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How Much Does a YouTuber With 10 Million Subscribers Make?

Reaching the elite status of 10 million YouTube subscribers puts a creator into rarified air. But how much money can top YouTubers actually make with an audience of that size? This article examines the potential earnings of a 10 million subscriber channel across ad revenue, sponsorships, merchandising, and other income streams.

YouTube Ad Revenue

At the core of top YouTubers' earnings is the ad revenue generated by their videos. This varies substantially based on factors like:

Watch Time

The total monthly minutes watched by audience across all videos drives overall ad earnings. More views and longer average view duration increase revenue.

CPM Rates

CPM (cost per thousand views) reflects how much advertisers pay YouTube to show ads on videos. CPM varies between $1-$10 based on audience demographics and content type.

YouTube's Cut

YouTube takes 45% of total ad revenue off the top, leaving creators with 55% of earnings.

Applying typical earning metrics to a 10 million sub channel provides income estimates:

  • 100 million monthly views (10 views per sub)
  • 500 hours monthly watch time (average 3 minutes per view)
  • $5 CPM rate
  • 55% cut to creator

Total estimated monthly ad revenue of $137,500 for a 10 million sub channel with those stats. The majority of top creators fall within the $2-$5 CPM range, putting earnings between $55k – $275k per month from YouTube ads alone.


Direct sponsorships provide a massive revenue stream for top YouTubers in addition to ads. Sponsors pay for endorsements as standalone videos or mentions integrated into non-ad content.

Rates vary greatly based on factors like:

  • Niche – Gaming and finance attract higher sponsor rates than daily vlogs
  • Production – Highly produced integrations warrant bigger deals
  • Audience Demographics – Youth-skewed audiences demand higher fees
  • Video Performance – Views, engagement, reach metrics determine value

Average sponsorship earnings for a top channel include:

  • 5 sponsorships per month
  • $30,000 per dedicated sponsor video
  • $15,000 for integrated sponsor mention in regular content

That adds up to around $195,000 per month from YouTube sponsorships on top of ad earnings. Some top creators like MrBeast likely eclipse $100k+ per video working with tier one brands.

Merchandise Sales

Merch gives creators another revenue stream while promoting their brand to fans. Income potential depends on:

  • Fan loyalty – How likely fans are to buy creator apparel and accessories.
  • Profit Margin – Net income after costs of goods sold and fulfillment. Usually 30-40% margin.
  • Pricing – More expensive hoodies, collectibles, and limited products boost revenue.
  • Sell-through Rate – Conversion percentage of audience buying merch. 5-10% is typical.

Given the massive audience, a 10 million sub channel can easily generate six figures yearly on merch:

  • 10 million subs with 5% purchasing
  • 500,000 merch units sold per year
  • Average $25 price point
  • 35% margin

Equals $4.4 million in potential annual merchandise revenue. Lesser known channels make far less, but influencers like MrBeast with highly engaged fans out-earn that significantly.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate links to products give creators a percentage of sales they drive. Affiliate earnings vary depending on:

  • Relevance of products promoted – Affiliates closely matching the content do better.
  • Conversion rates – Getting viewers to click and purchase. 1-5% is common.
  • Commission percentage – Usually 5-20% per sale.
  • Cost of products – More expensive products equal bigger commissions.

A channel making dedicated affiliate content could reasonably earn:

  • 100,000 monthly clicks on affiliate links
  • 3% conversion rate
  • $50 average purchase price
  • 10% average commission

That equates to $150,000 in monthly affiliate income in addition to other revenue streams. But most channels only promote affiliates sporadically, generating much lower earnings.

External Brand Deals

External brand partnership opportunities arise as creators grow their audience and influence. But rates fluctuate:

  • Appearances/Speaking – $10k-$50k for brand appearances depending on the event
  • Licensing Content – Upwards of $100k to license popular content onto TV shows, ads and more
  • Developing Own Products – 5-10% royalty rate on new products created for brands
  • Equity Deals – Taking a brand equity stake in exchange for large ownership chunks

It's reasonable for mid-tier influencers to secure a few $10k-$25k deals per month outside of main YouTube revenue, adding $100k+ annually. Top influencers with leverage like MrBeast likely eclipse 7-figures annually through external ventures. But they require cultivated talent and business management.

Platform Revenue Sharing

YouTube offers additional monetization like Super Chat and Channel Memberships which share revenue:

  • Super Chat – Fans pay to pin live chat comments. Creators get majority of the fee.
  • Memberships – Fans pay a monthly fee for perks like emojis, badges, extra content. Creators get majority of fee.

These can generate tens of thousands per month for top gaming streamers. But for highly produced video creators they play a smaller role likely contributing just 1-5% on top of ad earnings.

Career Progression Factors

Achieving top-tier YouTube earnings requires:

  • Yearly audience growth – Adding 1M+ new subscribers annually
  • Viewer retention – Keeping existing viewers engaged and returning
  • Ad frequency – Striking a balance between enough ads for revenue while not deterring viewers
  • Diversified commercialization – Leveraging multiple income streams not just ads
  • Business leverage – Securing the best rates thanks to audience influence
  • Production value – Investing in high-quality content drives sponsor rates
  • Momentum – Taking opportunities while audience growth is surging

Maintaining relevance, connecting with fans authentically, responding to feedback, and continuously adapting content style helps avoid major drop-offs. Monitor analytics closely using tools like TubeBuddy and VidIQ.

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Video Performance Benchmarks

As a rule of thumb, the top 5-10% of videos on a channel drive 90% of views. Benchmark stats for a top performing video on a 10 million sub channel include:

  • 500,000 views per day on a trending video
  • 8 minutes average view duration
  • 5% click-through rate from Impressions
  • 30% audience retention to end of video
  • 5% engagement rate (likes, comments, shares)

Study your own channel analytics to identify what content resonates with your audience then double down on those formats and topics. Monitor CPM rates and tweak content to attract higher paying advertisers.

FAQs on Top YouTuber Earnings

How much influence drives sponsorship rates?

Sponsorship prices directly correlate with audience size and engagement. 10M highly engaged followers commands $20K+ per video. Microinfluencers under 100K subs earn far less.

How do ads affect viewer experience?

YouTube fosters creator-fan connection, so excessive ads damage that relationship. Balance monetization with providing value first and foremost.

Do I need huge subscriber counts to make a living?

While achieving millions helps, you can make a comfortable living with 200-500K engaged subscribers through smart monetization. Focus on quality over quantity.

Does controversy help or hurt monetization?

Controversy and “cancel culture” often increase views short-term. But brands distance themselves, hurting sponsorships. Authenticity and empathy create wider, healthier growth.

How crucial is it to diversify income streams?

Very. Relying just on YouTube ad revenue leads to burnout and stagnation. Top YouTubers derive income from ads, sponsors, merch, affiliates, and external ventures.

Should I start a company around my channel?

Yes, forming an LLC or corporation allows you to structure business deals like sponsorships. Get help navigating legal and taxes.


While achieving 10 million YouTube subscribers is an incredible feat, merely having a massive audience does not guarantee income. Converting influence into earnings requires optimizing multiple streams through high-quality content. But with dedication, creativity, and business savvy, top YouTubers can generate millions yearly thanks to their loyal fanbase. Yet their primary motivator remains engaging audiences rather than chasing wealth. Maintaining that authentic connection with fans enables building a thriving channel that can become both hugely impactful and financially lucrative over the long-term.

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