YouTube Shorts Monetization: Full Guide w/ Criteria

July 04, 2024

YouTube Shorts monetization refers to the process of generating revenue from your short-form video content on the platform. This can be done in several ways, such as through ad revenues or fund payments, and can be an excellent motivator for creators who are not utilizing this format in their content strategies yet.

If you’re already posting this content type regularly and are wondering how you can monetize your YouTube Shorts, keep reading. We will discuss everything you need to know about the platform’s monetization program and explain how you can start reaping its benefits.

Let’s jump in!

Can You Monetize YouTube Shorts?

Yes, you can monetize YouTube Shorts just like long-form videos. While monetization options through the YouTube Partner Program have been available for regular videos since Google’s acquisition of the platform in 2006, these only became available for Shorts in February 2023.

Before the current YouTube Shorts monetization policy was in place, the only way to monetize this content format was through the YouTube Shorts Fund. This $100 million fund was distributed to content creators who published original and highly engaging Shorts from 2021–2022 to encourage users to utilize this content format.

The move was effective, as YouTube Shorts continued to grow in popularity after 2022. In fact, according to data from Statista, Shorts reached over two billion monthly users in 2023, and the number has likely grown since then.

Due to its popularity, it was inevitable for YouTube to add Shorts to their monetization program as well. However, while both Shorts and regular videos offer potential income streams, their monetization methods vary.

How Does YouTube Shorts Monetization Work?

YouTube Shorts monetization works a little differently from that of regular videos, as their shorter length means that they will have limited revenue opportunities.

That said, there are still plenty of ways to make money with YouTube Shorts, such as through:

#1. YouTube Shorts Ad Revenue

Unlike long-form content that can earn income from YouTube ads that are placed in the video, YouTube Shorts monetization primarily relies on revenue from the ads shown in the Shorts tab. All the revenue generated from these is then pooled together and distributed among creators and music publishers.

Shorts ad revenue sharing

Source: YouTube Help

Here’s how this process works:

  1. First, YouTube pools the revenue from all the ads between videos in the Shorts feed.
  2. Then, YouTube calculates how much of the revenue will go to the Creator Pool and how much is needed to cover the music licensing fees for the songs used in the videos.
  3. After the revenue is split, YouTube distributes the funds from the Creator Pool to monetized creators based on their share of the total views on Shorts. So, if you account for 5% of the total views, then you will get 5% of the revenue.
  4. Lastly, revenue share comes into effect, and YouTube takes 55% of the allocated revenue, while 45% goes to the creator. The estimated ad revenue can be seen on YouTube analytics.

#2. YouTube Premium Subscriptions

Similar to ad revenue, YouTube consolidates all the payments from YouTube Premium subscriptions and allocates them to monetized creators.

Here’s how YouTube explains this process:

“YouTube will pay 45% of the net revenue from YouTube Premium that is allocated to monetizing creators for Shorts. A portion of YouTube Premium revenues are allocated to help cover the costs of music licensing. Payments to each creator are based on their share of subscription Shorts views within each country.”

#3. Fan Funding

YouTube Fan Funding is a way for viewers to support their favorite creators on the platform and an excellent method for monetizing YouTube Shorts.

Fan Funding can be done through:

  • Channel memberships. With channel memberships, creators can make up to five membership tiers that their audience can subscribe to in exchange for exclusive perks, like featured badges or content. Then, they can keep 70% of the revenue from these memberships.
  • Super Thanks. Super Thanks are one-time animations that viewers can purchase to increase their chances of being noticed by their favorite creator. These are available at different price points, ranging from $2 to $50.
  • Super Chat and Super Stickers. These features are only available on YouTube Live and allow viewers to purchase colorful comments or animations that are featured on the stream.

#4. YouTube Shopping

YouTube Shopping is a feature that allows creators to promote products in their content. When uploading, you can add a shoppable link to the product featured in the video.

This creates an overlay that allows viewers to browse products and even make purchases without leaving the site. By making it easier for your audience to access your products, you can convert more followers into customers.

According to research by Violot et al. (2024), Shorts greatly outperform regular videos when it comes to views and likes per view, making this the ideal content format for advertising your products.

If you don’t have any products to promote, another way to benefit from YouTube Shopping is by joining the YouTube Shopping affiliate program. It allows eligible creators to advertise products from different brands in their content to earn a commission.

YouTube Shorts Monetization Eligibility Criteria

To meet the YouTube Shorts monetization eligibility criteria, creators must first qualify for the YouTube Partner Program.

YouTube partner program eligibility -  youtube shorts monetization

Source: YouTube Help

To join this program, your channel should meet the following requirements:

  • Have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers
  • Have at least ten million public views on your YouTube Shorts in the last 90 days or 4,000 public watch hours on regular videos in the last 12 months
  • Follow YouTube channel monetization policies
  • Have no active Community Guidelines strikes

In addition to these criteria, you should also be living in a region that supports the YouTube Partner Program and have at least one active AdSense account linked to your channel.

Aside from the platform’s main partner program, YouTube launched an expanded program in 2023 to cater to creators with a smaller following. To qualify for it, your channel should have:

  • At least 500 subscribers.
  • Three valid public uploads in the last 90 days.
  • Three million valid public views on YouTube Shorts in the last 90 days.

