Earn extra money through channel memberships
Channel memberships is a new tool that helps you to build an exclusive community for your super fans, who pay to get access to special benefits.
Getting started with channel memberships
You can earn money through YouTube by setting up memberships on your channel. Memberships is a way for your audience to make monthly payments to your channel and in return, they receive a badge and emoji that you can design, and other perks that you decide and deliver to your members. It’s similar to a recurring crowdfunding campaign, where viewers receive unique rewards for supporting your channel.Note: Channel memberships was previously known as sponsorships. It is currently available for eligible channels on the YouTube Gaming app and we are rolling this feature out more widely to channels on the main YouTube app and site throughout 2018. Check to see if you’re eligible to enable channel memberships.
What can you offer your members?
Coming up with your perks is vital for converting your viewers into paying members. What unique offerings can you provide to your fans that could encourage them to pay for membership of your channel month after month? And what’s realistic for you to deliver?
- It doesn’t cost you much, but your viewers can’t get it anywhere else.
- It’s scalable: the time it takes to deliver it remains the same as your number of members grows, and it pleases all your members at once.
- It keeps your members engaged, month after month - after all, their payments are monthly, not one-off.
- It doesn’t alienate your non-members. We don’t recommend that you take anything away from your regular viewers - your members are paying to get more.
Keep in mind that a few things aren’t permitted for channel memberships, like contests and lotteries - and of course, keep to our Community Guidelines. All perks are reviewed before you can turn on the “join” button and you can get a strike for submitting perks that don’t comply with Community Guidelines, so be sure to read and understand them!
You can use the Community tab to deliver your perks by using the drop-down menu to make a post visible only to your members. That includes any videos you want to share: just make them unlisted and then post the link.
Tips for perk ideas:
- Videos: Rough cuts, bloopers, behind the scenes footage, early access to your regular videos or members-only live streams (hint: making a bunch of new videos from scratch for your members can be a lot of work!)
- Extra engagement: exclusive live streams for Q&A, members-only chat on your public live streams, polls to decide your future videos, photos or text updates on your Community tab
- Status: through call-outs or onscreen credits
Creating awesome badges and emoji
Badges and custom emoji are exclusive benefits your audience receives when they become members of your channel. The badge appears next to their username in comments and live chat on your channel to indicate they’re a member.
Emoji are fun graphics that your members can use in live chat on your channel. The more members you have, the more emoji you can create. These are fun ways that your members can visually stand out. So, get your creative juices flowing and make the most of these features! Just remember to comply with YouTube’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines and don’t violate others’ copyright or privacy rights.
The first step to consider is what images to use. Your badges should make your members feel connected to your channel and proud to be members, whereas your emoji should help them express their emotions, reactions or share inside-jokes. What do you commonly say in your videos? What reactions do you expect people to have to your videos? You could also ask your viewers what kind of emoji they’d want to use.
Some creators hire a designer and some make emoji themselves – it's up to you. There are many contract design websites and apps with experts in emoji design, such as fiverr, upwork or freelancer. The cost of an emoji design can vary depending on the skill level and seniority of your graphic artist. Try to have all your emoji designed by the same artist: this will help ensure that the set looks professional.
Guidelines for great emoji:
- Keep them simple - remember they show up pretty small.
- Make sure they’re easy to understand at a glance.
- Sharp lines can aid design.
- Use good lighting if based on photos.
- Ensure they look good on both black and white backgrounds (since they can be seen on both).
Promoting channel memberships
We’ve seen that creators who make announcement videos convert many more of their subscribers to members than those who don’t. One of the best ways to launch memberships on your channel is by making your video in advance, and publishing it straight after you turn on the “join” button.
It’s understandable if you’re nervous about asking your audience to become paying members, but the only way to explain what you’re doing and why is by tackling it head-on.
And don’t stop with the announcement video! To keep growing your memberships community you’ll need to regularly remind your viewers about becoming members in your videos and on other social platforms - just like you remind them to comment, like and subscribe.
Tips for your announcement video:
- Why you’re launching memberships
- What you’re offering your members
- How you’ll deliver their perks
- Reassure the rest of your audience that nothing will change for them.