Updated: Aug 2
Side hustles can take many different forms. Some, like mine, border on entrepreneurship and take many of the free hours that I have in my day and week, while others can be worked whenever you have some free time.
But there is one type of side hustle that appeals to all of us, no matter how much we're looking to work: making money without really working.
Sure, getting paid to do nothing sounds great, but many of us are still afraid of any potential commitment that may be required. But what if I told you that you could actually make money watching ads, all while you're on the couch watching television, cooking dinner, or getting ready for your day/night? That's right! Thanks to the gig economy, it is possible!
Today, we're going to answer the question once and for all: is getting paid to watch ads worth your time?
Let's find out!
What is watching ads for money anyway?
Actually, it is exactly what it sounds like! Through a number of platforms, you'll actually visit a mobile website or open a smartphone app, browse available options, and select any ads for viewing.
Sometimes, you'll have your choice on which ads to watch, while other times, you'll simply be asked to watch whatever appears on your screen. It depends somewhat on the platform and company.
But there is a handful of companies willing to compensate individuals for watching videos, for a number of reasons. Factors like market research and companies paying for views have made this market feasible for research companies and applications to offer to Americans just like you and me.
How to make money watching video ads
As I alluded to, those willing to spend some of their time watching ads in order to make a little extra money have plenty of options of apps, companies, and websites willing to pay.
At least I felt that way when I gave this side hustle a try a couple of months ago.
Today, I want to focus on six primary sites, apps, companies, and strategies in particular. My other recommended sites and tools that will help you pay your bills by watching advertisements include:
Join focus groups
InboxDollars is probably the most popular site that will pay you to view ads and television on your cell phone. They've paid out over $80 million to users to date, and getting started is really easy to do!
Getting started is really easy to do too. All you need to sign up is your email address and to answer a few basic questions. New InboxDollars users will receive a free $5 signup bonus right now too.
I really like that you have options for receiving your rewards. Currently, you can opt for PayPal, gift cards, or cash.
Ibotta is more famous for its cashback offerings than it is for paying users to watch videos and advertisements. But the functionality is there. Here's how it works.
When you're in the Ibotta app, browsing for cashback offers, you'll oftentimes see a button that will need to be clicked in order for you to redeem the offer.
Depending on the offer, you may be required to watch a short video ad in order to redeem it. So, even though Ibotta's ads may not directly put money right back into your pocket, the offers can actually be more lucrative because of how much money they can save you when you grocery shop and visit other retailers.
Nielsen is a company known for audience measurement and data and analytical services. They're probably best known for Nielsen ratings, the metrics you see published to measure the number of viewers to events like the Super Bowl or The Oscars. But did you know that Nielsen will also pay select individuals to watch television?
At this point, the program is by invite only, but if an invite is extended to you, it can be a great way to make about $200 a year.
Invites seem to be sent out randomly, and you'll only need a home television to qualify, but you can learn more about becoming a Nielsen Family here.
MyPoints is actually really similar to InboxDollars, offering ways to make money playing games and completing surveys in addition to watching videos.
MyPoints is one of my favorite apps to earn money watching videos. They offer a sleek app and a cool program known as MyPoints Video. But I'll be honest - MyPoints is not my favorite app for watching videos and advertisements on.
The pay seems to be lower than the other apps on this list, as the average video will net you well under $1, and inventory tends to be lower than on other like platforms, even though they are owned by the same parent company.
AdWallet is next on our list. I'm a fan of AdWallet for a couple of reasons.
First, their videos are higher paying than many of the other companies I've mentioned to this point. In fact, the majority of the ads pay between $0.50 and $3. And secondly, you'll be eligible for a payout as soon as you reach $10, which you can reach pretty quickly given the higher per video rates.
And your earning potential actually is more robust than this. AdWallet also offers:
A referral program that will pay you $1 per user
The ability to earn $0.25 per ad that you post on your social media accounts
6. Take part in focus groups
Generally, companies turn to focus groups as a way to get feedback on a new product or service before it gets released to the public. What a lot of people don't know is that companies oftentimes use focus groups as a way to get feedback on video advertisements as well.
I love this approach because it also gives you an opportunity to provide feedback and help companies worldwide to improve their offerings for consumers.
