TikTok Creator Fund: How it works and what to expect

28 Jun

The concept of being a “creator” totally dominates TikTok.

After all, everyday TikTokers are the ones responsible for the trends, challenges and viral videos that rack up billions of views.

Oh, and don’t forget the billions of dollars in ad revenue.

While the platform owes much of its booming growth to creators, TikTok regularly goes out of its way to acknowledge their impact.

And by introducing the TikTok Creator Fund, the app aims to provide financial support to top-tier content creators.

We see a lot of questions surrounding the Creator Fund, how it works and whether it’s worth it to join. In this post, we’ll break it all down!

What is the TikTok Creator Fund?

The TikTok Creator Fund is an official fund established by the app to compensate creators for their content.

According to the platform themselves, the purpose of this nest egg is to “reward” users for their “incredible TikTok videos and creativity.”

Months after the Creator Fund’s initial announcement in June 2020, the official TikTok @CreatorPortal account released a series of videos breaking down what the fund is and how it works.

Screenshot of a TikTok Creator Fund explainer video.

Here are some fast facts:

  • Established in 2020, the TikTok Creator Fund began with an initial investment of $200 million. Currently, TikTok’s goal is to grow the Fund to over $1 billion within three years.
  • Compensation and eligibility for the Creator Fund are based on a creator’s metrics. This includes meeting specific thresholds for views and engagement.
  • Part of the Fund’s initial mission was to provide creators means to “earn livelihoods” and “spark careers” through TikTok.
  • TikTok is adamant that they want creators of all shapes and sizes for the Fund (hint: not just beauty/fashion vloggers or stereotypical “influencers”).
  • The Fund also emphasizes the importance of “original and authentic” content that ties back to TikTok’s mission of “inspiring joy and creativity.”

Note: The TikTok Creator Fund is focused on compensating creators for organic content rather than sponsored content. This is in direct contrast with the TikTok Creator Marketplace where brands directly hire and pay creators for promotional posts.

What’s the purpose of the TikTok Creator Fund?

TikTok claims that the Fund is there to support creators. Reading between the lines, consider additional motivations such as:

Incentivizing more content

According to TikTok, 56% of users claim they’re inspired to create videos after seeing compelling creator content. The Fund is a unique push to encourage even more activity and time spent on the app.

Capitalizing on the popularity of influencers

The explosion of TikTok influencer marketing is well-documented. Through both the Creator Fund and Marketplace, TikTok is making moves to keep creators focused on seeking compensation on the platform.

Although not explicitly stated, this serves as a way to deter creators from seeking out agencies or influencer contracts independently.

Building rapport with creators and the social-savvy public

The more creators go viral, the more positive buzz TikTok earns.

The Creator Fund serves as a way for the platform to highlight its “best” users. If nothing else, providing compensation and supporting the creator economy could be good PR for TikTok.

How to join the Creator Fund on TikTok

Interested in joining the Creator Fund on TikTok or just want to see what it’s all about? TikTok is pretty direct in terms of what you need to do. Check out the steps below.

Meet the Fund’s eligibility requirements

Remember: the Creator Fund is reserved for creators with significant audiences and strong engagement.

Specifically, creators selected for the Fund must meet the following criteria:

  • Your TikTok account must have at least 10,000 followers
  • You must have at least 100,000 views on your videos within the last 30 days
  • Your  account must be in good standing, adhering to the platform’s community guidelines and best practices
  • Content published to your account must be original (not cross-posted or otherwise repurposed)
  • You must be at least 18 years old

Not sure if you’d make the cut?  You can see some of these requirements when you attempt to join TikTok’s “Creator Next” monetization program. The platform will let you know which criteria you’ve met and which you haven’t (see the grayed-out checkboxes below).

Screenshot of the TikTok Creator Next requirements.

TikTok notes that individuals selected for the Creator Fund are evaluated by the platform. In other words, acceptance or rejection isn’t automatic based on the details above.

Complete and submit your Creator Fund application

Let’s say you do meet the requirements of the Fund.

To apply, you must submit your  Creator Fund application within the TikTok app. You won’t find the application for the Creator Fund on TikTok’s website.

