Enabling monetization means that you agree you will only upload video content that you have the rights for and that you will play by the rules (such as not watching your own video over and over to boost ads). Google AdSense is the way you set up your payment information for when you actually start making money. I’ve posted links in the show notes of today’s episode so that you don’t have to hunt around for these links.
The tech conceit of starting with nothing and growing a business into being profitable sounds appealing. Who wouldn't like to minimize initial investment? But the successes have typically required hundreds of millions, if not a billion or more, of investment to ultimately succeed. And there are many ways in which the grand concept can fall short the way theory sometimes does when faced with the reality of application.
In late November 2018, YouTube announced that it would introduce a "Story" feature, similar to ones used by Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, which would allow its content creators to engage fans without posting a full video. The stories, called "Reels," would be up to 30 seconds in length and would allow users to add "filters, music, text and more, including new "YouTube-y" stickers." Unlike those of other platforms, YouTube's stories could be made multiple times and would not expire. Instead of being placed at the top of the user interface as is commonly done, the "Reels" option would be featured as a separate tab on the creator's channel. As of its announcement, only certain content creators would have access to the "Reels" option, which would be utilized as a beta-version for further feedback and testing. If users engage more with the "Reels" option, it may end up as a more permanent feature and "trigger their appearance on the viewer's YouTube home page as recommendations." As of November 28, 2018, Youtube did not specify when "Reels" would arrive in Beta or when it would be publicly released.
The online-video unit posted revenue of about $4 billion in 2014, up from $3 billion a year earlier, according to two people familiar with its financials, as advertiser-friendly moves enticed some big brands to spend more. But while YouTube accounted for about 6% of Google’s overall sales last year, it didn’t contribute to earnings. After paying for content, and the equipment to deliver speedy videos, YouTube’s bottom line is “roughly break-even,” according to a person with knowledge of the figure.
If your end goal is to actually make money from videos, there’s a far better option than simply relying on your measly allocation of ad revenue. Instead, create a YouTube channel and build an audience. The primary goal is to engage this audience and build a brand name. Then, once you've established a reputation, begin driving traffic to your own landing pages where you can up-sell viewers with premium video content.
Some investors and others have renewed calls for more transparency from YouTube in light of accounting rules and recent questions raised by the Securities and Exchange Commission about its disclosures. They say YouTube has become a material part of Alphabet’s business and an important driver of its growth, warranting quarterly disclosure of its revenue, costs and profitability. Some investors are also arguing that the lack of disclosure around YouTube could potentially be undervaluing Alphabet.
YouTube earns advertising revenue from Google AdSense, a program which targets ads according to site content and audience. The vast majority of its videos are free to view, but there are exceptions, including subscription-based premium channels, film rentals, as well as YouTube Premium, a subscription service offering ad-free access to the website and access to exclusive content made in partnership with existing users.