How to Sell a YouTube Channel
Video content is the cornerstone of the online experience for millions of people. Statista reports that, in 2019, there were 2.6 billion viewers of online video, a number that is expected to reach over 3.1 billion by 2023.
YouTube ranks above all other video creation and sharing platforms, with 122 million active daily users and 1 billion total hours of content watched across the globe daily, according to Global Media Insight.
YouTube has also become a significant source of income for popular content creators who earn substantial advertising revenue and promote their channels with extra support from the platform. Statista reports that ad revenues on the platform have reached $7 billion by the third quarter of 2021, which represents a 43% year-over-year increase.
Are you interested in selling your YouTube channel? You'll need to determine whether it's worth putting up for sale, and if so, how to make it as valuable as possible.
It helps to work with a savvy broker with experience in the online space to ensure your YouTube channel fetches the highest sales price it can.
Optimize Value Before you Sell a Youtube Channel
A YouTube channel’s worth can be hard to determine. In some ways, they are harder to sell for high amounts than other digital properties, like a high-traffic blog or eCommerce store.
That said, it can be done. If you’ve been implementing strategies to increase your YouTube channel’s traffic and engagement, you’ll have an easier time selling it than if you’ve simply maintained it as a personal account.
Here are some of the most important considerations:
Business Model and Niche
Some YouTube channels are purely for entertainment purposes, and once the channel owner develops a brand and becomes widely known, they may achieve “influencer” status. Other channels might have an explicit business model, such as being a frontend for selling coaching or business consulting.
According to StartupYo, some of the most profitable YouTube niches are food, travel, fashion, and gaming. Popular YouTube channels focused on these topics may eventually fetch a higher price than channels in less-engaged niches.
That said, channels that are more popular often defy categories or combine several niche interests. Up to 47% of YouTube viewers said their favorite Creators are hard to place into one genre. YouTube Creators who want to build their fan base and increase the value of their channels might experiment with different ideas and topics, while staying true to the brand they’ve established.
Keep in mind that the most interested buyers will want to see how they can meld your channel’s niche with the products or services they already sell, thereby boosting their existing online brand.
Original Video Assets
Savvy YouTube channel buyers may ask that you give them the original video files corresponding to your uploads, rather than the compressed uploads themselves.
If you’ve saved the originals from the beginning, you could be in a better negotiating position than if you haven’t.
Having a large number of engaged, active subscribers who leave comments on your videos and share them with others is attractive to buyers. That’s because it represents a huge asset: an audience that’s ready to keep watching the video content they’re used to from your channel.
This can translate both to higher ad revenues, and a ready-to-buy audience for relevant products.
An Optimized Channel
YouTube channels that tend to be successful employ a number of tactics for increasing traffic and engagement. These include custom-designed video thumbnails, and high production value with top video and sound quality, as well as thoughtful video editing.
Another factor is search-optimized (SEO) titles that make videos easier to find. Forrester’s research, as quoted by Zupo, found that videos are 50% more likely to be organically ranked in Google than text-based results. Optimizing titles and descriptions can help your channel benefit from free search traffic.
The sale price of YouTube channels tends to be relatively low, compared to other kinds of online business assets. Monthly net profit still factors into the equation for buyers, however, a channel backed by a healthy business or multiple streams of revenue is more likely to attract a high sales price.
The Process for Selling Your YouTube Channel
Unlike websites, eCommerce stores, and other digital properties, there is no standard process for selling a YouTube channel. The platform does not offer any support in terms of transferring ownership or facilitating payment between a seller and buyer.
YouTube’s terms of service do not explicitly forbid selling a YouTube channel. Many YouTube Creators ask if it is legal to sell their channels, and the answer is yes: it’s perfectly legal to transfer ownership if you find a buyer willing to make the deal.
Serious buyers of high-profile YouTube channels may ask for a full accounting of the business, such as traffic and revenue statements, documentation of relationships with vendors, and more. However, in the vast majority of situations, only the YouTube channel itself will be changing hands and a quick, informal deal can be made.
Here are some of the ways that a YouTube channel can change ownership in effect:
You can change “managers” within YouTube, but this only applies if you happened to set up a brand account with YouTube from the beginning instead of a personal account.
To accomplish this, you would go to your channel settings, add the new owner as a manager and give them full permission to both set themselves as the primary channel owner, and remove your manager profile entirely.
YouTube channels built on a personal account can technically be sold via private sale, but this may involve the new owner taking over the entire associated Google account.
Personal account details cannot be changed the way they can with a brand account.
Even though there are branding limitations in this case, the new owner can still benefit from the channel’s performance. If both parties agree that the previous owner will remove themselves completely, and won’t compete or interfere in any way with the new owner’s business activities, there can be an attractive upside for the buyer.
Private buyers may be found in Facebook groups. In addition, interested buyers sometimes follow prominent YouTube channels, and may approach you directly to make an offer.
Flippa is the largest online marketplace for websites and other digital properties.
You cannot sell a standalone YouTube channel via Flippa. However, if there’s a larger, profitable business with a good amount of traffic attached to your YouTube presence, it’s possible to list your business on Flippa and make your channel part of the package deal.
Work With an Expert
If you’re a YouTube Creator and you’re considering selling your channel, talk to one of the experts at Raincatcher.
We have online business brokers who understand what makes a YouTube channel valuable to serious buyers. If you have a larger online business or other revenue streams attached to your YouTube account, our brokers can help determine the value of your channel and advise you on increasing it — so that you ultimately earn the highest possible amount from a sale.