Since the expanded program has much lower thresholds, their monetization opportunities are limited to YouTube Shopping and fan funding only.

How to Start With YouTube Shorts Monetization in 2 Simple Steps

Monetizing your YouTube Shorts involves a two-step process: applying for the YouTube Partner Program and accepting the monetization feature in your profile settings.

Let’s go over these steps in detail below:

#1. Apply for the YouTube Partner Program

If you meet the criteria that we discussed above, you can apply for the YouTube Partner Program by going to your profile and navigating to YouTube Studio.

Applying for the YouTube partner program

On the left sidebar, click Earn, and if your channel is eligible, you’ll find an Apply Now option.

Earn tab on YouTube - youtube shorts monetization

If not, you can check your progress under Eligibility and tap Get Notified to receive an email once your channel reaches the required thresholds.

Turning on notifications for eligibility status

#2. Accept the Shorts Monetization Module

Once you have joined the YouTube Partner program, all you need to do is accept the Shorts Monetization Module to start monetizing YouTube Shorts.

To do this, head back to the YouTube Studio and click Earn. Then, simply accept the Shorts Monetization Module, and you’re all set.

While these instructions show the process for desktop applications, you can also follow the same steps when applying from your phone.

How Much Can You Earn Through YouTube Shorts Monetization?

You can earn anywhere between $0.01 and $0.07 through YouTube Shorts monetization, as this is how much YouTube pays per 1,000 views on Shorts. That said, this amount can still vary depending on several factors, like your location and engagement rates.

It’s also important to remember that your share of ad revenues and YouTube Premium subscriptions will depend on how much your content contributes to the total number of views and subscriptions. So, the more compelling and engaging your content is, the more money you can make with Shorts.

To improve your earning potential, here are some strategies you can try:

Since YouTube only computes your total share of the Shorts ad revenue, you need a YouTube Shorts monetization calculator to measure your overall earnings on the platform.

Top 4 Alternative Ways to Monetize YouTube Shorts

If you don’t meet the YouTube Partner Program’s eligibility requirements, there’s no need to worry, as there are other ways to monetize your YouTube Shorts without using the platform’s monetization program.

These include:

#1. Joining an Affiliate Program

Joining an affiliate program is one of the best ways to make money on YouTube overall. This is also an excellent alternative for channels that don’t meet the required subscriber count, views, or watch time.

To ensure the success of this method, make sure that the affiliate program you choose is still relevant to your brand or content on the platform. Otherwise, you risk alienating your subscribers.

Then, you can use YouTube Shorts to promote the program you are currently in by adding your affiliate link in your video description. Another way to highlight your affiliate link is by adding it to your channel’s About section, where it can be easily seen and accessed by profile visitors.

#2. Collaborating With Brands

Brand collaborations are a great option for channels with a large following based in countries where YouTube Shorts monetization through the program isn’t an option.

Collaborations are not only an alternative for monetizing YouTube Shorts but also an effective way to improve your content’s credibility and appeal.

One important thing to remember when working with brands, however, is that you need to disclose the collaboration in your content. Failing to do so can lead to legal consequences and make your viewers feel deceived, resulting in a negative impression of your brand.

#3. Selling Exclusive Merchandise

If you’re looking for ways to monetize YouTube Shorts without needing 1,000 subscribers, then consider selling exclusive merchandise. You can create branded apparel featuring your brand’s logo or signature catchphrase and promote it in your videos.

While this method doesn’t directly monetize your content, it allows you to utilize Shorts to generate extra revenue and strengthen your brand’s identity online.

You can hold polls to determine what products your audience is interested in, such as mugs, T-shirts, or keychains, and generate buzz around your product release. We also recommend making some limited-edition or special merchandise to drive sales further and generate more engagement.

#4. Signing up on Subscription-Based Platforms

Subscription-based platforms, like Patreon and Ko-fi, don’t require a minimum subscriber count or watch time, making them an excellent alternative to the YouTube Shorts monetization program.

There are also several ways to monetize your content on these platforms, such as by sharing behind-the-scenes content or releasing extra footage from your existing videos to encourage viewers to sign up for a subscription.

You can also use a YouTube Short to promote the highlights and most exciting parts of an upcoming video and release the full-length version on a platform like Patreon, where viewers have to purchase a membership to access all your content.

What makes this site different is that, unlike YouTube subscriptions, Patreon tiers don’t have a minimum amount for their memberships, making them more accessible to a wider audience.

Key Takeaways

  • Eligible creators can monetize their YouTube Shorts through the platform’s ad revenue and subscription pools, fan funding, and YouTube Shopping feature.
  • Only the creators who are part of the YouTube Partner Program and meet the program’s geographical and account requirements can monetize their Shorts.
  • You can start monetizing your YouTube Shorts after being approved for the YouTube Partner Program and accepting the Shorts Monetization Module.
  • YouTube Shorts monetization provides an earning potential between $0.01 and $0.07 per 1,000 views.
  • Other ways to monetize your YouTube Shorts include joining an affiliate program, collaborating with brands, selling exclusive merchandise, and signing up on subscription-based websites.

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