This is the latest installment of Business Insider’s YouTube money logs, where creators break down how much they earn.
Meghan Pruitt is a college influencer on YouTube, and she treats filming videos in her dorm room like a part-time job.
Her videos about moving into her dorm at the University of Oklahoma, her daily life, and touring her apartment earn her about $100 to $200 per month with only a few thousand followers.
Pruitt is considered a “nano” influencer on YouTube, where she has 6,800 subscribers. Nano influencers often specialize in a niche, with a small and engaged community of subscribers who feel like they know the influencer on a personal level. Pruitt’s niche is college, and throughout all of her videos she shares her experience as a student.
She launched her YouTube channel in 2018, and her most viewed videos — including a prom “get ready with me” video, which has 401,000 views, and a college-apartment move-in vlog with 59,000 views — helped her grow an initial audience.
As a part-time influencer, she earns most of her revenue as a creator through YouTube’s Partner Program.
Pruitt was accepted into YouTube’s Partner Program in 2019. To be accepted into the program, creators must have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours, and once they are in, their videos are monetized with ads filtered by Google. How much money a creator earns depends on the video’s watch time, length, video type, and viewer demographics, among other factors. YouTube also keeps 45% of the ad revenue, with the creator keeping the rest.
So how much has she earned?
Overall, Pruitt’s YouTube channel earned $1,920 in 2020 with 744,000 views. Insider verified her earnings with screenshots of her analytics dashboard.
Pruitt broke down how much money her channel has earned over the past three months with 6,800 subscribers:
- December: $505
- January: $108
- February: $82
She added that her earnings fluctuated seasonally, with typically higher ad rates toward the end of the year. Creators cannot cash out their earnings until they have at least $100 in their account, she said.
Filming videos about college life has helped Pruitt kick-start her channel
Pruitt is part of a rising trend of YouTubers becoming famous for sharing their college experiences — especially their move-in videos and “a day in the life”-style vlogs. This popular (and searchable) content has helped Pruitt reach an audience outside of those already subscribed to her.
Pruitt’s strategy is to upload at least one video a week on YouTube, and she tries to film timely, searchable videos. For instance, Pruitt’s videos about moving back into college each semester usually get more views than other types of content.
Like Pruitt, other college influencers — including Sienna Santer (482,000 YouTube subscribers) and Margot Lee, who graduated in 2020 (453,000 YouTube subscribers) — have found success on YouTube by posting videos about life as students. Both Santer’s and Lee’s most viewed YouTube videos are about moving into college, each with millions of views.
Pruitt said sticking to a consistent upload schedule was important, especially after you attract your initial audience through a widely shared video. She schedules in time for YouTube in between classes and homework, adding filming and editing into her calendar like she would any other assignment.
“It takes a lot more time than people think,” Pruitt said of YouTube.