As I’ve told anyone who will listen over the past two years, as TikTok grows at an astronomical rate and is on its way to becoming the most popular social media platform overall (maybe be not in overall users, but in total time spent), a major impediment to its dominance could be its lack of revenue opportunities for creators, which is the weak point that Meta and YouTube are trying to exploit in their efforts to curb the growth of the short video app.
This is why this new initiative is so important. Today, TikTok announced their new “TikTok Pulse” programwhich will allow advertisers to place their ads alongside the app’s most popular content, while also providing a new revenue-sharing avenue for creators, without them having to arrange separate branding deals themselves.
As explained by ICT Tac:
“Marketers today are looking for opportunities to be aware of relevant cultural moments. TikTok Pulse puts brands at the heart of TikTok communities and alongside trending content that drives conversation and action.
It works like this – using TikTok Pulse, brands will be able to place their ads alongside TikTok clips that are in the top 4% performers on any given day. These performance benchmarks are based on views and engagement, but they will essentially allow brands to ensure they see maximum views by being tagged on trending content.
Pulse advertisers will be able to choose from 12 categories to place their ads, so you’ll be able to position your brand image next to the most culturally relevant content in “beauty”, “fashion”, “games”, etc. Ads will only appear alongside “verified content” to ensure brand safety, while additional post-campaign measurement tools, including third-party brand suitability and viewability verification, ensure the transparency of the process.
But the real key point is this:
“With TikTok Pulse, we will begin exploring our first ad revenue sharing program with creators, public figures and media publishers. Creators and publishers with at least 100,000 subscribers will be eligible in the initial phase of this program. We are focused on developing monetization solutions and marketplaces available to make creators feel valued and rewarded on TikTok.
So the most popular TikTok creators will now be able to generate income just by posting in the app, which is similar to YouTube Partner Programand will be a critical step for TikTok as it seeks to maximize its growth opportunities.
‘Cause right now it’s Creators Fund just don’t.
As YouTube creator Hank Green pointed out in this video, TikTok’s Creator Fund, currently its main source of income for creators, is highly variable, with payouts decreasing as TikTok’s overall performance improves.
For smaller creators, getting cash payment for your TikTok clips is a big deal, but for more established stars, who depend on the revenue they generate from their uploads, they need a more sustainable and stable route, because it is essentially their business and their primary means of generating income.
The Creator Fund doesn’t provide that, but perhaps, with those users generating strong views with each of their clips, the Pulse program might provide a better avenue for that, which might ultimately inspire them to post more often on the Internet. app, instead of drifting to YouTube instead.
Make no mistake, TikTok isn’t even close to YouTube’s revenue-sharing tools yet, with YouTube paying out billions to creators every year through its partner program. YouTube generated $28.8 billion in advertising revenue in 2021, much of which was then passed on to creators, so TikTok has some way to go to catch up. But at the same time, being the trending app of the moment also has its perks, and if TikTok can establish even a fair enough monetization path for creators, that’s likely enough to keep them online, instead of boosting their presence on YouTube. in isolation instead.
At the same time, views of YouTube shorts are increasing (Short clips have already exceeded 5 trillion cumulative views)and with Shorts essentially acting as a promotional tool for your main YouTube channel, where creators can earn real money, it’s also an enticing prospect, which could eventually become the channel of choice for more users and creators .
That’s why it’s such a big deal for TikTok, and even though it’s just in its infancy, and we don’t have full details yet on how it will work, and how many creators will be paid is the next evolution for the app, which could end up being the thing that secures its future.
As Vine discovered long before TikTok, it’s hard to monetize short video, and when Vine couldn’t deliver an adequate revenue share to its top stars, they abandoned the platform en masse, taking with it them their large audience. It may seem like TikTok is past that risk, but it’s essentially in the same position, and if popular creators turn their backs on the app, it could be the beginning of the end, if it can’t stem the tide.
E-commerce integrations offer another route, as do brand/creator collaborations, but all require extra effort, as opposed to creators who simply focus on their content and get paid for its performance.
That’s what YouTube offers, which is why it’s a better platform for creators in general. And now, TikTok is taking its first steps down the same path.