Patrick Lacey, a YouTube creator who runs the 2 million subscriber TierZoo channel, was pulling in nearly $11,000 a month from ads on videos that rated wild animals as if they were players in a video game. Then came the coronavirus shutdowns and a dive in spending from advertisers. His paycheck from YouTube ads in April plunged to around $4,800.
Still, the former food scientist is sticking by his decision to become a full-time YouTuber. He makes most of his income, about two-thirds, from sponsorship deals inked separately with advertisers. These longer-running agreements to talk about a company’s product have proven more resilient than spending on YouTube commercials and banner ads, according to interviews with a dozen creators and agents. In Lacey’s case, his sponsored deals, which he does not share with YouTube, more than made up for the drop in ad income last month.