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A tech YouTube creator with 25,000 subscribers breaks down his monthly income in April and how the coronavirus has affected his business

Jimmy Ton
  • Micro influencer Jimmy Ton, who runs a tech review YouTube channel with 25,000 subscribers, shared how much money YouTube paid him in April. 
  • Many YouTube creators have experienced a decline in direct-ad-revenue rates from the platform in recent weeks, likely because of shifting ad budgets amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Ton said his rates on YouTube have dropped by 35 to 40% in the last few weeks, but his views are up.
  • Overall, his revenue earned from YouTube has stayed the same because of that increase in viewership on his content, he said. 
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Even as a "micro influencer," Jimmy Ton is able to earn a significant amount of money each month off his YouTube channel — which all started as a way to help him in his marketing classes.
Ton, a 24-year-old who lives in Texas, runs the tech review YouTube channel JimmyTriesWorld, which has 25,000 subscribers. He created his channel while he was in college as a creative outlet that matched his love of video editing, he told Business Insider. Now he films videos about technology and consumer electronics after work and he treats his YouTube channel like a part-time job.
Ton earns money from his YouTube videos through the ads that play in his videos. For the month of April, his YouTube channel earned $1,680, according to a screenshot viewed by Business Insider.
Many YouTube creators have experienced a decline in direct-ad-revenue rates from the platform in recent weeks, likely because of shifting ad budgets amid the coronavirus pandemic. But with more people consuming video content at home, YouTube has seen a 20 to 30% increase in views and engagement over the last few weeks, according to the social-media-marketing platform Mediakix.
Ton said his channel views had doubled on average, though his CPM rate has dropped by 35 to 40% in recent weeks. He said his overall income had remained steady.

How YouTube creators get paid 

Even though Ton is considered a micro influencer, his channel has more than a dozen videos with over 100,000 views. YouTube creators say a video with 100,000 views earns between $500 and $2,500, on average. His most popular videos are ones where he talks about how much money he makes and reviews popular tech products, like the Airpods Pro.
Creators with at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours in the past year are eligible to apply for YouTube's Partner Program, which lets them put ads in videos and earn money. These ads are filtered and placed by Google (called AdSense).
YouTube pays creators a certain amount of money for every 1,000 views they get on a single video. How much money YouTube pays a creator for every 1,000 views is called the CPM rate, which stands for cost per mille (Latin for 1,000). CPM rates vary between creators, and no creator consistently has the same rate.
On average (before his ad rates began to drop amid the coronavirus), his CPM rate was between $2 and $4, he told Business Insider.
His most popular video is titled, "How Much Money Does My Small 9,000 Subscriber YouTube Channel Make?" with 949,000 views, which he uploaded over a year ago. That video has a CPM rate between $7.50 to $8.50, he said.
A creator's CPM can vary based on a number of factors, like the type of viewers the video attracts, how long the video is, and the content type. Some videos that contain swearing or copyrighted music can be flagged by YouTube and demonetized, earning hardly any money for the creator (or none at all).
Advertisers usually pay more for an informative, business-related video than a vlog-style video. The rate also depends on seasonality, with lower CPM rates at the start of the year and higher ones toward the end. Other events, like the current coronavirus pandemic, can also affect rates.
"CPM fluctuates a little bit from month to month," Ton said. "Different video topics will give you a different CPM."
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For more on the business of influencers, check out these Business Insider Prime posts: 

  • How a YouTube star making an estimated $14 million per year has adapted his business in recent weeks, as ad rates drop by over 50% but merch sales nearly triple: YouTube star Preston Arsement has begun shifting strategies, focusing on long-term bets and different types of content as ad revenue falters because of the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • A YouTube creator and active-duty US Navy sailor had his highest-earning month ever in April despite ad rates plummeting: Austen Alexander is an active-duty sailor for the US Navy and a YouTube creator with 344,000 subscribers. He has his best month on YouTube after experiencing a sharp uptick in viewership on his channel. 
  • Some YouTube creators say their ad rates have dropped sharply in recent weeks and increased views haven't made up for the loss in income: Many YouTube creators have experienced a decline in direct-ad-revenue rates from the platform in recent weeks, likely because of shifting ad budgets amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • How much money YouTube pays for 1,000, 100,000, and 1 million views, according to top creators: Creators who are a part of YouTube's Partner Program can monetize their YouTube videos with ads. 
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