Living Off YouTube

I make a few bucks here and there from YouTube, but as I was looking at my stats recently I decided to calculate how many impressions I would need in order to live solely off YouTube income.

My current eCPM for videos is $0.76, meaning on average for every 1000 impressions I’m earning $0.76, or $0.00076 per single impression. Yeah, web video is glamorous. I’m going to say I would need $40,000 from YouTube every year in order to live comfortably. That works out to 52.6 million impressions every year! That’s how many people watched the Friends finale. Obviously that doesn’t have to be for a single video, or for a single hour at a time. But that’s just to earn $40k! It seems like an unobtainable goal. YouTube’s ad rates are too low, and the viewers aren’t clicking on ads enough.

UPDATE: It turns out only 80% of the money earned through YouTube actually gets to me. YouTube takes a 20% cut, although the eCPM is calculated using the full earnings. So I’m actually receiving more like $0.60 per 1000 impressions, which moves my target to 66.6 million views!

You really have to question whether it even makes sense to have click-through ads on video. If you click on an ad while reading a web site, the web site will be there right where you left off. If you click on an ad while a video is playing, you’re interrupting something that is designed to play out in a specific amount of time. If a viewer is engaged they shouldn’t be clicking on ads. Especially if they’re for “night stands” like my “Two Night Stand” video gets. It’s like one of those Bing ads. TV has the right idea. I’d have no problem if I could put in act breaks on my videos to increase the exposure to revenue-generating material. Pre-rolls (and to a lesser-extent post-rolls) are great as well.

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