How a 20-year-old YouTube creator earned $23,000 in ad revenue from a single video – Business Insider
The Canadian YouTube creator Alyssa Kulani, who has 676,000 subscribers, broke down for Business Insider how she made $23,000 in ad revenue from a single YouTube video.
Kulani, 20, said she earned nearly $30,000 in ad revenue in a single month, which prompted her to quit her job and pursue YouTube full time.
YouTube’s Partner Program lets creators earn money by monetizing their channels with video ads, which generate a certain amount of money, depending on factors like a video’s watch time, length, and viewer demographic.
When the 20-year-old Canadian influencer Alyssa Kulani opened a January check from YouTube, she could not believe her eyes.
Until then, YouTube had always been a hobby, she said. She worked in retail and wasn’t earning enough on YouTube for it to be anything more than a passion project.
But then everything changed, starting when YouTube’s algorithm picked up and recommended a video she posted in October 2018 titled, “Telling my best friend I like him…*PRANK*,” which prompted the video to go viral and gain 4 million views.
“I posted that video, and I think it was around January when my first paycheck came,” she told Business Insider. “My jaw dropped because of how much money I made off just AdSense.”
She told Business Insider that the paycheck from Google was for $29,300, earned entirely off the ads placed in her videos. Of that amount, $23,811 was from the viral prank video, according to a screenshot viewed by Business Insider.
Now Kulani has 675,000 subscribers on YouTube, multiple videos with millions of views, and is a full-time YouTuber.
How Kulani got started on YouTube and turned a hobby into a career
YouTube had always been a huge part of Kulani’s life. When she was growing up, she’d watch YouTubers like iJustine, Joey Graceffa, and Shane Dawson, similar to how the other kids her age would watch TV, she said.
Kulani’s first video was a vlog, which she uploaded to her YouTube channel when she was 13 years old, around 2012. By the time she was in high school, she had around 100,000 subscribers.
“At first, I was posting videos three times a day, and then as I got older (in high school), I was posting once every few months,” she said. “But it was never enough to say, ‘Hey, this is going to be my job.'”
Kulani never finished high school, dropping out her senior year, she said. That’s when she began working in retail, and soon after, her friends on YouTube, who had channels of their own, encouraged her to take her channel more seriously because she was “missing out on a huge opportunity.”
After Kulani’s prank video went viral, she posted another in December titled, “Dating my best friend for 24 hours,” which now has almost 4 million views and is her second most viewed video.
For a creator, it’s important to continue to upload engaging videos consistently after one goes viral to capitalize on the boost, Kulani said.
“If you miss a week, people are going to get bored, and you’re going to fall out of the algorithm,” Kulani said. “If you’re not posting consistently, especially after a video goes viral, nobody is going to pick up on your second video.”
‘I still don’t really understand how this was possible’
The nearly $30,000 in January allowed Kulani the freedom to focus on YouTube full time.
“I still don’t really understand how this was possible,” she said.
In general, Kulani includes around three to four ads a video: one preroll ad, one midroll ad, and one ad that plays after the video is over. Unlike some creators, she doesn’t extend her videos to over 10 minutes long to include more ad breaks. Kulani said she optimized her ad revenue by sometimes placing an ad break before something suspenseful is about to happen.
“I don’t really know how it works, but I’ve been lucky,” Kulani said about her career on YouTube. “But I do have a feeling this won’t last forever.”
She said making money through AdSense this year hasn’t been as easy as it was last year, and now she earns around half of her income from AdSense, and the other half by promoting products on YouTube and Instagram through sponsorships.
For more on how to become a successful influencer, according to YouTube and Instagram stars, check out these Business Insider Prime posts: