If you’re looking for an online business model that generates passive income, a YouTube automation business may just be your best option after local lead generation. YouTube automation channels have been gaining traction for a few years as a legitimate way to make money online and it’s no surprise why. A quick search using the global analytics tool, Social Blade, reveals that many of these channels, like Bright Side, make hundreds of thousands in revenue every year. That’s some serious cash flow for not having to show your face or even be involved much at all in the operations of the business.
If you want to start your own YouTube cash cow channel to make a passive income, then this YouTube automation business step-by-step guide is for you! In the following article, we look at the YouTube automation business model, go over some of the major pros and cons, highlight 4 key metrics to understand, break down each aspect of the business you need to outsource in order to automate the work, list out the 5 main steps to start your automation channel, and some major mistakes to avoid. Plus, 8 additional strategies to monetize your YouTube automation business beyond the YouTube Partner Program so you can set up multiple income streams and maximize your profit potential!
What is YouTube automation?
YouTube automation is an online business model that employs outsourcing and automation tools to create a YouTube channel that operates and generates money independently (mostly) of the channel owner. As the YouTube channel owner, you build a team to handle the entire content development process, from research to content creation and video publishing. A successful YouTube automation channel pays for itself through the revenues it produces and leaves the owner with a solid profit after all expenses.
YouTube automation channels do not incorporate a YouTube influencer in the content like the videos by many other successful channels, such as Mr. Beast videos. Instead, these are faceless YouTube channels that rely heavily on stock footage or animations with voiceovers.
Should you start a YouTube automation channel? The pros and cons
Is a YouTube automation channel right for you? Here are some of the main pros and cons of the business model to help you decide.
Passive income is the ability to make money without having to be actively involved in the operations that generate the cash. You outsource all aspects of your YouTube automation channel to your team, so the money you make is passive income. Most business models, like a social media marketing agency, do not generate passive income. Passive income is a major advantage of a YouTube automation business, as it allows you to engage in the things you enjoy instead of working.
Not constrained by channel creator
Unlike traditional YouTube influencer channels that rely on the availability of a single person, the content output of a YouTube automation channel is unconstrained. For example, Mr. Beast needs to be involved and available for every video his channel produces, resulting in around just two videos per month to be published, while a YouTube automation channel can publish content at a much faster rate because it's not dependent on the creator.
Multiple income streams
With a YouTube automation channel, you aren’t limited to just a single source of income for your channel, like ad revenue. There are many ways you could potentially monetize a YouTube automation channel, which we’ll discuss in more depth later in the article.
Establishing a successful channel takes time
According to HubSpot, it takes an average of 22 months for a YouTube channel to reach just 1,000 subscribers. Well, if you want to make a decent income with your YouTube channel, you’ll need closer to 100,000 subscribers at least! Although YouTube automation channel growth rates vary dramatically, expect to spend around two years publishing consistent, high-quality content before the channel performs well.
Need capital to invest
Although you can start a YouTube channel for free by making your own content, your channel won’t be “automated” until you can hire out a team to handle the work for you. According to YouTube automation expert Joey Gaule, you can get simple videos made for around $30 to $50 if just using stock footage and voice overs. However, if you want to develop high-quality videos that incorporate animation, you’ll be looking at closer to $100+ for each video.
YouTube is extremely competitive
There is a ridiculous amount of content already on YouTube. In fact, according to Zippia, approximately 500 hours of new videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute! No matter which niche you choose, there’s no avoiding at least some competition.
An alternative passive income online business
A YouTube automation channel can be a great investment for someone who is looking for passive income a few years down the road. However, the extended waiting period before you make money is not for everyone. If you're looking for a much faster way to generate passive income, a local lead generation business is an alternative online business model that could be a better fit. With a local lead generation business, you can start earning passive income in a matter of a few months.
Local lead generation involves ranking a website on the first page of Google for a local business niche and then selling the leads the website generates to a local business for hundreds to thousands of dollars each month. Learn more about starting a local lead generation business here.
