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Is the TikTok Creator Program Sabotaging Its Creators?

By Editorial Staff

For Gen Z and millennials, “influencer” is not just a title⏤it’s a viable career choice. Influencers snag brand deals , sell merchandise, write books, etc. But nothing has been more lauded and more impactful than Youtube’s video monetization. Truly, creator compensation grows in increasing importance among social platforms. Months after Instagram released its plan to pay influencers, TikTok joined in on rewarding content creators with its latest TikTok creator program.

Pssst. Are you a creator on TikTok? Join our network and get paid to work with brands: Sign up here.

In mid-July, TikTok announced the start of its 200 million creator fund. Since then, the company expects the fund to grow to “$1 billion in the US over the next three years, and more than double that globally.” Creators initially greeted TikTok’s new program with a lot of buzz and excitement. 

According to some creators, the actual results are less than satisfactory. 

What is it?

1. How does it work?

Though creators can make money on TikTok through live stream donations and brand deals, the TikTok creator program compensates influencers for the content that they produce. Intuitively, more views usually equate to more money. But how much are creators actually making? Per 1000 views, TikTok creators make approximately two to three cents. However, views aren’t the only deciding factors. Other important aspects to keep in mind include engagement on videos, where creators live, and the quality of views. 

Creators will receive their payments every 30 days, granted that they have earned at least $50. When posting a video, it may take up to three days to reflect changes in the balance

2. Who can join?

Like Youtube’s monetization policy, the TikTok creator program has its own set of requirements before you can make money.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Be in a country where the program is available (US, UK, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain)
  • Have at least 10K followers, 
  • Have at least 10K video views (https://neoreach.com/tiktok-views/) in the last 30 days
  • Content must be in accordance with TikTok’s Community Guidelines.

Why Creators are Frustrated

1. Declining Views

The news of creators leaving the TikTok creator program came with a shocking revelation⏤ since joining, their videos have suffered in terms of views and engagement. For You page regulars are now finding it difficult to replicate past success. And since views are down, aggregate income will be affected as well. Neoreach’s own Jay Boice reported only making $20, and his views and engagements have also dropped.

Comments on TikTok and Reddit support this sentiment. One Reddit user posted: “I joined about 5 days ago and immediately saw a DRASTIC drop in views. I usually average a bare minimum of 20k-100k and some of my videos are struggling to break 4-5k right now. All of my mutuals (many of whom have millions of followers and are verified) have said they’ve experienced the same thing.”

However, there have been mixed reports about this phenomenon. Not only did TikTok deny that the creator program affects TikTok’s recommendation system, some creators actually report increased views on their account or no difference at all. 

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Robert Benjamin, an influencer known for helping users grow their TikTok, believes that the declining views are due to a couple of factors:

  • Lack of quality content (https://neoreach.com/how-to-become-a-tiktok-influencer/)
  • Focus on daily or post by post views rather than total weekly views 
  • Not optimizing hashtags (https://neoreach.com/best-practices-tiktok-hashtags/)
  • Lack of consideration for watch time and video length
  • Posting at the wrong time (as viewers are changing schedule due to school and work)
  • Increased competition

Another possible theory points to bots. According to Neoreach’s Operations Manager and fellow TikTok influencer Shelby Leimgruber, TikTok has “fame mechanics” that they embed in their algorithm, which boosts videos through fake engagement. When a creator joins the program, TikTok turns off the fame mechanics for that creator. Due to the lack of robot interference, this can cause videos to underperform compared to their usual videos.

2. Money

It’s no secret that the TikTok creator program won’t lead to leaping profits. TikTok’s viral videos pay cents per 1000 views while Youtube pays a couple of dollars. While TikTok probably pays less due to how common virality is on the platform, another factor in this discrepancy is the fact that Youtube’s sharing ad revenue with creators.

Youtuber David Seymour even jokingly commented on his video, “[This cake] was holding onto the pan harder than those corporate TikTok scummies hold on to my ad revenue.”

While successful creators have the mindset of “some money is better than no money,” others are hesitant to join out of fear of decreasing exposure, views, and engagement.

So is TikTok sabotaging its creators? Most likely…no. While the TikTok creator program may not be for everyone, some influencers have seen great results, and there are always other ways to make money on the platform. Let us know if the TikTok creator program has affected you in a positive or negative way.

This article was written by Jessica Lu

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