How Much YouTube Pays Us

This is the first time we’ve ever lifted the veil on our YouTube Analytics and shared what YouTube pays us for publishing our videos.

These numbers might surprise some of you who aren’t familiar with the business side of YouTube. There is a common misconception that YouTubers earn a lot of money from ads, but it’s less than you might think.

So in this first-of-its-kind income report, I’m going to walk you through our analytics and show you how to calculate the ad revenue for your favorite channels.

Why We’ve Never Shared This Before

There are three reasons we’ve never done this before:

First, we were raised in a culture (and in families) that think it’s taboo to talk about money, especially income, so it’s uncomfortable for us to discuss this.

Second, this is a lot of money by Ecuadorian standards where the average white-collar worker earns around $1,000/month and minimum wage is just $460/month (as of 2024).

Third, for a YouTube channel with over 100,000 subscribers, and from a United States income perspective, it’s a little embarrassing that this is all we earn from YouTube ads. And it’s one reason we ask ourselves several times a year if we want to keep doing this and for how long.

What It Takes to Create a Video

Some people think that we walk around, live our lives, and the video of the experience magically appears on our YouTube Channel. Boy I wish it was that easy!

Paris Video – An Unpopular Video

Let’s take a look at our most recent video about Paris, France. It took us 9 hours to film that video on the day of our walk (we started at the Pantheon at 1PM and stayed at the top of the Arc de Triomphe until 10PM to film the light show at the end of the video).

However, we spent several days researching and filming the other segments we inserted in the video, I spent 4 days editing the video, a day editing images to post on Facebook and Instagram to promote the video, and we spent several hours working on different versions of the title and thumbnail in a failed attempt to get more views. It’s still one of our least viewed videos in years!

Altogether, it took us 10 days to research, film, edit, publish and promote this one video. We didn’t keep track of our hours, but I’m guessing we spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 hours between the two of us to create this video.

Here’s what we’ve earned during the first 9 days after it was published:

Without factoring in expenses, which were far more than this, we earned a whopping $1.87 per hour from this video! That’s far from a livable wage and less than the minimum wage in Ecuador!

Thankfully, most of our videos get more views than this and some get a lot of views, which helps offset the videos that bomb.

Montenegro Video – A Typical Video

Let’s look at our Montenegro video, which had a typical number of views for us. It’s just over 40,000 views as I’m writing this and here is the ad revenue:

This video also took us about 80 combined hours to research, film, edit, publish, and promote so we earned about $4.23 per hour (not factoring in expenses). That’s about what a server in a US restaurant earns, only without the tips.

Reverse Culture Shock – An Outlier

Now let’s look at our highest earning video. It was our reverse culture shock video about our trip back to the US in August 2022.

We only spent about 10 combined hours creating this in-studio video so we earned about $484.76 per hour.

Sadly, we only have a few videos in almost 6 years that come remotely close to this one.

Other Related Work

The work doesn’t stop once the video is published and we settle on the best title/thumbnail combination (based on click-through-rate or CTR).

Here are some other tasks on our plate each week:

  • Ideation – we spend a lot of time talking about what videos to record and how to position them so you want to click and watch.
  • Comments – we spend at least 30 minutes per day responding to comments on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
  • Emails – we each spend about 30 minutes per day responding to emails and answering questions.
  • Community – we spend about 30 minutes per day engaging with our Patreon and Live Abroad Program community, and responding to member questions and comments.
  • Blog Posts – we spend about 6 combined hours per week on our blog.
  • Newsletter – I spend 2 to 3 hours per week on the newsletter (unless I don’t have time to write it).

Being a YouTuber and blogger requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work that no one ever sees, but it all adds up to a significant amount of time.

How Much We Earned in May 2024

Since we started our YouTube Channel in September 2018, we’ve published almost 400 videos with a total of 17.4 million views. By YouTube standards, we’re still considered a small channel.

Each month, lots of our videos from the past and the present get views. Here is what all of them together earned in May 2024:

Our channel had 320,499 views for the month, which is about average for us. However, our “channel earned less revenue than usual” according to the not-so-helpful note provided by YouTube.