4 Key metrics to know for a YouTube automation channel
RPM, or revenue-per-mille, is a metric that tells you how much you’ve earned on average per 1,000 video views.
CPM, or cost-per-mille, is a metric that shows how much advertisers have spent on average to show ads on 1,000 of your videos.
Watch time measures audience retention on videos, or the total time viewers spend watching your videos.
CTR, or click-through-rate, is a measure of how many people click on the YouTube video if they’ve seen the thumbnail.
What aspects of a YouTube automation channel do you need to outsource?
Research and optimization
If you want your faceless YouTube channel to be a highly successful money making machine, you’ll need someone to do the necessary research to find video ideas and optimize the title and description of the video for YouTubes algorithm. A YouTube SEO expert will use the right keywords so that the most people possible can find your video content through YouTube search.
A good script writer may be the most important hire for your automation channel. The script writer finds interesting points to keep the audience engaged throughout the video and really sets the tone of your videos. A professional script writer knows how best to present information to the audience to make sure they keep watching the video as long as possible and, therefore, plays a major role in your channel's watch time. Plus, if you hire a voice actor, you need to tell them exactly what to say in the video.
Ever notice how some voices are able to demand your attention more than others? That’s the power a good voice over actor can have on your YouTube content. For channels that don’t use YouTube influencers in the video content, a high-quality voice over actor is an essential component to creating content that maintains attention.
Obviously, if you want to make videos but automate your role as a YouTube creator, you’ll need someone with access to top-notch software and editing skills to handle your video editing. A good video editor finds the right clips and puts them together in a meaningful way to provide proper visual context.
You won’t grow your channel unless you get YouTube viewers to choose your videos over the millions of other options available. That’s why having someone on your team who understands YouTube marketing trends with the skills to create captivating thumbnails is crucial to the success of your channel. The thumbnail is the first visual information people see before deciding whether they should watch your video, so it needs to grab their attention and coerce them into clicking the video.
Aside from automating the content creation aspect of your YouTube channel, you can also outsource the actual management of the channel if you want to make it completely autonomous. A YouTube channel manager manages your channel from within the YouTube studio, scheduling videos and keeping track of the YouTube analytics to suggest content adjustments to the team when applicable.
5 Steps to set up a cash cow YouTube automation channel
1. Select a YouTube niche
The first step in starting your YouTube automation channel is deciding which YouTube niche you want to create content in. Not all niches are equal. Some niches are substantially more competitive than others, and those are usually the niches with the highest RPM payouts as well. High value niches like “personal finance” or “how to make money online” are one's advertisers will pay a lot to run YouTube ads in, so channel owners benefit from larger paychecks if monetizing through the YouTube Partner Program.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in those niches, it just means it will be harder. You can certainly find a micro niche or a unique angle for your content that sticks to establish your space within the niche. Check out this comprehensive list of YouTube automation niches with long-term profit potential.
2. Create a branded YouTube account
With just a personal Google account, you’re able to like videos and subscribe to channels on YouTube. However, if you want to create your own channel and publish content for the public, you need to create a YouTube channel. You have the option of creating a personal YouTube account, or a branded account for a business. For a YouTube automation channel, you’ll want to set up a branded YouTube account because it allows multiple users to access and manage the account. Also, a branded YouTube channel keeps your personal information private. Here’s how to create a branded YouTube account.
- Go to YouTube
- Click “Sign in” in the upper right corner if you aren’t already logged into a Google account. If you’re already signed into a Google account, click on the account icon and choose “Switch account”, then “Add account”.
- Select “Create account” and choose for “My work or business”. Then, complete the basic info for your new automation channel to set up your branded YouTube account.
- Once the channel is set up, you can add other channel managers if you wish.
Once your channel is set up, you'll need to add channel art like a branded logo and banner to show your audience that your channel is legit. You can create these yourself with free tools like Canva, or outsource it to a professional like you'll do with most of your channel tasks.
3. Build a high-quality automation team
You may have to do much of the work yourself in the beginning if you’re trying to start a faceless YouTube channel on a small budget. However, if your goal is a YouTube automation channel, you’ll eventually need to put together a team to create your videos and manage the channel. Fortunately, there are many available freelancer websites you can use to hire high-quality and affordable remote workers for your business. Some of the best freelancer websites to hire talent for your YouTube automation business include:
4. Use tools to automate processes
In order for your team to work together efficiently, you need to put the necessary structure and processes in place. In 2023, modern teams can leverage a variety of workflow management tools like Asana, Trello, or Clockify. These tools enable your YouTube automation channel to effectively assign work, track project hours and progress, and organize a content schedule.
Beyond workflow management tools, you should also use at least one YouTube automation tool to improve your business operations. The two best YouTube automation tools are Tube Buddy and VIDIQ, both of which offer a variety of free and paid tools to help grow your YouTube channel by automating data analysis, research, video editing, and video optimization.
5. Monetize your channel
Once your YouTube automation channel starts to attract a decent amount of YouTube views and subscribers, it’s time to monetize your YouTube business. The standard method for YouTube automation channels to monetize is by letting YouTube ads run on your content through the YouTube Partner Program. Requirements for a channel to be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program include:
However, the YouTube Partner program isn’t the only way you can monetize your YouTube Automation channel.
8 Alternative ways to monetize a YouTube automation channel
- Super chats - For channels that live stream their videos, a super chat is when a viewer pays to have their live chat message pinned. Super chat amounts range from $1 up to $500!
- Print on demand - With a print on demand service like Printful or Printify, you can create branded merchandise with your channel logo and custom designs to sell to your audience.
- Brand deals/sponsorships - Brand deals and sponsorships can be an extremely lucrative aspect of a YouTube monetization strategy. According to Thought Leaders, YouTube sponsors pay between $0.01 and $0.10 per video view.
- Selling digital products - Digital products like eBooks and online courses can be very profitable with minimal hassle. You can sell unlimited copies because there are no physical limits and you don't have to deal with packaging and shipping.
- Offering services - You can use your automation channel to promote the consulting or coaching services of your business.
- Affiliate marketing - Many successful YouTube creators incorporate affiliate marketing into their YouTube monetization strategy. YouTube automation affiliate marketing is referencing the brand's products in your content to get your audience to use your custom affiliate link to interact with or buy from the brand.
- CPA marketing - CPA marketing and affiliate marketing are very similar. With CPA marketing, you get paid for a broader range of actions that your channel drives for the brands you work with.
- Exclusive memberships - With membership platforms like Patreon or OnlyFans, you can offer your audience access to exclusive channel content in exchange for a recurring subscription fee.
YouTube automation mistakes to avoid
Some people are misled that YouTube automation is just taking already published content and reuploading it on your own channel without any real work. Unfortunately, reuploading another creator’s content may work on other social media platforms like TikTok, but on YouTube, you’re likely to receive a copyright strike.
Using copyright music
If you use copyright music in your YouTube automation videos, YouTube will flag your video so it can’t be monetized when you upload it. Therefore, you are not able to earn from the YouTube Partner Program when using copyright music in your video. Fortunately, there is tons of royalty free music available on the internet that you can use in your videos, but it just won’t be any mainstream music.
Starting a YouTube automation business is an exciting opportunity because of the extensive freedom passive income allows your life. However, before there's any chance of passive income, you'll need to choose a winning channel idea in the right niche, have money you can consistently invest into the business to create each video, and have patience for a few years while the channel builds momentum on YouTubes algorithm. It's a long time to wait and there are many things that could go wrong within that timeframe, like a trend change that makes your niche idea obsolete.
That's why I much prefer local lead generation for passive income generation. You can get started with local lead generation with substantially less capital than YouTube automation and generate passive income much quicker. Whether you choose YouTube automation, local lead generation, or any of the other business models that allow you to make an income from your laptop, know that you're making a great decision for your future and taking the first step towards a more free life.