YouTube Growth Hacks I learned on my Journey to 1,000 Subscribers!
If you’ve watched any of my videos, you know that I’m a strong supporter of people having a side hustle.
Today we’re doing to dive into growing a YouTube channel and what I’ve learned so far in my journey to YouTube monetization, which just means making money on YouTube.
I have multiple revenue streams I’m currently growing… YouTube being one of them, and on my channel I like to share my journey so you can benefit from my successes as well as my failures.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, entrepreneurship and making money is the focus of this website.
If that’s something that interests you, I hope you’ll consider subscribing to my YouTube channel.
Moving on, one of the revenue streams that I started really diving deep into about a year ago is YouTube.
Originally, I started my YouTube channel for 2 reasons.
First, I wanted to drive more traffic to my website and secondly, I wanted to generate leads for my stacked affiliate marketing side hustle.
It wasn’t long before I realized just how powerful growing a YouTube channel can be.
YouTube is the 2nd most powerful search engine in the world and it’s owned by google….
So most the time, a Google search will also give you YouTube results.
Between the two of them, they have 90% market share and YouTube is growing.
I know what you’re thinking….
Okay, yeah… so what?
Well, that means when somebody does a search of any kind, it’s more than likely going to be done on YouTube or Google.
We’re talking huge numbers… 3 and ½ billion searches per day!
Just siphoning off a little of that traffic can change your life if you do it strategically.
How do you grow YouTube and leverage it to make money?
Well, those are two very different questions.
Let me start with what I’ve learned growing a YouTube channel and then I’ll share what I’ve learned about making money on YouTube.
Lesson #1- Anybody can Grow a YouTube Channel
I’m convinced anybody can grow a YouTube channel and make money on YouTube.
Even if you don’t like to be on video, there are ways around it.
You can never show your face or do images and pictures over audio….
I actually do a lot of audio, not because I don’t want to be seen but because it’s more engaging than just looking at my face.
There are sooooo many ways to do it, don’t let fear hold you back.
Lesson #2 – QUALITY Content is King
For your YouTube channel to grow, you have to have quality content.
How do you know if it’s good…. The obvious answer is… people watch it.
This is called audience retention and it can be seen in your YouTube analytics after you create a video.
You can see on every video if people are watching it or dropping off of it and leaving right away.
Then you can adjust what you do and try to get better.
You should always be trying to get your audience retention up higher.
If you have high audience retention, that is a signal to YouTube that it’s a good video… which will signal YouTube to show it to more people.
I shoot for 50% or more audience retention.
It’s one of the reasons I don’t have intros and outros, I just go right into my content.
I don’t want my viewers to ever be thinking… get to the point.
Lesson #3 – HIGH Click through rate is Queen
If audience retention is the king… having a high click-through rate is the queen.
My best performing videos have both… a good click through rate and a high audience retention.
If you’re not watching these two metrics then you’re doing yourself a disservice.
They matter… A LOT!
I don’t have too much trouble getting my audience retention up high even though I’ve heard that can be difficult.
I struggle with getting a high click rate.
Chances are, you’ll be better at one or the other and that’s okay.
Lesson #4 – 1,000 Subscribers is no Joke.
To get paid on YouTube from the ads they run, (which is called getting monetized) you have to qualify.
One of the qualification factors for monetization is to have 1,000 subscribers.
These need to be REAL subscribers.
Remember, you can’t game YouTube or Google or cheat the system.
If you fake the subs, they will figure it out and either shut down your channel or it will hurt your engagement and your channel will not flourish.
So just do the work and get the subs.
It’s not a race, jut keep putting out good videos and let your subscriber count grow naturally and organically.
1,000 subscribers is no a joke.
It will take time, energy, and effort.
By the way, a little hack to get more subscribers that has worked for me is to give people a reason to subscribe.
Saying “please subscribe to my channel” is better than saying nothing at all….
However, telling people WHY they should subscribe will get even better results.
For example, I say something like “if you like entrepreneurship and making money, consider subscribing to my channel.
That way, they know the benefit.
Lesson #5 – 4,000 Hours of Watch time is also no joke.
Watch time refers to how much total time people spend watching any videos on your channel.
To be monetized, you have to have 4,000 hours of watch time in a year.
If you’re doing YouTube shorts or even videos that are on the shorter end of the spectrum, it will take you a lot more videos to get to 4,000 hours of watch time in 12 months.
You don’t want your videos to be long and boring or your audience retention will suffer.
