Is YouTube passive income? (Earning residual income)

Is YouTube considered passive income?

The money you earn from your YouTube content and channel is considered passive income. This is because YouTube pays for views and clicks on ad and affiliate links, regardless if you are producing content. However, you still need to work on building content to be a successful YouTuber.

Once you’ve created your videos and uploaded them to your channel, you wait for engagement to happen.

However, many content creators find ways to promote their content through social media platforms. For instance, someone may post links to their videos via a Twitter or Facebook page. A content creator might also link YouTube videos with a blog or an online course.

This article delves into the details of the answers to is YouTube passive income and what you can expect. Let’s get started!

TFF22-031 - Is YouTube passive income (Earning residual income)

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Is YouTube Good for Passive Income?

YouTube is a good way to earn passive income if you enjoy creating and editing video content. It would be best if you had some technical know-how, a reliable internet connection, and a computer with a camera. It also helps to have video editing and content creation software.

You’ll find that the latest computers have video editing and content creation software installed as part of the operating system. This is true for either Windows-based or Apple computers. However, you may need to experiment with the software or take an introductory course to learn it.   

But once you start creating and uploading content to your channel, you can start earning passive income. You’ll need to create a Google account and link it to an AdSense account. This is how you’ll make money and get payments sent to PayPal or your bank.

You’ll also need to gain 1,000+ subscribers and 4,000 watch hours within 12 months. Once your channel reaches these thresholds, you can monetize it. Anyone 18 years and older can earn passive income from a YouTube channel and content.

YouTube is a good way to make passive income, but it does require effort, time, and dedication. Think of it as more work than being a silent investor but less work than a full-time job. 

How Do You Get Passive Income from YouTube?

You earn passive income from YouTube by getting others to view and engage with your content. When people watch your content and click on ads, you earn a percentage of the revenue through an AdSense account. You also earn money when people view ads.

Say someone watches one of your videos, and 30 seconds into it, an ad starts running. Once the ad is done, the rest of your content resumes. While Google takes a percentage of the revenue, it’s typically less than yours.

Take an ad that produces $2 in revenue. You get $1.15 deposited in your AdSense account. Google earns the remaining $0.85. Of course, this is a hypothetical scenario.

In reality, the commission structure is a 55/45% split. For every dollar in ad revenue, you earn $0.55, and Google makes $0.45. Still, this isn’t a bad deal.

The more content and videos you create, the greater your chance for views and clicks. Let’s say you have 50 videos on YouTube. In one week, 25 of them garnered 100,000 views. The remaining 25 bring in 50,000 views.

As more people see and engage with your content, the YouTube algorithm will promote them to others with similar interests. Likes, comments, shares, and views all count toward engagement.

Over time, this adds up to keep the passive income stream flowing. And as you create and upload more content, you’ll continue to increase your earning potential.

How Much Money Does a YouTuber Make?

The amount of money YouTubers make varies, depending on content popularity and market. Some content creators make millions of dollars a year, while others generate hundreds or thousands. It can take time to cultivate a following, and marketing results can vary.

For instance, a fashion influencer might generate hundreds of dollars in revenue a month in one market. The same content in another market might earn thousands of dollars each month.

You can see metrics within your channel’s dashboard, including estimated earnings and views. You can adjust the periods to see how much you can expect to earn for the past 90 days. To evaluate the effectiveness of promotional efforts, you can shorten the time.

Let’s say you work hard at promoting your channel on social media for two weeks. You can compare views during that period to others. If your views and revenue have gone up, you can be certain the campaigns are working.

Ways to Increase Revenue

You can increase your odds using SEO strategies and partnering with similar content creators. For example, perform keyword research on your topic(s) using a free tool like Moz.

You can find short-tail and long-tail keyword suggestions, along with historical volume and difficulty level. Try to incorporate some of these into your content, including ones you want to rank for. This will help others find your YouTube videos when they search for those keywords.

Partnering with other content creators works similar to guest blogging. Tarot readers and psychics that talk about similar topics frequently collaborate. One may be featured on another reader’s channel in a piece of content or topic video.

In other cases, a group of three or four might get together once a week to host a show or video together. Both get exposure to wider audiences and can gain more subscribers. In turn, they also get more views and increase revenue.

Some content creators also gather donations or sponsor sweepstakes and contests to generate interest. Ideas include fundraisers for charities or social causes and giving away free products or services.

What Types of YouTube Channels Make the Most Money?

Any channel that provides valuable content is bound to make money on YouTube. However, some types of content and topics tend to generate more interest. The higher the interest, the more subscribers, views, and clicks.

The most profitable topics include the following:

  • How to make money online
  • Social media marketing techniques and tips
  • Personal finance and investing tips
  • Educational courses and how-to videos
  • Photography and film-making courses
  • Auto-related topics
  • Lifestyle topics, including leisure activities
  • Fashion, clothing, and health and beauty
  • Entertainment commentary
  • Cooking instructions, tips, and recipes
  • Video game instructions and commentary
  • Technology and devices
  • Reviews and commentary on products and services
  • Fitness
  • Music
  • Dance

Keep in mind that niche or mainstream YouTube channels can turn profitable if there’s a large enough audience. Choosing one of the above topics or niches doesn’t guarantee profits or a certain amount of passive income.

Some content creators show themselves on camera, and others provide voiceovers. The key is to emanate a compelling personality and reason for viewers to come back. You’re giving information, or something of value others can’t get by themselves.

For instance, astrology isn’t on this list. However, you could argue it’s included under the lifestyle umbrella. But for those who are interested in predicting world events or astrology, watching a trained astrologer’s YouTube channel provides value.

The person may learn insights they couldn’t get from a book. Content creators might hold live or static courses for a fee. This is another way to monetize YouTube channels; by providing free and member content.

Member content involves paying a subscription to access exclusive videos. These could go into more detail or examine certain related topics. For example, a trained astrologer could interpret charts within free videos.

Within member-exclusive content, the astrologer could slow down and walk through how to interpret charts. You could also get tips on how to tie what charts reveal with potential outcomes related to world events. 

How Much Work is a YouTube Channel?

If you want to generate serious passive income from a YouTube channel, expect to put in some legwork. You may put in more hours in the beginning, as you grow your content library and subscriber base. It’s not uncommon for content creators to spend hours each week.

Those hours could add up to the equivalent of a part-time job. You’ll not only spend time creating content but also promoting it. Here are some of the activities that will take dedicated effort:

  • Content ideation, creation, and editing
  • SEO research and optimization
  • Partnerships and collaborations with other content creators
  • Preparing and rehearsing scripts for static or live content
  • Hosting live streams and content
  • Promoting content on social media or through digital ads
  • Selling merchandise through your channel
  • Participating in sponsorships through your channel
  • Tying affiliate marketing programs to the channel

Once you get going, you may not have to put in as much work or time. However, most successful content creators upload new videos once a week.


The money you earn from a YouTube channel is passive income. While you’re actively involved in creating and promoting your videos, income comes from ad revenue. You’re not directly involved in viewing and engaging with your content.

Instead, others are the ones coming to your channel and viewing and clicking ads. You get 55% of the cut, and Google gets the rest. You don’t have to monetize your YouTube channel, but it can rake in thousands each year.

John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.