What do YouTubers get paid? It's a question we've all been asking ourselves since discovering PewDiePie's net worth a few years ago.
Meanwhile, Pew did not even make Forbes' recent list of the top ten highest-paid YouTubers for 2022, demonstrating just how much money can be made when mastering this particular platform.
Of course, for every successful influencer and vlogger, there are a million nobodies at the bottom, so take what you will from that.
How YouTube Creators Make Money
There are numerous ways to earn money on YouTube, not just the obvious ones. Even those who receive thousands upon thousands of hits aren't always making money. To be a true success story, one must think outside the box and investigate a wide range of ancillary factors.
As a result, asking “how much does YouTube pay” is a loaded question in and of itself because there is no single answer. Popular users, such as Ryan's World (net worth estimated at USD$32 million), combine multiple revenue streams via their channels and followings.
Keep in mind that YouTube makes money from premium subscribers and advertisers. If you're getting a lot of hits but not making any money, it could be because your subscribers aren't watching ads. However, if a large number of your subscribers are YouTube premium members, you will be paid when they watch your videos regardless of ads.
Without becoming a how-to guide, here are some ways to get paid on YouTube:
- Sell merchandise
- Participate in the YouTube Partner Program
- Make use of your influence to form alliances with brands and sponsors
- Permission to use your content outside of YouTube
- Turn into an affiliate marketer
- Investigate ancillary opportunities in other mediums or in other industries
- Sell your back catalog to a company like a Spotter
2022's Highest-Paid YouTubers
If you've ever wondered how much YouTubers make, now's the time to find out. The following are the highest-paid YouTubers in 2022.
This long-running YouTuber rose to prominence (in part) by estimating the net worth of his fellow content creators. How about that for irony? His earnings are a massive increase over the previous year's top earner, Ryan's World (who reportedly earned USD$29.5 million in 2020).
MrBeast is the man behind a number of successful business ventures in addition to running several YouTube channels and selling merchandise. One example is a popular app that allows users to order branded burgers and sandwiches from participating restaurants.
He's also a philanthropist, raising a lot of money for various charitable causes. The list of accomplishments is endless. So, how much does MrBeast get paid? A lot!
- Earnings Estimate: USD$54 million
- The main channel has 88.7 million subscribers
Few YouTube stars have made a name for themselves outside of the platform like Jake Paul, who continues to dominate headlines. While he is still a content creator, his recent shift toward professional boxing has increased his overall net worth.
According to Forbes, boxing, not YouTube, accounts for the majority of his current fortune. Anyone who thought this guy and his brother was a passing fad was mistaken, to say the least.
- Earnings estimate: USD$45 million
- Number of subscribers (main channel): 20.4 million
This social media stalwart nearly doubled his annual earnings starting in 2020, thanks to his Unus Annus series and accompanying merch sales. He rose to prominence as an avid gamer and continues to dabble in other areas such as podcasting and television.
Markiplier's channel has received over 17.3 billion total video views this year, according to recent estimates. Nobody should be surprised that he is still one of the wealthiest YouTubers.
- Earnings Estimate: USD$38 million
- Number of subscribers (main channel): 31.7 million
Rhett & Link
This clever duo quickly established their brand and expanded from there by taking a nerd-centric approach to comedy. Their family-friendly talk show “Good Mythical Morning,” as well as their collaborative cooking show “Mythical Kitchen,” remain hugely popular.
Those are just a few of the lucrative ventures pursued by Rhett and Link, two of YouTube's highest-paid stars.
- USD$30 million in earnings is expected.
- Number of subscribers (Good Mythical Morning): 17.4 million
With his respectable earnings of USD$28.5 million in 2022, this energetic social media star debuts on the list of highest-paid YouTubers.
Nathan Graham, aka Unspeakable, is a master of Minecraft, among other things, and is no stranger to wild and outrageous stunts. He recently sold his back catalog to Spotter for a lump sum, which explains the sudden increase in income.
- Estimated earnings: $28.5 million USD
- Subscriptions (main channel): 12.9 million
Anastasia Radzinskaya, a Russian-born YouTuber known as Like Nastya, immerses viewers in her world through an ongoing series of well-produced videos. Despite having cerebral palsy, she is easily relatable and inspiring to millions of children and adults.
Nastya, like Unspeakable, recently sold the rights to her back catalog to Spotter, which explains a sizable portion of her current net worth. She also sells a lot of merchandise and has even collaborated on an NFT collection with celebrity businessman Gary Vaynerchuk (aka Gary Vee).
- Estimated earnings in 2021: USD$28 million
- 86 million people are subscribers
After six years on YouTube, this child entertainer (real name Ryan Kaji) continues to make serious money. He's now ten years old and looking for new opportunities as he grows beyond his initial core audience, such as licensing out the animated co-stars who appear in his videos.
He's also a household name at stores like Target and Walmart, where you can find his merchandise. Ryan's World will never go bankrupt because of its enormous net worth, but that won't stop his guardians and their business partners from exploring every option.
- Estimated earnings: USD$28 million
- 31.5 million people are subscribers.
This Texas-based comedy troupe takes a page from the “Jackass” playbook by performing tricks and stunts that you should never attempt at home. However, they recently published a how-to book with step-by-step instructions, so perhaps you should try these tricks at home (their suggestion, not ours).
They also do live tours across America on occasion, which presumably adds a zero or two to the bottom line. Combine that with merch and other revenue streams, and you've got some of the wealthiest YouTubers on the planet.
- Estimated earnings: USD$20 million
- There are 57 million subscribers.
Even in today's ultra-fast content climate, viewers recall the entire “suicide forest” scandal from 2017. Despite this and other controversies, Logan Paul and his brother Jake keep rolling with the punches…literally.
Logan, who is now a professional boxer, recently competed in a highly publicized exhibition match against Floyd Mayweather. Among other things, he hosts a hugely popular podcast. As a result, the unstoppable Paul train continues to roll.
- Estimated earnings: USD$18 million
- Subscriber base (main channel): 23.3 million
If YouTube has taught us anything, it is that it pays to play. PrestonPlayz (real name Preston Arsement) has turned his impressive gaming and pranking skills into a thriving empire of content and merch.
His videos span multiple channels and game titles, but the majority of them are about Minecraft. While he did not earn as much in 2021 as he did the previous year, he still ranks among the top ten highest-paid YouTubers.
- Estimated earnings: USD$16 million
- 11.9 million subscribers (primary channel)