Youtubers suffer drops in advertising income despite increase of online audiences during lockdown

By Jordan Ifield
May 7 2020, 07.25

Work, stream, sleep was the norm routine for most of us even before our current lockdown, but now we are confined to the limitations of four walls the emphasis on the “stream” part has become almost worryingly high. Almost.

With more of us staying home watching from the comforts of our own bed, advertisers have acted in kind.

Marketers are no longer able to sell their products to a waiting audience triggering a loss in advertising  revenue for some Youtubers.

Educational comedian Jay Foreman, 35, isn’t a regular uploader but with 645k subscribers and more than  69 million views, he has built a successful following.

After uploading a new episode to one of his most popular series last month, Unfinished London, which comedically documents the capital’s historic infrastructure, Jay noticed something unusual.

After 2 days and nearly 380,000 views, YouTube’s AdSense was telling him he had made less than 0.01$.

Thankfully, all was not as it seemed.

“That Tweet that I sent where it’s a screen grab of showing less than 1 US cent for a video that had hundreds of thousands of views, it was only supposed to be a joke. 

“Because I thought that it was really obvious that it was a glitch of some sort that surely my earnings haven’t gone down as low as less than a cent.” 

Whilst this was only a glitch Jay, like other Youtubers, has still seen a significant decline in ad revenue.

“I was expecting it (ad revenue) to be much higher than before because of my increased subscribers and because this is one of my longest videos in a long while which means there’s adverts in the middle where there aren’t usually.”

Educational comedian Jay Foreman has nearly 70 million views on his YouTube channel

Last month, Bloomberg reported a 75% increase rise in news viewership on Youtube although ad spending was already down by 30-50% coming up to the second financial quarter, where crucially advertisers were set to renew contracts with Youtube’s owner, Google.

As a result, the urge for Youtubers to diversify their income has since become a necessity in an already competitive market.

Social media influencer Noah Adams, 20, and his Youtube channel NoahFinnce (445k subs) vlogs anything from music covers to his experiences as a transgender male.

Previously he’s had brand deals with deodorant company Impulse and is currently working with the social programme NCS yet even sponsors have been affected in lockdown.

“They’ve also slowed down during lockdown obviously because you can’t really do that much. 

“There’s also a brand I haven’t been paid by. I should have been paid by but they can’t pay me because of lockdown,” says Noah.

Social media influencer Noah Adams boasts nearly 500,000 subscribers to his You Tube channel

Whilst confirming that the brand would eventually pay when lockdown is over, Noah has too seen a downturn in ad revenue.

“I’ve probably gained around 100k (subs) in a year or something and my views have been doing pretty well so for it to drop below that amount (current views) I was really concerned”. 

American Youtuber Evan Edinger (611k subs) has become known for his American VS British videos and has too reported a 50% drop in ad revenue despite similar viewing figures from pre-lockdown videos meaning he’s had to diversify his revenue streams.

As part of his American VS British series Evan, 29, has collaborated with both Jay and Noah in the past. 

“I am very thankful I have a job where I can work from home and luckily I have really good management that have been working for me to secure me brand deals outside of AdSense because by diversifying your revenue stream it does help content creators stay afloat.”

However, whilst his main channel has taken a hit his second channel, Evan Edinger Travel, has inevitably had to take a back seat.

“I think I had two or three cancellations of travel trips that were paid sponsor deals that are just gone now.

“It’s kind of killed the channel in a way but as soon as this all ends hopefully I’ll just be right back into it especially because this week is specifically I was supposed to be in Bali with ten of my friends and I’ve been planning this trip for two years.”

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