YouTube monetization is a tricky thing. Last January, YouTube made it a lot harder to meet the minimum requirements and get monetization at all. Ostensibly, this combats the accounts that scraped up and spammed terrible videos or stolen content and earned money for it. It may do that, of course, but it also hurts thousands of small creators that haven’t quite reached the minimum standards.
How long does it take to get monetization? Let’s look at the process the whole way through.
From Nothing to Something
If you’re on the question to earn monetization privileges on YouTube, you need to start by creating your channel. It’s easy from a mechanical standpoint. Just create a new account or start one from an existing Google account. Create a Brand Account when you make your channel, but be aware that you may need to verify via a phone call or text message.
Once you have an account, you need to optimize it for viewing and branding. Visit your channel homepage and click Customize Channel up in the corner. Click the little gear and click advanced settings to get to the real nuts and bolts. I recommend keeping things like your liked videos and subscriptions hidden, in case you use this YouTube account for personal browsing that may or may not align with your brand image.
In the advanced settings menu, the first thing you should do is add a profile picture. Usually this will be a logo or a photo of your own smiling face. Set your country, and plug in a few brand keywords that demonstrate your purpose and content alignment.
There’s also a button to link an AdWords account – even though Google has renamed it Google Ads, they haven’t updated the wording everywhere – which you probably want to do. You won’t be able to monetize videos until you’ve met the minimum standards on YouTube, but it’s good to have an account links ahead of time. The linked account also allows you to pay for ads or promote your videos, should you desire to do so.
You can plug in an associated website if you want one to be linked to your YouTube account. This should be your main website, generally. Likewise, at the bottom is a box for adding a Google Analytics tracking ID, which you should add if you have one.
It’s worth noting that this information may be out of date by the time you read it. YouTube is updating their creator studio and changing a lot of things around. In fact, I’ll go ahead and cover the new creator studio briefly, because it’s coming in 2019 and will be a big change in how people use YouTube. You can view it now by clicking the “try it now” button in the banner on top of the existing dashboard.
Either way, you can customize the rest of your channel from the channel home page. I recommend adding banner art across the top, since it’s basically a billboard of your branding. Add links there as well; other social media links and a link to your main site are good options. Specify the experience different users have when they visit, either new or returning. You’ll specify that more once you have videos and playlists for people to view.
If you want, record a channel trailer. Just set up a short 1-minute video describing who you are and the purpose of your channel. This will be a call to action to new visitors and unsubscribed users to subscribe to your content.
Click over to the About tab to specify a description for your channel. This is a good place for a description of your brand, links to specific user profiles on other sites, credits for artists, and other information useful to your visitors. Add a business inquiry email as well.
The New Creator Studio
When you opt into the new creator studio, the first thing you notice is that, like many web services, it finally has a responsive design and takes advantage of your full screen size. Across the top is a YouTube search bar that searches your channel, with a button for uploads, a help button, and your profile image. The profile image brings up a menu for your channel, YouTube home, switching accounts, and other basic options. We can ignore it for now.
The meat of the window below this top bar is a display of your recent videos and some basic analytics, YouTube news, ideas for improving your channel, and basic channel analytics. Good to know, but not important for setting up a channel.
To customize your channel, you would think you click the Settings button, but this isn’t true. Right now, Settings just allows you to pick between the old and new dashboards. Instead, you want Other Features -> Customize Channel. This brings you right back to your main channel page. So, for now, not really a big difference in usage.
The new creator studio will be valuable to you once you have videos and analytics to look into, but for now it’s just a big blank pane. Moving on!
Disregarding everything else, the entire process for setting up a new channel shouldn’t take more than a few hours, depending on how many resources you have on hand. It could take longer, if you need to contract an artist to make your imagery or a writer for your profile information, but I estimate it’s a short turnaround either way.
Meeting the Standards
YouTube’s new monetization policy, started up in January of 2018, removed monetization from a lot of old channels and made it a lot harder to reach. Previously, the size of your channel didn’t matter, so long as you reached a minimum of 10,000 views on your profile after an audit.
