YouTube Ad Revenue Is Plunging — Down 20% or More for Many Creators

YouTube ad revenue
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YouTube ad revenue
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Photo Credit: Austin Dietel

YouTube creators are speaking out about considerable drops in YouTube ad revenue this month.

In an effort to gather more data, YouTube creator Hank Green recently asked fellow creators to publicly share their CPMs. Unfortunately, the findings were pretty shocking. A channel’s CPM represents how much advertisers are willing to pay per 1,000 views.

Green says his average CPM across his network of channels has dropped 28%. He is down to an average of just $4.75 per 1,000 views, the lowest its been since 2013. But viewership across his channels has risen 15% since the coronavirus pandemic.

James Charles, a noted makeup content creator, shared that his CPM rate is down 20%. Minecraft creator Jordan Maron said his CPMs are down 40% over the same period last year. It’s not all bad news, though. Some content creators responded positively, saying they saw a boost in their CPM rates.

Case in point: outdoorsy channel Nature League saw its YouTube ad revenue CPM increase 318% during the last six weeks. Watch-time for videos on the channel has increased a whopping 400% as teachers share videos.

Despite the good news for some, it seems that YouTube ad revenue is declining overall.

Industry experts warn that CPMs could continue to drop as advertisers suspend or cancel campaigns entirely. YouTube says a significant portion of its advertisers are small businesses that have stopped advertising.

With such large fluctuations in YouTube ad revenue, it’s no wonder creators are exploring new options. Most major YouTubers with more than 1,000 subscribers immediately set up a Patreon to collect donations. Others have explored merchandising opportunities like shirts and branded product deals.

YouTube Premium revenue to creators seems to be on the rise, however, despite declining ad revenue. Green reports that his Premium subscribers generate 13% of his channel’s revenue. That’s up 2% over the previous month, though it’s unlikely to stem broader declines.

One Response

  1. Tom Hendricks

    We will come out of this pandemic with content creators supporting pennies for play, where anyone can get a penny when someone else clicks on their content – music, art , writing, film and video, blog posts, education lesson, news article, science report, how to lesson, anything people want to see and know …
    This will be anywhere online. Subscription services will be a thing of the past.
    This is part of the music revolution that is gathering support everywhere, except in corporate media.

    From the song D Pop:
    Looking round for DPop sounds
    Where the music is all that counts
    Level field for everyone … now

    The music moguls have ruined it all
    Blocked out the music you really love
    And filled the radio with junk … That’s over now.