So remember, longer is better… as long as your quality doesn’t suffer.
Plus, videos over 10 minutes allows YouTube to put an extra ad in the middle, which will eventually mean more money for you from ad revenue.
Subscriber count and watch time is like click through and audience retention, you’ll succeed at one of them before the other.
I have heard that watch time is harder but again, since I’m better at audience retention, watch time was actually easier for me.
I hit 4,000 hours a few months before I hit 1,000 subscribers.
Lesson #6 – Ask for What you Want (Clicks and Comments)
This hack gets results… so don’t skip it.
Your first impulse might be to think… “if people want to subscribe or like my video or make a comment, they will do it without me prompting them”.
That’s partially true and yes, you’ll get some of that.
But asking for it will increase your numbers exponentially.
Since engagement is a user signal to YouTube, unless I forget, I always ask for engagement.
“Please click like”… “please comment”… “please watch my next video”… “please subscribe’…. etc.
Visual cues help to.
Lesson #7 – Engagement Matters
I’ve already explained how important engagement is to the YouTube algorithm.
One of the best engagement indicators is comments.
Good or bad, a comment is a signal to YouTube that your content is engaging.
So cherish the comments, even the haters!
If you want to increase engagement, I’ve already covered that you must ask.
Ask your viewers to drop a comment or answer a question.
But once they do, that’s when the magic begins.
There is a way you can really increase your comment count and that is by responding to the commenter AND asking a question.
Not all your commenters will respond back to your question.
However, if they do and you respond again with another question, they will probably respond again.
They will also be more likely to make comments to other videos.
Keep that thread going as long as you can and you can turn 1 comment into 20!
This little hack has worked wonders for me and my channel.
Just be sure to keep it natural or let it taper off before it gets weird.
Lesson #8 – Keywords Matter
As I mentioned, YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world.
You want to get traffic from search so you need to make sure you’re making searchable videos for terms people are searching for.
Otherwise the entire video could be a waste of time.
How do you find these keyword topics?….
I use VIDIQ and the VIDIQ extension.
It’s a YouTube tool and the paid version isn’t very expensive.
If you’re serious about YouTube as a business, you need to get VIDIQ or TubeBuddy.
There are some others out there but these two are the best.
Personally, I like VidIQ.
Lesson #9 – Not All Ads Pay the Same
Before I get too deep into this, you have to have a basic understanding of YouTube Ad Revenue.
Once you get to 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time you are eligible for the YouTube partner program.
If you’ve ever seen an Ad on a YouTube video, this is how YouTube makes money.
Companies or individuals bid for these ads and as a partner, YouTube shares the revenue with you.
It’s a pretty hefty share too.
YouTube takes 45% and gives the creator 55%.
This allows you to get paid for being a content creator.
Compare that with all the social media platforms out there….
You’ve probably created content for them all the time and you have no chance of getting paid by those platforms for your content creation.
Anyway, I digress.
Let’s get back to Ad Revenue.
Advertiser’s bid and pay based on 1,000 views.
This is called CPM (cost per mille or cost per 1,000 views)
For example, I want to run an ad and I bid a $5.00 CPM (cost per 1,000 views) .
My competitor bids $10.00 per 1,000 views so he beats me.
My competitor wins.
Assume that ad shows up on your channel as a creator, you’ll get 55% of that for every 1,000 times it is viewed on you channel.
Your cut is called the RPM (Revenue per mille or Revenue per 1,000 views)
So if the winning bid is $10.00 you make $5.50 per 1,000 views.
Are you still with me?
I know this is a bit technical but hang with me, I’m working toward showing you how to make more money and more importantly I’m going to you WHY AND HOW it works, so you can take full advantage of it and make more with less work.
So I established that you get paid 55% of the revenue generated from ads on your videos, also known as the RPM.
The higher the RPM, the higher your revenue.
So how do you drive that price up?
Let’s go back to my channel.
I also created some real estate content in order to promote a real estate course that helped turn $1,000 into over $100,000 very easily.
The thinking was that creating that type of content would naturally attract people who are looking for ways to supplement their income.
What I didn’t know at the time was that the YouTube partner program’s rates have a wide range and it’s based mostly on 3 things…..
First, the type of content.
Advertisers pay more for videos and audiences that lend themselves to high ticket items.
This is because the companies advertising tend to make more per sale than a regular advertiser.
Think insurance, mortgages, loans, debt refinancing, legal services, etc.,
Think about it….
Let’s suppose company A is selling the latest and greatest gadget for $50.
