YouTube and Google have been at the epicenter of content creation and video content marketing for years now. Businesses small and large used video-sharing websites like YouTube to launch projects, build brand awareness, and monetize.
Considering that YouTube has over 2.3 billion users worldwide, it’s currently the unprecedented leader in the online video industry. Part of the reason for such massive success is that it was quick to jump on the ever-changing video content trends. It promptly launched a live streaming service when live video became massively popular, and it did the same thing for short-form videos with its YouTube Shorts feature just last year. That led to it becoming the go-to video monetization platform for many businesses and creators worldwide.
However, YouTube proved to have many flaws as a monetization solution. The issues plaguing the platform ranged from false copyright claims and T&C abuse to unsubstantiated demonetization. Despite YouTube doing a few things to help combat these issues, they were never fully addressed.
That is why a few prominent companies pulled out of advertising on YouTube a few years ago. Brands like AT&T and Hasbro, Verizon, the pharmaceutical company GSK, Pepsi, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, and a car rental firm Enterprise took their ads down from the platform and never looked back.
This event, popularly labeled as YouTube’s third adpocalypse, was the turning point for many brands and creators who began questioning the reliability and sustainability of YouTube’s monetization system. Due to the already competitive environment on the platform and the lack of advertisers to meet the demand, many brands turned toward various YouTube monetization alternatives.
YouTube is powerful, but it’s not what it used to be. The issue with the platform stems from the misconception that YouTube channels guarantee a steady income. Making money on YouTube is undoubtedly possible, but its ecosystem has become highly competitive in all content categories (humor, gaming, music, science, movies — you name it).
Although this variety of available content gives users more choices than ever, it fuels the widespread misconception that there’s a specific recipe for success on YouTube. The reality is that the number of people making money strictly from YouTube has dwindled over the years.
That is why we feel obliged to warn you that monetizing videos on YouTube isn’t the best and most reliable way to make big bucks. YouTube Partner Program is an excellent way to start, but experienced content creators and businesses are looking at the bigger picture and making money beyond YouTube.
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There are many reasons YouTube is not the best choice as a video monetization platform and why publishers should look to diversify their income. Here are a few of the most notable ones:
If you are looking toward video monetization as your primary source of income, you’d want to be able to estimate your earnings at the end of the month accurately, wouldn’t you? Although accurately predicting your income is impossible for any video monetization platform, publishers can most often get a reliable, rough estimate. Unfortunately, that is much more challenging on YouTube.
The primary reason is that YouTube demonetization is a massive problem on the platform. The core of the issue lies in YouTube’s flawed monetization bot. After publishers upload a video, the bot will have to process it and check whether it complies with the platform’s Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines before allowing it to be monetized.
The problem is that the algorithm often demonetizes or limits monetization on videos that don’t break any advertiser-friendly content rules. Another problem creators have reported is that the bot demonetizes videos retroactively. That means some of your older content may get hit with the dreaded yellow icon even years after being uploaded. That can be a massive issue for creators with a lot of evergreen content.
The worst part about YouTube demonetization is that it can take weeks or even months for YouTube support to review your appeal and revert the decision. By the time that happens, publishers can lose over 80% of that video’s revenue.
The great part about YouTube monetization is that it uses Google AdSense to monetize your content, which is one of the best ad networks on the market. However, the platform lacks advanced monetization and ad yield optimization features. YouTube only offers industry-standard instream video ads and ad podding. It doesn’t support multiple SSPs, advanced programmatic techniques like video header bidding, and it only has basic video and ad analytics. These are all features large publishers need to maximize video ad revenue and where YouTube falls short.
Most ad-based monetization platforms use a revenue-sharing model to pay their creators, and YouTube is no different. However, YouTube’s fees are some of the highest in the industry. The platform takes 45% of all creators’ revenue, and that is calculated before taxes. As a comparison, most premium online video platforms only take 20%–30%.
If the high costs weren’t bad enough, YouTube recently announced they’d be calculating additional fees for all U.S-based views for all creators outside the USA. This change means that some publishers and creators may see up to 30% more revenue cut, making YouTube an even less appealing monetization option for brands outside the U.S.
