How To Make Money Online 
With Web Videos
7 Ideas To Bring In Some Cash With Video

The future of the web is video.

Although monetization of video is still being worked out, there's no doubt that video is here to stay.

With people accessing the internet from a variety of platforms including their PC, smartphones and tablets, there is an insatiable appetite for video content.

According to eMarketer, an estimated 54% of North American companies planned to invest more in videos as website content in 2012.  

If you're not convinced yet of the power of video on the web, consider these statistics.  

Web Video Stats

  • YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. (Source: SEOmoz)

  • More than 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube (Source: YouTube)

  • YouTube’s Vice President of Global Content Robert Kyncl estimated that video would soon be 90% of Internet traffic. (Source: Forbes 2012)

  • 50% of smartphone users watch web video on their mobile device. (Source: Google Blog)

  • In 2012, more than 450 billion US content video views occurred via a desktop computer, representing an all-time high and an increase of 7 percent over 2011. (Source: comScore Video Metrix)

  • People who view a web video are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors (Source: comScore)

  • Video email messages generate 2-3X higher click-through rates compared to static emails. (Source: TMG)

What's the message here?  If you're not making videos, you should be!  Either from the content side (making documentaries, films or visually entertaining material) or from the advertising side.  I hate to say it, but there's probably more money to be made on the advertising side.  But hey, it's a great way to practice your craft.  Many film directors make their "real" money producing commercials and then do their "passion" projects on the side.

To learn step-by-step how to make web videos and create a YouTube channel, check out: GroovyVideos.com.

"The U.S. online video market attracts an average of 75 million viewers every day and streams nearly 40 billion videos per month. Meanwhile, the rise of Web TV and other long-form video content is keeping engagement levels high as more people turn to digital media to watch their favorite shows whenever it’s most convenient for them."

- comScore US Digital Future Report for 2013

Courtesy: comScore Video Metrix, U.S., Dec. - 2012 

Seven (7) Ways To Make Money With Web Videos

1. Vimeo -- We love Vimeo!   These guys and gals are true advocates for the independent filmmaker and they always seem to be coming up with new ideas to help out. They recently implemented a "Tip Jar" option.  Basically, you offer your video/film for free and give viewers the option to "tip" you if they like what they see.  It's a really interesting concept and may be too early to tell how well it works(?).  Please leave a comment below if you have had any experience with this. Vimeo also just launched a new Video On Demand option in March 2013 for their pro users. (Read more about VOD below)

2. Amazon and Online VOD (video on demand) -- This option works best with longer-format videos such as films and documentaries or with instructional videos.  People pay a set price to "rent" or "download" your film or series. Online VOD companies include Distrifyfilmbinder.com, Vimeo On Demand and Amazon Instant Video (sign up for free through Amazon's Create Space).  Keep in mind that just posting your film on one of these sites doesn't mean instant cash.  You've got to "lead" people to your film (aka Marketing), either from your Facebook page, blog, media press, film festival buzz, advertising, etc.  Getting your film on iTunes, Hulu and Netflix is a bit more tricky.  Check out a company called Distribber to help you mass distribute your film to the larger media outlets.

3. Business Videos - A great way to make money with online video is to produce videos that help promote companies and their products/services.  Most businesses these days have a web site. Having videos that explain their product(s) or tell the story of their company is hugely valuable and they are willing to pay if you have the skills to produce what they need. Examples of local businesses that may need videos include realtors, car dealers, travel agencies and restaurants.  Authors, artists and public speakers also need web videos to help promote their skills, services and products. A lot of these jobs can be found on sites such as E-Lance and Freelance.com.  But often, your personal relationships and connections will yield the best results for finding these kinds of jobs.  Example of a video book promo:

Book promo video trailer for Pat Flynn's book "Let Go"

4. YouTube/Google Ads - In theory you can make money allowing Google to put ads on your web videos, but for any significant cash you need significant traffic.  Step one: upload your video to YouTube.  Step two: set up the "monetization" option allowing YouTube to place Google ads on your videos.  The best kinds of videos for making money with Google Ads include how-to videos, music videos, funny videos, product reviews, strong personality & celebrity videos, cute animal videos, etc.  The KEY is to generate traffic and lead people to your video.  Just uploading your video and hoping for the best just won't cut it!  You'll need to launch out on social media and blogs and share a link to the your video to get the ball rolling.  Don't be fooled.. it can take thousands of views of your web video before you see even a few cents profit. 

5. Affiliate links - If you produce a video that's connected in some way to a product or several products (for example a vegetable juicer), you can include your affiliate links inside the video description or next to the video on your website.  Anyone who clicks on the links and buys the product, you get a commission.  If you don't have a website, use the text overlays on the video to tell people to check out your description on your YouTube page for more information and the links.  The key here, as with anything on the web, it's all about traffic, traffic, traffic.   

6. Stock Footage -- Selling your video clips to stock footage companies such as Pond5 is another option for making money online with your video.   As with most everything in life, you get back what you put into it.  If you have some really unique footage or a big collection of professional clips to offer, you'll do well.  Just posting footage of an average sunset won't get you any money.   Stock footage companies are always in demand of "people doing every day things" footage.  Since styles are always changing, they always need fresh footage of show things like a "family riding their bikes through a park" scene, or "workers in hard hats looking over blueprints on a construction site".  The thing is that those shots often take some setting up, especially if you want it to look good.  And you'll also need to get talent releases from the people who can be seen in the shots.  

Courtesy: Getty Images/Stock Video Sample Reel

7. Video Contests -- There are lots of cool options here.  The most famous perhaps is the Doritos SuperBowl Contest.  Entering video contests is especially a great opportunity if you're a new filmmaker looking to make a name for yourself.  Learn more about the various ways you can earn money through video contests.

2013 Doritos Crash The Superbowl Video Contest Winner
"Goat 4 Sale" by Pogo Pictures

How To Make Money With Viral Videos

If your video goes viral, you not only can make a chunk of money from Google ads (estimates range from $1-$10 per 1000 views), but also residual income.  For example, the dad from the David After The Dentist viral video sells merchandise on his blog.  And viral videos sometimes get purchased for advertising.  For example, in a Huffington Post article about viral cat videos, one video maker says she got paid by kitty-litter maker Fresh Step to use her video in a commercial. 

We couldn't resist closing out this page with one of the most famous viral videos.  Enjoy :) 

Your Ideas

Do you have any tips or ideas about how to make money online with web videos?  Leave a comment below or send us an e-mail so that we can add it to the list.

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