1 Million YouTube Views: How Much YouTube Pays for this Milestone

Every video marketer knows that amassing views on YouTube is vital to their success. Many YouTube users make 1 million YouTube views on each video their goal. Is 1 million YouTube views really worth what you think it is though? Let’s breaks down the numbers, look at how much YouTube pays you, and examine other monetization options. Read all the way through to see YouTube’s top earners talk about making money!

How much YouTube pays you directly

The biggest factor that determines how much YouTube will pay you is the cost per impression, or CPI. CPI is the rate YouTube pays for every thousand views (CPI can also be called CPM, or Cost Per Mille) of the ads that the site attaches to your videos. Note that this is after YouTube has already taken its share of the amount paid by advertisers to have their ads posted on your video.

While Youtube does not publish its CPM rates, online marketing firm Penna Powers estimates their current CPM to range from as low as 50 cents to as high as $10. Let’s assume that all 1 million viewers on a particular video also watch the ads before it. We can conservatively assume that your CPM is at the average range of $2 (as estimated by Hank Green). You could expect to earn on average:

Views x CPM
1 million views x ($2/1000 views)

Now remember that the ‘Skip ad’ button and ad blockers do exist. Penna Powers estimates that an average of only 15% of viewers actually watch ads without skipping. 15% of 1 million viewers would be 150,000 viewers actually watching the ads.

150,000 views x $2/1000 views

$300 is definitely way below than the initial $2000 you thought you would earn for hitting 1 million YouTube views on your video.

That is not even the end of the story. Remember that CPM rates vary from 50 cents to $10. YouTube uses a rather complex algorithm to determine the quality of views you have and assigns the appropriate rate for them. How much YouTube pays you involves an algorithm which takes into account a variety of factors:

  • The type of audience viewing your video
  • The ads themselves
  • The price of the ads
  • Audience retention
  • Engagement

Even if you do get a rate at the upper range, it could still be well below the $2000 you initially thought of. Unless you regularly amass millions of views on every video you upload, you won’t exactly earn a fortune from your YouTube views alone.

Other YouTube income sources

Does this mean that 1 million views are worthless as an income generator? NO! Hitting 1 million, or even just 100,000, views will open up a plethora of income generation opportunities. Play your cards right and how much YouTube pays you will dwarfed by these opportunities. Remember that the more views that you get, the more it shows how popular your videos are. Advertisers know this all too well.

Instead of placing ads on videos with no real assurance they will actually be watched, some marketers go directly to content creators like you to advertise their products in your videos. The idea here is that since the product ads are in the video itself, there is no way that the viewer can skip it. Let’s look at 3 ways this works.

Sponsored videos

Epic Meal Time’s bacon sponsor is a perfect example of a YouTuber sponsorship. They feature their sponsor, Hormel Black Label Bacon, in their videos frequently. They also give them the first mention and link in their description:


How much such deals will bring you will vary greatly depending on what you and the marketer end up agreeing upon. According to popular Youtuber Rosianna Halse Rojas in an interview with Fusion, the more lucrative ones can net you between $4,000 and $20,000 for a single deal. Since these deals are negotiated between you and the advertiser, you are not required to give YouTube a cut of the earnings.

Affiliate Marketing

Another popular means of generating income from Youtube is through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing on Youtube involves directing viewers to affiliated videos and websites. The Youtuber is paid by the affiliate from the traffic and sales generated.

This particular method is surprisingly lucrative. Even with a low conversion rate of 0.05% of traffic and just a $10 commission, a million views could potentially bring as much as $5000. Do note that commission rates can vary greatly from client to client. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of various affiliate offers.

Directing your viewers to actually click the affiliate links is no easy task. While you are not required to do marketing for them, you do still need to find a way to promote them to your viewers without being too blatant about it. This is where your choice of affiliates is crucial. You want affiliates that are closely related to your videos to gain the interest of your audience. Zoella, a makeup channel, puts her very relevant affiliate links in her description box:


Affiliate links are one of the most popular means of monetizing your videos outside of Youtube AdSense. Carefully choosing the right affiliates to make money, and keep your viewers from feeling advertised to.  

Merchandise websites

Some of the most popular YouTube content providers also make additional income by selling merchandise. This is usually done by those who have made their names big enough on YouTube that subscribers would be more than willing to purchase goods from them.

Philip DeFranco has his own successful website for this called For Human Peoples:


He pushes his fans to visit the site in his videos, and his fans respond.

Getting those 1 million YouTube views

Not all YouTube content creators aspire to that ‘magical’ 1 million views milestone for the direct income that it could bring. Those advertising their businesses on the site see that mark as an indicator that their marketing strategy is working to attract even more potential customers. This type of Youtuber craves views over everything. They have the following options:
1. Buying ad space on YouTube
2. External marketing
3. Buying views

1. Buying ads on YouTube

We have already talked about YouTube ads in the context of the Youtubers who get paid for showing it. Now, it’s time to look at those who pay for these ads to be displayed in the first place.

YouTube offers marketers four different types of ads to choose from.

  • In slate: Which appears in the “suggested videos” section at the end of a video.
  • Search-ads: That appear above search results (much like in Google)
  • In display: This ad that appears in the suggested video list shown beside the video currently watched.
  • In stream: An ad that plays before another video.

In stream ads are considered to be the most popular. They are the ones that are most likely to be watched, even if the viewer ends up skipping it a few seconds later. YouTube also offers non-skippable ads, though these are relatively fewer than skippable ones. As for the other types, they require the viewer’s conscious decision to click on them to play.

