YouTube creators can make money in several different ways: video ad monetization, channel memberships, Super Chats and Super Stickers in live broadcasts, merchandise sales, sponsored product placements, affiliate links for purchases, etc... But if most of these felt too impersonal for you and you just wished you could tip your favorite creator, no strings attached, you'll have a way to do this soon.
YouTube is rolling out a new "applause" button that lets you virtually clap while watching videos and thus donate $2 to creators. The feature is currently available on desktops only, and is rolling out in Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, and the USA. Creators will have to enable it on their end too, but they'll need to be in the YouTube Partner Program, so you may not see it immediately or on all videos, even if you live in a supported region.
As with all monetization plans, this one will be quite lucrative to YouTube as well: it'll get 30% of the share. Applauses aren't refundable either, so make sure you really want to tip a channel before you click that button.
Whether you're a viewer or a creator, I recommend you check out the video below, which explains the idea of applauses a little bit more.