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How much does YouTube pay for 1 Million Views

Ever wondered what hitting the 1 million views milestone on YouTube translates to in dollars? Let’s dive into what you really earn from 1 million views on YouTube.

Understanding YouTube’s Payment Structure

First up, it’s crucial to understand that YouTube doesn’t pay based on views alone. The platform uses a system called CPM (Cost Per Mille/Thousand Impressions) to pay creators, which varies widely depending on factors like the audience location, viewer demographics, the time of year, and the content’s niche.

YouTube’s CPM is the cost advertisers pay for 1,000 ad impressions on a video. An ad impression is counted anytime an ad is displayed. The cost per ad varies, meaning your earnings per 1,000 ad views will also vary. The average CPM is $4 to $10. However, the CPM is not the amount YouTube pays out to you. YouTube takes a 45% cut of the CPM and pays you the remaining 55%.

That means if your video gets 1 million eligible views (this excludes video views where YouTube showed no ads), your CPM could be between $4,000 and $10,000, and YouTube would pay you between $2,200 and $5,500.

Comparing YouTube to selling Video Courses

Earning $2-5k with YouTube videos might sound like a lot, but imagine how hard it is to get 1 million views on YouTube. It takes continuous hard work, ingenuity, and persistence and it won’t pay a dime for a long time.

In comparison, earning $2-5k with a video course is much easier, but it’s not a joyride either. You still need to create and promote your course and - ideally - expand your network on social media to make it easier to sell your course in the future. But it’s easier to earn money.

For example, the average creator earning on Udemy is $3,300 per year. Software Development courses make $2,340 on average. But take these numbers with a pinch of salt. Udemy is a highly competitive marketplace with lower-than-usual course prices, and many instructors focus on popular rather than niche topics, which increases the competition between courses.

We recommend to choose a course topic that is more niche than popular because you can usually price such courses higher, and marketing becomes more targeted and, therefore, easier.

Why creating Video Courses is easier than YouTube

Aside from potentially earning more, there are other significant advantages of creating a video course to creating content for YouTube:

1. You have to create the content only once and can then focus on marketing only

On YouTube, you have to create content continuously. Your subscribers want new content as often as possible, ideally daily. Creating so much content is an enormous commitment and burden. It will consume most of your time, leaving little time to do marketing.

2. The publish-to-income timeframe is much shorter

On YouTube, you have to create a lot of content for free for a long time until you see your first dollar. With video courses, this often takes only one week. Usually, you have your first sales right after you launch your video course if you did marketing before launching the course. That means that within a week after launching your course, money starts hitting your bank account.

3. Video Courses are less competitive

To succeed on YouTube, you must stand out and reach a broad audience. That means creating a lot of unique and high-quality content that interests a large audience, otherwise you won’t get the millions of views necessary to make an income. It’s a numbers game in a highly competitive environment.

Video courses, on the other hand, can focus on a small niche and still be successful. With just 100 sales, you can earn $10,000 or more. You don’t need to attract a large audience or become a “brand.” That makes video courses inherently less competitive unless you aim for 7-figures a year from video courses alone. You can focus on what interests you and not what might interest the largest audience.

How YouTube and creating Video Courses are similar

If you create a video course or content for YouTube, there are a few similarities that you need to consider:

1. No marketing means no customers

You have to market your content, regardless of whether you want to sell an online course or get subscribers for your YouTube channel. A common beginner mistake is to create great content but never talk about it. The philosophy “build it and they will come” doesn’t work 99.999% of the time, especially if you don’t have a strong brand already.

Companies like 37Signals can say: “We don’t do marketing” because everybody knows and follows them already. Unless you’re a multi-millionaire with hundreds of thousands of followers, you have to do marketing if you want to sell something.

2. No quality means no customers

Regardless of where you post it, nobody will buy or watch your content if it is low-quality. “Low quality” doesn’t mean only “low video quality”; it mostly means “low knowledge quality.” If your course doesn’t teach your students something valuable, they won’t value it either.

Your video quality can be bad, but if what you teach is highly interesting, students usually don’t care too much that your face is blurry or your audio doesn’t sound professional. Likewise, you can have the most professional setup, but if your content is vague, high-level, and non-actionable, students won’t buy or recommend your course either.

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