Some TikTok influencers earn a higher annual salary than most supermodels and business tycoons, so it’s no surprise that many content creators are hungry for ways to monetize their own short-form videos. In July 2020, TikTok launched the Creator Fund to allow its users to earn money by raking in views.
The TikTok Creator Fund rewards creators for posting their own content. If you dream of turning your social media presence into a paying gig, want to reach a niche audience interested in your unique content, or are just hoping for one of your videos to go viral, this article is for you. Read on to learn more about how the TikTok Creator Fund works, how to join, and how much money you can expect to make from it.
The TikTok Creator Fund enables users to start making money based on their content's views and engagement, encouraging the “best and brightest talent” on TikTok to continue producing and sharing videos with their followers. It's an initiative to reward users who have attracted sizable engaged audiences on the platform with self-produced content.
How does the TikTok Creator Fund work?
Participants are paid on a sliding scale based on how well their videos perform. The money is distributed after content is published, and compensation is entirely dependent on organic reach (as opposed to paid ads). This means that creators are paid to remain true to their own personal brand and their followers.
The fund encourages content creators by embracing the TikTok ethos of authenticity, ingenuity, and passion.
TikTok users are welcome to apply for the Creator Fund if:
- They are a legal resident of the U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy, France, or Spain
- They are at least 18 years old
- Their account has at least 10,000 authentic (i.e., not purchased) followers
- Their videos have received at least 100,000 authentic views in the 30 days prior to applying
- They are in good standing with TikTok’s user terms and community guidelines
Additionally, applicants must be able to link their account to a digital payment plan registered in their name in order to receive compensation.
If you want to get involved with the TikTok Creator Fund, there’s no time like the present. “TikTok is quickly becoming harder to grow on, so you need to move fast and get going on the platform,” says Chris Kubbernus, CEO of Kubbco, a creative social media agency. “We advise clients to focus on TikTok trends, see how we can relate those to them and their brand, and then produce a unique piece of content that is highly relatable to their ideal audience.”
Kubbco notes that hitting the required 10,000 followers will most likely take 50–100 pieces of content, unless you already have a significant audience from another platform. “If you want to jump-start the process,” he says, “we’d recommend paid ads on TikTok. They are inexpensive and easy to do.”
If you meet the application requirements, it’s fairly easy to apply for the Creator Fund—before doing so, however, you must have a Pro account. Once you have a Pro Account, head to “Creator Tools” under Settings. You’ll see a “TikTok Creator Fund” button. Click the button to confirm your age and agree to the fund’s terms—no essay, portfolio, or clips required. Once TikTok confirms that you meet the requirements and approves your account, you’re good to go.
In the event that your application is rejected, you can try again after 30 days. However, if you didn’t get in because you didn’t fulfill one of the requirements, make sure to fix that before reapplying.
How to switch to a Pro account on TikTok
Setting one a TikTok Pro account is simple: Just go to the “Manage Account” option under Settings in the app and hit “Switch to Pro Account.” In addition to allowing access to the Creator Fund, Pro accounts have access to analytics to help you track video performance and audience growth and engagement.
The Pro analytics tool provides insights in four categories:
- Overview lets you look at your overall account performance in specific timeframes. You can see your follower count, total video and profile views, and total user engagement in the form of likes.
- Content displays post-specific metrics such as likes, views, comments, and shares.
- Followers shows your follower demographics, including location, gender, and hours active on the app.
- Live provides information on any live videos you’ve recently posted.
The payment scheme for the TikTok Creator Fund is complex and in constant flux. Rates are determined dynamically depending on the total number of videos published by fund members; more creators taking part in the program means more creators that will share the funds allocated. There is currently no limit to the number of creators who can take part in the TikTok Creator Fund.
While TikTok keeps its exact algorithm under wraps, several factors come into play when determining what kind of money creators receive. These factors include number of views; view authenticity (so, no viewbots); viewer likes, comments, and shares; and the creator’s location.
When the Creator Fund launched in the U.S. in 2020, it started with a pool of $200 million and a pledge to increase to $1 billion over three years. For the European market, the company started with the equivalent of $70 million in funding, with the expectation that it would rise to $300 million within three years.
Again, exact numbers fluctuate as rates are determined using a variety of factors. Generally speaking, according to HootSuite, members can expect to receive two to four cents per 1,000 views. This means that an influencer pulling in a million views a month may be able to add $40 to their bank account. It’s not exactly “quit your day job” money.
That said, TikTok didn’t establish the Creator Fund to reward users with one-time mega-payments or grants. The program is more focused on development and retention, encouraging creators to continue producing content on the app. The more informative, trendy, or entertaining content you churn out, the more views you’ll get, and the more you’ll make in the long run. Other opportunities on TikTok may yield higher immediate pay (more on that below), but the fund will provide a steady, if nominal, income stream to those who consistently find an audience.
Pros of the TikTok Creator Fund
The TikTok Creator Fund is a way to make money on your own original content without having to run any sort of advertising or sponsorship on your page. There is no limit to the amount of money a single user can make from the fund, so it just might be the incentive you need to keep pushing yourself and trying new ways of reaching and engaging with your audience. Further, brands seeking ambassadors or influencers want to work with creators they know can make an impact. You can use your membership in the Creator Fund as proof of your capabilities.
If you’re on the fence about joining the TikTok Creator fund, “There are no real drawbacks to joining the TikTok Creator Fund,” Kubbernus says. “Just remember to pay your taxes if you get on the fund and get some money from it.”
