4 min read

The Brutal Reality of Making Money on YouTube

One of my recent youtube videos did pretty well last month. I tried out GPT Engineer and went through the motions of installing and attempting to code with it.

Weirdly, on day four of it's release, YouTube decided to push it very hard totalling about +100K impressions over the next 5 days. That's an insane amount of reach for little old me, jumping views from about 900 to 7.5K over the same period.

All told, a month later it's sitting at 177K impressions and 11.5K views. You can see how that compares to one of my more typical videos in it's analytics chart below, where typical performance is barely visible.

I have no idea why it took off in this way. One notable difference was I "edited the hell" out of it. I threw away so much, removing failed or irrelevant attempts along the way. Evidently this extra effort paid off - I'd consider this my most popular video to date given how quickly it accrued these numbers. Granted, it's small time for others, but notable for me.

So you might be thinking that given I was monetised back in March, I'd be raking it in from such a vid? At which point I'd laugh and spit my tea everywhere....this video has made me a massive $30 in adsense at this point, far less than any developer I know would get for the same time I put in!

The reality is that creators on YouTube cannot only rely on the money that adsense brings in. Even MrBeast will unlikely cover the costs of his recent $3M video "Train vs Pit" in adsense alone, despite it having accrued 127M views! The way these huge creators make real money is via sponsorships, affiliates and selling their own products.

I've seen 1 sale of my Side Projects Making $$$+ from YT and a few dollars from affiliate links but this doesn't add up to something sustainable. For me, it's about reaching a new audience who I would never otherwise encounter and acting as an advertisement for my skills.

The success is also slightly bittersweet - having focused on a trending topic of AI, I've attracted a lot of subscribers from the space whom I'd rather not lose due to one video that doesn't suit them. I've continued to create similar videos but I don't want to pigeonhole myself to topics in that space either.

I hope you enjoy this issues links, if you have any comments or suggestions for the future, please feel free to reply and let me know.

Until next time, keep on shipping!



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