Over the past few years, short-form video app TikTok has become the central hub for the young, ambitious creators of the world. Attracting major record labels, Hollywood talent agencies, and luxury fashion brands, faces like Charli and Dixie D’Amelio and Addison Rae have ushered into the mainstream due largely in part to their TikTok fame. Fast forward to today, under a new CEO, former Disney executive Kevin Mayer, the platform is looking to help more leading creators in its community earn a living from their innovative content.
The TikTok Creator Fund
Distinct from its competitor YouTube, TikTok doesn’t offer a commission from ad dollars. Rather, its model has mimicked that of Instagram’s in the sense that it offered monetization for live streams and creators are allowed to run sponsored videos on their channels, but there was no direct and ongoing monetization program in place. Until now.
In its first official decision to pay its creators directly, the social app is unveiling a 200M “Creator Fund,” that will be officially open to U.S. creators next month. To be eligible, users must be 18 years or older (sorry, Charli), meet a “baseline for followers” and post content in line with the app’s Community Guidelines. Grants will be distributed over the coming year, during which TikTok says the fund will continue to grow. As of now, details are sparse as to how many creators will receive funding, how frequent payments will be made or how much creators can expect to earn.
“Through the TikTok Creator Fund, our creators will be able to realize additional earnings that reflect the time, care, and dedication they put into creatively connecting with an audience that’s inspired by their ideas,” Vanessa Pappas, General Manager of TikTok US, said in the official announcement.
An ongoing push towards monetization
For those keeping tabs, this isn’t the first time TikTok has explored ways to financially support creators on the platform. The ByteDance-owned company also allows donations to be collected from viewers during livestreams. It also introduced a $50 million “Creative Learning Fund” to more than 1,000 teachers who have been financially impacted by the global pandemic. Finally, TikTok’s “Creator Marketplace” facilitates the collaboration between brands and creators on paid campaigns that aim to drive awareness and attract new customers.
“In a relatively short time, TikTok has grown to become a source of income and opportunity for creators and their families – and we couldn’t be more encouraged by their success. As our community continues to flourish, we’re committed to fostering even more ways for our creators to earn livelihoods by inspiring joy and creativity,” Pappas added.
Fostering creator loyalty
While we’ve watched the D’Amelio sisters sign with United Talent Agency and Addison partner up with WME, it’s clear creators won’t stay on TikTok forever. Nonetheless, the platform is eager to keep them around for as long as possible. If creators are incentivized both by the passion for what they are sharing and are financially supported for their time and effort, they will be driven to post often, which ultimately builds the platform.
What is the takeaway here? Regardless of whether this plan will ultimately pan out for TikTok, if there isn’t a real, meaningful way for top creator to support themselves, they will look elsewhere for opportunity. Other platforms taking this to heart include Facebook-owned Instagram, which released IGTV ads and badges for Live. In these uncertain times, this is more true than ever and in order for platforms to survive, they must take this moment to reflect and focus on those that ground the entirety of their business.
Join 100,000+ fellow marketers who advance their skills and knowledge by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.