Now, though, the requirements basically force an active, decent channel. You need a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and a minimum of 4,000 watch-hours in a rolling 12 month basis. 4,000 hours per year isn’t too bad; all you need is one good video or a handful of decent videos to reach it. For reference, 4,000 hours is 240,000 minutes, and divided per year is 20,000 per month, or only about 660 per day. That’s really not a lot for an active channel.
The 1,000 subscribers is harder to achieve, frankly. Lots of people watch videos without subscribing to the channels that host them. You have to strive to post optimized content with plenty of calls to action for likes and subscribes, as stereotypical as that sounds.
How long does it take to meet the standards required? That’s a hard question to answer. I know people with active channels that have been working for years and don’t have monetization because YouTube removed it in their revamp. I also know of people who start a channel and, within a month, meet the minimum requirements. A lot depends on your existing audience and how well you can leverage it.
I’m going to be brief in discussing how you can make your videos better to earn more views and more subscribers, since it’s a topic we’ve covered elsewhere. You can read more in-depth guides if this is the part you’re stuck on.
Step 1 is to make good videos. High quality video and audio is a necessity; you won’t get anywhere without them. You should also publish those videos on a consistent basis. Remember how you need 660 watch-minutes per day? If you only have one video, it needs to be incredibly popular to earn that. If you have 10 videos, each of them only needs an hour of watch-time per day. If you have 660 videos, each one only needs one minute of watch time per day to meet the standards. Obviously I’m not advocating for posting a dozen videos per day, but remember that the more videos you have, the less each one needs to perform individually to still meet the minimums.
Step 2 is to optimize each video individually. You need a good, compelling title and video thumbnail, as those are the two elements everyone can see in the post-video recommended box, the sidebars, and YouTube’s front page. You also want a description that front-loads interesting information before the truncation, and adds in more description and links below the fold. Don’t spam keywords; videos have individual keyword boxes under “tags” for you to tag them. Make sure to add at least half a dozen individual, relevant tags to each video.
You can also benefit your videos by uploading closed captions as an accessibility feature. This helps Google index the content of the videos, and makes them easier to use in some situations. It can’t hurt, at least.
Once you meet the 4,000 watch hours and the 1,000 subscribers minimum levels, your channel is “automatically reviewed” for monetization. You do have to have the three previous steps completed, the partner program terms, monetization preferences, etc.
According to Google’s blurb, as soon as you meet those requirements, they review your profile. What actually happens is that your profile is put in a queue to be reviewed. This is a lengthy queue and will take some time to progress through.
There are two reviews in sequence. The first is an automatic scan to check to see if your subscribers or your views are fraudulent in any way. If you were buying subscribers or views to meet the minimum standards, chances are that Google will filter out what doesn’t count, and will deny you monetization if you no longer meet the standards afterwards.
If you pass this initial filter, your profile is then scanned to see if it violates any of the Partner Program terms or community guidelines. You can read both of those documents here: partner program terms, community guidelines.
There’s nothing in these documents that should come as a surprise. Don’t post copyrighted content, don’t post hateful or violent content, don’t post porn, you know the deal. It’s the same sort of terms as are on basically every social media site.
Google claims that this decision will be handed down to you “usually within a month or so.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but this is a major delay to me. I hate reaching a threshold for review and having it take more than a day or two to complete, but here’s Google, saying they’ll take multiple months to review your profile! They’re not wrong, either. They have a huge queue of profiles to scan, many that just barely meet the minimums, and they have to give themselves plenty of leeway to be very fickle in how they enforce their guidelines. After all, YouTube has a huge issue with copyright enforcement, as anyone who pays attention should know.
All in all, the total process for getting a monetized YouTube channel will take probably 3-6 months at the bare minimum. This assumes you have an established brand and video creation skills, and that you’re good at pushing your videos such that they trend, you’re good at converting subscribers, and that you can keep up consistently good work. If you struggle to meet the watch time or subscriber goals, it can take a lot longer. Even then, half of the time it takes is spent waiting for Google.
It has been a year now and I meet all the requirements. I have over 5000 subscribers and about 25,500 watch hours, and yet still not monetized. I am so glad I don’t have to depend on youtube for income and will just use my platform to promote my business and make money like that.
