Because of the coronavirus pandemic, YouTube viewership is on the rise, but it isn’t translating into greater earnings for video creators. Last week, the New York Times reported that YouTube went up 15%.
The same reason why YouTube traffic is up is also the same reason why YouTubers aren’t making as much money despite the rise in views.
According to Chris Stokel-Walker in Medium’s OneZero report, advertising rates on YouTube has dropped almost by half since February.
“Everyone is pausing their campaigns on YouTube,” the report says.
YouTuber Roberto Blake who runs ads on the platform, says that YouTubers have it worse than others when it comes to advertising CPM (this is the amount of revenue earned per thousand views).
“People I know are going down from $8 to $5.50. I’m seeing people go down from $12 to $4,” says Blake.
It’s no wonder why companies are reeling in their ad spending – there is a lot of economic uncertainty that’s caused by the pandemic, as well as with a rapidly changing consumer landscape.
So, why have YouTuber earnings gone down?
YouTubers earn revenue from folks that watch ads on videos, and they are are only worth what an advertisers is willing to pay for them.
When there are less advertisers who are willing to run campaigns, this means that they will won’t pay as much for ads to due to reduced competition.
The cost of display advertising is based on the number of advertisers are “bidding” on inventory.
When there are a lot of advertisers competing for ad space, the price of the ads are driven upwards. But when they pause their ad campaigns, the cost of the ads are reduced.
With ad cost down, revenue for the ad publisher (this includes creators and YouTube itself) goes down as well. This is why video creators on the platform aren’t earning the money they used to.
The drop in earnings has been confirmed by the YouTube creators themselves.
Bodil40, a YouTuber, has over 2 million subscribers and says that their CPM has dropped 30% to 50%.
Other YouTubers have replied to the above tweet, further confirming the situation.
By searching for “YouTube CPM” on twitter, you’ll find a number of YouTubers are concerned about their YouTube earnings.
So if this is the case, and video creators aren’t seeing the kind of money they are used to seeing, why should they continue creating content for YouTube? Luckily, there are some benefits that come to mind, assuming that your circumstances allows you to make content at this time.
Here are some ideas from Matt Southern of Search Engine Journel:
Build a larger following
As it stands, more views does not equal more revenue. But it can equal more subscribers.
Creators can use this time to attract new followers and benefit later when advertising rates shift in a positive direction.
Creating content at a time where it’s not as lucrative to do so speaks volumes about your character.
Giving up on your channel during a financial downturn can potentially damage your authenticity in the eyes of your viewers.
What’s going on in the world is likely to be temporary, but peoples’ actions will be remembered long after this is all over.
People need entertainment
With people being stuck in isolation under stay-at-home orders, there is a greater need for new content now more than ever.
Give back to your viewers by creating content that keeps them entertained, informed, or inspired.
Again, this is something that will leave a lasting impression on your audience.