YouTube’s Top Earners of 2016

7 December 2016| Post by Graham5 minutes


As 2016 draws to a close, we’ve seen the monumental rise and catastrophic fall of some influencers, mobile apps and startups. But one trend definitely not going is the rising growth of YouTube’s Top Earners.

2016 has been a great year for YouTube’s Top Earners. Our list of YouTube’s Top 10 Vloggers have netted a juicy $70.5 million between them. 10 people – $70 million!

The top earners ranking list features Vloggers from around the world, with a few familiar faces from last year’s round up.

The list features singers, pranksters, comedians, rappers, gamers, activists and more – do you have an immense passion for something creative? Now could be a good time for a career change.

Unfortunately, the average YouTuber makes pennies, if anything at all, but as the demand for streaming video grows, YouTube is going to create more millionaires than was ever previously possible.

Here are the top 10 highest paid YouTube stars of 2016:

10: Rhett and Link

Earned: $5million – Subscribers: 11,547,280

Rhett James McLaughlin and Charles Lincoln ‘Link’ Neal III are better known as the comedy twosome Rhett and Link.

They host Good Mythical Morning and have been making people laugh together since they met in first grade at school in North Carolina.

James McLaughlin, 39, and Charles Lincoln, 38, have built a broad fanbase for their channel that feature episodes such as ‘Eric Rap Battle: Nerd VS Geek’, ‘Blind Taco Taste Test’ and ‘Ridiculous Leftover Food Hacks’.

9: Colleen Ballinger

Earned: $5million – Subscribers: 7,359,094

Colleen Ballinger has made multiple millions off her singing persona Miranda Sings – except she can’t sing. “Miranda” has taken 30-year-old Colleen pretty far, with appearances on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show and other weekly US chat shows.

Ballinger has since launched a Netflix series, “Haters Back Off”, based on Miranda’s backstory. The former Broadway actress has recently released a bestseller book, “Self-Help”.

8: German Garmendia

Earned: $5.5million – Subscribers: 30,317,411

Garmendia’s channel is the most subscribed channel among Spanish audiences, the comedian has amassed more than 30 million fans, where he also posts videos of his band Ancud.

He is the youngest YouTuber on this years’ list, making $5million this year at the ripe age of just 26.

7: Markiplier

Earned: $5.6million – Subscribers: 15,523,276

Gamer Mark Fischbach, better known as Markiplier by his fans has enjoyed YouTube success for presenting running commentary he gives on his ‘Let’s Play’ video game clips.

Fischbach, 27, who was studying Biomedical Engineering decided to dedicate his full-time attention to his increasingly popular YouTube channel.

Honolulu native Mark, now lives in LA and has recently revealed plans to try hand at music and acting, with recently signing to top talent agency WME.

6: Rosanna Pansino

Earned: $6million – Subscribers: 7,398,450

In at 6 is Rosanna Pansino, the host of the YouTube cooking channel “Nerdy Nummies” which she dubs the ‘original’ Geeky Cooking Show.

Her skills in the kitchen have brought more than 7 million people to her channel, which focuses on cakes and bakes with themes of fantasy, sci-fi, comics, anime, movies and games.

She may have started YouTubing to get more comfortable in front of a camera but since then she’s uploaded over 100 recipes and launched a cookbook which made the New York Times’ Bestseller List.

5: Tyler Oakley

Earned: $6million – Subscribers: 8,087,829

Tyler Oakley lands at the fifth spot this year, thanks to signing with Ellen DeGeneres to fund his own digital chat show.

Oakley’s videos range from celebrity abs with Tom Daley, toys with Kellie Pickler and interviews with Michelle Obama.

The 27-year-old, who first joined YouTube video in 2007 whilst at Michigan University, also acts as a prominent advocate for LGBT youth and has used his influence to raise over $1 million dollars for The Trevor Project.


Earned: $7million – Subscribers: 22,474,510

Ian Andrew Hecox and Daniel Anthony Padilla, both 29, are better known as the terrible twosome – SMOSH.

Childhood friends have been involved with YouTube just weeks after it premiered in 2005.

The Smosh channel has multiple YouTube series, from sketches such as ‘Masterchef Millennials’ to ‘The Big What If’ and even Pokemon-related videos.

Hecox and Padilla became the first YouTubers to have their own movie – “Smosh: The Movie” is currently streaming on Netflix.

3: Lily Singh

Earned: $7.5 million – Subscribers: 10,296,350 subscribers

She turned to YouTube to vent her problems, the thought being to help her to deal with Depression via a creative output. Lily Singh has now created an online business through viral videos banking her a multi-millions every year.

Since 2010, the Canadian has racked up 1.3billion views thanks in part to Singh’s impersonations of her parents.

Her face is now in lights on billboards across Manhattan and she’s even appeared on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show.

2: Roman Atwood

Earned: $8million – Subscribers: 10,152,692 subscribers

Romans’s Channel still remains YouTube’s highest paid prankster to date, maybe not in 2016 – but he comes in at second!

More than 10 million people tune into Atwood’s YouTube channels to enjoy him pretending to spray people with skunks or build an indoor snowstorm in his house.

His pranks are brutal – he once even tried to convince his girlfriend he’d accidentally killed their 3-year old son!

The prankster made it to the big screen this year when he teamed up with fellows YouTubers Vitaly Z & Dennis Roady for their latest feature film “Natural Born Pranksters.”


Earned: $15 million – Subscribers: 49,756,391

Swedish gamer Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, 27, earned the top spot on the YouTube’s highest earner list for the second year running with his channel PewDiePie

Back in 2011, Felix dropped out of an industrial engineering degree to focus full-time on his YouTube channel PewDiePie. His parents disowned him, they were livid that he’d walked away from his scholarship at Chalmers University of Technology to go play video games on YouTube.

Now Felix is living in Brighton, England and dating one of his fans whilst earning a cool £100,000 a month from playing video games…

His 3,000 odd videos have now surpassed 14 billion views and Felix has been named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people of 2016. He has also released his debut book “This Book Loves You” and launched a line of socks?!

That concludes our list of YouTube’s Top Earners of 2016

Have you heard of any of these E-List celebrities before? We recognised a few – but it’s amazing how hundreds of millennials are embracing tech and rising to stardom through the medium of YouTube!


We’re hiring an Account Manager. Want in? Apply Here