If you’re a creator, especially one that’s specialized in short-form video, you’ve probably heard of YouTube Shorts by now. YouTube Shorts are vertical, short videos that are up to 60 seconds long, and they are essentially YouTube’s attempt at competing with TikTok.
While hopes might not have been high when they were first launched in 2021, YouTube Shorts have started gaining popularity over the last year, with some of these videos racking up more than half a billion views. That begs the question: is there a way for creators to monetize YouTube Shorts?
The quick answer is yes! Last September, YouTube announced an updated Partner Program, which features a new revenue-sharing model specifically for Shorts. Every month, YouTube pools all the money it gets from advertisers through the Shorts feed, and shares that money with creators based on their number of views. It’s also worth noting that, with the launch of this revenue-sharing model in February 2023, the YouTube Shorts Fund is now defunct.
Below, we explain how revenue sharing works on YouTube Shorts, and what you need to do in order to start monetizing Shorts.
Ready to rake it in? Grab our free YouTube Shorts Monetization Guide to learn the best ways to earn money through Shorts.
How does revenue sharing work on YouTube Shorts?
The Shorts ad revenue-sharing model can seem complex, so let’s break it down:
1. Before anything can be paid out, the money needs to be pooled together. Every month, YouTube adds up all the revenue generated from ads in the Shorts feed.
2. Next, the portion that’s going to creators — the Creator Pool — is calculated. A chunk of the money in the initial pool goes towards paying for songs used in YouTube Shorts. For example, only a third of the ad revenue generated by a Short will be added to the Creator Pool if it used two songs. The rest goes to paying for the music.
3. The Creator Pool is divided among all monetizing creators, according to how many views they contributed. So, if you generated 5% of the Shorts views for that period, you’d be assigned 5% of the Creator Pool.
4. But that isn’t the exact amount you’ll get paid! YouTube keeps 55% of that amount, while 45% of it goes to creators. So, if your 5% share amounts to $800, you’d get a bit less than half of that: $360.
This process happens every month, meaning that creators with high-performing Shorts can regularly earn some money straight from YouTube. Not a bad deal!
To earn ad revenue from Shorts, you’ll need to be part of the YouTube Partner Program — the gateway to most of YouTube’s monetization opportunities. Here’s what you need to be eligible for this program:
- 1,000 subscribers.
- 4,000 valid public watch hours in the past 12 months (for longer YouTube videos) or;
- 10 million valid public Short views in the past 90 days.
That means your YouTube channel needs to have gained at least a bit of traction before you can monetize your Shorts.
Additionally, there are a few other eligibility requirements that you’ll need to meet:
- Comply with YouTube’s channel monetization policies.
- Live in a region where the YouTube Partner Program is available.
- Have no Community Guidelines strikes on your channel.
- Have 2-step verification turned on for your Google account.
- Have an active AdSense account.
How to join the YouTube Partner Program
For Shorts creators who are growing their channel to meet the minimum requirements, you can keep track of your eligibility status by hitting Notify me when I’m eligible in the Earn section of the YouTube Studio.
Once you’ve become eligible, follow these steps to apply for the YouTube Partner Program:
- Sign in to YouTube on a computer (alternatively, you could apply on the YouTube Studio app).
- Click your profile picture at the top right, then click YouTube Studio.
- In the left menu, click Earn, then select Apply.
- Click Start to review and Accept the base terms.
- Click Start to set up an AdSense account, or link an existing active one. You should then see In Progress in the Get Reviewed step.
YouTube will review your channel and confirm if you’re enrolled in the program. You can expect to hear a decision within a month.
How to opt in for YouTube Shorts monetization
Just because you’ve successfully joined the Partner Program doesn’t mean you’re automatically signed up for Shorts ad revenue sharing. There are a few more steps to take before you’re ready to earn:
- Sign in to YouTube Studio.
- In the left menu, select Earn.
- Click Get Started for each optional module to review and accept their terms. To monetize Shorts specifically, accept the Base Terms and the Shorts Monetization Module.