Have you tried applying for it? Were you denied, and if so, did they give a reason? Not all channels are available to be monetized, so there’s a chance your profile doesn’t qualify. I would keep focusing on growing your channel and apply every few months. Good luck!
My channel reached the 2 requirements since April 9 of 2018, and it still is under review. I received an email from YT saying they are waiting for some information, will review my channel when they receive that info. Now it is over 9 months later, still under review. I have tried multiple times reaching out to creator support, and get no help. They just tell me my channel is under review which I already know. Why YT does not communicate with channel owners and let owners wait for no reasons?
Hi. Have you passed? What happened now? Still nothing changed? It is very upset to see that 9 months? No way. I have channel and was stopped monetization for 30 days and now 30 days passed and now in review process again. How long it will take?
I have my channel created in 2016 and I had monetization on it, however I was not able to reach the new rules that they implemented back in January of 2018. Now I already have over 1k subs and over 5k hours of views. Will my history with YouTube affect my monetization? My Community Guidelines Status and Copyright Status have zero strikes and I have both smiley face’s under my channel status in creator studio to show I meet both requirements. I hope it wont affect and my approval. My friend’s channel was approved within just a week but mine is going on 3 weeks now. I know it is within 30 days but I’m a bit paranoid that all my hard work will go to waste.
I have started my channel on April 2018 then my channel should have 12 month by April this year. Does that sound right or will I not get approved?
Hi Aditya, you definitely want to over-shoot their 4,000 watch hour / 1000 subsriber rule as much as you can. I’ve heard of plenty of people getting denied for having just met those requirements, so it’s good to be a good deal over before applying. As long as it’s been 12 months and your channel is large enough, you shouldn’t have any issues at all.
My YouTube channel reached 4000 subscribers and 10800 watch hours, and it is still under review… I’ve been waiting for 3 months. I reached out to them but I haven’t gotten any replies to my questions. What should I do?
Hi Abdul, all you can do is wait for them to approve or deny your application. Just keep focusing on growing your channel for now. If you get denied, apply again in 6-12 months and keep focusing on growing your channel. Don’t keep applying back-to-back if you got denied, it will only hurt your chances. Keep focusing on creating great content! Are you on the list of approved countries for YouTube’s partner program?
What is the longest time to wait for YouTube monetization review to come back?
Hi Victoria, you’ll have an answer in a couple weeks, usually less. If you get denied, don’t apply again right away; take some time to keep growing your channel and apply again in 6-12 months.
Hi I reached the 4000 watch time and over a 1000 sub. I have also received two strikes, one for nudes and the other they said misleading tag, title or something like that. I linked my Adsense account which I have received two times check, and currently have $35 on it. What is the possibility of getting approved of being approved with the strikes which will be lifted by May, 25.
May 25th is only 2 months away, why not just wait a couple of months before applying to be safe?
Hi, I just created a youtube channel. If in case I have reached the 4000 watch time and 1000 subscribers in just a month, can I request immediately for monetization or my account needs to be 12 months old as well before I can request for approval?
Hi Angelyn! Your account doesn’t have to have a minimum age; you just have to have 4,000 watch hours over a 12 month period, minimum. That 12 month number doesn’t have anything to do with account age, and it shouldn’t affect your chances of getting approved as long as your YouTube channel is active and growing, and meets the requirements. Good luck, I hope you get accepted!
hi.. i made my youtube account since 2012 and not even try to grow it..just for viewing purpose..it was not youtube partner verified back then.. until i applied for partner verify and started to grow it last June 2019 and a week later it was verified.. do i need to chase that 4000 watch hours and 1000 subscribers in 12 months for monetization?… or maybe my account already screwed up? or should i make new account for my channel.. much appreciate your response thru my email god bless you….
I have been applying since 2 years ago, they never update to me, it is always showing review process. I have never received any deny or accept email from them. what should I do? Thanks.
Hi Aung! What country are you in? You might not be in a supported country. Even so, it’s strange you didn’t get an email.
hi, I am from Bangladesh. i have two questions— Is this country part of youtube’s partner program? and will it be a problem in review process if my channel takes more than 12 months to fulfill 4000 watch hours and 1000 subscribers? also will it be a problem if i don’t customize my channel like adding channel descriptions,keywords??