How much it costs advertisers depends mainly on the audience targeting you set for the ad. The more specifically directed your audience, the higher your cost per ad will be. According to Penna Powers, rates average $.10 – $.30 per view. Also, YouTube charges you only when your ad is actually viewed. The ad is considered viewed when a viewer watches the first 30 seconds of it. If your ad is less than 30 seconds, it is considered viewed if it is watched in its entirety.

Going back to the 1 million ad views, and using the median ad rate of $.20, you can expect to pay $200 for every million views you managed to get for the ads. While that cost might seem small, remember that advertisers don’t just create one video. Burger King showed us this:

They did at least half a dozen to have a bigger shot at capturing the interest of their target audience. Their actual cost for the YouTube ad campaign is significantly larger because of this.  

Another way to purchase ad space on YouTube is to strike a deal with other content creators themselves to direct their subscribers to watch your videos. Keep in mind that this is far more tedious than just buying regular ad space since you will have to do the negotiations. YouTube collaborations do still work!

2. External marketing

One of the best things about the growth of social media in recent years is that it opens up a new platform for marketing your videos and attracting more viewers. All you need to do is share a link to the video on your social media and your followers will be more than happy to watch and share it, greatly increasing the views.

Marketing your videos on social media is not without its costs. A few examples include:

  • You need to have a solid following on these sites, which will take considerable effort on your part.
  • If you don’t have time to do it yourself, hiring a social media manager would be your next best option. Costs range from from $300 – $2000 a month for a comprehensive social media marketing package. Experts can start at $5,000 a month.
  • There are also the more traditional online marketing strategies, such as search engine optimization to get your YouTube videos better Google rankings.
  • Buying ad spaces on other websites to embed your YouTube videos in.

All of these have their own varied costs that you have to take into account.

3. Buying 1 million YouTube views

There is actually a logic behind why you would buy 1 million views. As mentioned earlier, the number of views on a video serves as a means of attracting more viewers. The more views one sees on a video, the more likely they are to watch it just to see why a lot of other people are watching it. No one cares how the view count got so high.

1 million youtube viewsThis is why people use our 1 million views service. The truly daring? They go for our 2 million views service. Each step up is another step higher in people’s positive reaction to your video.

When buying views, the numbers should match well with other figures in the video’s statistics. A video with 1 million views, but only having a thousand or fewer subscribers, is likely to arouse the suspicion of your audience and YouTube. If you need more help feel free to use our: 

Our services will help you amass more views using a variety of tactics. You don’t need to struggle with any of your channel’s numbers anymore.

How much YouTube pays you for 1 million views

Let’s start by looking at those who could be considered as the core of YouTube’s content creators:

  • Justin Bieber
  • PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg)
  • Lilly Singh (Superwoman)
  • Smosh
  • The Lonely Island
  • Philip DeFranco

These are some of the most popular YouTube stars. They were catapulted to fame by homemade videos that regularly hit the 1 million view mark. This success lead to considerable fortune outside of YouTube. They signed lucrative deals, recorded albums, did TV shows, appeared in movies, and toured the world. Product endorsements also poured in, letting them amass millions of dollars.

Bieber, for instance, has current earnings of a whopping $56 million, according to Forbes. All of that at no starting cost, since he made his initial videos with no budget. The original video was taken down a long time ago, but this is the YouTube video which gave Bieber his big break:

However, there are those YouTube personalities who do consider the costs. Some of them did start in the same route as the above, uploading videos just for the fun of it. As their fan base increased, they started to put more effort into producing their videos to maintain that audience.

An example of a YouTuber who reached 1 million views

In an interview with the New York Times, YouTube comedian Olga Kay revealed that she spends around $500 – $700 a week on filming and editing the comedy skits for her channels. She currently has just under a million subscribers that bring her around $100,000 – $300,000 gross earnings annually. That is not her ‘take-home’ pay though:

  • YouTube takes around 45% of those earnings
  • The IRS gets their cut
  • Production costs must also be taken into account

At the end of the day, she ends up with around $21,000 net income from her videos. That take-home pay is considerably less than the average personal income for many Americans her age, which is around $25,000-$31,000.

This has caused Kay to branch out to her own business, using her popularity to market it and the income from her videos to fund it. Her use of her YouTube fame to promote her other business is where we move from the concerns of individual YouTube personalities to that of businesses putting up their own videos on the site. Unlike the former, where the site serves as a major income generator, the latter sees YouTube as one giant commercial to promote their trade and increase sales.

YouTube and ROI

The most important aspect for businesses on any platform is the return on investment, or ROI. Basically, it’s a look at how much they get out of something monetarily based on how much they spend on it.

One of the most often cited examples of the power of Youtube to increase ROI is that of blender manufacturer Blendtec, creator of the “Will It Blend” video series. During the early run of the campaign Blendtec CEO Tom Dickson, who also stars in the videos, claimed in an interview with Inc that:

“Since “Will It Blend?” started, we’ve had explosive sales growth of 700% of our home products. It’s been a home run since the day we launched.”

This is a fantastic increase for any brand, let alone a product like blenders! YouTube has, without a doubt, vastly improved their ROI from online marketing.

What 1 million YouTube views are worth to you

The true worth of 1 million YouTube views lies not in the number itself, but in how it is used. This is because how much YouTube pays you can be dwarfed by how much people will pay to reach your audience. By effectively harnessing the perceived social proof of that audience, Youtubers will be able to open more income opportunities.

Keep in mind that YouTube is itself just one tool for making money online. To make the most out of all your opportunities provided by those 1 million views, you have to also effectively combine these with:

  1. Affiliate marketing
  2. Sponsorships
  3. Merchandise

For that last word on money and YouTube, watch as one of the wealthiest YouTubers, PewDiePie, has an honest talk about his billions of views and making money: