorts, YouTube pools revenue from ads shown in the shorts feed. The platform pays an undisclosed amount to record labels for music licensing and gives creators 45% of the remaining money based on their share of total short views on the platform.

This initiative replaces the Shorts Fund, a rewards program that paid creators a fixed sum of $100 million based on “viewership and engagement.”

Creator Ammon Runger said that his earnings actually decreased with this new payment structure.

For example, in September 2022, he earned $680 for 6 million views from the Shorts Fund, versus $140 for $2.9 million in the new structure — a 57% drop. Similarly, in October, he earned $244 for 2.9 million views.

Annie Dubé, whose channel has 132,000 subscribers, said she doesn’t think it’s worth making shorts right now, despite the new payment program.

“Short films are really great for showcasing and reaching a wider audience, but they take time to create and edit like long videos,” she said. “Because this is my full-time job, I need to create content that both inspires and excites me and provides a solid return on investment. Creating short-form content is something I’m not passionate enough about to devote the time to.”

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