The last major problem with monetizing on YouTube is that publishers and creators lack control they’d have on one of many monetization alternatives. Here’s the thing — YouTube’s algorithm and policies are ever-changing, so nobody knows what tomorrow may bring. The platform regularly implements changes to its rules and regulations, making more and more creators ineligible for monetization. That makes YouTube a risky choice for creators and brands operating in unpopular and stigmatized niches.
Besides this uncertainty, YouTube also lacks in the security department. If you’re a large publisher or brand, you’re at a higher risk of falling victim to a cyberattack and losing your content. Since YouTube is a public video-sharing platform, it focuses more on user experience and engagement than content security. Even if you private the videos on your channel, it doesn’t guarantee their safety. That is why most prominent publishers opt for private video hosting platforms with features like tokenized URLs and password-protected videos to minimize the risks.
The best way to deal with the flaws of YouTube’s monetization system is to diversify your income. Not putting all eggs in one basket is the only way to ensure yourself if something goes wrong. That is where YouTube monetization alternatives come in.
But how do you pick the right one? There are a few factors to consider before even getting to choosing a monetization alternative. You will first need to consider your business needs and goals and decide on the best approach for your brand. There are three things you can do:
One of the most common ways creators supplement their YouTube monetization is by relying on third parties to monetize them. Creators can do that in several ways:
This method is best suited for smaller creators or businesses who don’t want to leave YouTube due to its large audience but wish to earn more. Setting up an online store with branded merch, an affiliate partnership, or asking your most dedicated viewers for direct support through donations is an excellent way to diversify your income.
If you’re a brand or creator looking to boost their reach, viewership, and monetization beyond YouTube, the best way is to syndicate your videos to other platforms. There are dozens of popular YouTube alternatives and social video platforms on the market, each with a unique audience and monetization options.
Settling for this approach will require a more considerable investment, as you’ll have to build an audience on these platforms before you start earning significant revenue. However, doing so will ensure a steady income from multiple sources and increased financial stability.
The last and probably the best choice for mid-to-large publishers and brands is to rely on YouTube for distribution and leave monetization to a premium online video platform. OVPs offer publishers greater control, better branding options, improved security and allow them to monetize videos on their websites more efficiently. In this scenario, publishers can use their YouTube channels to funnel users to their website to monetize at greater efficiency.
However, the biggest downside to this approach is that you need to have a well-established brand and lots of dedicated website visitors. That means this approach won’t work well for smaller businesses and creators without a substantial following.
After you decide which of the above approaches is best suited for your business, you’ll need to choose a monetization alternative that suits your needs. That is why we decided to cover a variety of options suitable for each of our listed approaches. Now let’s take a detailed look at some of the best YouTube monetization alternatives on the market and cover their pros and cons, most notable features, who they’re best suited for, and much more:
Brid.TV is a white-label enterprise video platform focused on helping big brands and publishers take their video monetization game to the next level. This platform is best suited for publishers with large dedicated followings, as you’ll need to have a website to make the most of it.
Brid.TV offers publishers a handy video CMS with an intuitive UI, convenient search features, and advanced filtering options, giving publishers with massive video libraries greater control than on YouTube. The platform also includes hosting and video encoding services and comes with extensive video and ad analytics with more filters and data than YouTube’s.
Although Brid.TV doesn’t offer multiple monetization models like YouTube, it excels at ad-based monetization. Publishers will get access to plenty of advanced monetization features and functionalities they can’t find on YouTube. Some of the cool features you’ll find are video carousel units, outstream ads, and prebidding on the player level. That makes Brid.TV the perfect choice for publishers focused on ad-based monetization (AVOD).
Brid.TV is likely one of the most affordable video advertising solutions on the market, as the cheapest paid plan starts at $25. However, if you want to make the most of the platform’s features, you’ll have to sign up for a Premium or Custom Plan.
Brid.TV’s advertising solution operates on a 70%–30% revenue-share model, meaning it will take 15% less of your ad revenue than YouTube. The platform handles payouts via PayPal, Bank Transfer, and Credit Cards.
Who It’s For:
Big brands, enterprise-level businesses, and large publishers looking to step up their ad-based video monetization game.
Patreon is the go-to monetization platform for many YouTube creators worldwide as it offers an easy and safe way to implement a donation-based monetization system on your channel. And the best part about Patreon is that anyone can use it!
