Like many social media success stories, TikTok seemed to come out of nowhere and just, well, take over. And, like most social media success stories, TikTok has allowed lots of content creators to shoot thanks to their popularity on the platform.
But, while similar platforms like Snapchat and Vine are either dying or are already dead, TikTok doesn’t seem to have found a solution to one of the problems that plagued these other platforms; user monetisation.
Attention spans are not what they were, so we’ll save you some time; yes you can get paid on TikTok from the creator fund, but it’s not as simple as signing up for a partner programme as with YouTube. So, if you’re interested in learning how to get paid on TikTok, keep reading!
What is TikTok, Exactly?
If you’re reading this blog, you almost certainly know about TikTok. That being said, just because you know about it doesn’t mean you know it. Especially if you’re over the age of 30. So, for those of you who have resisted the allure of this Chinese behemoth, here’s a quick rundown of what you get from TikTok.
TikTok is a video-sharing platform that focuses heavily on collaboration. Users can easily “stitch” other users’ content into their own, as well as use the audio from other users’ videos over their own content. Much of the platform is built around this dynamic. For example, clicking the sound link of a video will immediately bring up all the videos that have used that sound, as well as the original video that the sound came from.
Videos are created in a portrait aspect ratio and can be up to 10 minutes in length. In practice, the majority of the videos on the service are a minute long or less. There is also a wide range of filters and special effects, similar to what is found on Snapchat.
What is the Monetisation Situation on TikTok?
So, about the problem we mentioned above. Much like similar platforms such as Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, and even YouTube if you focus exclusively on YouTube Shorts, TikTok does not have a way of directly monetising user content.
What we mean by this is there are no ads being shown against any particular videos. And that’s probably a good thing—these videos are generally very short, and it would likely kill viewership to force people to watch an ad before each video as YouTube does.
The solution is to monetise the platform in a more general sense, inserting ads into the feed every now and again, and then coming up with ways to pass that money onto content creators. In TikTok’s case, its method of choice is through its Creator Fund, more on that in the next section.
How Can I Get Paid on TikTok?
With the way TikTok makes its money established, let’s take a look at how you can make money on the platform.
TikTok Creator Fund
The Creator Fund is how TikTok compensates the creators on its platform. A variety of factors are considered when determining how much a creator is paid, so it’s not as simple as “more views = more money”. TikTok claims that its performance metrics are dynamic, meaning you could receive different payments even though your views and levels of engagement have not changed.
There is no cap on how much you can earn from the Creator Fund, though we know TikTok has committed a fixed amount to the fund ($5.8/£2.3 million over 3 years) and we know their userbase is measured in the billions, so don’t expect to become a millionaire through the Creator Fund alone.
There are some minimum requirements to make money on TikTok, of course. To be considered for a Creator Fund payout, you must be;
- At least 18 years old
- Be based in the US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, or Italy
- Have at least 10,000 followers
- Have at least 100,000 video views in the past 30 days
- Keep your account in line with TikTok’s community guidelines and terms of service
Brand deals work pretty much the same way on TikTok as they do anywhere else. This method of monetising your content does not involve the platform itself, but rather you enter an agreement with a brand directly (or through a third-party agency), and they pay you to raise awareness of their brand or promote their products on your channel.
There are no hard and fast rules for how brand deals work. Generally speaking, the bigger your audience and engagement, the more options you are likely to have regarding brand deals. That being said, content creators with small audiences can still get brand deals if their niche aligns with a particular brand.
Selling Your Own Products
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but if you have something of your own to sell, you can leverage your success on TikTok to sell it. The product could be music, books, video games, or anything else you create. If you create content on another platform where you make money (such as YouTube), you could attempt to funnel some of your TikTok viewers there.
If you don’t have anything to sell but you have built a large following on TikTok, you can partner with one of the dozens of merch companies to sell your own merchandise, like hats and mugs.
Is TikTok a Valid Source of Income?
TikTok is like any other short-form social media platform. It is possible to make money through the platform, but the number of people who make enough through TikTok alone to call it their “job” is so vanishingly small that nobody should have “TikTok creator” as their goal.
Instead, think of TikTok as another tool in your arsenal. You can make money from it, sure, but use its potential as a promotional tool to bolster your overall revenue. And, in doing so, add a little more diversity to your income streams.
Of course, if you just want to make funny videos or dance to the latest trends, that’s fine too.
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. Learn new skills for FREE with Skillshare
I SUCK reading books to learn, but I LOVE online video courses.
Every month I learn something new. Editing, writing, video skills, how to cook, how to run a business – even how to meditate to calm a busy mind.
I find all of these for FREE with Skillshare – Sign up, pick all the courses you want and cancel anytime you need.
5. Shutterstock helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the Shutterstock website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.