What does YouTube pay per subscriber?

With the rise of YouTube stars like PewDiePie, who has a whopping 48 million subscribers, lots of people are wondering: How much does YouTube actually pay per subscriber?

The short answer?


YouTube doesn’t pay per subscriber.

The long answer?

How YouTubers get paid

Many people think that creators are paid by subscribers. This probably has to do with the fact that the number of subscribers is one of the most talked about topics when it comes to YouTube stars.

But while having millions of subscribers is certainly impressive, it doesn’t directly translate into money. How do earn YouTubers money, then?

YouTube creators get paid per monetized view.

In order for a view to be monetized, a viewer needs to see an ad. There are different kinds of ad formats, which you can check out here.

In case of the skippable TrueView ads (you know, the ones you can skip after 5 seconds), viewers have to watch an ad for at least 30 seconds or until the end of the ad (whichever one happens first). If the viewer skips the ad before that, it does not count as a monetized view.

So how much money do YouTubers earn per monetized view?

This depends on the so-called CPM. CPM stands for “cost per mille” and it measures how much an advertiser pays to show their ad to one thousand people.

The CPM range can vary quite a bit and could be as low as $1 to as high as $30. However, the average CPM for most channels lies somewhere between $2 and $10.

This is not what a YouTube earns per thousand views, though. In order to calculate that, it gets a little more complicated: Check out my article on CPM, eCPM and RPM if you want to know what YouTubers actually get paid.

Do you need a lot of subscribers to make a lot of money on YouTube?

The question is still whether the number of subscribers influences what you can earn on YouTube.

Well, it does to an extent:

If you have a lot of subscribers, chances are you are getting a lot of views. And if you are getting a lot of views, chances are you are getting a lot of monetized views.

So really, what you can earn on YouTube isn’t as much about your subscribers but about getting views.

If you have many engaged subscribers they can earn you a ton of money. If your subscribers don’t click much on your videos, though, or use adblockers, you might not earn a lot of money even if you have many subscribers.

Want to earn money on YouTube?

If your goal is to earn money through video ads and you’ve been focusing on subscribers, you might have to rethink your strategy.

Instead of focusing purely on subscriber numbers, make sure you’re building up an engaged audience and are creating videos that are worth the click and share of your viewers.

You still have some questions about YouTube monetization? Let me know in the comments!

Written by Anna
Anna spends a lot of time thinking about YouTube, video and the future of TV. She has worked as a composer, actress, director, writer and online marketer. When she's not working on a new creative project, she's probably stuffing herself with vegan burgers. She's German but spends most of her time in Barcelona because they have better beaches.