You Ask, I Answer: Monetizing Social Media Followings?

Shannon asks, “I need to put together a better gameplan on making money between now and the end of the year. A friend thinks I need to monetize my YouTube and IG. I guess that means ads on YT and trying to do more influencing stuff on IG?”

Monetizing social media audiences is difficult, but not impossible. Generally speaking, the closer to the bottom of the funnel you can get, the more you can monetize, and there’s fundamentally 3 ways to do it:
– Audience views
– Audience engagements (affiliate marketing)
– Direct sales

The more you can sell direct, the more you make. Affiliate sales pay less well, and then influencer/ad view revenue pay the least. If you think about the basic model of a $1 CPM, that’s $1 for a thousand views – and that’s what the advertiser is charged. Your cut will be substantially less. The first thing to do is measure engagement levels and traffic levels off network – that’ll tell you where to go.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

Veeam in today’s episode Shannon asks, I need to put together a better game plan on making money between now and the end of the year a friend things I need to monetize my YouTube and Instagram I guess this means ads on YouTube and trying to do more influencing stuff on Instagram.

So monetizing social media audiences is it’s difficult but it’s not impossible.

It’s I say it’s difficult because right now where we are and this is being recorded in the middle of 2020, there is a tremendous amount of inventory because people are or should be still obeying, distancing and spending a lot more time here and less, a lot less time out there.

But advertisers have pulled back pretty substantially whether it’s because of protesting which is is happening in July of 2020 on Facebook, or it’s just the economy is in such not great condition.

advertisers are not spending as much and therefore there’s there’s less money in the pool.

When it comes to social media audience advertising, generally speaking, the closer you are to the bottom of the funnel, the more you can monetize, the more money you’re gonna make.

So there’s really about three different models, right there is view based models, which are being paid for views.

And that would be, as you mentioned, advertising like on YouTube, monetizing a channel, which requires a lot of views per video.

I want to say it’s, I think it’s at least 1000 views to the thousand or 10,000 views.

I can’t remember which there’s engagement level money making, which is affiliate marketing where people go to you know, landing pages and stuff, probably the most well known one is Amazon Associates.

And even there, you still need to drive a fair amount of traffic and get people to actually buy stuff.

And then there’s monetizing directly, which is direct sales where you sell something of yours to your audience.

Direct Sales pay the best by far.

You can and I have sent 10s or hundreds of thousands of views to something, and had it made like 10 bucks, right? Because if you think about an advertiser, when advertisers advertise on like display networks, like YouTube, they are seeing prices, you know, $2 CPM, $5 CPM, $10.

CPM, that’s what the advertiser pays, you get a small slice of that.

Maybe like 30%.

So, in the best case, in other cases, like 5% and so, the, what you get out of it is, if you think about that, if you’re you have a video that gets 10,000 views, you might see $1, like literally $1 from that.

In order to monetize Well, you have to have a video Large, active following that just consumes all your stuff.

Affiliate sales are typically paid better you’ll get anywhere between you, depending on the network, between five and 20, maybe even 30% of the commission of commission sales on what it is you’re selling.

If you go to like Commission Junction shareasale, all these different networks, you can get started and start picking out advertisers that you want to work with, and check out their pricing and see who offers the best pricing the best.

The best opportunities to look for in that space are what are called recurring revenue models where if somebody signs up for say, like a streaming video service, you get a smaller commission up front but then you get paid as long as that person remains a member and that’s can be a nice, not huge but a nice amount of of money.

At one point, I was working with a streaming video service and I think it was with relatively little effort pulling me down 50 bucks a month beer money, right not, not mortgage money, but beer money.

And obviously, there are some folks who are phenomenal affiliate marketers who can clear six figures a month.

But that’s literally their full time job.

But that’s all they do.

And they do it by they do it with a lot of arbitrage a lot of traffic arbitrage where they buy ads at much lower prices on niche networks and then resell, essentially resell that traffic to affiliates.

And the third bucket is the direct sales.

If you have a book if you have a course if you have premium content, Patreon, whatever the thing is, if you have a highly engaged audience that wants what you specifically have to offer, that is the way to go.

I will say that in terms of revenue that I’ve made Direct Sales are the lion’s share of online advertising revenue.

In my best years, I’ve made maybe 1000 to $2,000 on, like advertising on affiliate marketing.

And on my best years, I’ve made like $20,000 on direct sales, because you when you sell a book, like gumroad, for example, where they keep they keep 5%.

Compare that to Amazon where Amazon will take 65% it’s a lot easier to get to those big numbers if you’re selling a book or course for $500.

And you get to keep, you know, 400 and odd dollars of it.

So those are the three models.

deciding which model to go with depends on your numbers.

If you have, you know, in the millions of views, the monetizing the traffic is is an easy no brainer, right and One of the things that’s important is that these programs are not mutually exclusive.

You can absolutely monetize your YouTube channel while you pursue affiliate marketing while you also pursued direct sales.

But remember that your audience has a limited amount of attention.

So you have to prioritize which attention you want to try and cash in on.

But as you’re getting things up and running, these things can be running in tandem.

Check your audience numbers for sure.

Check your engagement numbers, what social network do you get the highest level of engagement on because that could be the network where you want to focus some affiliate marketing on and then I am hesitant to put a lot of love behind social media.

Because we know that these networks are fickle, and we don’t own them.

We don’t own them.

And, you know, we’re seeing things like apps getting banned in certain countries.

It’s not a stable environment, your website and your email list and your I presume weekly email newsletter, that’s where you can make good money on direct sales.

That’s where if I, if I did the analysis, I virtually guarantee that 80% of my direct sales come from email from hitting my email list and saying, Hey, I got this thing come by the thing.

That’s where I think it makes the most sense to invest your time and where you’re going to see the highest returns is getting people to be loyal.

And to do that, you have to create amazing stuff on a regular basis.

But when you do, you will be able to direct sell them much more easily than trying to monetize either affiliate marketing or view based stuff.

Both of those are good, but they’re not great.

So that’s the short version.

Pick a revenue model based on the traffic you have, the audience you have, the level of engagement they have, and the digital assets you have available to you.

And then go to town start creating stuff at scale at volume and start promoting it.

How does and one of the keys to to monetization is it is a entirely an experimental game testing, experimenting, seeing what converts what doesn’t convert, you’ll get really good at that.

But that’s the way to go.

If you have follow up questions, leave them in the comments box below.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel on the newsletter, I’ll talk to you soon.

Take care.

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