Content creators are often quiet about the exact amount of money they make from YouTube ads, but at least one member of the YouTube community is happy to discuss his network’s booming CPMs. Hank Green, who forms one half of the Vlogbrothers and runs a small multi-channel network of 15 channels, has authored a blog post in which he shows off a 450% increase in CPMs since February 2012.
In the post, Green organizes his network’s data into a neat graph. The y-axis of this graph is the percent increase of CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) across all of the channels Green manages (including Crash Course, SciShow, The Brain Scoop, and several others). “I now have a graph I can share with the world,” writes Green, “so that people can see a rough state of the YouTube advertising ecosystem (though heavily weighted toward educational content, which makes up about 50% of these impressions.)”
The graph shows dramatic CPM spikes around the holidays and during other significant periods such as election season and midterms. The most noticeable aspect of the graph, though, is its general upward trend. As Green notes, his network’s CPMs have gone up by 450% between February 2012 and the present.
YouTube has often been criticized for its low ad rates, which some creators feel are too low to allow hardworking YouTubers to be adequately compensated for their work. Green has previously served as a particularly vocal critic; in July 2013, he expressed his frustration over YouTube’s constant changes to its platform. A few days later, he launched Subbable, a crowdfunding service catered to online video creators.
Google exec Susan Wojcicki made the worrying trend of declining CPMs a top priority when she became YouTube’s CEO in February 2014. Since then, Google has set up the Google Preferred program, which hoped to raise advertising rates on the top 5% of YouTube channels. A number of creator-focused advertiser campaigns have also spotlighted top YouTube talent; the latest ads appearing in New York promote Green’s SciShow channel.
If Green’s graph is to be believed, these changes are having a positive effect on CPMs. He’s just one creator, but he calls his findings “very good news.” We’re inclined to agree.