What’s the reason for this? Who knows, really.

According to YouTube, it’s probably due to seasonal fluctuations in ad prices or some other mystery factor they aren’t sharing (like viewership loss to TikTok or more views on low-value Shorts rather than high-value long-form videos like the ones we create).

Because the Paris and Montenegro videos took so long to create, and since I fired our video editor service back in April, we only had time to publish 3 videos and one of them bombed. That reduced our income for the month, which is essentially a pay cut; we worked the same amount of hours for less money.

In May, we both worked about 30 hours/week on average (we took time off between videos to play and have fun). That’s roughly 240 hours or roughly $9.46 per hour from YouTube Ad Revenue.

Our monthly salary from ad revenue was about $1,133 each, which is just above the poverty line in the US.

It’s embarrassing that we earn less working almost full-time for YouTube in 2024 than we did in the 1990s working entry-level jobs.

Which is why we MUST have…

Other Sources of Income

Amelia still works part-time (about 10 hours per week) for the same company back in Denver. They have a strict “do not share salary info” policy, but I can tell you it’s not that much, anymore.

Back in August 2019, we launched our Patreon community to help offset some of the costs that are associated with being YouTubers and bloggers (software license fees, cloud storage, web hosting, camera gear, tour guides, etc. – now we have more expenses like travel costs, writers, and a new video editor).

Amelia was still working full time back then and her salary was enough to cover our cost of living plus pay off all our debt in 3 years.

Once we reached 25,000 subscribers, sponsors like LingoPie, Surfshark, Skillshare and others started contacting us. We’re not allowed to share what they pay us, but it’s typically more than we earn in YouTube ad revenue for the videos they sponsor (but not a lot more).

We also have 3 eCourses about earning online income, moving to Ecuador, and living abroad. Each of these courses took us several months to create, but they allow us to share our knowledge and experience in a lot of detail and in a structured way that some people appreciate. In return, the money we earn from helping our students, helps us continue being YouTubers and bloggers.

We think it’s a win-win (and it’s an optional service – our videos and blog posts are all free).

How To Calculate Ad Revenue for Any Channel

Now that you’ve seen behind the curtain of Amelia And JP, the channel, here’s how to calculate ad revenue for any channel.

The key is RPM or Revenue per Mille or Revenue per 1,000 views.

Our RPM is usually around $7, which is about $0.007 per view. That means if you watch every video on our channel, we’ll earn about $2.80.

That’s total. For all of your views. Hard to comprehend, isn’t it?

Most channels based in the US and Canada earn a similar RPM between $5 and $10.

A lot of it depends on the niche; some types of videos earn more than others.

A big part is based on where most of the viewers live. If the audience is in the US or Canada, the RPM is a lot higher than an audience in, say, India or Pakistan. That’s because the cost of the ads is a lot more.

Longer videos also have a higher RPM because YouTube can cram more ads into them, which is why a lot of YouTubers are publishing 30+ minute videos now.

Using a website like SocialBlade.com, you can search for your favorite YouTuber to determine how many views they get each month.

So if a channel had 20,000 views in May, you can estimate that it earned between $100 and $200 in ad revenue: 20,000 views / 1,000 * $5 RPM = $100.

There’s no way anyone can live on that, which is why small YouTubers who aren’t retired and on Social Security must earn income from other sources.

Even if you have the comfort of a pension and Social Security, it’s easy to end up grumpy and full of resentment when you earn so little for all the hard work and value you provide.

Final Thoughts…

We’ve seen a lot of hateful comments on YouTube and Facebook about us being greedy and only caring about money, but it’s simply not true. And it’s kinda shocking to us that so much energy has been put into publicly hating and shaming us.

In exchange for providing valuable information and, hopefully, a little entertainment, we need to earn income so we can pay our way in this world, save for retirement, and continue creating videos for you to enjoy.

Everyone who works and provides value to others deserves to be compensated for it. That’s how the world works, even for YouTubers.

Let me know in the comments if this was interesting, helpful, surprising, or any other thoughts you might have.

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING WE GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH OUR LINKS. THERE IS NO COST TO YOU AND SOMETIMES YOU'LL EVEN GET A DISCOUNT BY USING OUR LINK. PLEASE READ OUR DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

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JP Stonestreet
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Hola todos! Welcome to my author bio page! Let's see. Where to begin... I grew up in the country on a lake outside a small Kansas farm town. As soon as I could, I got the hell outta there! Since then, I've lived and/or worked in Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver, San Francisco, and Ecuador. I started and sold a dotcom, wrote a book about it, started a YouTube channel, and now I write a lot. Amelia and I have embraced the Unconventional Life and we want to help you do it, too!

36 replies
  1. Duane Devereaux
    Duane Devereaux says:

    My wife and I have always appreciated y’all’s hard work and talent and passion to produce insightful, helpful and clear content that is absolutely top notch. Before we sold everything and left Austin one year ago for our own global nomad (“slow-mad”) adventure, your Ecuador videos almost compelled us to move to Cuenca. After traveling mostly through south and southeast Asia over the last year, however, – and some in Europe, – we have now made Penang (Malaysia) our home base. The work that you and Amelia do still continues to inspire us and we hope that we might see y’all at the end of September in Kuala Lumpur. We already have our tickets to Andrew Henderson’s conference and are excited that y’all will be presenting there as well. Take care, – and see you in KL! (BTW: We absolutely love Penang. It’s super affordable here, English is widely spoken and you can’t beat living in a UNESCO World Heritage cultural community. Y’all are welcome to pop in anytime!)

    Reply
  2. Suzan Meeks
    Suzan Meeks says:

    I just discovered y’all this week and wish I’d known about you years ago. You are living my dream! I think you’re doing a great job of presenting candid and valuable information. It’s tragic that you aren’t being fairly compensated for your extensive efforts. Starting next month, I’ll support you on Patreon. I would hate to see you leave YouTube. It’s also unfortunate that you’ve been subjected to hate from small-minded trolls, sitting under a bridge somewhere. Ignore them, they just want attention and to make others as unhappy as they are. There are questions I’d love to ask, but didn’t know the best way of contacting you. Do you have a forum for questions? Wishing you a safe and amazing journey ❤️

    Reply
  3. Carrie Valle
    Carrie Valle says:

    Wow! What an eye opener into U Tube practices and fees – I had no idea how that all worked and now, thanks to your very honest, open (and brave!) article I am now. It was very disappointing to learn how low the fees are and you are to be commended for continuing to produce more videos in spite of that. Your articles are great – well written, informative and entertaining and the videos are just stellar – superb content, really well produced and so very helpful. Although we are applying for visas in Ecuador we enjoy all the content from Europe and points east along with the slowwww travel. Kudos to you both – you are miles above the competition – although you are so good there really is no competition…

    Reply
  4. Dan L
    Dan L says:

    Quality information like you provide is highly valuable, and you deserve much more than YouTube is paying you. Anyone who doesn’t think so is just a leach. I personally find the country comparison videos more interesting, and that’s because I’m researching places to retire – and hence why I subscribed to your Live Abroad program. I certainly enjoyed watching you walk what must have been a marathon distance through Paris (you both are just outright entertaining), and I would be more interested in a video about the livability of Dijon vs. Normandy, or Spain vs. Costa Rica. That’s just my 0.7 cents though!

    Reply
  5. John Canavan
    John Canavan says:

    I have watched every single one of your videos, including your earliest Veggie Lovers going back to your earliest days in Ecuador. The information I have gained from these videos has been invaluable. Thank, you. Thank, you. Thank, you. I look forward to many more as I look to start my own worldwide adventure sometime in the future.

    Reply
  6. Steve L.
    Steve L. says:

    I’ve been watching you two for several years now and I ALWAYS look forward to your next video. Candid is a word I would use to describe your work. It took balls to take that leap of faith and travel as you do and put out good content to make a living off of. I live in Parker Colorado so when you reference Denver I can relate to the area. Keep doing what you love and best wishes on your many journey’s. On a side note I don’t get how you would have so called haters. You and Amelia are as genuine as it gets….

