Harrison Alley


If you’re wondering how many youtube videos you need to make money, this is a great question to ask.

You are already ahead of what I think most people do when they try to succeed on YouTube which is to publish a handful of videos and hope to go viral.

They have no real plan. 

And, as a result, their odds of success are much lower than those with a plan. 

So how many videos should you plan on publishing before earning any income from YouTube?

If you want a rough estimate, you will probably need to publish approximately 152 videos to start making money on YouTube. 

How did I get that number?

Read on to find out.

But first, if you want to know who I am and why you might care what I have to say, check out the next section.

If not, no worries.

You can collapse the next section and skip straight to the data behind 152 videos.

Who I Am and Why You Might Care

If you’re wondering what authority I have to write this article, I get it.

I manage my wife’s YouTube channel associated with her travel blog.

And although her YouTube channel isn’t a roaring success (yet), we do make six figures from her brand most of which is from display advertising on her blog.

Most of the traffic to her blog comes from her website showing up in Google search results.

This is thanks to our efforts in search engine optimization (SEO for short).

And since Google owns YouTube and YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google, I’ve found a lot of overlap between SEO strategies to show up in Google and SEO to show up in YouTube search results.

I am also planning on launching a YouTube channel for this website and will be posting about the results on this website!

In short, I’m not yet an expert in YouTube SEO, but I am highly competent in Google SEO.

How Many YouTube Videos Do You Need to Make Money? 

We know that you need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours in the past year to join the YouTube Partner Program to make money from ads. 

And thanks to TubeBuddy, we have a rough estimate of how many uploads are required to hit certain numbers of subscribers. 

What’s TubeBuddy?

TubeBuddy is a browser extension that links to your YouTube account and helps you grow your YouTube channel. 

They ran the numbers in 2020 based on their 3.5 million users and found that those with 1,000 to 10,000 subscribers have on average 152 uploads on their channel. 

Unfortunately, TubeBuddy did not share how many uploads their users had with only 1000 subscribers, the YouTube Partner Program minimum requirement, but instead gave the range of 1,000 to 10,000 subscribers. 

That said, this data is from 2020, and the general trend of growing social media platforms is that growth becomes more challenging as time goes on. 

Plus, those who have the TubeBuddy plugin are likely more dedicated in their approach to growth than the average YouTuber, which may mean that you need to upload more content to make money on YouTube.

Thus, you should probably assume 152 uploads will get you closer to 1,000 than 10,000 subscribers.  

Assuming 152 uploads gets you at least 1,000 subscribers, will it get you to 4,000 public watch hours, the other YouTube Partner Program requirement?

I’ll address that below.

How to Get 4,000 Public Watch Hours in the Past Year on YouTube

Since you need to get 4,000 public watch hours in the past year to meet the YouTube partner program requirements, you are incentivized to publish content more frequently. 

In other words, publishing a video infrequently, like once a quarter (or whenever you feel like it)      probably won’t work. 

And if publishing 152 videos is likely required to hit 1000 subscribers, it would take 38 years to get there publishing once a quarter!

So if once a quarter isn’t a frequent enough publishing schedule, how often do you need to publish a video?

A lot of pros recommend publishing a video every day. 

But that’s not sustainable for most people. 

Publishing 1-3 videos a week is another popular cadence for many successful channels. 

And this cadence is more likely achievable for most people.

Assuming you are publishing content in this frequency range, how many views will you need per video to reach 4000 public watch hours?

First, we need to make more assumptions.

According to data from statista, the average YouTube video is about 12 minutes long.

But most people who watch your video won’t watch the whole thing.

In fact, you’re doing well if your average view duration is 55%.

Assuming each view gets you 6.6 minutes of watch time (that’s 55% of 12 minutes) and you publish 152 videos in a year, you will need to average 239 views per video to reach 4,000 hours of watch time in a year.

Is this realistic?

I certainly think so if you can take into account content quality, search demand, and search competition in your content creation!

Let’s talk about each of these qualities in turn.

Content Quality

Is content quality totally subjective?

I don’t think so.

In fact, many aspects of content can be quantifiably better or worse.

What are those qualities?

All else equal, higher-quality videos are better than lower-quality ones.

For instance, a 4K video resolution is better than 1080, clear audio is better than not, a high-resolution video thumbnail is better than not, etc.

And even the qualitative aspects of a video like how clickable a video title is or how engaging the content is can be “quantified” to some extent.

For instance, there are AI tools that “grade” YouTube video titles on click-worthiness.

And even if you imagine showing 100 people different headlines to see which they would click, you would probably guess there would be a clear winner in many instances.

My point is that you should try to invest as much as possible in your content quality and do your best to make the qualitative aspects of your content as good as you can too.

The most successful YouTuber on Earth, Mr. Beast, is famous for aggressively reinvesting as much as he can into his content.

If he’s doing it, you probably should be too!

Search Demand

Many people aren’t familiar with the concept of search demand.

And those people are missing out on one of the most amazing aspects of YouTube.

Although there are many ways for YouTube users to discover content on its platform, YouTube is still a search engine!

And you can approximate the demand for particular content by how many times people search that content on YouTube.

Many services provide approximations of search frequency for phrases searched on YouTube.

And again, TubeBuddy is my favorite service for this.

If you want to see exactly what I mean, this is what TubeBuddy shows me alongside the YouTube search results when I search “six-pack abs workout”

According to TubeBuddy, this phase is searched approximately 46,700 times per month on YouTube!

So if even a small portion of those who search this phrase see your video and watch it, you could get a significant number of recurring views each month.

How many?

Google itself has shared that half of all channels and videos on YouTube have a CTR between 2% and 10%.

If you take the average here and say a video of your creation gets a 6% CTR for this term that’s searched approximately 46,700 times a month, this video alone could be getting roughly 2,802 views per month!

That’s more than 10x the number of views required to reach 4,000 watch hours if you publish 152 videos in a year!

In other words, if you could get ~2800 views per video, you could potentially reach 4,000 watch hours by publishing only 13 videos instead of 152.

This is why assessing search demand is so powerful!

But search demand will only be helpful if you also assess your search competition.

I’ll discuss this in the following section.

Search Competition

So you’ve found a great key phrase that gets a lot of searches every month.

But will your video show up in search results for it?

Again, TubeBuddy can help you with this by helping you properly title your video to increase the odds of it showing up in search results for a key phrase of your choice.

Plus, it can give you its estimate as to whether it’s a good keyphrase to try to rank for given the competition.

But, to me, nothing beats analyzing the search results yourself to see if your video can rank alongside (and hopefully above the competition).

This starts with objectively evaluating your videos in light of the competition, which can be challenging.

Most people tend towards one of two extremes, either thinking their video is much better than it is or thinking it is much worse than it is.

To combat these errors, I’d recommend first trying to evaluate the objective differences between your video and current search results by asking these questions:

If you can answer yes to some or all of these questions, your video likely has good odds of ranking with the competition and garnering views as a result.

How Many YouTube Videos You Need to Make Money: Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you think through how many YouTube videos you need to make money!

To summarize, it may take around 152 uploads to join YouTube’s Partner Program and earn from ads.

However, if you create high-quality content that’s better than the competition for topics with proven search demand, you can potentially reduce the number of videos you need to make to meet YouTube’s Partner Program requirement.

And if you want YouTube to be a part of your personal brand, know that this article is part of my building a personal brand series.

So if you haven’t checked out my article about building a personal brand from scratch and you’re interested in YouTube being a part of your personal brand, I recommend it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *