In Summary
  • According to Statistics Brain, a whopping 1.325 billion people use YouTube, watching 4.95 billion videos every day — 3.25 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube each month.
  • Kenyans on YouTube are rising in number and popularity with the likes of Njugush and Henry DeSagu receiving Silver Creator Awards for hitting the 100,000 subscriber mark.
  • Google owns YouTube, which means it is easy for creators to sign up to Google AdSense, a programme that serves text, images, video, or interactive media advertisements that are targeted to the site content and audience.
  • Most YouTube creators build up an audience, reach the Google $100 payment threshold, continue promoting their videos, and as subscriber numbers continue to rise, they gain for themselves healthy incomes, which they supplement with other income-generating methods.

Growing up, I always loved watching shows and movies on TV. You know, admiring and coveting other people’s lives, and creating wild goals on how I’d like my life to pan out.

Of course, this was met by my father’s criticism, which I know came from a place of love — just like many African dads.

“Those actors you’re constantly sitting down to watch have earned their money after each show. What do you have to show for yourself?”

Fast-forward to today. I barely watch anything on TV. I’m always streaming movies and shows on my laptop. And because of how my schedule is set up these days, that is left for the weekend only.

That means I can only afford to watch short videos after a long day, and thank God for YouTube, which a couple of years back was mostly used to watch music videos.

Today, there are a wide range of categories on the platform from video blogs, reviews to documentaries.

Heck, people these days turn to YouTube to get any Do It Yourself (DIY) information. It’s a class in itself, unbelievably. Personally, I am currently learning how to edit videos through YouTube.

MAKING MONEY

According to Statistics Brain, a whopping 1.325 billion people use YouTube, watching 4.95 billion videos every day — 3.25 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube each month.

But dad’s infamous question has always stuck by me, funny enough. And I constantly ask myself how YouTubers, who in the digital age are rising in number daily, make their money.

PewDiePie, real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, is undoubtedly one of the most famous YouTubers, with over 98 million subscribers.

Back in 2016, Money Nation estimated his earnings from his career on YouTube. He had an average salary of $12 million (Sh1.2 billion) per year and had an estimated $124 million since he began his stint back in 2010. His net worth at the time was a very healthy $78 million.

BRAND INFLUENCERS

To bring the topic back home, Kenyans on YouTube are rising in number and popularity with the likes of Njugush and Henry DeSagu receiving Silver Creator Awards for hitting the 100,000 subscriber mark.

Wanjiru Njiru is a Kenyan fashion and lifestyle YouTuber who is currently at 20,000 subscribers.

“I quit my job to become a digital content creator and a brand influencer, which is just a fancy name for a YouTuber,” she says laughing.

METHODS

So how exactly do successful creators like Wanjiru make their money?

The Influencer Marketing Hub listed a number of ways this can happen, including merchandising, affiliate links, sponsorships, subscription fees and endorsements.

In the real sense, however, YouTube creators monetise fully through advertising, in which they are paid based on two metrics: the number of ad views and the number of ad clicks.

An ad, short for advertisement, is a notice or announcement in a public medium promoting a product, service or event or publicising a job vacancy.

Google owns YouTube, which means it is easy for creators to sign up to Google AdSense, a programme that serves text, images, video, or interactive media advertisements that are targeted to the site content and audience.

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