The platform provides ample support for creators who deliver content regularly (e.g., vlogs, podcasts) and lets them create several pricing tiers, offer premium content to supporters, and even sell merchandise for Premium users.
Patreon is by far the best monetization platform for users who don’t wish to invest in growing an audience on another platform and just want to complement their YouTube income. It also helps creators build more tight-knit communities as its features allow creators to communicate with their most devoted viewers.
One notable downside to Patreon is that it locks some of its features behind the number of supporters you have, so you might need to grow your channel a bit before being able to take full advantage of its features. Also, this donation-based monetization method can sometimes prove unreliable as it purely depends on your viewers’ goodwill.
Patreon has several different plans and operates by taking a fixed fee from any donations creators receive. Depending on your plan, the commission will range between 5% and 12%. Patreon accepts both PayPal and credit cards.
Who It’s For:
Independent content creators and artists looking to earn extra income through donations.
Dailymotion is a video-sharing website similar to YouTube with more than 112 million monthly users, making it the second-largest website dedicated to online video in the world. That makes this site the best alternative for creators looking to expand their viewership and monetize beyond YouTube, especially if they want to reach European audiences.
Dailymotion has similar monetization features like YouTube and relies on ads to monetize content. However, creators will first have to join the Dailymotion for Publishers program before becoming eligible for monetization. That means you’ll first need to grow your Dailymotion channel a bit before you can start earning.
One potential downside to Dailymotion is that it’s not as versatile as YouTube contentwise — news and political content dominate the platform. There are other types of videos too, though, but they’re nowhere nearly as successful. So if you think your content can fit in one of these niches, Dailymotion might prove as quite a lucrative YouTube monetization alternative.
Dailymotion processes payments through PayPal and Payoneer and follows a 60%–40% revenue share with their creators.
Who It’s For:
Creators of news and political content looking to branch out, particularly if they’re oriented toward European audiences.
Wistia is a premium video platform oriented toward video marketers, podcasters, and sales professionals. Although it supports only basic ad-based monetization options, its beginner-friendliness and dozens of helpful marketing integrations more than make up for it.
Wistia offers secure video hosting, extensive video analytics, various branding capabilities, social integrations, and much more. The platform also has multiple useful features podcasters can use to distribute their content and improve user experience.
Wistia’s most notable downside is that its lower-tier plans offer scarce features and limit users to having only a few videos at a time. Nevertheless, this platform is an incredible choice for marketers who don’t rely on YouTube being their primary source of income and need a secure video solution compatible with various other marketing software.
Who It’s For:
Video marketers and podcasters looking for a platform with handy integrations and better security than YouTube.
Odysee is an interesting YouTube monetization alternative in that it is a decentralized online video platform that pays its creators in Bitcoin. It is similar to YouTube in many ways, particularly for its content variety and UI.
Odysee is an ad-free YouTube monetization alternative that pays creators for uploading videos and engaging on other people’s content. The payment process works through a LBRY wallet, where creators collect credits for their videos and engagement to redeem them for Bitcoin later. The platform even has a built-in tipping feature where viewers can support their favorite creators by donating.
Although Odysee still has a small user base, decentralized YouTube alternatives are getting a lot of traction lately and are slowly but gradually growing. Getting onto a smaller platform like this one and building an audience early can prove quite lucrative for expanding your viewership and diversifying your income.
Who It’s For:
Content creators looking to expand their audience and diversify monetization.
Vimeo is one of the most well-known online video platforms for on-demand video, and for a good reason. It offers various video services, including monetization, live streaming, OTT support, and much more. Vimeo has been helping small and large publishers bring their videos to life with high-quality HLS streaming for nearly two decades.
Vimeo lets publishers enjoy secure hosting, video transcoding, an intuitive video content management system, and various monetization features. The platform supports videos in up to 4K and 60 FPS, which is much superior to YouTube.
The best part of Vimeo is that it offers both ad-based and subscription-based monetization, including extensive OTT support. So whether you wish to monetize your video-rich website or start a subscription-based OTT streaming service, Vimeo can help you.
Perhaps the biggest downsides to this platform are that it offers limited functionalities on lower-tier plans and has a worse reach than YouTube. Also, some of the advanced engagement-oriented features like customized end screens and video cards are missing.
Vimeo supports payments via credit cards, PayPal, JCB, Discover, and a few other international payment providers.
