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July 23, 2020

How Much YouTube Sponsors Pay (And Where To Find Them)

How many times have you been watching YouTube and heard, “This video is sponsored by Nord VPN?”

Where are YouTubers finding these brand partnerships? More importantly, how much are they making and how do they sign up? Let’s find out!

How To Find YouTube Sponsors

1) Outreach

As of 2024, the YouTube sponsorship market isn’t fully mature. Meaning there isn’t a centralized hub with a list of all brands willing to partner with your channel. Your best bet will be to reach out to companies in your niche individually.

Where do you find them? I would start with the companies you’ve already seen sponsoring YouTube content as we know they do this type of thing. I’m sure we’ve all seen videos that are brought to you by the following companies.

Google “Company Name + YouTube Partnership” and you should be able to find a link similar to the ones above where you can pitch your YouTube channel to these sponsors.

Remember to bring your “A” game and pitch yourself to these companies. They need to understand what you can do for them to accept you.

2) Grow Your Channel (The Sponsors Will Come To You)

youtube subscribe

This isn’t very inspiring for those of you looking to be pro-active. But, if your channel gets large enough, sponsors will begin to reach out. Not only is this less work, but it gives you leverage in the pricing negotiations.

To get your first 1,000 subs you can target keywords using tools like TubeBuddy. But, I personally recommend focusing on making better videos to take advantage of YouTube’s Discover engine. There’s more traffic in discover than search.

3) Influencer Marketing Services

There is an ever-growing number of influencer marketing companies that try to match influencers with sponsors.

Famebit was the most well-known, until it was purchased by YouTube in 2016, and then shut down and rebranded as YouTube BrandConnect in 2021.

You’d think that YouTube integrating this into their platform would mean they’re the only option. But, there are dozens of companies popping up in this space. Here are just a few (there are many more).

4) YouTube Multi-Channel Network (MCN)

These are typically 3rd parties that will help you monetize your channel in exchange for a revenue split.

I highly advise against signing with one of these networks. Business partners are a bad idea. These networks make you sign a legally binding contract where they’re entitled to a portion of revenue. It’s not quite a business partnership, but if you find yourself signing legal documents guaranteeing a revenue split, you might as well be getting married.

Avoid MCN’s unless you really know what you’re getting into with all the legal paperwork. And even then, avoid MCN’s. Their business model is to pay many channels decent rates when they’re small and then rake the ones that grow over the coals.

5) Affiliate Marketing

YouTube can be an excellent place for small channels to make a lot of money promoting affiliate links. However, you came here for how to get sponsorships, not affiliate links. So let’s move on.

How Much YouTube Sponsors Pay

There is no definitive answer to this question as it’s very much a negotiation. That said, let’s try to give you a rough idea of what you can expect to get paid from sponsorships.

One option is to use a service like Social Blue Book, which attempts to give you a valuation. But, I think you’re better off learning how this works and doing the math yourself.

sponsor rates

There are two common types of promotion out there for YouTube that pay very differently. Sponsored Mentions and Fully Integrated videos.

Sponsored Mentions

Sponsored mentions are when you do a read (typically at the beginning of your video) in which you say, “This video was sponsored by BRAND.” And the rest of your content remains the same.

The amount sponsors will pay for this varies dramatically. Still, a starting place for negotiations would be in the $20-$30 per 1,000 views territory. This is a massive raise for YouTube creators as the average Adsense payout is only $2-$8 per 1,000 views.

sponsorship rate

Shorthand for negotiations would be to take the total views on your last 2 months’ worth of videos and divide it by the number of videos you released. Then multiply your projected views (in thousands) by your RPM of $20-$30. That’s roughly how much you can expect to charge.

Fully Integrated Videos

This is where you do an entire video that’s really more of a commercial for the brand than your usual content.

An example is if you’ve got a YouTube channel about audio gear and review a microphone. Or an archery channel, and you discuss a specific brand of bow and arrow.

Many YouTubers are happy to do product reviews for the affiliate commissions or for a free product. Keep in mind that you should be able to charge significantly more (think 5x-10x more) than a sponsored read for these types of videos.

If you would have charged $1,000 for a sponsored read, you should now be charging up to $10,000 for a fully integrated video. Understand why you shouldn’t do this for free merchandise?

Why Would Sponsors Pay so Much?

For creators, it’s obvious why you would prefer to work with Sponsors. YouTube ads only pay $2-$8 per 1000 views, and sponsors will usually pay a $20 to $30 RPM.

Why would sponsors pay 10x as much for a live read vs. merely buying ads on your channel? There are two primary reasons.

  1. YouTube keeps 45% of the ad revenue. So running ads on your channel isn’t as cheap as it appears.
  2. You endorsing the product leads to significantly higher conversion rates.

It’s that 2nd point you really need to understand. Check out the graph below. Look at the profit you’d make on a $10 product as the conversion rates increase.

As you can see, the conversion rate has a more significant effect on the bottom line than ad costs. That’s where you come in. Consumers ignore ads, while influencers convert at incredibly high rates. This is why brands are willing to pay significantly more than they do for ads when they partner with you.

How To Pitch Your Channel To Brands

OK, so you’ve found some brands you want to approach and have a rough idea of what they should be paying you. Now how do you pitch them on your channel and get them to agree to pay you?

Well, we know that brands will want the following information.

  1. Where to find your channel.
  2. Why your audience matches their product.
  3. Average video views on last 30-60 days videos.
  4. Average watch time/percent at the end of the video.
  5. Subscriber Counts.
  6. Audience Demographics (Gender, Age, Geography).
  7. The upcoming video topics that you would like the brand to sponsor.
  8. How Much Money You Want (though I suggest leaving this off and negotiating later).

OK got all that? It’s a lot of info, and people hate reading. So I suggest putting it all in one easy to digest infographic and sending that to the brand. It makes it easy for them to see if you’re a good fit, and they’re likely to reach back out to you with a yes if you fit the profile!

This maybe isn’t the best example. But it should give you an idea of what you need to create. Just a 1-page graphical resume for your brand, highlighting relevant stats.

media kit example

Can Small Channels Get YouTube Sponsorships or Brand Deals?

Probably not.

It depends on how we define a small channel and how large the brand is. An incredibly small brand might be willing to work with an incredibly small channel if the niche matched just right.

However, we’ve measured how much brands will pay you per thousand visitors. If your videos aren’t getting at least a few thousand views per video, you’re a rounding error to any strong brand. It costs more money for the brand to deal with your customer service requests than it does to pay for ads on your channel. They won’t work with you.

If you haven’t even gotten the 4,000 hours of watch time and 1,000 YouTube subscribers needed for YouTube ads just yet, then it’s way too early for you to be thinking about brand deals.

Just practice your craft, make even better content, and you’ll get there!

Thanks for reading! And if you’re interested, I also created guides on how to get TikTok Sponsors, Podcast Sponsors, Blog Sponsors, Instagram Sponsors, and Twitch Sponsors. I recommend checking those out if you’re curious how the rates for those platforms compare to this one.

Shaun Poore has written extensively about sponsorships on every platform imaginable. Shaun's also received several sponsorships and has paid various creators for sponsorships back when he was primarily running a products business.

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