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Adpocalypse 101: 5 Easy Alternative Revenue Sources for Influencers

Early in 2017, YouTube changed its ad monetization policies, in order to avoid ads being run on videos promoting topics like hate speech and terrorism. The rule changes weren’t well explained to YouTube creators, leading to dramatic drops in ad revenues overnight for many top channels. Suddenly, many channels that relied on ad revenue for their primary profit stream were forced to explore new revenue streams.

YouTube now has a detailed section of their Help page devoted solely to Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines, but many videos are still seemingly randomly demonetized by the network. It’s a good example of the importance of diversifying your revenue sources, so that you don’t have all your monetary eggs in one basket – and doubly important if you aim to make social media content creation your full-time job. Read on for five additional payment sources you should consider, beyond basic ad revenue income.

Affiliate Links

Obviously, we like affiliate links as an income booster – that’s why we’re here! With just a bit of work on the front end, you can create MagicLinks to add to posts that will be online for weeks, months, or years. Affiliate links like MagicLinks are evergreen: They can continue earning you money long after a post has gone live. Easy money!

LiveStream Donations

Tried YouTube’s Super Chat function yet? Here, you can interact with commenters on live stream videos, and they can make donations to highlight their messages within the live chat stream for a specified period of time. Check out the YouTube SuperChat info page for a full tutorial.


Last month at Vidcon 2018, YouTube announced that their Sponsorships feature was changing to Channel Memberships. For $4.99 a month, subscribers get public badges, emoji, and access to creator perks + exclusive private content offered by the individual channel. As of press time, this will only be available to channels with 100,000 or more subscribers, but will be rolling out to more channels in the coming months.

There are also services such as Patreon, where depending on the monthly donation, subscribers get exclusive content, meet & greets, merchandise, and more.


Many MagicLinks creators have turned their channels into small businesses, from Crystal Coons’ Astra Signature clothing line to Nikkia Joy’s false lashes collection. Such endeavors require a lot of up-front capital ($$), so a better option for many influencers is designing tee shirts, phone cases, and such to sell on Zazzle, TeeSpring, etc. You’ll get a cut of the profits, and won’t have to worry about hiring employees, shipping products, dealing with returns, etc.

Sponsored Content

We hear this all the time: “My channel’s too small to get a brand sponsorship!” Not necessarily. Subscriber counts are just one of the factors brands look at when choosing campaign partners. The most important factor? Engagement rate. Do you have a lot of views, *genuine* comments, and clicks? Then you’ll be more appealing to brands. (Oh, and, the quality of your content should be A+. Good photos, fun captions, well-edited videos.)



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