Patreon or YouTube Membership: What’s Right for You?

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14 Min


29 May 2024

Patreon VS YouTube Membership for Creators

Patreon and YouTube Memberships may look alike, but they each have unique perks and drawbacks. In this article, we'll compare the two and discuss whether using both could benefit you. Let’s get started!

Why Start a Paid Membership Community on YouTube?

Here are three key reasons why it’s a good idea to start a paid membership community:

1. Earn More

The top reason to go for Patreon on YouTube Memberships is that they help you earn more from your YouTube channel. This is crucial because relying just on YouTube’s ads means you need lots of views and subscribers to make good money. With a paid community, you can start making money no matter how many subscribers you have.

2. Diversify Income

Adding a paid membership can help speed up your journey to becoming a full-time YouTuber without needing another job. It’s also a safety net. For instance, if YouTube's algorithm changes and your videos lose their rankings, or if your channel faces unexpected censorship, having a paid community means you still have a way to earn.

3. Build Stable & Loyal Following

Paid communities are super valuable. Members pay a monthly fee to access exclusive content and perks, making them highly loyal. This loyalty isn't just great for community vibes — it can also be a springboard for selling more services or products to these dedicated fans.

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Paid membership can really pay off. Take the example of one of AIR Media-Tech’s partners who decided to experiment with a paid membership community on their second YouTube channel. They used YouTube Memberships along with features like Super Chat, Super Stickers, and Super Thanks to support their channel's growth. These tools allowed the author to earn money directly from regular live streams. Thanks to these strategies, this partner managed to make over 50% of their total channel revenue from YouTube within just a year.

Starting a paid membership community is also easier than it may seem. You might begin with something simple like hosting cozy live streams exclusive to your subscribers or showing them content before everyone else. Later, you can evolve these into special content only available through your membership program. The key is to start simple and not stress too much. Learn more about tactics of successful Membership strategies in this article.

Benefits and disadvantages of using YouTube Memberships

YouTube Channel Membership: Pros & Cons 

YouTube Memberships offer creators a fantastic way to directly monetize your audience right where they are already engaging with content. But like any tool, it comes with its own set of pros and cons that are worth considering.

The Benefits of YouTube Memberships

YouTube Memberships are built right into YouTube, and that comes with some big advantages.

1. Hassle-Free Setup

YouTube really simplifies the process of starting a membership program. Unlike platforms like Patreon, where both creators and supporters need to sign up, YouTube users can easily join with the click of a button right next to the subscribe button.

2. Streamlined Management

Everything you need to manage your memberships is integrated directly into YouTube’s control panel. This is a huge contrast to managing a Patreon page, which often requires shifting your audience from various platforms to Patreon.

3. Enhanced Visibility

Given that YouTube is the world's second-largest search engine, your channel and its content are more discoverable than they might be on other platforms. This means higher chances of gaining new subscribers and boosting your overall viewership.

Challenges of YouTube Memberships

While YouTube Memberships can be really effective, they're not the perfect fit for everyone.

1. Higher Cost of Operation

YouTube takes the same percentage of membership income as it does from creators' ad revenue, which is slightly higher than on Patreon. On the other hand, YouTube wants you to earn more so it can make more money too and they keep adding features to help creators grow their number of subscriptions. For example, when they started showing previews of subscription-only videos in the regular feed, viewers who click on the preview see a prompt to subscribe and access all the benefits, including that video. This ecosystem of possibilities YouTube Memberships offer somewhat balances the fee creators pay.

2. Restrictive Eligibility Requirements

YouTube places several barriers to entry for starting a membership program. Creators need at least 1,000 subscribers, must be over 18 years old, and be part of the YouTube Partner Program. These requirements can be a major hurdle for newer channels.

Despite these challenges, many creators find that the benefits of YouTube Memberships outweigh the drawbacks, especially in terms of integration and ease of use. If you're considering this route and need some guidance on setting up or optimizing your strategy, our team of experts is here to help. We can provide you with tailored advice and support to maximize the effectiveness of your YouTube Membership strategy. Just drop us a message here.

Benefits and disadvantages of using YouTube Memberships

Patreon: Pros & Cons 

Patreon is also a popular choice for creators looking to build a membership community, and it's easy to see why. It's super accessible for creators of all sizes and stages, and it has some great perks. But, like anything, it's not without its challenges.