Once logging into your account, go to your account settings and select “Creator Tools.” Under “Creator Next,” you’ll see the “Creator Fund.” This is where you apply.

Screenshot of how to apply for the TikTok Creator Fund and the Creator Tools

Note that you must be accepted into the Creator Next platform prior to joining the TikTok Creator Fund.

How do TikTok Creator Fund payouts work?

TikTok is clear that the Creator Fund is not a revenue-sharing program. In their words, performance is “dynamic” and based on a “variety of factors” that are ever-changing.

This vagueness and lack of specificity has been criticized by creators. To be fair, the Fund is still in its early stages.

TikTok says the following factors impact how much a creator gets paid for any given video:

  • Number of views
  • Authenticity of views
  • Content engagement rate

To put it simply, creators act as independent contractors that get paid by TikTok for views accrued monthly.

There is technically no earnings cap for creators. Funds are calculated within 30 days of the prior monthly reporting period. From there, TikTok will compensate creators for views and engagement during that period. There is a minimum payment threshold of $10 (formerly $50) which is transferred from your account to your digital wallet.

tiktok creator fund payout dashboard

How much does the TikTok Creator Fund pay?

The biggest criticism of the TikTok Creator Fund relates to how much (or little, rather) creators are compensated.

For example, this breakdown highlights how a viral video earning over 21 million views netted a total of $340.33. That’s a fraction of a cent per view.

Screenshot of a user explaining their TikTok Creator Fund payout.

This is staggering when compared to how much some influencers charge ($1,000+) per post on the Creator Marketplace. That’s for significantly less engagement, too.

To be fair, comparing branded content versus purely viral content is apples and oranges. This payout is still paltry compared to the likes of competing video platforms like YouTube.

This phenomenon of low payouts isn’t just reserved for smaller creators, either.

Recent articles by TechCrunch and Engadget further highlight creators’ qualms with the platform.

This criticism is understandable given that TikTok initially marketed the Creator Fund as a career path. In their own words, the Fund provides an opportunity for creators to “turn their passion into a livelihood.” TikTok has since softened its language.

In fact, the platform has been pretty quiet about the Creator Fund recently. The last official update on the Fund’s status was in March 2021. Likewise, TikTok’s @CreatorPortal hasn’t posted about the Fund since 2021. They’ve since focused on the Creator Marketplace and more traditional brand-creator partnerships.

Is the Fund being revamped? Is TikTok pivoting? We’ll have to wait and see.

Pros and Cons of the TikTok Creator Fund

As to whether you should join the Fund, the short answer is “it depends.” Let’s look at the pros and cons to help you decide.

Pros

  • You get paid! Even if the compensation isn’t stellar, earning money for content you’d otherwise be creating anyway is a nice bonus.
  • The Creator Fund doesn’t impact your content or engagement. TikTok is explicit that joining the Fund doesn’t inherently boost or restrict your reach. Compare this to #gifted or #ad posts which tend to see less engagement. In other words, you don’t have to change your content.
  • The fund doesn’t lock you into a contract or require you to cease partnerships elsewhere. If nothing else, it’s just another revenue stream.

Cons

  • Payments aren’t great. Again, creators can earn so much more through either the Marketplace or independent brand partnerships.
  • Income is inconsistent. Are any creators truly earning a livelihood through the Fund alone? Probably not. Still, the vague nature of TikTok’s compensation formula doesn’t clue creators in on how much they should plan to earn.
  • The Creator Fund doesn’t earn you more TikTok followers or otherwise boost your visibility.

Does the TikTok Creator Fund make sense for you?

If you’re a TikToker that wants to test the waters of getting paid for content creation, the stakes are pretty low.

TikTok wants to support creators financially and the Fund still isn’t totally fleshed out. As time goes on, we’ll see if the platform can do more to entice creators and compensate them for their hard work.

Want to learn more about the state of TikTok marketing and what’s popping off on the platform? Check out our post on the latest TikTok trends if you haven’t already.

The post TikTok Creator Fund: How it works and what to expect appeared first on Sprout Social.

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