Why I Turned YouTube Ads Off On My Channel (Update: Ads Are Back On… Here’s Why)

Why I turned YouTube Ads Off on my Channel

What are your goals?

Do you know the answer to that question?

(I’m not being sarcastic.)

If you are reading this, chances are you are interested in building a YouTube channel. At the time of writing, I currently have 2,184 subscribers. Not a ton by any means, but enough that I’ve started to get some good quality comments and feedback from people that watch on a regular basis. Traffic on this website has increased month over month as well.

YouTube Subscriber Count
It doesn’t seem like much, but there is more going on every month… a slow burn.

My goal is to get over 10,000 subscribers.


Because I’d like to help people. I’d like to have a group of people to discuss fishing with on a regular basis. I’d like to keep getting better. I’d like to feel obligated to continue putting videos out for this small handful of people that expect them on certain days – this will help me publish consistently. It will help me to continue doing my reps.

Would I like to be a “Full Time YouTuber”?


Would I like to be a professional angler?



AJ Hauser Smallmouth Bass Wisconsin Fishing

Because both of those professions would be absolutely loaded with stress.

Regarding YouTube, I don’t want to be tempted to create clickbait because I need 500,000 views a month so that I can pay my mortgage. Regarding professional fishing, I don’t want to be away from my family for months and months at a time while I pay big bucks for the opportunity to compete. Plus… I’m just not good enough to compete, yet.

Right now, making videos is really enjoyable.
Right now, fishing is really enjoyable.

So I’m happy. But I need progress – I have to keep moving and getting better to maintain that happiness.

So where do we go from here?

Great question – I’m so glad that you asked…

It’s everything I listed above, but I’d also like people to be engaged. I’d like to know that people are getting something valuable from my videos. I’d like to make some new friends, find new locations and learn things I don’t know from a group of viewers. I’d like to get more comments, connect with more good people, and have more quality discussions.

In order to accomplish this, I need people to subscribe.

The Minimalist Fisherman - Over 2,000 Subscribers Banner
Click the banner to jump to The Minimalist Fisherman on YouTube.

… but it’s an expensive hobby, making videos…

One of the ways you can (slightly) offset the cost, is by allowing ads before and during your YouTube videos.

But I don’t.

This is because my goal is to get people to watch my videos, find something valuable to take away, comment & subscribe. Boom boom boom boom.

With that in mind, it makes sense for my small channel to leave ads off. I would rather have people get straight to the meat and potatoes, to connect with me, as opposed to making $15 a month on ads redirecting them to other websites.

The return on these ads is not worth the cost – based on my personal goals.

Leaving them on would be short-sighted.

Update on YouTube Ads: 2021

They’re back on.

Is it because my channel grew to the number I was looking to hit?!


It’s because I was on a very small channel the other day, and I noticed that YouTube was running ads on a video… even though the channel was not large enough to get monetized. (Being monetized means you have 1,000 subscribers and your channel received over 4,000 valid hours of watch time in the last 12 months, YouTube then reviews your channel and allows you to get paid for the ads running on your videos. You become “monetized”. If you have not hit these numbers, you will not get paid.)

So wait a second – YouTube is running ads now regardless?!

Rich Guy Taking Ad Revenue YouTube

I’m not 100% sure. On videos like this one where I’ve turned monetization off, I’m not sure if YouTube will decide to show ads anyway on their own and just not pay me – or – if I can actually specify no ads on this video since my channel is approved and monetized.

Either way, there is now a chance that ads will show whether I have them turned on or not.

This means 2 things:

  1. YouTube users are going to be even more conditioned to ads than they were before, because they will be on even more videos.
  2. If ads are running even if I turn them off like they are on the smaller channels, I’m going to lose some subscribers that click away to other websites… and not even get my 15 bucks a month unless I turn ads on…

Therefore, in 2021 – there is no cost / return analysis that needs to go into the decision of turning ads on or off. I may as well turn them on because if I don’t, they may decide to do it on their own. (And even if they are not doing this now, they could always change the terms in the future – they own the platform, after all…)

At this time, YouTube will place ads on all videos, but will not share profits with small creators.

So… ads are back on… even though it made sense to turn them off so I could focus on my goals more effectively.

Making the Most of YouTube Ads

For small creators like me, the default payout value for ads revenue is $100. When you hit this threshold, YouTube will send you a check for either that amount – of that amount less their 45% cut.


YouTube Ad Revenue
YouTube Ad Revenue

So what am I going to do with that $55?

Not much.

Therefore, instead of asking them to send me a check every $100, I have it set to send a check when I hit $500.

When I get that check it should be substantial enough that I can do something with the money. Buy a new rod & reel combo, a new camera accessory, a new batch of baits, something worthwhile.

This also allows me to focus on a new goal. For a while. Because I’m not going to hit that anytime soon.

I still want to do all of the things I mentioned earlier (help people, meet people, learn more, get better), but now, I also want to make a decent amount of money on ads so that I can reinvest that small amount of profit into growing this site and the channel even more.

Upgrades People Upgrades

I still have no desire to be a full-time professional YouTuber… but this does give me something to strive for.

And hey… if I grow this large enough… maybe one day I’ll increase that payout amount so high that I can get a new boat?

Time will tell.

Until then, good luck & tight lines!

The Minimalist Fisherman Father Son Bonding Better Anglers Better Men

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