Hi, my youtube account is currently under review but I have a few questions. Does all of your videos need to be public while under review? Can you get approved for monetization if you have copyright strikes for music on a few of your videos?
I have more than 8 million views and 35000 subscribers..but still no sign of monetization.and no reply from youtube ..its been held for additional review
Hi can you please help me what’s the next step? I reached 4000hours & 1000 subs. I signed up to Adsense last November 17 2018, then Google Adsense sent me (New User added to your Google Ads account). When I clicked the 2. Sign up Adsense -START BUTTON- My channel is currently under review. I can’t send the screenshot, hope you can help me.
Hi My Youtube Channel meets the requirements i have Subscribers : 1404 And WatchTime : 5038 I am waiting one month since April 11, 2019, I filed after the second request and previously deleted old videos and replaced new ones Why does it take so long? According to Youtube rules it must be for one month How to contact Youtube? I don’t have a way to address them Thanks Marc
My channel met the requirements 5 months ago. No copyrights ,all my work and edit. I contact them on twitter and send tons of messages but they never communicate properly. They say wait, under second review, not enough people hired and stupid replies like this.I quit uploading frequently and upload once /month to keep my subscribers and channel after uploading 5 videos /week. So,if you didn’t have a business to promote through your videos stop trying making money with videos that way and losing your time and effort , simply they want us to work for them for free.
I’m surprised reading all these people who are having to wait 3-6 months, I reached the requirements just over a week ago, I applied and they responded today confirming monetization. Is it possibly done depending on the channels growth rate? since last week my channel has 500 new subscribers and in the last month alone I’ve gained over 240k watch minutes. – Maybe as it’s rather quickly grown they’ve placed it higher up in the review queue?
Started last february 2019 and Im under review now for one week still waiting…
Hello James , what a great information you put out here, very interesting. Please I want to know if someone opens a YouTube channel and gets the 1k subscribers and 4K watch hours within just a month of opening the channel, will YouTube approve the monetizing of his account immediately or does the account need to be 12 months old before YouTube can approve the channel???
Hello, I also want to contribute something that is do not watch your own videos for even a second, don’t give many subs from the same IP and do not like the same video many times via different accounts but same IP. Google is the most powerful source remember that you cannot make it a fool at any cost. Then your channel will be monetized asap. I also started my own YouTube channel but I do check my videos not at YouTube but at YouTube’s Video Manager so no illegal action could take place for me. I’m flustrated guys, I do request you all to subscribe each N every channel if you even like their 1 second in the video then do SUBSCRIBE.
Hi everyone, I just want to ask if I created my channel on January 2019 and I started uploading videos on July 2019, when it will start my 1 year reaching my requirement for 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours watch time? Is it January or July? Thanks for your reply.
this is my problem as well hoping there will be an answer
My YT channel is under auto review since last 2 months and didn’t get any email from them yet. BTW my channel was created in 2006.
I started uploading on April 21st 2019. I met the requirements on June 17 2019 and have been waiting since to hear back from YouTube. I know that it’s not long compared to others but they said 30 days! i just wish someone would let ke know something because this is something i love to do and would love to do it full time!
Youtube approoved my channel for monetize, it took 5 month (from April 2019). My channel has no copyright strike and claimed, and all content and music are original my own. I am happy with it, thank you youtube!
Hello! My channel was created since 2015 and I monetized if for 1 year but, I ddid not meet the requirements yet. is it okay if the 12 months have passed? do i still have a chance to get my channel monetized? please. thanks 🙂
I am not sure what’s going on with different situations. I met the requirement of YouTube monetization of 1000 subs and 4000 watch hours. I swear with God, it took only 3 days for them to review and approve my account. By the way, please be aware that we don’t get paid much from the ads on YouTube at all unless you get several thousands or millions of views per day. Just wanted to let you guys know. I make around $1.50 per day and I have a few hundreds views per day. Not much money at all. My main part for this is mainly for fun. If you really want to make money with YouTube, you must have a very good content with several hundred thousand views per day.