YouTube Video Notes: How Much I Made From 10 Million Views in 30 Days


I could do a whole other article on picking your thumbnail image. Clickbait is definitely king, here.

YouTube Video Notes: How Much I Made From 10 Million Views in 30 Days

This video popped up in my Twitter feed (hey, follow me!). I hadn't heard of Graham Stephan before, but here's this little blurb from his website:

Graham Stephan started his YouTube channel in early 2017 and has grown it to become one of the largest personal finance based YouTube channels in less than 2 years, with over 300,000 subscribers and over 2.5 million monthly viewers. He has also been listed as one of the top real estate influencers to follow in 2018, and has spoken across the United States and Canada teaching new investors how to purchase real estate.

It's a 15-minute video. It's well-produced and well-edited, which can actually be hard to do with a "talking head" video. There's a lot of filler in there, but that's not actually a knock on him! In order to achieve the kinds of dollars he's talking about, his videos need to have enough runtime (and quality) to make room for multiple midroll ad spots. Here were some of the good nuggets I pulled out of the video:

He made $253,318 from YouTube in 2018

He crossed 10,000,000 views in 30 days for the first time (3/25/19 to 4/23/2019). That included:

  • 68.8 million minutes of watch time
  • 10.3 million views
  • average watch time 6:41
  • $103,740 total

His five biggest videos were $22,250, $14,358, $6,147, $4,280, and $2,535—totalling $49,570, or just under half of his gross revenue for the month. The big videos help drive growth, but the back catalog does most of the work.

He got almost 10% of his views (964,867) on a single day (worth $7,033). Over the last years, his spiky "big" videos have permanently increased his daily baseline afterward.

His lifetime earnings are now over $414,000 since starting in December 2016.

Graham estimates he had produced ~80 videos at 8-12 hours of production time per video before he was able to make $200/day. Including planning/scripting, I would bet he's underestimating how much work goes into each video.

He spends a bit of time talking about the follow-on effect of having a video spike in traffic. A big video will feed 10-20% of its views into other videos of yours through the sidebar/recommendations.

During his big run, 80% of the views were from nonsubscribers. He's currently got about 600k subscribers, so that means those 600k subscribers drove around 2m views in 30 days.

What does this say about YouTube CPMs in 2019?

He correctly notes that the amount of money he's making is due to being in a relatively small but profitable niche: personal finance. He lists off a few benchmarks for other videos, but those benchmarks don't quite tell the whole story. Doing the math on his video views, he's pulling in ~$9/$10 per thousand views. He mentions prank channels making $1k per 10m views ($0.10 cpm) and gaming channels averaging more like $15k per 10m views ($1.50 cpm). It's possible that his CPMs are 6x those of video game cpms, but I'd bet he's also getting 2-3 times more ad views than other genres due to the quality and length of his videos. That would put his CPMs in the $3-$4 range.

YouTube Video Notes

I need to break out of my normal YouTube consumption (cough Hearthstone videos cough) and start watching more videos like this. If I think they'll be useful to the IntroCave audience and there's enough content to warrant writig up some notes, you may see more posts like this in the future!

it me

IntroCave is a one-person-show operated by Will Hankinson, but it's not 100% accurate to say every word is written by me. Some articles were live on the site when I took over. I hire writers from time to time to work on specific articles. People keep asking me to do guest posts, but I haven't actually seen any relevant submissions yet. "IntroCave staff" might make a better by-line, but currently that's just me. I've been building digital things for 10+ years now, and some of my favorite projects are posted over at my personal website if you want to take a look!


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