Who It’s For:
Publishers and brands looking for a versatile video player and platform or interested in getting into the OTT market.
Instagram is one of the largest social media platforms worldwide, with around a billion active users monthly. Although it’s primarily a platform for sharing photos, it also has a video feature called IGTV that focuses on video content. This platform’s massive audience makes it the perfect place for creators looking to branch out and attract more viewers.
IGTV is particularly useful for short-form video creators due to the nature of Instagram’s content. The app’s handy feed lets your videos be easily discoverable, while shorter videos are more likely to keep your viewers’ attention. Like YouTube, IGTV lets users follow their favorite channels to get notified as soon as they release new content.
Unfortunately, IGTV’s monetization options are pretty limited — creators can only monetize through instream video ads. However, if you build a substantial audience, you can always look for alternative monetization methods like brand deals and sponsorships.
Despite lacking advanced monetization features, IGTV is particularly suitable for B2C brands due to its user demographics. More than half of the platform’s users are younger than 34, making it the perfect YouTube alternative for businesses targeting Millennials and Gen Z audiences.
Who It’s For:
Content creators and B2C companies looking to reach broader audiences and earn additional revenue.
DTube is an excellent alternative to YouTube monetization that feels and looks a lot like YouTube. However, unlike its competitor, DTube is a decentralized platform and pays its creators in cryptocurrency. Thanks to blockchain technology, DTube also offers better security and privacy to users and creators.
DTube is ad-free and pays its creators and users through engagement. Uploading videos, liking, and commenting all give rewards creators can later redeem for cryptocurrency. The only downside to this method is that the platform’s small audience will limit your earnings, even if you achieve high engagement.
Despite the above flaw, DTube is a worthwhile monetization alternative since users can quickly get accustomed to it, thanks to its similarities to YouTube. So if you have a popular YouTube channel, inviting your audience to support your DTube channel can also add a significant boost to your income.
Who It’s For:
Content creators looking for a secure, decentralized alternative to YouTube monetization on a platform with a predominantly U.S-based audience.
Twitch is the world’s current largest live streaming platform that accrues more than 100 million monthly viewers. Although it hosts various types of entertainment, Twitch is best known for its gaming and esports content. That makes it the perfect alternative for YouTube creators in those niches. Despite its predominantly young audience, it is a free streaming platform that anyone can use. That means businesses can also try experimenting with it without any risk.
Creators can earn revenue on Twitch in multiple ways — by serving ads, from monthly subscriptions, and by collecting viewer donations. This variety of options makes Twitch one of the most versatile YouTube monetization alternatives for creators willing to give live streaming a shot. Unfortunately, the sheer size of the platform also means that the competition will be fierce, so discoverability might prove an issue.
Twitch also has a rich VOD library of past broadcasts, but its features aren’t optimized for on-demand content. That is why many creators opt to funnel their YouTube audiences to their Twitch channels and use their streams’ VODs to create content for YouTube. Doing that helps them make the best of both worlds and grow both channels simultaneously.
If you’re a brand or prominent broadcaster looking for a secure and reliable live streaming solution alternative to YouTube, though, a premium live streaming platform would likely be a better choice than Twitch.
Twitch supports payments via credit cards, Amazon Pay, and PayPal.
Who It’s For:
Content creators and entertainers who want to enter the live streaming market to grow and monetize their viewership.
SubscribeStar is a YouTube monetization alternative similar to Patreon, as it also focuses on giving creators and brands a way to monetize their most loyal viewers through custom donations. This platform offers creators the same primary features as Patreon, including setting up multiple custom subscription tiers, exclusive content, and more.
The best part about SubscribeStar is that it offers all of its features on a single plan. That means even smaller YouTube channels can use everything it has to offer. Also, this platform is cheaper than Patreon, as it takes only a 5% revenue cut (plus payment processing fees).
Unfortunately, SubscribeStar users don’t get as many valuable integrations as they would on Patreon (only Discord and GraphQL are supported) and gain no additional benefits for their audience size. Regardless of these downsides, SubscribeStar is an excellent alternative to YouTube monetization and even accepts creators from unpopular niches that might not be eligible to monetize on Patreon.
Who It’s For:
Content creators and artists looking for a third-party monetization platform with lenient policies.