Let’s also assume they make a 50% margin… so they make $25 profit per gadget sold.
Let’s also assume they average 1 sale per 1000 video views.
I know these are all theoretical but it helps to put numbers to everything.
Ideally then, they need to spend less than a $25 CPM to acquire a customer on YouTube if they want to hang on to any profit.
So they literally couldn’t (or shouldn’t) bid more than $25 (at the most) for their CPM.
Now compare that to insurance companies, mortgage companies, or consultants who may make thousands of dollars per sale and there’s no denying that they have more to work with.
They can spend more to acquire a customer…. way more!
Let’s suppose a mortgage company knows they will make an average of $1,500 per sale and they have no physical product, so their margin is close to 100%.
That means they can spend up to $1,500 to acquire a sale.
Obviously these are just examples I pulled out of thin air but you see my point.
The first thing that dictates CPM is who will be advertising.
These companies want to put their message in front of audiences interested in their services or at least in their sector.
So making videos in the financial sector will pay the most because it will attract the higher paying advertisers to your content.
The 2nd thing that dictates Adsense CPM is the age of the audience.
Older audiences have more disposable income, so advertisers will pay more to be in front of them.
Why? Because if those people want to buy something, they probably have the money to do it.
They aren’t broke.
Lastly, advertisers pay more based on the country of the audience.
What country do you think pays the most?…
If you said the United states… surprisingly…. you’re wrong.
This past year the United States came in at #10.
Norway came in at #1 and it wasn’t even close.
Uganda was one of the worst.
Why some of these countries have such high CPM’s is beyond me… but it is what it is, so keep that in mind.
To sum it up, if you’re making cute, entertaining videos for young people in Uganda…
you’re going to be broke no matter how many views you have.
If you’re making real estate investment videos for retirees in Norway… you’re going to be making bank with just a few thousand views per month.
Lesson #10 – Affiliate income beats it all
I just want to touch on this one because it’s been so good to me and some of my friends.
If you’re unfamiliar with affiliate income, it just means that you post a link to a product and if anybody clicks and buys through it, you get a commission.
On YouTube, affiliate links are put in the description.
Now, when I first heard this I thought, what?…. nobody goes to the description.
Well, I was wrong, people go there and click on links all the time, especially if you’re encouraging them to check it out.
Here’s why it’s so powerful.
Let’s suppose your performance is the same as the advertisers we mentioned earlier and you make 1 sale per 1,000 views.
If you’re promoting an affiliate product that makes you a $30 commission per sale, you just added $30 for every 1,000 views to your bottom line.
So maybe you make a $10 RPM and $30 in affiliate income… that’s $40 per 1,000 views.
If you’re getting 10,000 views a month (which isn’t unreasonable for a small channel), you’re making $400 per month.
But it gets better!
You can promote high ticket affiliate products if you believe in them and they work.
For example, I took a land flipping course that has allowed me to make over $100,000 so far and I started with just $1,000.
I’m a firm believer in that product so I promote it on my videos.
I can make anywhere from $50 to $1,000 per sale from that depending on what the person orders.
If I converted those commissions to an RPM (rate per 1,000 views) it would dwarf any YouTube Adsense numbers I put on the board.
But wait, that’s not all… if you act now…
Just kidding, but seriously, it does get even better.
There is a blended version of affiliate marketing that is my favorite way to monetize YouTube.
It’s called stacked affiliate marketing and basically, you get paid for affiliate sales of products just like a normal affiliate program.
However, these commissions stack in two ways.
#1- the products are often consumables like protein powder, health drinks, vitamins, etc.
When consumers use the product up and re-order you get another commission.
If you have 10 customers a month regularly buying product, you get the commission every month for those customers.
That creates monthly revenue instead of a 1-time commission and it’s fantastic.
On top of that though, your customers can become affiliates and if they do, you get a bonus on the sales they make.
It’s really quite clever. It can get very large, very quickly.
If you want to explore that, you can check it out here.
Lesson #11 – Give YouTube What it Wants… More Video Views
I already told you how YouTube makes money…. Advertising.
So to make more money, they need people to watch more videos and rack up the watch time because if you can get somebody binge watching content, that means they’ll also be binging on YouTube ads…
Which means you and YouTube will make more money!
Videos that are good at doing that are likely to be promoted more by YouTube.
I say all that to say this, use cards and end screens to get people to watch more videos.
Please check out one of these other popular articles to learn more ways to increase your income online, build wealth, and live a life of abundance.
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Jason and Daniele
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