How many subscribers should I have on YouTube to make money?

Earning money on YouTube requires building an engaged audience and optimizing your channel for monetization. While there is no definitive number of subscribers needed, most experts agree you should aim for at least 1,000 loyal subscribers before applying for YouTube monetization.

What is the minimum number of subscribers needed to monetize YouTube?

YouTube requires channels to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time in the last 12 months to be eligible for their YouTube Partner Program. This program allows you to monetize your channel through ads, Super Chats, channel memberships and merchandise.

However, having the bare minimum subscriber count and watch hours does not guarantee earnings. Most channels need significantly more subscribers and regular viewership to start seeing meaningful revenue. Let’s take a deeper look at appropriate subscriber goals at different stages of growth.

1,000 subscribers

1,000 subscribers is the absolute minimum to monetize through the YouTube Partner Program. At this stage, your channel is still small and establishing itself. Earnings will likely be very minimal, ranging from a few cents to a few dollars per month in the beginning.

Focus on providing value to your initial subscribers through consistent, quality content. Use this time to experiment, refine your channel’s direction and build loyalty with your early supporters. Reaching 1,000 subscribers proves you have an audience interested in your content.

5,000 subscribers

5,000 subscribers is a noteworthy milestone for any YouTube creator. At this point, you have an established base of regular viewers. You should begin dialing in your content strategy and positioning yourself as an authority in your niche.

Average earnings for channels with 5,000 subscribers range from $100-$500 per month. By understanding your target audience and promoting your best-performing content, you can increase watch time and slowly grow your revenue.

10,000 subscribers

Hitting 10,000 subscribers means your channel is thriving and connecting with a sizable audience. You are gaining momentum and credibility in your niche.

Monthly earnings for mid-sized channels of this size are typically $500-$2,000. You have likely established multiple revenue streams like affiliate marketing and sponsorships. Focus on quality over quantity, engage your loyal fans and continue providing differentiated content.

100,000 subscribers

The 100,000 subscriber mark is a major achievement that puts you among the top creators on YouTube. Your videos are likely being promoted across the platform and recommended to new viewers.

At this point, you can generate a livable income from YouTube. Average monthly earnings range from $5,000-$20,000 for channels with 100k subscribers. You have a recognized personal brand and established trust with your audience.

Keep fans engaged with new content, respond to comments, offer memberships and merchandise. Turn your top viewers into patrons and collaborators. The six-figure subscriber club is an elite group, so enjoy your success!

Tips to earn more money on YouTube with any size channel

While subscriber count is important, you can start making money on YouTube even before reaching minimum monetization requirements. Here are some tips to boost earnings at any stage of growth:

Enable channel memberships

Channel memberships allow viewers to pay a monthly fee for special perks like custom emoji, exclusive content and shoutouts. Enabling memberships provides a revenue stream even if you are not yet eligible for ads.

Sell merchandise

YouTube allows creators to create branded merchandise like t-shirts, hoodies and phone cases. Quality merchandise gives fans a way to support you while promoting your brand.

Use affiliate links

Include relevant affiliate links in your video descriptions and pinned comments. Earn commissions when viewers purchase products through your links. Choose affiliate programs that truly add value for your audience.

Promote sponsorships

Reach out to brands that resonate with your audience and collaborate on sponsored content. Ensure sponsorships feel authentic and match your channel’s tone. Short promotional segments in your videos can provide revenue.

Crowdfund with Patreon

Patreon allows fans to support you through recurring monthly pledges. Offer exclusive content and experiences to patrons that fund your work. Crowdfunding helps offset production costs.

Sell individual videos

Some creators offer certain videos for direct purchase on platforms like Vimeo. This à la carte model generates income from your best content while still offering free videos.

Factors that influence YouTube earnings

While subscriber count does impact potential revenue, many other factors determine actual YouTube earnings. Some key considerations include:

Watch time

Total watch time, commonly measured in “hours watched” directly affects AdSense earnings. Longer videos and bingeable content results in more monetized watch time. Aim to increase both watch time and viewer retention.


Loyal, returning viewers are critical for stability and growth. Analyze your subscriber to view ratio and target improving loyalty. Satisfied, engaged subscribers drive more income long-term.

Ad rates

The cost advertisers pay per impression varies. Factors like geography, time of year and viewer demographics impact the ad rates your channel earns. Topics that attract high-value viewers earn more per impression.

Video output

Posting consistently gives viewers fresh content while maximizing your monetized catalog. Find a sustainable schedule that avoids burnout but allows regular video output. The more quality content, the better.

Audience engagement

Interacting with your audience fosters loyalty. Respond to comments, ask questions in your videos and offer ways for viewers to connect. Polls, forums and live streams build community.

Content strategy

Understand which topics resonate most with your niche. Double down on what works to increase authority and viewership. Strike a balance between giving fans more of what they want and continuing innovation.

How many YouTube subscribers do popular channels have?

It can be helpful to look at subscriber counts for top YouTubers to benchmark your goals. Here are some stats on the largest channels across different categories:

Most subscribers overall

YouTuber Subscribers
T-Series 237 million
Cocomelon – Nursery Rhymes 143 million
SET India 141 million
PewDiePie 116 million
MrBeast 109 million

Most subscribers – Music

YouTuber Subscribers
Justin Bieber 94.1 million
DJ Marshmello 69.4 million
Ed Sheeran 59.9 million
EminemMusic 49.2 million
Katy Perry 47.7 million

Most subscribers – Gaming

YouTuber Subscribers
PewDiePie 116 million
elrubiusOMG 41.3 million
Fernanfloo 40.6 million
VanossGaming 28.5 million
Markiplier 32.6 million

Most subscribers – Sports

YouTuber Subscribers
NBA 18.4 million
Ronaldo TV 10 million
FC Barcelona 8.88 million
Real Madrid CF 7.74 million
NBA on ESPN 7.83 million

As you can see, top channels in any category have millions of subscribers. But remember that these YouTubers started small like anyone else. With consistent effort, you can steadily grow your audience and income over time.


Gaining YouTube subscribers and earning decent revenue takes significant work. While 1,000 subscribers is the minimum to monetize through the Partner Program, most channels need 5,000-10,000 engaged subscribers to see meaningful earnings.

Optimizing your content for maximum watch time and viewer retention is key. On average, channels with 100,000 subscribers or more easily generate a livable income. But with perseverance and strategic optimization, even smaller channels can start seeing results.

Remember that income depends on many factors beyond just subscriber count. Interacting with your audience, promoting your best content and pursuing multiple revenue streams will help maximize your earnings at any size. Stay patient, keep providing value to viewers and your channel can start making money sooner than you think.

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