If you are new on YouTube and are starting with posting content, chances are that you are aware of the monetization criteria. There are two. You either have to reach 4000 watch hours on YouTube or you need a minimum of 1000 subscribers. They have also recently added YouTube shorts qualifying criteria as well.

Reaching 4000 watch hours isn’t a joke. There are a lot of factors that go into fulfilling that criteria and standing out ready to monetize your content. What if we told you that you can do it for free?

This article will take you through some of the potent ways in which you can acquire 4000 watch hours on YouTube for free and in no time at all.


When will One Reach 4000 Watch Hours on YouTube?

Determining when you will acquire 4000 hours on YouTube is impossible. Some reach that goal within a day; some might take 10 years to reach that goal. At the end of the day, it comes down to the content you are posting and the virality of the content too.

Even if you go with 20,000 watch minutes per month, it will take you roughly around one year to fulfill the 4000 hours of watch time, provided that you are consistent with the viewership.

Since YouTube’s monetization policy and criteria suggest that you have to have 4000 hours of watch time or 1000 subscribers to monetize your channel, this is a mandatory feat that you have to achieve.

How to Get 4000 Watch Hours on YouTube?

Gaining 4000 watch hours on YouTube is no joke. If you are starting with no social media background or presence, growing your viewership from scratch requires a proper strategy. 

Following are some of the tips we’d recommend you follow to reach that goal FOR FREE:

Prompt storytelling

When you go on YouTube and look up a keyword, there are chances that a video on that subject already exists. There’s nothing that isn’t already available on YouTube, much like how it is on Google.

Hence, to make your content stand out, you have to master a different way of presenting the content. You need to shoot, edit and conceptualize the video in a way so it retains your audience’s attention.

Leverage the power of pattern interrupters

People, due to Tiktok, Reels, and Shorts, have developed a shorter attention span. So, if you are creating videos that are elongated and somewhat boring, chances are that people will not want to see it through the end, affecting your watch time profusely.

This is where pattern interrupters come into play. Some examples would be switching up the camera angle, including captions, changing the graphics, introducing jump cuts, etc.

The more you experiment with your video, the easier it becomes for you to attract and retain the attention of the viewers so they stay until the end of the video instead of abandoning it halfway through.

Make content that will be relevant 20 years down the line

Sometimes, we are so driven by trends that we forget the power of simplicity in the content we are making. If you want to get your channel seen and your videos watched, you have to create evergreen content.

Now, what does it mean?

It means that you have to create content that people will find value in 20 years down the line. Ideas like changing careers, cooking a basic meal, or changing tires are things people will want to come back and learn even years down the line.

You might not see viewership in the content right away but it helps you gain a sustainable viewership down the line.

Make use of the live streams

Many beginner YouTubers don’t know this but you can make the most out of the 4000 watch hours via YouTube live stream too. This is a great tool to connect with your existing subscribers and have an informal introduction and chat with them.

The best part? You don’t have to worry about editing the video all the while you are adding to the overall watch time of the content you are watching. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Your intro isn’t doing the job

Do you remember that we mentioned that people’s attention span has reduced significantly? Well, that’s because it’s true. People aren’t driven by long format content anymore and your 1 minute long intro in the beginning isn’t helping you either.

YouTube has changed because the way people consume content now has changed too. Intros don’t work much and don’t contribute to the viewership, which is why you need to get rid of them before things take a turn for the worse.

Consistency is key

If you want to increase your watch time and reach 4000 watch hours, you have to post videos consistently. Posting one video every few months will not bring you a dedicated viewership like you are hoping it would.

So, if you want YouTube to push your videos to your target audience so your viewership and watch time increase, you have to keep posting content consistently without fail.

How to View Watch Hours?

Wondering how many watch hours you have collected so far? Well, follow the steps as mentioned:

  • Navigate to YouTube Studio
  • Tap on Earn
  • Find the “Become a Partner” page
  • Next, look for “How to join”

There you should be able to view the number of watch hours your content has received until now. You can also set up a reminder with the monetization tools to alert you when you reach 4000 watch hours. This way you wouldn’t have to come back and obsessively look through the watch time every few days.


Gaining 4000 watch hours might sound challenging but all you need to do is implement the right tricks. From shooting to optimizing the video with relevant keywords and descriptions, there are a lot of factors you need to follow to ensure that YouTube pushes your content to the relevant people.

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Vineet Maheshwari is a passionate blogger and relationship oriented digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience in SEO, PPC management, web analytics, domain investing, affiliate marketing and digital strategy. He has helped high tech brands connect with customers in an engaging manner, thereby ensuring that high quality leads are generated over time.