Plus - focus groups are probably the most lucrative way to get paid to watch advertisements.
Related: Join focus groups to make money
Like I mentioned, I have a bit of experience watching videos on a couple of these platforms, InboxDollars in particular. I liked that the platform had the ability to pay me for other activities than just watching ads, but I'll focus on the ad experience in particular.
These videos can be watched through the InboxDollars website or app and the interface is really simple and user friendly.
The part of the experience that I wasn't as enamored with was the selection of ads available to click through. There weren't always options there to browse, though this blow was cushioned because there were other ways to make money, as I alluded to.
Tips to make more money watching videos
Let me be clear from the start. Getting paid to watch videos online can be fun, but it is not a strategy that can make you wealthy.
Since I spent some time exploring this side gig, I do want to share a couple of insider tips to help you maximize your earnings with as little effort as possible.
1. Find higher paying and longer videos and ads
In my opinion, one of the best ways to increase your earnings is to look for longer videos and advertisements, which presumably pay more. This is worth it not just because of the higher rates, but more so because longer videos will require less manual intervention on your end.
For instance, you'll quickly find that the most annoying part of the process is manually clicking between videos on sites like MyPoints or MyPoints. But longer videos will require you to click less frequently, making multitasking much more feasible.
2. Find the higher paying platforms
In time, you'll be able to understand the nuances of each of the sites and platforms I introduced above. And with this comfort and familiarity will come an understanding of which platforms you can use to make as much money as possible.
In my experience, the highest paying sites include InboxDollars and AdWallet.
How much money can you make watching ads?
Generally, those that watch videos can expect to earn somewhere between $3-$8 per hour if they use the above-mentioned companies and apps with some of their free time. While this isn't going to make a huge difference in your life, you could conceivably earn $150 or so per month to apply to your student loans, rent, or other expenses.
Combined with the fact that many of these platforms, like InboxDollars, offer other ways to make money, you could easily find yourself generating more money each month without much investment of your time at all.
But if you're looking to build, grow, and scale a side hustle into a full-time gig, my Side Hustle Mastery course is just what you're looking for.
Pros and cons to getting paid to watch ads
There are a number of pros and cons to making money by watching ads. Let's start with the benefits:
The ability to make money: Obviously, this is basic, but it is important to remember why you're watching ads voluntarily. The fact that you can get paid to complete a basic task is great!
Relaxing and easy: Let's be honest - clicking through a series of videos is not hard work. In fact, it is more synonymous than scrolling through Instagram or TikTok than it is with traditional work.
There are a couple of cons as well to watching ads for money.
Low pay per hour: As I've alluded to, this is not a side hustle that will make you rich. And while it requires almost no work on your part, the low pay per hour can make it difficult to continuously dedicate yourself to watch ads.
Low inventory of videos: Depending on the site that you work for, you may not be able to just click from ad to ad to ad in order to make money. Sometimes, the inventory of videos is low and you may only be able to watch 5-10 at a time.
Is getting paid to watch ads worth it?
With all this said, is it worth it to watch videos and advertisements for money? I believe that it can be, but only for certain people in certain instances. More specifically, this side hustle is a good idea for those that can multitask, watching these videos and ads while otherwise relaxing.
It depends on a number of factors, like:
What else you would do with this time? If you're interested in watching ads and multitasking while you're doing so, it could be well worth your time and one of the easiest ways you'll ever make money. But if you're also interested in starting a business, for instance, that may be a better use of your time.
Do you have the patience to click through ads? Not every side hustle is right for everyone, and that is okay. We have our own strengths and weaknesses, and there is a side hustle for everyone to enjoy.
I believe that this side hustle should be skipped by those who have very limited free time. In my opinion, the limited earning potential is not worth giving up your relaxation time for. Ultimately, it wasn't or me, but that may have been because I already have a full-time job and a time-consuming side hustle.
Of course, if you truly want or need the money, getting paid to watch ads can be a good way for you to help make ends meet.
Getting paid to scroll through video ads while you'd otherwise be doing nothing else can be a good way to make a few extra dollars each week. Whether or not it is worth it for you likely depends on your free time and finances, but it is a viable option to make some money.
Have you ever tried watching video ads for money? Will you in the future?
Tell me in the comments below!
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