Making Millions on YouTube

Ever get annoyed with the ads that play before, or sometimes even during, a YouTube video you want to watch? What about when you have to sit through a 30 second ad that you can’t skip before you can actually watch what you came for? While these ads might be an annoyance to us, they are one of the primary sources of income for YouTubers who get paid in advertisement revenue based on the number of views they receive. According to a New York Times article, YouTube star Jenna Marbles made an estimated $350,000 from her channel in 2012 and according to Forbes, 13 of the top YouTube stars made a combined $54.5 Million in 2015. Saying you earn a living by posting videos online might have been far fetched 10 years ago, but today it is perfectly reasonable to say that you job title is “YouTuber.”

YouTube star Jenna Marbles who makes a six figure salary from her channel.                      Image by Gage Skidmore from Flickr

YouTube, a Google company, launched in May 2005 allowing billions of people to “discover, watch and share originally-created videos.” Their mission is to provide an environment for people to “connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe” that serves as a “distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.”

Video sharing as a form of social media is very unique. Rather than reading words, video sharing enables more of a personal connection to the message as you can not only hear, but see what the message entails. Like much of the work social media influencers do, posting about what you love online and making money off of it seems too good to be true. But that is exactly the business plan that internet famous YouTubers follow.

In terms of social media influencers, the beauty industry is dominating the world of YouTube when it comes to video views, paid sponsorships, and advertisement revenue. Not only are you able to share your opinion about certain products, but you can actually show your audience what you think.

“YouTube users watch more than one billion hours in videos a day” – WSJ                           Image from Pexels

In an article in the Huffington Post, it is investigated how a 21-year-old named Liz Meghan earns her living by posting fashion and makeup videos to her YouTube channel. By posting genuine content that follows her passion, Liz was able to gain an audience that looked to her for not only makeup reviews, but demos and general advice. In an interview conducted as part of the article, she explains that she would not be where she is today if social media did not exist and provide her with the platform to share her life.

After interviewing Grace Jones, a University of Maryland freshman who is an avid watcher and follower of YouTube “beauty blogging” as she called it, I gained some interesting insight into the influence these figures have on their audience. She told me that after watching these beauty videos over time, she started to not only collect makeup, but also find beauty and confidence in herself. This is quite interesting because the internet and social media itself is often thought to be detached and impersonal however this case proves otherwise.

YouTube users watch more than one billion hours in videos a day, according to the Wall Street Journal, which is a close second behind television hours. Similar to television actors, YouTube creators are able to make their living, just in a different way. Based on the growing power and influence of new media, I predict online streaming to surpass traditional television viewing. The influence that YouTubers have is growing as they are able to provide their specific audience with the content they want, all while making a whole lot of money. As stated by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, “millennials love great TV content, but they don’t want to watch it in the traditional setting.” Social media influencers are taking new media to whole new levels which is paving the way for individuals who want to make a business out of what they love to do.


Feature Image from Pixabay


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