Inspired by the popularity of TikTok and Instagram Reels, YouTube introduced Shorts in 2020. Shorts provide a place for new and existing YouTube creators to share 60-second-or-less videos to introduce their content to a broader audience or engage their existing followers in a new way.
Over 1.5B users watch YouTube Shorts each month, which is forecasted to grow alongside the Shorts user base and has caught advertisers' attention.
The YouTube Shorts monetization model sets it apart from competing platforms, as a set fund doesn't limit the earning potential of Shorts creators. With so many creators wondering how to make YouTube Shorts in 2023, and more specifically make money on YouTube Shorts, we figured we would help answer the question! This article will cover the 2023 YouTube monetization requirements and multiple ways to make money on YouTube Shorts.
How Does Monetizing YouTube Shorts Compare to Other Platforms?
Monetization models for creators vary from platform to platform. Depending on your monetization goals and preferred strategy, one might be a better fit than the other. Check out the basics of how to make money on YouTube Shorts, Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram Reels below.
- YouTube Shorts offers an ad revenue sharing program to its content creators. 45% of the total earnings generated by the ads that appear between each YouTube Short in a user’s feed are added to the creator pool and paid out according to the number of views on each video.
- SnapChat rewards users through a program called Spotlight in which eligible Snapchatters who create the top Spotlight Snaps have the potential to earn millions. Creators and brands who wish to sell or solicit products or services cannot do so on Spotlight, but they can through their Creator Marketplace.
- TikTok has a Creator Fund (unlike YouTube Shorts), which pays eligible content creators based on their video performance and engagement metrics, like views and engagement. TikTok creators can also monetize their videos by including link-in-bio offers and leveraging the shopping feature where viewers can buy items from the video through affiliate links.
- Instagram Reels Play is an invite-only bonus program where users earn money on their reels content. Payouts are based on the performance of reels, the number of reels created, and the subject matter of the content—meaning, the amount users earn per play is not always consistent.
The differences don’t stop here though. YouTube Shorts has its own set of recommended specs and best practices. To make sure you’re starting off on the right foot, check out our full guide on YouTube Shorts Dimensions, Length and More.
Is the YouTube Shorts Fund Still Open?
The YouTube Shorts fund was a bank of $100M the platform distributed to its creators over the course of 2020-2021. Anyone who created Shorts, even if they were not a part of the Partner Program, could receive a portion of the fund. Each month YouTube would reward Shorts creators whose content received the most engagement and views and ask them for feedback about the platform to improve the experience.
The main method for how to make money on YouTube Shorts all changed in February of 2023. YouTube replaced its Short fund with its ad revenue sharing program. For a Short to be eligible to receive money from the creator pool, it must adhere to the following YouTube monetization requirements:
- Must follow YouTube’s advertiser-friendly guidelines.
- No non-original Shorts of existing movie or TV clips or reposted content from other creators.
- No fabricated counts of likes or engagement from automated click or scroll bots.
45% of ad revenue is added to a creator pool from which top content producers are paid their share. Shorts views exclusively receive ad revenue sharing from the Shorts Feed, separate from long-form video monetization on the Watch Page.
The YouTube Shorts Fund was just the first step in the platform’s journey to build a long-term monetization plan for Shorts. The ad revenue sharing model was the next logical step. Still, YouTube will continue refining and iterating the program to optimize how it rewards artists and creators for their hard work.
How to Make Money on YouTube Shorts, From the YouTube Partner Program
The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) extends to content beyond Shorts. To be eligible to join, you must meet the following criteria:
- Follow the YouTube channel monetization policies.
- Live in a country/region where the YouTube Partner Program is available.
- Have no active Community Guidelines strikes on your channel.
- Make sure 2-Step Verification is turned on for your Google Account.
- Link at least one AdSense account to your channel.
Your Shorts channel must also gain 1,000 subscribers and accrue 10M public views, or your primary long-form content channel must gain 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours, all within the last 90 days to join the YPP. If your channel and content meet YouTube’s monetization requirements, continue reading for a step-by-step look at how to apply to the Partner Program.
How to Apply to the YouTube Partner Program
Understanding how to make money on YouTube Shorts via the YPP is one thing - But how do you actually apply? You must submit your YPP application through the YouTube Studio (YTS) app. You can download it from Apple or the Google Play store or access it through a web browser on a phone, tablet, or desktop. You can complete the sign-up flow in four easy steps:
- Open the YouTube Studio app.
- Open the bottom menu and click Earn.
- Click Start to review and accept the Terms and Conditions
- Click Start to open an Adsense account or link an existing one.
How Your Application is Evaluated
Once you see “In Progress,” your application is with the YPP team for review! An automated system and a team of human application reviewers will take stock of your channel to ensure it’s a fit for the program.
You can check back in the “Earn” section of YTS to view the status of your application at any time, but we’ll get back to you in approximately one month with our decision. Delays are possible due to high application volumes, system issues, or resource limitations—sometimes, channels require multiple reviews, especially when several reviewers disagree on your channel’s suitability for YPP.
If your application was denied, you could always try again in 30 days. Keep uploading original content and refer back to YouTube’s policies and guidelines to be sure your channel adheres to them. Learn more about steps you can take to strengthen your application for next time.