Once your Shorts are monetized, you can check how much you’ve earned through YouTube Analytics. Simply go to your YouTube Studio, hit Analytics, then Revenue in the top menu. You’ll find a report called How you make money, which will tell you how much your Shorts are bringing in.
How much can you earn?
When the revenue share program first launched in February, publications like Insider were already interviewing YouTube Shorts creators to figure this out. Here are some figures reported by four creators back in February:
- Riley Lemon, a creator with 84,000 subscribers and 1.9 million Shorts views, earned $76.23.
- Matthew King, who had 212,000 subscribers and 4.2 million Shorts views, earned $163.73.
- James Seo, with 573,000 subscribers and 10.3 million Shorts views, earned $445.09.
- Hassan Khadair, who had 2.1 million subscribers and 22 million Shorts views, earned $872.14.
A number of Shorts creators have also taken to Twitter to share their earnings. Creator @LSToast, for example, made an estimated $446.02 for the month of April from a single Short.
Creator Farfa, over in the U.K., earned £13.37 (or approximately $16.69 USD) from a Short that got over 243,000 views.
In short, creators are still a bit in the dark as far as how much they can expect to earn. Our advice? Don’t expect this revenue-sharing program to be your main income stream. While it can give you a nice cash bonus, it’s not necessarily the most lucrative way of earning money as a creator.
5 other opportunities for YouTube Shorts monetization
Not eligible for YouTube’s Partner Program yet? Or perhaps the Shorts revenue-sharing program isn’t exactly what you expected? Don’t worry, there are still a few ways you can make money through YouTube Shorts.
1. Turn on channel memberships
Channel memberships are premium subscriptions that YouTube viewers can sign up for to support their favorite creators. One of the best ways to turn this into a revenue stream is to create some kind of exclusive content you can share with paid members.
2. Try selling merch
Did you know that you can sell merch directly on YouTube? With YouTube Shopping, you can set up an online store right on YouTube, and plug your products in your Shorts.
3. Join affiliate programs
By becoming an affiliate marketer, you can get kickbacks any time someone in your audience follows a custom link to an online store. The Amazon Influencer Program is one of the most popular affiliate programs out there, and you can sign up for free.
4. Sell digital products
One of the best ways to earn money as a creator is to sell digital products. Why? They don’t cost nearly as much to create and deliver as physical products, and can be a great source of passive income. Leverage YouTube Shorts as a marketing channel to promote your product, and watch the cash roll in!
5. Partner with brands
Despite shrinking marketing budgets, partnering with brands is still one of the best ways to earn money on YouTube, including on Shorts. Just remember to be proactive about reaching out to brands, and agree to partnerships that are relevant to your niche.
Start monetizing YouTube Shorts!
The YouTube Shorts revenue-sharing program is a great way for creators who specialize in short-form content to earn money directly on the platform. If you’re eligible, it could give you a nice cash bonus at the end of each month.
But remember, this is not the only way to monetize your content! Consider this program as just one of the many revenue streams you can have, and explore alternate ways to monetize your Shorts videos.
Not sure where to start? Download our free guide on the 8 best ways to monetize YouTube Shorts for tips and ideas!
Can I get monetized on YouTube Shorts?
Absolutely! As long as you have at least 1,000 subscribers and 10 million Shorts views in the past 90 days, you can monetize your YouTube Shorts through the platform’s ad revenue-sharing program.
How much money does YouTube pay for 1,000 Shorts views?
Short answer? A few pennies.
Long answer: that depends on your RPM, or revenue per mille, which calculates how much you’re getting paid for every 1,000 views. Some creators have reported RPMs around $0.04, while others say the highest RPM they’ve seen is $0.07.
How much does YouTube pay you for 1 million Shorts views?
Using similar figures above, a Short with an RPM of $0.04 would get you $40, while one with an RPM of $0.07 would pay $70.
How can I monetize YouTube Shorts without 1,000 subscribers?
While you need at least 1,000 subscribers to be eligible for YouTube’s Partner Program, there are other ways you can make money with Shorts. For example, you can use Shorts videos to promote your digital products, sell your merch, or send your audience to affiliate links.