Brian Barczyk is a 50-year-old YouTube star, who built a career online by sharing content about the snakes and other reptiles he breeds.
Barczyk originally began posting content to YouTube 2008. Now he posts vlog-style content about his life and the animals he cares for to YouTube, and runs a channel with 2.4 million subscribers.
Barczyk earns revenue through sponsorships, selling merchandise, and from the ads that play in his YouTube videos. He supports himself, his family, and the reptile zoo he owns and operates, all from the money he earns as a YouTube creator.
Creators who are a part of YouTube's Partner Program earn money through Google AdSense, which places ads within videos.
Barczyk's highest-earning video is one he posted in July 2017, titled "MY SNAKE IS EGG BOUND!!! NOW WHAT?!!!" Today, the video has over 28 million views.
Barczyk earned around $50,000 in AdSense from the video, and continues to earn about $300 to $500 a month from it, he said. That's the most he's made from a single video, according to a screenshot viewed by Business Insider.
Barczyk said his channel gained around 300,000 subscribers from the video as well.
How creators like Barczyk earn revenue on YouTube
A video on YouTube with millions of views can net an influencer thousands of dollars depending on the genre.
Some top YouTube creators have strategies they employ to earn more money from advertising on videos. By figuring out the right number of ads to include per video, and how long each video should be, a YouTube creator can maximize the amount of revenue they'll earn.
But the CPM (or cost per thousand views) can vary wildly depending factors like the subject matter (and what advertisers that attracts) and the viewer demographic. CPM rates have also varied throughout the years and Barczyk – who has been a part of YouTube's Partner Program since the beginning — said he's seen a drop in CPM rates on his channel.
Why content type matters when earning the most money possible
Some types of videos naturally get higher ad rates, according to creators who have spoken to Business Insider.
For instance, if Barczyk's video had been educational or business-related, and gotten 28 millions views, he likely would have made much more money.
Kevin David, a YouTube creator with 800,000 subscribers, previously told Business Insider that his how-to guide for using Facebook ads, with 2.2 million views, made just under $50,000 in Google AdSense revenue. That's around how much Barczyk's video made for 28 million views.
David's videos on YouTube earn more money than the average creator because of the type of content he produces: detailed how-to videos (like how to make money online or sell products on Amazon) and e-commerce tutorials.
But it can be a balance between what advertisers like and what viewers like. For example, videos that have worldwide appeal have a higher likelihood of going viral.
The YouTube creator Paul Kousky, who has 10 million subscribers, made $97,000 in AdSense revenue from a single video because it went viral and gained 150 million views, he told Business Insider. Kousky makes videos about Nerf wars, which — like Barczyk's reptile videos — have a global appeal when done in a compelling fashion.
But YouTube ad revenue is only part of the revenue equation, and Barczyk said he earns a bulk of his money through brand sponsorships and selling merch.
"It's important to be smart enough to enjoy the success of CPM and other revenue streams," he said. "But at the same time, prepare yourself and try to build other revenue streams that will be long term."