How to Earn and Get Paid
Once in YPP, you can choose the channels you’d like to monetize. Your options include Watch Page Ads, Shorts Feed Ads, Memberships, Super Chat, Super Stickers, Super Thanks, Shopping, and Channel Memberships. To access these features, you’ll need to review and accept the relevant module terms before you can manage ad preferences.
Visit the YouTube Partner Program Help Center for more details about your earnings as a YouTube partner, learn how to use AdSense, and troubleshoot common payment issues.
It is important to note that the YPP turns off monetization on channels that have not uploaded a video or post to the Community tab for six months or more to encourage the growth of an active, engaged, and profitable online community.
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How Much Can You Earn From Making YouTube Shorts?
By now, you probably understand the basics of how to make money with YouTube Shorts. YouTube allocates 45% of ad revenue for its creator pool. But how much can you actually earn from Shorts? The answer depends on the number of views, your geographical location, and how many music tracks are used.
Since you can’t control the number of views your content receives or from which country you publish it, let’s look at an example of how YouTube Shorts divides revenue between creators and music publishers.
YouTube pays music publishers based on how often their intellectual property is used within YouTube Shorts. If a creator uses two music tracks in a Short, the revenue is divided three ways—66% of it goes to the music publisher, while 33% goes to the creator. Any subsequent revenue is split evenly if only a single music track is used. If creators do not use music tracks, they are entitled to all revenue from their share of the creator pool.
💡 If you’re diving deep on how to make money on YouTube Shorts, and you’d like to forecast potential YouTube Shorts revenue by day, month, or year, try out this revenue calculator.
Ways to Qualify for Monetization Faster
The criteria to qualify for the YouTube Partner Program might seem daunting—4,000 public watch hours or 10M views and 1,000 new followers in 90 days? Looking for answers on how to make money on YouTube Shorts faster? Here are many ways to increase viewership and engagement on your videos that’ll help you reach those numbers in no time.
Let’s look at the five primary ways to meet and exceed your public watch hours, new followers, and view goals.
- Post engaging content regularly: Your Shorts are more likely to appear in a viewer’s feed if you publish new content at least once a week, and create Shorts that appeal to the YouTube Shorts algorithm. To ensure users watch til the end, consider your audience, their interests, and any trending content within your niche community before creating videos.
- Optimize videos for SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tool that can help users who are searching for new content find your channel. Identify the main keyword you want your content to rank for and add it to the title of your video. YouTube will see that your video targets that keyword and help you rank higher.
- Choose eye-catching thumbnails: Custom thumbnails can boost your video’s click rate (CR) by up to 40%. When more people click on your videos, you get more views. YouTube will rank them higher in search results, so even more people will see your videos. So, get creative and curate custom thumbnail images before publishing new content!
- Host livestreams: Unlike Shorts and pre-recorded content, livestreams allow creators to engage in longer, real-time interactions with their viewers. Hosting a live Q&A session, product demonstration, webinar, or behind-the-scenes look at your channel can help you simultaneously build watch hours and a relationship with your viewers.
- Leverage YouTube Analytics to gain insight: If you implement any of the strategies above, YouTube Analytics will record and report how your watch hours and other engagement metrics have improved because of them. YT Analytics is also the perfect place to gain insight into your viewer’s data so you can learn more about their content consumption habits and create videos to suit their interests better.
How to Make Money on YouTube Shorts in Other Ways
Your YouTube Shorts earning potential continues beyond the creator pool or the Partner Program! It’s common for creators to use YouTube Shorts as “commercials” for their long-form content. Shorts are a low barrier-to-entry way to reach new audiences. Once you grow your viewership by posting Shorts and then creating longer-form videos on similar subject matter, you can supplement your ad revenue sharing income with other monetization strategies, like:
- Affiliate Marketing: Your influence over your engaged followers is valuable to brands. You can work with platforms like PearPop to make it easier to find the right affiliate deal that compliments your content, channel, and audience.
- Channel Membership: You can monetize your content by offering channel memberships for subscribers to access exclusive content, online courses, and Super upgrades (chat, stickers, thanks, etc.).
- Sell Merchandise: Once you’ve built a brand for your channel, your viewers will be interested in buying merchandise to support and represent it. YouTube has many seller-friendly placements, like the Community Feed, and within your long-form content, either in the description or as a hotlink.
Am I Ready to Monetize YouTube Shorts?
Now that you’ve learned how to make money on YouTube Shorts, and familiarized yourself with the YouTube monetization requirements, the Partner Program, and the potential revenue streams it provides, you might be eager to start leveraging these tools to make money!
However, you must take the time to thoughtfully build out an effective and consistent content strategy. This groundwork will ensure that you find your niche content community and help you to build a reputation before trying to monetize Shorts.
One of the best ways to supercharge your Shorts output is through an AI video editor like Opus Clip. Our AI lets you turn any long video into 10 short clips, allowing you to essentially 10x your upload frequency. You can join our Discord to try it out and start generating short clips for free!
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About the Author
Rebecca Xu is the Product Marketing Manager at Opus, and a professional simultaneous interpreter. She is a story teller, food lover, globe trotter, and sarcasm connoisseur. She loves learning new things through reading, traveling, and exploring. Most of the time, you can find her either in an ice-cream shop, or on her way to an ice-cream shop.