As YouTube Traffic Soars, YouTubers Say Pay Is Plummeting
Advertising rates on the platform have dropped significantly during the coronavirus pandemic
While boredom-inducing stay-at-home orders may be good for YouTube channel traffic, increasing by 15%, according to the New York Times, YouTubers say that the rates companies pay to advertise on their videos are dropping significantly. That means that despite increased audiences, some YouTubers are making less money.
Carlos Pacheco, a former media buyer turned YouTube adviser, says that across 180 YouTube channels he works with — which have a total of nearly 68 million subscribers worldwide across a range of different interests — advertising rates have tanked by an average of nearly 50% since the start of February.
“Everyone is pausing their campaigns on YouTube,” Pacheco says.
Data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), an advertising industry body, suggests that one in four media buyers and brands have paused all advertising for the first half of 2020, and a further 46% have adjusted their spending downwards. Three-quarters say the coronavirus will be more damaging for the ad industry than the 2008–’09 financial crisis. That means fewer ads for Big Macs on TV and in newspapers, but it also means advertisers are less likely to compete for the pre-roll ads that usher you toward your next YouTube video.
Digital ad spending is down by a third, according to the IAB — a slightly less painful drop than the traditional media’s 39% cut, but still damaging. YouTubers are reporting anywhere from 30% to 50% declines in their cost per mille (CPM), or the amount YouTube receives for every 1,000 views of an advertisement served against a video. YouTube takes that money, keeps 45% for itself, and gives 55% to creators.
Roberto Blake, a YouTuber who also advertises his social media consultancy business through social media ads, says he has seen a 10% drop in his CPMs, to around $20. But, he says, other YouTubers have it worse. “People I know are going down from $8 to $5.50. I’m seeing people go down from $12…