YouTube advertising can be a great revenue stream – but it can also distract your potential customers.  If you are using YouTube to attract customers, and the number of views on your videos is relatively small, you may want to consider turning off the ads.

The downside of advertising:

Advertising is distracting.  It’s designed that way.  But if you are using YouTube to promote your business or idea, what’s the one thing you don’t want someone to feel when they click play on one of your videos?  Distracted!  Especially if that distraction is coming in the form of advertising for one of your competitors.  The only reason we should be turning on advertising is if we can make enough money to justify distracting our viewers.

Advertising on YouTube is so prevalent that most viewers expect it, so having it run on your videos would be the norm.  But do the math first and see if it’s worth the potential of distracting even one potential customer.

Can you make money from YouTube Advertising?

A few years ago, YouTube made it very easy for content creators to monetize their videos.  Prior to that, only creators who had large audiences could turn on ads.  Making this change helped a lot of smaller creators who wanted to monetize their smaller audience.  But it also convinced nearly every person with a cat video to turn on ads.

Before you turn on advertising, let’s do some quick math.  YouTube pays out around $1-6 CPM.  That’s $1-6 per 1000 views of an ad.  Most often it’s at the lower end of that spectrum (and there are ways to get higher CPM, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.)  Determining what counts as a view is important, but I’m going to over simplify things here.

If you posted one video per week, and each one got 100 views, then you’d make about $5 in a year.  And the minimum payout from YouTube is $100.  So it would take 20 years to get your first check.

Is that worth potentially turning off even one customer?

Turning off Ads is easy

The good news is that turning off ads is easy – just follow the steps in the video above.

Wait – turning off ads didn’t work

If you have “3rd party content” AKA music or clips that you don’t own, in your videos, then the owner of those clips / music is often given the right to advertise on your video.  The only way to get rid of these ads is to clean out the stolen content.

What about ads on other channels – the ones you have to watch?

This tutorial only applies to ads that you, as a creator, can choose to display.  But hopefully you’ll spread this message around to small creators.  Large creators will always have ads – it’s a major form of income for them, and it’s how we, as viewers, pay them for creating awesome content.  But if the creator is never going to see a check (or at least not for 20 years) let’s tell them to turn off the ads!

And we should celebrate when someone is making money from YouTube.  When a channel legitimately turns on ads because they are making a few hundred dollars a year, we should all cheer!  No other social network pays it’s creators, so we should recognize that YouTube is giving us all an opportunity to make a living posting videos.  But with great power comes great responsibility – turn off the ads until you know you are getting a check.