    Reply
    • JP Stonestreet
      JP Stonestreet says:

      A fellow Denverite! Cool! You’d be shocked by the amount of hate we get. There’s a whole smear campaign going on with other YouTubers and Facebook groups in EC. It’s sad that they have nothing better to do and are so unhappy with their lives.

      Reply
  7. Jofannie Karla
    Jofannie Karla says:

    We live in Cuenca and watched your videos even before we returned to live here permanently in Sept 2022 (previously it had been 2005-2008 Vilcabamba and Cuenca). We enjoy all your content and JP, you are an excellent (AAA+++) writer.
    You provide a valuable service to Cuencanos and non-Cuencanos. Your taking us behind the scenes of how you earn YouTube income is very enlightening and thank you for being willing this with all of us. Finally, I’ve really enjoyed your Europe videos. Please keep them coming.

    Reply
  8. Mike B.
    Mike B. says:

    Really sorry to hear that YouTube is gouging creators like you. I wouldn’t blame you if you tossed in the towel on the videos although, we still enjoy very much watching them. 🙂

    Funny how Paris was the least watched video. Says a lot about Paris, maybe?

    Reply
    • JP Stonestreet
      JP Stonestreet says:

      A lot of creators are throwing in the towel on YouTube. It’s not surprising when you take a pay cut for the same amount of work (or even more work).

      We think Paris didn’t resonate with our core audience, so YouTube didn’t suggest it to anyone else. Our core audience mainly cares about cheap places to live and Paris certainly isn’t one of them.

      Reply
  9. Jana
    Jana says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Your videos are extremely professional. The planning, time and production you put into them shows and obviously you are perfectionists. Not to mention, both of you are really natural on camera and photogenic with loads of enviable charm. Production quality wise your videos are way ahead of most of the other travel videos. What I’m trying to say is, would it be worth it to you to cut back on quality for a better cost to profit ratio? Do you think many people would notice? It seems to me if you have a good topic people watch it, and if they are not interested in the topic (Paris), they won’t. I find the way you present the information to be excellent, one of the best out there.

    Reply
    • JP Stonestreet
      JP Stonestreet says:

      Great suggestion! We’ve already made that decision to balance the quality to save time because it didn’t help the average view duration. Our experiment failed horribly, but at least we know that our audience doesn’t care about quality and only wants the info. That will make our lives easier.

      Reply
  10. Tom
    Tom says:

    Hi, very interesting. I never thought about money earned thru these venues. Doesn’t seem like your ever going to get rich doing them, but I sure hope you don’t stop as I have learned a lot from them & appreciate you both. I also don’t understand why anyone would be negative – you are providing a service & do it well. Good luck in the future. Tom

    Reply
    • JP Stonestreet
      JP Stonestreet says:

      Thanks! Only a few get rich from doing YouTube, but we’re thankful that we can earn a living from the multiple streams of income that YouTube helps promote. It’s allowing us to travel the world and share it with everyone so, for that, we’re grateful.

      Reply
  11. maria kok
    maria kok says:

    It’s best to ignore the hateful persons. It happens to every youtuber. Why? Who knows. I really believe 99% of your viewers really enjoy watching your vlogs. We sure do. Always entertaining and full of very valuable information. And even tho we have already moved ourselfs to Portugal we still like to watch you two. If possible, try to ignore the bored out of their minds @$$holes that have nothing better to do then post nasty comments. Keep traveling and making the vlogs. You love what you do and that alone will piss of some people and make them post nasty comments 🙂

    Reply
    • JP Stonestreet
      JP Stonestreet says:

      Thanks! We do our best to ignore the haters, but sometimes we need to stand up for ourselves and face the bullies. Otherwise, it creates a vacuum that’s eagerly filled with misinformation and it looks like we’re hiding something.

      Reply
  12. Andie
    Andie says:

    Thank you for being so open about this and sharing. It is very surprising. I am especially disappointed to hear about the haters. That’s just wrong. Unfortunately, it is easy for people to be bold and nasty hiding behind a computer monitor. They would never act like that in person. Their lives must be miserable, and they are creating even more bad personal karma for themselves.

