YouTube’s top earner is a 7-year-old who made $22 million playing with toys

YouTube’s top earner is a 7-year-old who made $22 million playing with toys

December 5, 2018

Ryan of Ryan Toysreview made $22 million last year, according to Forbes listing of highest-paid YouTube stars. (Photo: Ryan Toysreview/YouTube)

Our bosses may suspect some of us just play around all day.

Maybe that’s not such a bad idea. It certainly paid off for a 7-year-old boy named Ryan who earned $22 million last year for uploading YouTube videos of him playing with toys. 

Forbes just released its highest-paid YouTube stars of 2018. The list is packed with fresh-faced earners who made millions by entertaining followers with gaming skills, pranks, make-up tutorials and merchandise reviews.  

Ryan, of Ryan Toysreview, muscled his way to the top with his channel, which has 17.3 million followers. He launched it in 2015.

The secret to his success is ridiculously simple.

  • First, film yourself opening a toy. Ryan plays with everything from dinosaurs and Legos to Disney action figures and surprise eggs. 
  • Then, explain all the toy’s features while playing with them. 
  • Finally, upload a video to YouTube. Cha-ching, you’re a multi-millionaire!

Actually, there must be more to his success than that. Maybe? But Ryan, whose family won’t reveal his last name, said in an NBC interview his personality is key. 

“I’m entertaining and I’m funny,” he said.

That’s certainly true. The videos aren’t particularly slick but Ryan is cute as a button. 

This particular video racked up 1.6 BILLION views. In it, Ryan is on the hunt for huge surprise eggs containing Disney Cars and Paw Patrol toys that are hidden inside a giant inflatable water slide.  

How does Ryan make his money?

About $21 million comes from pre-roll advertising on his channels, Forbes reported. As the views mount — and Ryan has more than anyone else on Forbes’ list — so do the automated ad dollars. 

The rest of the money comes from sponsored posts. Other YouTube stars earn far more in sponsored posts but Ryan’s audience, which happens to be children, really doesn’t have a lot of disposable income.

Ryan also has his own line of collectibles, Ryan’s World, sold at Walmart. 

The other YouTube top earners of 2018

2. Jake Paul/$21.5 million

Jake Paul earned $21.5 million on YouTube, according to Forbes. (Photo: Disney Channel)

Some people know him for his role as Dirk on the Disney Channel series “Bizaardvark.” He is also well-known for his YouTube channel, which has over 17 million subscribers.

3. Dude Perfect/$20 Million

This five-man group (Coby and Cory Cotton, Garrett Hilbert, Cody Jones and Tyler Toney) has 36 million subscribers who tune-in to watch their intricate trick shots and impossible maneuvers.

4. DanTDM/$18.5 million

British gamer Daniel Middleton was last year’s top earner. He’s been gaming on camera and selling merchandise such as backpacks, hoodies and hats for six years. He has a following of 20.7 million. 

5. Jeffree Star/$18 million

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The #Alien collection and palette are NOW live!!!!!!!! ??? link in my bio!!!!!

A post shared by Jeffree Star (@jeffreestar) on

This 33-year-old makeup-artist-turned-beauty-mogul sells $100 million worth of Jeffree Star cosmetics, Forbes reported. 

6. Markiplier/$17.5 million

Hawaii native Mark Edward Fischbach signed seven-figures worth of brand deals, according to Forbes, and recently launched Cloak, a high-end athleisure line for gamers.  

7. VanossGaming/$17 million

Canadian gamer Evan Fong, 26, plays games like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed and has amassed 23 million subscribers.

8. Jacksepticeye/$16 million

Ireland’s energetic Seán McLoughlin, 28, is a video game commentator with more than 20 million subscribers. Despite his foul mouth, he still managed to do a series with Disney and is developing content for live-streaming platform Twitch, Forbes reported.

9. PewDiePie/$15.5 million

Felix Kjellberg, known by YouTuber's as PewDiePie, earned $15.5 million last year, according to Forbes. (Photo: USA TODAY)

The Swedish gamer commentator, Felix Kjellberg, weathered the criticism of making several anti-Semitic and racist videos in 2017 to remain one of YouTube’s top earners. Advertisers returned, sponsoring up to $450,000 for a video, Forbes reported.

10. Logan Paul/$14.5 million

Despite scandal, Logan Paul still made the list of Forbes top 10 YouTube earners in 2018. (Photo: Getty Images)

Here’s another top earner who’s controversial. In early 2018, YouTube yanked Paul’s channels from its Google Preferred ad program after he uploaded a video that showed an apparent suicide hanging from a tree in Japan. The YouTube prankster, 23, apologized, but the damage was done. He still ranks in the Top 10, however.

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