YouTube Partner Program: Get In and Get Paid

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Carla Marshall
August 24, 2023
YouTube Partner Program

YouTube isn’t just about sharing videos anymore. It’s also a great way for content creators like you, who make content people love, to make extra money while doing it. That’s where the YouTube Partner Program comes in. This program opens up the gateway to monetization, letting you turn your YouTube channel into a potential source of income.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a roadmap to navigate the ins and outs of YouTube Partner Program eligibility criteria, subscriber counts, watch hours, and all the nitty-gritty details of making that YouTube partner money.

YouTube Partner Program: The Basics

The YouTube Partner Program (YPP) allows creators to earn a share of the advertising revenue. To qualify, creators must meet certain criteria (we’ll share more on this below). This program works by sharing the earnings from ads shown on your YouTube videos. When viewers watch these ads, the money earned is divided between you, the creator, and YouTube.

Currently, creators receive 55% of the ad revenue, while YouTube keeps the remaining 45%. This seems like a fair deal: creators make the content, YouTube provides the platform to host that content and the audience to watch.

However, YouTube is still a business at the end of the day. To keep advertisers satisfied and continue investing in the platform, YouTube has certain requirements for joining the YPP. They want to see that you can build a subscriber base and create engaging content that keeps viewers interested. So, not every creator is eligible for the YPP.

YouTube Partner Program: What You Need to Apply

To become eligible for the YouTube Partner Program, YouTubers need to meet specific criteria outlined below:

  1. Get 1,000 subscribers with 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months or 1,000 subscribers with 10 million Shorts views in the last 90 days
  2. Live in a country where the YouTube Partner Program is available
  3. Ensure there are no active Community Guidelines strikes on your channel
  4. Have an active AdSense account linked to your channel 

Read our blog post, “6 Ways to Generate 4,000 Hours of YouTube Watch Time FASTER!” to reach the required watch time. It’s full of advice on building watch time for your channel.

1. Get 1,000 subscribers with 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months or 1,000 subscribers with 10 million Shorts views in the last 90 days

Getting 4,000 watch hours is a major milestone on your journey to making money on YouTube. It’s not an easy feat and can take a year or even longer to achieve, but it’s worth the effort. Once you hit this goal, you can join the YouTube Partner Program and start getting a cut.

So, watch time is the total time people spend watching your videos. Every view contributes to your overall watch time count but Shorts and long-form content are counted separately. To qualify for monetization, you must reach 4,000 hours of watch time on long-form videos within 12 months. Or, you can earn 10M views on Shorts content in the past 90 days.

YouTube Partner Program Eligibility: A graphic showing YPP requirements. On the left, "1,000 subscribers" in the middle a plus (+) symbol. On the right, "4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months" middle right: "or" Bottom: "10M valid public Shorts views in the last 90 days"

But hitting 4,000 watch hours or 10M Shorts views alone isn’t enough. You also need 1,000 subscribers. So whether you’re making long-form content or Shorts, you gotta turn viewers into subscribers to be monetization-ready.

2. Live in a country where the YouTube Partner Program is available

YouTube has requirements for the geographic location of their content producers, or rather, for the content producers they’ll allow to monetize on their platform.

There are a few reasons for this decision. For example, YouTube may exclude certain countries from the program because those countries have earned a reputation for fraudulent activities.

If a large number of YouTube accounts originating from a particular country are making money through fake views, YouTube might blacklist that country.

You can see the full list of countries where you can participate in the YouTube Partner Program.

3. Ensure there are no active Community Guidelines strikes on your channel 

Community Guidelines are like the rulebook for how you should behave on YouTube. They apply to all sorts of content on the platform, including your videos, comments, and even your thumbnails. It’s not a complete list, but you’ll get a strike if you violate these rules. We lay it out in our YouTube Community Guidelines Cheat Sheet.

If you get a community strike on YouTube, they’ll let you know via email and in YouTube Studio. They’ll tell you what content got removed, which specific rule was broken, and how it affects your channel. They’ll also give you some advice on what to do next.

Now, the first time you violate, it’s usually just a warning. But be careful because you’ll get a strike the next time that happens. You definitely want to avoid a strike. If you get a second strike within 90 days of the first, you’ll lose some privileges for a week. During that time, you won’t be able to upload videos, go live, or create playlists with friends. Things return to normal after the week’s up, but that strike stays on your channel for 90 days.

But if you accumulate a total of three strikes in that same 90-day period, YouTube will permanently remove your channel from the platform.

You can see the full YouTube Community Guidelines here.

How to join the YouTube Partner Program: A YouTube content creator sits in front of her computer with a smartphone recording a video

4. Have an active AdSense account linked to your channel

If you want to start making money on YouTube through the YouTube Partner Program, you’ll need to set up an AdSense account. Here’s a detailed guide on how to set up an AdSense account.

According to AdSense’s Terms and Conditions, you can only have one AdSense account under the same payee name. So, be careful not to create duplicate accounts, as it could lead to the disapproval of your new AdSense account. 

Once you’ve set up your new AdSense account, it might take a couple of days to get approved and linked to your YouTube channel. So be patient, and soon you’ll be all set to receive your YouTube earnings.

How to join the YouTube partner program?

