Updated: November 7, 2017
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I found myself in a "YouTube hole" one evening recently -- you know, a journey we've all taken at one point in time where you watch a video then click on a related video in the sidebar... then repeat... and again... and again... until you're so deep into a "hole" from the original video that you have no idea why you're watching what you're watching!
Once I finally closed the YouTube browser and burrowed back up to the real world, I was struck by the sheer magnitude of videos on YouTube, and more specifically how popular so many topics were that I had absolutely zero interest in (nor would any of my friends.)
This insight led me to ask myself the question of which YouTube channels are currently making the most money on the video platform and on which topics they each were focused.
After diving into the tool Trackalytics and doing some research, I quickly stumbled upon a realisation that I don't think 99% of the online world knows about right now:
10 of the top 15 earners on YouTube right now are all targeting the exact same audience:
Children between the ages of 1 and 5 years old
I was so taken aback by this discovery that I figured it worthwhile to put together a quick infographic. Check it out below and let me know what you think!
Here's a textual breakdown of the crazy numbers and channels associated with them from the infographic above:
Earns between $1,913 - $15,938USD per month
A channel focused on toys, entirely run by one family. Such videos include reviews, unboxing and toy games.
Earns between $2,735 - $22,788USD per month
Sugary channel also run by a family. Animated videos showcase reviews of sugary treats as well as storyline-based cartoons.
Earns between $4,168 - $34,745USD per month
This channel boasts well over 6 billion current views collectively on their single channel. Stands for Disney Cars Toy Club, however the channel not officially affiliated with the Disney company. Adults playing with children's dolls and toys as a means to entertain nursery-level viewers.
Earns between $5,772 - $48,104USD per month
A vlog channel run by one family. Arguably the most popular family vlog channel on YouTube at the time of this infographic's creation.
Earns between $6,445 - $53,711USD per month
Another children's animated video channel. The majority of videos published on this channel are nursery rhyme-based.
Earns between $7,043 - $58,695USD per month
This is a Portuguese children's cartoon channel. With only 41 videos published at the point of this infographic's creation -- the revenue numbers here are insane.
Earns between $12,864 - $107,196USD per month
A Russian children's TV show that is apparently super popular in the Soviet state. With numbers like this, we cannot argue. This channel is also sitting on over 7Million subscribers.
Earns between $12,976 - $108,056USD per month
An incredibly popular channel that is chocablock filled with nursery rhymes and upbeat educational videos for young kids.
Earns between $15,105 - $125,879USD per month
Full of 3D animated nursery rhyme videos, this channel boasts having YouTube's most popular videos of such focus.
El reino infantil
Earns between $15,573 - $129,777USD per month
With littlebabybum being the best nursery rhymes channel for children, this goliath YouTube channel boast the same, but for the entire Spanish market -- which apparently enjoys watching through the advertisements in each video a lot more, judging by these revenue estimations!
Pretty incredible numbers, right? I couldn't believe what I was reading when I saw these estimations on ad revenue.
Even without the revenue, the view counts and subscriptions alone are staggering.
The creators of these YouTube channels are producing content targeted at children in that age range because more and more parents nowadays are simply handing their laptop/ipad/smartphone over to their child to entertain them - or just keep their attention.
Clearly the video creators have done their research, because some of their videos are over 3 hours in length! So if you're looking to capitalise on the video sharing platform, perhaps jumping on popular, widely known YouTube growth industries like podcasting, vlogging and gaming - is not the best approach.
What is really smart about these video creators is that they obviously realised the revenue potential from ads in this model. Why? Because when a parent hands over their device with a nursery rhyme video playing, they are just happy to have the child pay attention to the video stay out of trouble.
Why is this important? Because no child between the ages of 1 and 5 years old knows when an advertisement is playing in the video, and thus will watch the entire ad, giving the video creator maximum revenue from every ad they place in a video.
Interesting stuff, don't you think?
Is YouTube still a viable career choice in 2017?
This is a question on the tip of many would-be content creators' tongues that are seriously contemplating diving into creating a YouTube channel and attempting to make a stable living from the goliath entertainment platform.
So, is this a realistically achievable goal? Well, the short answer is neither yes nor no...
Before you even consider considering this, you will need to understand that nothing can be guaranteed. "Job security" is a term that has no place in the world of YouTube content creation. Every single YouTube channel that bit the bullet and committed to producing and publishing videos on a consistent basis for a significant amount of time (or even with no end date in mind) did so by setting aside any hope or assumption of gaining financial security from the endeavour.
From the world's most successfully YouTube vloggers and 'pranksters', to the more niche-focused channels on learning/educating, all the way to gaming YouTuber's -- many of whom are now multi-millionaires thanks to their staggering YouTube numbers -- none had any guarantee or quantifiable way to project when or how much money they could consistently make month-over-month or even annually by doing X amount of videos per week.
But what about the channels mentioned in the above infographic?
This is where we get into more "shady" waters. Aside from the family vloggers listed in the infographic, the channels here are clearly not "following their passion" with crudely produced animations aimed at kids that can barely comprehend "high quality" content from very sub-par productions.
With that in mind, there was definitely a calculated risk taken by these channels, with the sole purpose of each channel's creation being on "milking the cow" of this lucrative target demographic as much as possible; as fast as possible.
By doing so, these channel creators have been steadily earning crazy good money for multiple years now. Even the lowest estimated monthly earnings for each channel still clearly massively outweigh the cost of video production and whatever marketing the channels may be doing to extend the reach of each video.
So to that end, the most conclusive answer to the question posed in this closing section is this:
Yes. You can still make a very lucrative living from YouTube today -- BUT -- you will either have to insanely passionate about what you do (to remain consistent and of the best quality you can be for a long time, with money being a secondary motivator), or be insanely smart about researching the highest revenue-generating target niche market as possible. Even then - there can be zero guarantees of your financial future being consistent secure by taking that leap.
At the end of the day, you should sit down and be as honest with yourself as possible when asking the following two questions:
1. Do I care about doing X passion topic, producing a large, consistent library of top quality videos over a long period of time, enough to be completely fine with the very real potential that I may not earn a single penny from the endeavour?
2. Have I done research on X non-passion (but rather "money") topic, producing a large, consistent library of videos over a long period of time, enough to be as sure as I can be that doing so is a smart financial decision and will bring me returns that I will be happy with?
If the answer is yes to either of those, then personally I say life is too short not to give a shot. Especially if you have been deliberating over a channel idea for a long time, so much so that it clearly means enough to you to remain in your mind for so long.
Whatever you decide to do - definitely use the infographic on this page as a symbol of just how lucrative YouTube can be when you are either [a] creative enough or [b] smart enough with the channel you decide to create.
... of course, the golden nugget would be to create a channel that you are both passionate about that is also targeted at a very lucrative demographic!