    Even before reading this post, I knew that you both worked really hard putting together your fantastic content. I think the vast majority of us think very highly of you and your work, and appreciate you so much. Not only is it fun to watch, it is so helpful, especially for those of us who have dreams of being expats one day. Others may be living vicariously through you.

    I wonder if many of your viewers are more interested in Latin America so were less intrigued by Paris and Montenegro? I suspect many are more interested in the less expensive countries. It will be interesting to see what happens when you travel through Asia. I want to see it all!

    Please keep doing what you are doing. You are unique from the other expats and slow travelers and are doing an incredible job! I am especially grateful for your online programs, and I love seeing your real-life adventures on YouTube. Thank you so much for putting those together and making them available. You’ve saved us a lot of work!

    I would love to see you travel through Central America (Costa Rica is on my radar!), as well as the Philippines and Malaysia. I was in the Peace Corps in Uruguay so have seen that and Argentina and a touch of southern Brazil.

    Wherever you go, I am with you!! Love you guys!

    Andie

    Reply
  13. Marjorie Hall
    Marjorie Hall says:

    That’s rather sobering. I write novels and often they don’t make anywhere near minimum wage as well. I feel your pain. A lot of folks think that you publish a novel and suddenly you’re a millionaire. Nope, no, no way…For me, it’s a labor of love. If it weren’t I wouldn’t do it. Hope you do get some enjoyment from sharing your journeys. Your videos are good quality and full of great information.

    Reply
  14. SHARON JONES / WILLIAM JONES
    SHARON JONES / WILLIAM JONES says:

    Really enjoy your content and your post on income from you tube was very informative
    I’ve watched your video for a few years now and always find them informative and nicely done
    Thank you for all you guys do
    Best of luck for the future I’ll look forward to your next Video
    Best regards

    Reply
  15. Devin
    Devin says:

    Hi Amelia & JP,

    First, sorry you’ve experienced any hate / discontent. I will tell you that my wife and I appreciate your posts, have benefited from them (moved to EC) and have also been entertained.

    I’m actually a little surprised the revenue is that little… the cost of your cameras/computers is more! Your time investment is significant… and how many people that have smaller

    Thanks for the work you’ve done.
    Devin

    Reply
    • JP Stonestreet
      JP Stonestreet says:

      Thanks! It is shocking just how little YouTube pays for the ads shown on our videos, but they’re the only (meaningful) game in town so we’re kinda stuck. That’s why we need multiple streams of income.

      Reply
  16. Alana Elliott
    Alana Elliott says:

    All I can say is Wow! The benefit doesn’t really outweigh the cost for so much work. I’d guess the caveat here is that the total portfolio of all that you create (blog, socials, videos, programs) has to be seen as greater than the sum of its parts. Everything you do together brings credibility as experts in the expat community. Kudos to you for sticking with it because you both really do provide such great information in an easy to understand format. And while I appreciate your transparency with this post, haters are always going to hate. We all have the right to make a living and they have a right not to consume your content.

    Reply
  17. Daniel Arthur
    Daniel Arthur says:

    Great post, JP! I’m sorry to hear that people hate you guys so much. I can tell you from my perspective that many people need help understanding what it takes to set up, maintain, and commit to running a business, website, blogging, vlogging, YouTube, affiliate marketing, passive income, etc., to earn money online, and your post here attempts to explain that to people.
    However, many are set in their ways and beliefs–with those types of people you can never really reason with, so I stopped trying years ago!

    Digital Income and e-commerce are hard work and anyone who argues otherwise — is plain naive or does not understand the workings of e-commerce or business in general.

    In fact, I spent all day yesterday trying to plan my next venture (stay tuned!), which involves e-commerce and digital media, too. You and I are roughly the same age (4 years difference), so we don’t have the luxury of retirement income from Social Security or drawing on pensions, 401ks, etc.

    Cheers!
    Daniel

    Reply

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