Wednesday, February 9, 2011

If Ray William Johnson Can Make $2,000 A Day On Youtube Why Can't I?

According to the website, it looks like Ray William Johnson could be making as much as $2,000 each day from his Youtube channel. Really? 2K per day?

Actually the numbers used to calculate what Ray "potentially" makes each day are imprecise. Don't get me wrong, Ray is probably making a great living these days through his main channel, but is he really making as much as $730,000 a year ($2,000 x 365 days equals 730K) just by posting videos onto Youtube? I don't know. Ray knows, and Youtube probably knows, and Ray's accountant and the taxman, too I guess.

But how does the website come up with that figure? According to the website and what I've read elsewhere, the figure is based pretty much entirely on 2 factors - traffic to his channel and an average clickthrough rate on the ads. That is where the fuzzy math comes in.

The daily traffic (views) is a relatively precise measurement, but the imprecision is the clickthrough rate. Anyone who is somewhat familiar with Adsense and other advertising on the Internet knows that your clickthrough rate fluctuates because of any number of reasons. The ads that get served to a viewer of your website, video in this case, vary from viewer to viewer based on their location as well as what the content the ads accompany. If someone goes to The Wall Street Journal and reads an article about the latest financial news they will most likely not see the same ad as someone going to Youtube to watch Ray's take on the latest viral video. Different content, different audience, different advertising. Also, on websites such as Youtube, most of the visitors are there for one thing in mind (boobs), that is for content creators to "entertain me".

Yes, those on Youtube who have massive audiences will have a portion of their viewers who are enticed by advertising. But most visitors are interested in watching videos, not ads. According to what one of the creators of says, the daily gross is "potential daily gross" and they think they could be over or under for some of the channels they track by as much as 30 percent. So it is obviously not entirely accurate. Still, I think you will agree that those in the Youtube Partnership Program who are getting massive traffic to their videos are probably doing fine monetarily-wise, thank you very much.

But what about that figure quoted above about Ray making $730,000 a year? How precise is that? If you look at the graph, it shows that the daily gross fluctuates a great deal. This is true for those at the top of heap as far as viewership goes and it is the same for those further down the list. If you post a video, especially if you are well-known, you will get a rush of views, but then it starts to decline over time. According to the website, fewer views mean less money - makes sense right?

Some people are lucky and create videos that continue to get a respectable number of views months, sometimes years after they are posted. This is called "evergreen" content and it is the same for articles, blogs, and just about on every platform online. If you can create something that continues drawing visits, that content can continue generating money, but it is difficult to do.

Although it says Ray potentially earned $2,000 yesterday, that could slip tomorrow and the next day, so you cannot say with any certainty that "Ray makes $XXX,XXX a year". It is the same for everyone on Youtube who is involved in the Partnership program. The amount they make varies day to day.

How Much Do Youtube Partners Make?

An article came out last summer that I mentioned in a post on Bradshaw's Blog called Article Out Says 10 YouTube Stars Making $100,000 A Year. The article in question was based on faulty math and apparent guesswork, although Phil DeFranco did respond in a video (included in the post) and Greg Benson of MediocreFilms did as well. I liked Phil's take on the article as he basically said even if he was making a nice living doing what he was doing on Youtube, that viewers hopefully wouldn't judge him by the size of his wallet.

We all have friends, relatives and people we know who make more or less than we do, and unless you are someone like Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates I hope you don't look at them and just see dollar signs. If people are making a lot of money on Youtube, I wouldn't begrudge them of their good fortune. Just like in any field, there are people who find that niche that pans out well for them and that's what we are all trying to do. Just because someone is further along financially than you or me doesn't mean we are a failure or that we cannot applaud them for their good fortune. If you do the work, put in the effort, you can do better too. Always remember that even if you feel you are comparatively poor, there is always someone else who would trade places with you in a heartbeat.

Use The Figures On As Motivation

If you do go to the website and check what some of your favorite youtubers who are in the partnership program are potentially making, use that as motivation to do better yourself. Definitely check out what Shane Dawson, MysteryGuitarMan, iJustine and all the most subscribed people on Youtube might possibly be earning, but look further down the list and see what it takes as far as views to potentially make $1, $10 or $100 a day.

See how many views would it take to earn $1 every day. How do you reach that first hurtle? How can you attract enough viewers so you can earn $10 a day? How many videos have some partners posted and how often do they post new videos? Are the videos you are posting better quality, funnier or more topical than someone else's? How can you make your videos better? Look at that part of the equation rather than looking at what Ray William Johnson makes.

Do The Hard Work Required To Get To Your Next Level

Many who see what Ray or others on Youtube may be making and think that it is all so easy for them and that they can do what Ray does, or Phil DeFranco, Ryan Higa, Shane Dawson, or Smosh does, but all this success didn't just drop in their lap. If you watch their videos all have infuriating problems uploading videos and each has to come up with great content consistently which is definitely not easy. All have to go through the process of figuring out what they want to do, doing it, filming it, editing, posting, and then starting the process all over again. And they've been doing this for years.

What they do is a grind, but the good outweighs the bad otherwise they probably wouldn't be doing it. They have put in the time and effort to build their audiences. Do you have what it takes? There are rewards, but like most things in life it takes a lot of work to reach this level.


  1. Brilliant man, really enjoyed reading this one

    Brian (bribryontour)

  2. Thanks Brian
    I'm trying to make this blog a little bit better and not just showing videos. What I'd like to do is post stuff to help youtubers do better.

  3. Hate to burst your bubble, but YT Partners are paid on Views not on a click through ratio. The numbers off are very accurate.

  4. I think those numbers are full channel earnings. Youtube only pays its youtubers 55%of those figures. So Raywilliamjohnson made 55% of 2k for that day. Also, I believe the highest earning partner is shane dawson, because he has three channels, which all get a lot of views. It bothers me to hear about xJawz and Whiteboy7thst doing giveaways in exchange for favorites. Whiteboy7thst literally made the front page every day for like 2 weeks in a row. They don't work hard at all to make videos and get tons of views. Raywilliamjohnson also has multiple copyright violations on his account, because he has used other people's content without asking permission. He is not allowed to monetize off of other people's content without permission under the guidlines of "fair use." It is a great article nonetheless.

  5. Good Article. Especially the part about hard work.
    I might start uploading videos soon, and it definitely won't be easy. When I help writing scripts for drama club there're loads of brainstorming, and loads of testing (showing it to some people). And with youtube there's the editing and all....ugh....


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