Cons of the TikTok Creator Fund
Of course, there are some drawbacks to consider. Since TikTok does not detail publicly how funds are calculated, there’s no clear way to determine how much you’ll make until you receive a payment. Payments are generally much lower than ad revenue programs such as AdSense (an average of $18 per 1000 views) and Instagram TV (55% of total ad revenue). You might decide that your time and efforts are better spent creating content for these higher-paying platforms.
Additionally, as reported by Bustle, some fund recipients say that since joining the Creator Fund, their videos receive fewer views and less exposure on the coveted For You Page. (The FYP is the stream of videos TikTok serves viewers based on how the algorithm is defining and categorizing their interests.) However, TikTok claims that joining the fund does not impact views and is not a factor in the FYP algorithm.
Many of the TikTok Creator Fund recipients are top TikTok influencers who have amassed sizable followings and impressive view counts. In fact, when the first 19 invited recipients were announced, they had an average of 9 million followers each, according to Dexerto, and many of them were among the app’s top 100 users by follower count. These creators included dancer-choreographer Michael Le, beatboxer Spencer Polanco Knight, beauty vlogger Avani Gregg, and “Kombucha Girl” Brittany Tomlinson.
While TikTok received pushback for starting a program purportedly developed for aspiring creators by platforming those who were already TikTok-famous, it may have been a ploy to retain those high-profile users in the wake of the launch of Instagram Reels. As Mekanism Partner & Chief Social Officer Brendan Gahan told Dextero, “They’re facing a battle on multiple fronts with competitors nipping at their heels. By investing in top creators, they’re securing some of their biggest stars.”
Now that the fund is open to all eligible creators, the vast majority of participants have smaller, but still impressive, followings. Here are a few who have shared how the fund has worked out for them.
- Anika Ried, a TikToker with 29,400 followers as of April 2022, posted a video estimating how many views she’d need to reach in order to pay off her student loans, landing on a cool 24 million. The video reached one-quarter of that number, but the proceeds didn’t exactly put a dent in her loan payoff. The undergrad claimed in an interview with Vice that over five months in the fund she made just over $200.
- TikTok creator @birdcomplex, who has approximately 175,500 followers, revealed in a post that she made a total of $1,527.81 in 2021 through the Creator Fund. Monthly amounts were all over the place, ranging from $5.16 to $731.99.
- Entrepreneur and finance blogger Jenn Leach occasionally receives views reaching six digits on her @millennialnextdoor TikTok videos about money-making opportunities. One video about a “Sleep Internship” received 1.6 million views. Leach says she made $88 from that video and the subsequent traffic boost it gave to her other posts.
The TikTok Creator Fund rewards organic content, but that’s only the tip of the platform’s money-making iceberg. For most TikTok influencers and high-profile content creators, the majority of their income comes from TikTok paid promotion, ads, and other forms of sponsored content.
Sponsored influencer promotion (up to $100,000 per post)
Top-performing TikTok influencers can earn millions of dollars per year. According to the Influencer Marketing Hub, the highest-paid TikTok influencers can earn between $25,000 and $100,000 per post. Influencer Charli D’Amelio earned around $17.5 million in 2021 alone by promoting Hollister, Dunkin’ Donuts, Invisalign, and other big-name brands to her 135 million followers. Of course, you need a significant following to earn this kind of money.
Creator Marketplace ($2,000+ per post)
A year before the Creator Fund launch, TikTok announced the Creator Marketplace as a hub for content creators and brands to collaborate on native videos. “If you get accepted, this is a great way to get in front of brands and do collabs,” says Kubbernus.
Although brands often use the Creator Marketplace to find influencers, it can provide a more accessible monetization option for other content creators. Brands pay Creator Marketplace users to create and publish promotional content on their personal accounts. In addition to these videos reaching the user’s followers, the brands can also turn them into advertisements through the Spark Ads function.
Acceptance into the Creator Marketplace isn’t a requirement to partner with brands. To get noticed—and get paid—“[create] positive content about the brands you’d like to work with,” Kubbernus says. “If something goes even slightly viral, the brand is likely to notice and might even reach out for a collaboration. We’ve seen this happen many times, and many brands are using more and more UGC [user-generated content] in their social media.”
The amount of money a brand might pay a creator through the Creator Marketplace depends, in part, on the creator’s following. According to Armful Media, someone with 10,000–50,000 followers may make around $25–$125 per post, whereas someone with over a million followers could make over $2,000 per post.
Tips and gifts ($100 per transaction)
TikTok offers high-performing creators the ability to accept tips and gifts from their fans. Viewers can send tips and gifts on the creator’s user profile, in video comments, and during live streams. To send a gift, viewers must first purchase virtual coins that appear as animated stickers or badges. When a creator has received more than $100 in coins (around 10,000 coins), they can withdraw money from the app.
If you want money in your pocket fast, tips are the way to go. As a creator, you receive 100% of any tips sent your way. While each tip can only be up to $100, you can receive tips from an unlimited number of users.
These features, which all fall under TikTok’s Creator Next umbrella, are available to TikTok users 18 or older who have published at least three videos in the past 30 days and have received at least 1,000 views on those videos in the same timeframe. Follower minimums vary by region; in the U.S., you’ll need at least 10,000 followers.
Although it isn’t easy to make a living on the platform, applying for the Creator Fund is a great way to monetize your TikTok content and get paid to create.