TikTok, the platform that ushered in a new era of digital stardom, has become a bustling space for content creators. However, for many, extracting substantial income solely from TikTok can be challenging.
In contrast to YouTube’s well-established ad program, where creators share a portion of ad revenue for longer videos, TikTok has only recently ventured into splitting ad dollars with select influencers. Despite its foray into ad-revenue sharing and various payment programs, many TikTok creators still heavily rely on brand deals as their primary income source.
Alex Ojeda, a waterpark creator boasting 8.4 million followers, disclosed in a 2022 interview with Business Insider that his rate for a single sponsored video on TikTok was $20,000.
Ad-Revenue Sharing and Pulse Program
TikTok’s ad-revenue sharing program, known as Pulse, was introduced in May 2022. The platform allows brands to buy ads alongside the “top 4%” of content in categories like cooking, beauty, and fashion, with 50% of the revenue shared with creators whose videos precede the in-feed ads. To qualify for Pulse, creators must have a minimum of 100,000 followers.
Early experiences with TikTok Pulse were mixed, with eight influencers reporting varying payouts, ranging from a few pennies to $17 for every 1,000 video views (RPM) in the initial two monthly payments.
Fund-Based Programs and Shop Commissions
In 2023, TikTok introduced the Creativity Program, rewarding creators for posting videos longer than one minute. Early participants reported significant earnings, with some achieving five-figure incomes in a single month.
The Effect Creator Rewards program, launched in May 2023, compensates augmented-reality creators for effects appearing in at least 500,000 videos. The $6 million fund expanded its availability to more creators in October, lowering the threshold to effects appearing in at least 200,000 videos.
TikTok’s Shop affiliate program allows creators to earn commissions for sales generated by tagging products in videos or livestreams. Influencers can also curate dedicated catalogs for their followers.
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Other Monetization Features
TikTokers also leverage virtual “gifts” during livestreams, converting them into cash. For instance, ASMR creator Lucy Davis earns between $20 and $300 each time she goes live.
TikTok Live has proven lucrative for creators like Jakey Boehm, who earned $34,000 in a month. Boehm emphasizes the transformative impact, stating, “It’s seriously life-changing money.”
Brand Sponsorships and Song Promotions
Brand deals remain a vital income source for TikTok creators, with rates varying based on follower count and content niche. For example, Colin Rocker charges between $400 and $600 per sponsored post.
Song promotions are another avenue for TikTok creators to earn money. The Taylor trio, with 12.8 million followers, disclosed charging $750 for a single video, $1,400 for two videos, and $2,000 for three videos to promote songs.
In essence, the revenue landscape for TikTok creators is diverse, with a mix of ad-revenue sharing, fund-based programs, affiliate commissions, virtual gifts, brand deals, and song promotions contributing to their overall income.