YouTube’s censor-bot is a menace to most creators trying to monetize on the platform with AdSense, especially comedians creating edgy content. Since the Adpocalypse, many comedy creators are now learning that they can earn more from AdSense alternatives.
With ever changing algorithms, there is no sure way to appease Youtube’s fascist AdSense AI bots. Youtube insists they have smart bots; of course, who wants to admit to having a dumb kid? But if this were a video on Youtube, the fact that I used the word “fascist” would likely prevent my video from earning AdSense dollars. The new upcoming changes to AdSense will soon make it even harder to monetize on the platform, so it’s time to either conform to YouTube’s definition of advertiser-friendly content or start thinking outside the AdSense box.
Keeping Your AdSense Revenue
If you’re willing to dull your comedic edge, it is possible to keep your AdSense revenue flowing by strictly adhering to YouTube’s community guidelines. Most of the requirements in the guidelines are actually quite reasonable, so some comedians may find them easy to meet. The real problem comes from the enforcement of those guidelines, most often accomplished through YouTube’s automated content evaluation system.
Many creators have come forward to complain YouTube’s bots removing ads from videos that follow the community guidelines, so even keeping content in YouTube’s safe zone may not be enough to prevent your videos from being flagged for demonetization. In such cases, it is possible to appeal the decision, but even temporary demonetization means a loss of revenue for creators. It’s best to have other sources of revenue whenever possible, even if you are committed to producing ad-friendly content.
If you can find a sponsor for your channel or video, you’re already ahead of the game. Sponsors will sometimes provide a monetary amount for every time your viewers click on a link to their website or their product, or they may pay a flat fee for custom-produced content. Some sponsorships have no monetary value involved, but they may hook you up with their product, which can still be more valuable than AdSense — even if they are only sending you 50 gallons of mayonnaise.
Affiliate marketing is a very easy way to earn money from your videos. In the description box underneath your video on Youtube, you can list specific links for merchandise. Once someone clicks on your link and buys that product, you get a percentage of that sale from the seller. Amazon is probably the most popular; however, many companies also have these programs. Additionally, some companies like Amazon will provide an incentive to you if someone enters their site through your link and looks at the product you recommended but then buys something else on the site.
Perhaps you have friends who are doing product reviews on YouTube and already earning money with affiliate marketing. Maybe you’ve wondered, “I don’t do product reviews so how will this work for me?” It’s all about finding your niche and providing links to merchandise that might interest your viewers. For example, let’s say you’ve just made a great comedic or satiric video lambasting a politician that everyone hates. Perhaps your actors wear t-shirts your viewers might want. You could provide links to purchase those t-shirts on Amazon. Additionally, in your description box, you might want to create a heading like, “Here’s some more items that I find funny,” and provide more links there.
Some savvy Youtubers producing comedic content are choosing to list the gear they used to make a video under a heading in their description box with links next to each production item. Since most production gear carries a high price tag, purchases may be infrequent, but many content creators still earn in excess of what AdSense was providing for them. Adorama and B&H both have affiliate programs that are video production gear specific. While many companies have affiliate marketing programs, it’s all about finding the right fit for you.
While Kickstarter is designed to raise money for a specific project with an end date to the campaign, Patreon provides funding to content creators on an ongoing basis. The platform provides a simple and easy way for fans to financially show love to their favorite artist or channel. Supporters are typically rewarded with exclusive content and the occasional swag.
Most comedians I know would literally swim with sharks before allowing their content to be censored.
Typically, Patreon takes approximately 10 percent of all donations while you keep the other 90 percent; this amount can vary slightly since there are three different fees involved in processing donations. In addition to money, Patreon provides an important way for artists to connect with their audiences since username, email address and donation amount is included for each transaction. In many Youtube video description boxes, Patreon will be the first link listed.
Selling You and Your Stuff
One of the attributes that distinguishes fans from ordinary people is the large amount of stuff they collect, from t-shirts to hats to action figures. This is a wonderful opportunity for comedians to capitalize on. Online stores like Etsy are easy to set up and are a great platform to sell all of your merchandise. YouTube can also be a great platform to promote yourself and your upcoming stand up tour or an ongoing gig at a local nightclub.
Think Outside the Box
While there is always the option of creating censor-bot-friendly content, most comedians I know would literally swim with sharks before allowing their content to be censored in order to earn a few bucks from AdSense. That doesn’t mean Youtube is a useless platform. The description box underneath your Youtube videos is the key to letting your fans know how they can support your work — your uncensored work — to ensure that more laughs keep coming.