The Benefits of Patreon 

Compared to YouTube Memberships, Patreon can be used on different platforms that results in some pros as well as cons.

1. Accessible to Small Creators

One of the biggest advantages of Patreon is that there are no minimum subscriber requirements. This opens up opportunities for even the newest creators to start monetizing their audience immediately.

2. More Affordable

Patreon is also more wallet-friendly for creators. You can choose from three subscription tiers, with fees ranging from 5% to 12% plus payment processing fees.

3. Available to Use on Different Platforms

Patreon doesn’t restrict its use to just YouTube; you can integrate it across your social media platforms. Whether you have a following on TikTok or Instagram, Patreon can serve as a central hub for those platforms, while Memberships can give more value on YouTube.

Challenges of Patreon 

The flexibility of using Patreon across different platforms means it isn't specifically tailored for YouTube, which does have its downsides.

1. Redirecting Supporters

A major drawback of Patreon is the need to redirect supporters from YouTube and other platforms to Patreon. This extra step can be a hassle for supporters, potentially causing you to lose them along the way.

2. A Bit More Work

For YouTubers who use Patreon, live streaming involves extra steps. You must first create a live stream in YouTube Studio, set it to 'unlisted' to restrict access to non-paying members, and then share the link on Patreon. This can complicate the process compared to platforms that allow direct access.

Patreon and YouTube Memberships. Can You Use Both?

Seeing both the benefits and challenges of YouTube Memberships and Patreon, it makes a lot of sense to consider using both platforms to maximize your advantages. 

By diversifying your membership approach, you can tap into YouTube's massive user base and seamless integration while also leveraging Patreon’s flexibility and lower fees across various social media channels. This dual approach allows you to cater to different segments of your audience more effectively and maximize your revenue streams without putting all your eggs in one basket. 

After all, why choose when you can benefit from the best of both worlds? This strategy might require a bit more coordination, but the payoff in terms of broader reach and increased income potential could well be worth the effort.

Case of Using Both: Patreon & YouTube Memberships

Leveraging both Patreon and YouTube Memberships is not just a theory - it has real-life successful examples underneath. Take our partner SAMVYDAV for example. They were already making money with Patreon and decided to try out YouTube Memberships in parallel, setting up similar levels, prices, and bonuses as their Patreon account. This move brought in new sponsors and bumped up their revenue by 17% in the first month and 24% in the second month.

But it wasn’t just about making more money. The Membership feature also made the channel more engaging. It gave fans exclusive perks, which helped build a stronger, more active community

This goes to show that using both Patreon and YouTube Memberships can be a smart way to grow your income and connect with your audience. And if you need a hand setting everything up, just reach out to our experts. We'll help you get everything sorted and share some tips to make both Patreon and YouTube Memberships work even better for you.

Tips for Using YouTube Memberships & Patreon Together

To make this dual Parteon-Memberships strategy work better, you can use the following tactics.

1. Align Membership Tiers Across Platforms

Consistency is key. Creators can align the tiers and perks offered on both platforms to avoid confusion and streamline the value proposition to potential members. For example, if you offer behind-the-scenes content on Patreon, consider offering similar content under the corresponding YouTube Membership tier.

2. Leverage Each Platform’s Strengths

Use YouTube for more visual, interactive perks such as live Q&A sessions, while Patreon could be better suited for delivering exclusive videos or physical merchandise. Tailoring perks to the strengths of each platform can enhance the overall value of your subscriptions.

3. Promote Both Platforms Simultaneously

During your videos, mention both your YouTube Membership and Patreon to inform your audience of the different ways they can support you. Highlight the unique perks each platform offers to entice subscriptions on both sides.

4. Manage Community Expectations

Ensure that you are transparent about what each platform is used for and how they complement each other. This will help manage subscribers' expectations and prevent any potential dissatisfaction.

5. Analyze and Adapt

Regularly review which tiers and perks are most popular and adjust your offerings accordingly. Engagement metrics from both YouTube and Patreon can provide valuable insights into subscriber preferences.

Whatever strategy you're leaning towards, AIR Media-Tech is here to make sure you smash your goals. Whether you're aiming to boost your earnings through YouTube Memberships, Patreon, or both, we know exactly how to help you succeed. Come on over to AIR Media-Tech and let’s start making your channel bigger and better together!


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