If you have reached 4,000 hours of watch time or 10M Shorts views, along with 1,000 subscribers, you’re now eligible to apply. Here are the steps to join the YouTube partner program:

  • Log in to your YouTube account.
  • Click on your profile picture in the upper right-hand corner and choose YouTube Studio.
  • In the left-hand menu, locate and select Monetization.
  • If you don’t meet the requirements, opt for the “Notify me when I’m eligible” option. This email will be sent once you achieve 1,000 subscribers and have 4,000 valid public viewing hours within the past year. If you meet these criteria, proceed to the “Review YouTube Partner Program terms” tab and click “Begin.”
  • Accept the terms, leading to a confirmation of “Done” displayed in the designated box.

Benefits of joining the YouTube partner program

  1. Monetization
  2. Content protection
  3. Creator support team

1. Monetization streams

Once your application for the YouTube Partner Program is approved, various opportunities for monetization become available to you on your channel. The first one is advertising revenue. This functionality enables you to generate income by hosting placed display, overlay, and video ads throughout your channel’s content.

The second monetization method is through channel memberships. By offering exclusive benefits to your channel members, you can receive recurring monthly payments as a token of appreciation for their support. The great news is creators receive a generous 70% of the membership revenue after any necessary taxes and fees have been taken care of. And YouTube handles all transaction costs, including credit card fees. So you can focus on creating amazing content and not so much on the finances.

2. Content protection

Copyright infringement remains a persistent issue online, and sadly, there are people who will try to steal and reupload a YouTuber’s content.

The YouTube Partner Program employs the Copyright Match Tool to safeguard creators’ content copyrights. This tool is accessible to any YouTube user who has filed a valid copyright removal request. Once approved, the Copyright Match Tool scans newly uploaded videos on YouTube to identify potential matches with the content reported in the removal request.

But the real benefit is that for creators in the YouTube Partner Program or channels that have demonstrated a need for advanced rights management, the Copyright Match Tool additionally scans for complete reuploads of their videos on other YouTube channels.

3. Creator support team

The YouTube Partner Program allows its partners to engage with the creator support team.

So, if you have a particular issue or want to make the best of your experience as a YouTube creator, the YouTube content support team are there to help. They can help you improve your use of YouTube, provide advice on technical or service-related matters, guide you on policy and copyright rules, address your account and channel management queries, and help you resolve Content ID and rights management concerns.

How long it takes to get accepted into the YouTube partner program?

It takes about one month to get accepted into the YouTube Partner Program once you’ve met the eligibility requirements and submitted your application. 

That said, there might be delays due to an unusually high number of applications. Youtube processes all YPP applications in the order they are received. Occasionally, certain channels might undergo multiple evaluations, particularly when there are differing opinions among reviewers regarding on whether a channel is eligible for the YPP. So, this could potentially extend the duration needed to reach a decision.

What to do if you get rejected from the YouTube partner program

If your request to join the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) was not approved, it means that the YouTube team of reviewers found that some part of your channel doesn’t follow YouTube’s rules and guidelines.

But don’t worry, you have another chance. If this is the first time your request has been denied, you can apply again for the YouTube Partner Program after 30 days from receiving the email about the rejection.

If you’ve been rejected before or tried to apply again previously, you can try again after 90 days of getting the rejection email. Before you apply again, make sure to check your channel for any policy violations.

Two tips to succeed in the YouTube partner program

  • Use TubeBuddy to optimize your videos
  • Focus on creating original content

1. Use TubeBuddy to optimize your videos

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, with millions of users searching for content daily. Optimizing your videos for relevant keywords makes it easier for your target audience to find your content when they search for topics you cover.

Plus, videos with strong SEO are more likely to appear in YouTube’s search results and recommendation algorithms. This increased visibility can attract more viewers and subscribers to your channel.

TubeBuddy is an AI-driven YouTube SEO solution, among other things. TubeBuddy SEO Studio includes a Keyword Explorer feature. TubeBuddy’s Keyword Explorer simplifies the process of finding and targeting the right keywords for success on YouTube. This tool helps you discover high-traffic keywords relevant to your niche. That way, you can see valuable keywords to focus on and enhance your videos for optimal visibility and engagement.

A standout feature of Keyword Explorer is its ability to offer complete insights into keyword volume and competition. It shows the monthly search frequency for specific keywords and assesses their ranking difficulty. This helps recognize valuable keywords to pursue while highlighting those that might be highly competitive to rank for.

2. Focus on creating original content

Original and quality content is the heart and soul of your YouTube channel. Original content gives viewers a reason to subscribe, like, and share. It makes them return for more, eagerly awaiting your next upload. What we can tell for sure is that when your audience knows they can count on you for exciting content, they’re more likely to stick around.

Original content promotes ethical and legal considerations. Using someone else’s content without proper authorization infringes upon their copyrights. This undermines the principles of innovation and can lead to legal consequences, including copyright strikes and potential lawsuits.

Optimize your YouTube success with TubeBuddy

If you’ve come this far, it means you now know how to join the YouTube partner program. Remember, it takes a mix of dedication, creativity, and of course a little digital know-how to grow your YouTube channel and make money doing what you love.

One of the tools YouTubers widely use is TubeBuddy which helps you easily optimize your videos to help them jump to the top of relevant searches with SEO Studio. Interestingly, Keyword Explorer comes with various functionalities that can assist you in evaluating how well your optimization work is paying off. It lets you keep an eye on important numbers like views, likes, and shares and see how your channel stacks up against others.

Download the TubeBuddy extension and start growing your YouTube channel.

Carla Marshall Author

Carla Marshall

Carla Marshall is the Content Marketing Manager at TubeBuddy. She has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, & SEO