Zach King made $2,918 from 196 million views during the first month of YouTube Shorts ads

By 03/03/2023
Zach King made $2,918 from 196 million views during the first month of YouTube Shorts ads

March 1 marked the one-month anniversary of YouTube Shorts ads. With 30 days of data under their belts, several creators are answering the million-dollar question: How big are Shorts payouts?

The answer: Not that big, at least for now. Zach King, a vertical video veteran who first broke out on Vine before expanding to platforms like TikTok and YouTube, collected 196.4 million Shorts views during February. That traffic translated to $2,918.10 of ad revenue, which means that King’s Shorts made less than two cents for every thousand views they received.

Other creators reported slightly higher earnings. A channel owner who goes by the moniker SpaceGod made about four cents per thousand Shorts views in February. Rillo, a former NASA engineer, pulled in about five cents-per-thousand-views on his tech videos.

“As short-form becomes more and more dominant in the space it just feels like we should be able to make a living as short-form creators,” Rillo said in a Twitter video. He is hoping to see an ecosystem in which creators are not “forced into making long-form YouTube videos just because that’s the only way to make money.”

King expressed a more positive outlook. The man known for employing inventive special effects agreed that “a lot of creators may be disappointed” with paltry February payouts, but he clarified that the amount he made from YouTube Shorts was about twice as much as his TikTok earnings and far superior to his Reels monetization. And during his four years of activity on Vine, his short-form clips didn’t accrue any ad revenue at all.

“When I look at almost 197 million views in a month, I don’t look at the payout I get from the platform, I look at exposure and what my CPM and cost were to get those views,” King wrote on Twitter. “Right now it’s extremely low cost when comparing to the exposure which is why it’s not about the payout, it’s about brand building. My guess is YT monetization will slowly go up over the years and favor creators, but exposure and numbers like this will be more difficult to achieve.”

YouTube Shorts monetization is still in its early stages, so creators plagued by poor payouts shouldn’t panic just yet. At the very least, the short-form hub is providing immense viewership and exposure. According to our latest Global Top 50 ranking, 33 of the 50 most-watched YouTube channels in the world operate primarily on Shorts.

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