Have you ever wondered whether YouTubers make most of their money on new videos that they release, or whether their old videos still pay them as well?
The truth is actually pretty simple, but it also depends on how the creator chooses to monetize.
In this article, I’ll be sharing when creators still get paid, and when they don’t. If you’re a creator yourself, I’ll also be sharing some tips to build a YouTube catalog that continues making money for years to come.
Let’s get to it!
Do YouTube Creators Get Paid For Old Videos?
Yes – YouTube creators still get paid for old videos on their channel, as long as those videos are monetized.
When it comes to ad revenue, YouTube does not treat new videos any differently from older videos. If the videos are getting ad views and clicks, they will continue to earn money through Adsense.
Additionally, any affiliate offers that creators may promote will still continue to drive clicks and conversions, so long as the videos are still being viewed.
However, one area that does differ is money that is paid upfront. One such example is sponsorships, which are handled completely different than something like Adsense is.
Ads Vs Sponsorship Income On Older Videos
Did you know that sponsorship income is typically fixed, regardless of the number of views that a video receives?
This is very different than Adsense, which continues paying more money as the videos continue to rack up additional views.
Therefore, sponsorship income has less risk (you’ll know you’re going to earn a certain amount for the video), but with less potential upside, since you aren’t rewarded if one of your videos ends up going viral.
Additionally, you miss out on the passive income aspect of YouTube, since old videos will not continue to earn new sponsorship income.
With Adsense, you can expect to earn around $2-10 per 1,000 views from your videos. If you have a lot of older videos that each receive a steady stream of views, this can quickly add up!
Sponsorship on the other hand pays a much higher rate – around $15 per 1,000 views, but it is all delivered upfront. Typically speaking, the exact amount you’ll get paid will be agreed upon based on the average views of your last 5-10 videos.
So, if your recent videos tend to get around 100,000 views, the sponsor will pay you $1,500 for a slot in your upcoming video.
As you can see, these two monetization strategies pay out quite differently. So, while ad revenue will still be generated for older videos, sponsorship income won’t be.
What About For Views That Happened Before Joining The Partner Program?
Now let’s look at a different question – what happens to videos that were released before a YouTuber joined the YouTube Partner Program? Will they still make money on these videos?
Thankfully, the answer is yes.
When joining the YouTube Partner Program, you become eligible to turn monetization on for your entire catalog, as long as the videos are eligible for monetization. This means you will start earning revenue on any eligible video that you’ve published so far – not just the new ones.
However, you won’t get paid for all of the views those videos received before joining the program.
Only new views after monetization has been turned on will earn Adsense revenue.
This can be a bit disappointing for creators new to the program, who may have been expecting a big check!
Building An Evergreen Video Strategy
YouTubers often fall into one of two categories.
On one-hand, you have the creators that get most of their views from their existing subscriber-base, who are eagerly awaiting the release of their next video. These creators tend to see a spike of views after publishing, but the videos fall sort of flat after the initial rush is over.
On the other hand, you have creators who publish timeless, evergreen content that continues to show up in search and suggested videos for years to come, as new people stumble upon the videos.
One strategy is not necessarily better than the other. However, if you want to continue earning from old videos, it’s important to structure your channel in a way that helps achieve this.
Let’s look over some ideas on how to build an evergreen video strategy, that will continue delivering views (and thus, ad revenue) well into the future!
1. Create Videos That Aren’t Time-Sensitive
This one’s the obvious one, but it’s important.
If you are creating videos about current trends, current events, industry news, etc – it’s only reasonable that interest for this will fade over time.
If you want your video to have as long of a shelf-life as possible, then it needs to be about a topic that isn’t just limited to this very moment.
2. Avoid Having Too Much Of Your Catalog Be Community Based
By community based videos, I mean topics like Q&As, X subscriber specials, livestreams, and other videos that can only be appreciated by someone who is already a member of your audience.
These videos serve a purpose, and can certainly help strengthen the relationship with your subscribers.
However, they offer no value to someone who isn’t already familiar with you and your channel.
So, you should avoid doing too many of these if your goal is long-term audience growth, even if they perform well in the moment.
3. Target Topics That Will Have Relevance Forever
Some videos are truly timeless.
The longer a video is relevant, the longer it will continue to attract new viewers to your channel.
For example, some ideas include tutorials on how to do something, an educational lesson on a specific topic that someone will find in search, or simply talking points relating to your niche that will still hold true years from now.
Unfortunately, your niche has a lot to do with this.
If you are talking about modern games or this year’s iPhone, the videos may no longer hold interest by this time next year.
If you are talking about something that doesn’t change much – like gardening or saxophone for example, your videos may hold their relevance for much longer.
Just something to think about!
Thankfully, YouTubers will continue earning money on monetized videos, as long as they are still receiving views. This is true regardless of how old the videos are.
However, sponsorship income is typically paid upfront, and therefore will only be paid once.
I hope that this article has answered all of your questions, and given you some ideas if you’re a creator yourself.
If you have any other questions about monetization on YouTube, ask them below and I’ll be happy to help.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister