How much did popular YouTubers actually make in 2020?

I came across two videos from popular YouTubers, Shelby Church and Jared Polin, that broke down how much their channel earned in 2020. Seeing as how the two channels had a similar subscriber count, I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast their finances, as well as what takeaways the content creators had.

Shelby Church’s main channel made $169,000 in 2020, which is the most her channel has earned to date. She equates the increases to the fact that YouTube is simply serving more ads for each video. There’s two ads shown before her videos, plus YouTube started showing additional ads for videos that are over eight minutes long.

Shelby also mentioned that Medium, the popular blog host, was a greater earner for her. A Medium article she wrote with a million views made her around $19,000. And this only took her a few hours to write, versus the dozen or so hours a video can take to write, produce, and edit.

Jared Polin made $144,000 in ad revenue in 2020 – pretty similar to Shelby’s numbers. 2020 was also a record high revenue year for his channel. Jared claimed this had to do with more companies doing advertising on YouTube, which led to increased ad rates.

What’s interesting is Jared says he only runs skippable ads on his videos, and doesn’t run mid-rolls and unskippable ads. He says his reasoning is he prefers to promote his own products within each video, and it makes more financial sense to use that space in a way that helps grow his own business.

A key takeaway here is that longer videos (over eight minutes) are a good idea, as it will get you more ads. Adding mid-roll ads and unskippable ads can be very beneficial and have huge potential upside, but be careful with them because they can overwhelm your viewers if overdone.

Both YouTubers agreed that a business can’t survive on just YouTube ads alone, and that YouTube ad revenue needs to be just one of your business’ many revenue streams. So think big!



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