- TikTok has exploded in popularity and some users are looking for ways to cash in.
- Creators turn to TikTok’s built-in monetization tools, brand deals, and song promos to make money.
- Users with as few as a hundred followers can still earn on the app by joining marketing contests.
TikTok has grown dramatically over the past few years, crossing one billion monthly active users in 2021.
Along the way, it’s created a new generation of digital stars like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae Easterling who converted their TikTok fame into lucrative business empires.
Creators with smaller followings can make money on TikTok, too.
TikTok creators can get paid with 1,000 or more followers through livestreaming subscriptions and virtual “gifts.” However, creators need at least 10,000 followers and 100,000 video views in the previous 30-day period to qualify for many of TikTok’s monetization features, including its creator fund through which it pledged in 2020 to pay out $1 billion.
Read more about what TikTokers have said about creator fund payouts
Here are the myriad ways users of the app can get paid, from using built-in monetization features to joining promotional campaigns for brands and music marketers
Making money directly from TikTok
TikTok offers built-in monetization tools for influencers, including a creator fund, an ad-revenue sharing program, funds for longer-form and augmented-reality creators, a tipping feature, a subscription feature for streamers, and a virtual “gifts” product that allows users to send gifts to a creator which can then be converted into a real-world currency.
TikTok requires that creators have a certain number of followers and views to access these features:
- To join TikTok’s creator fund: a creator must be 18 years or older, have at least 10,000 followers, and have achieved at least 100,000 video views in the previous 30-day period.
- To participate in its ad-revenue sharing program, TikTok Pulse: a creator must be 18 years or older, have at least 100,000 followers, and have posted at least 5 videos in the previous 30 days.
- To receive subscription revenue from TikTok Live: a creator must be 18 years or older and have a minimum of 1,000 followers.
- To receive virtual “gifts” during a livestream: a creator must be 18 years or older and have at least 1,000 followers.
- To receive “gifts” on other videos: a creator must be at least 18 years old and have at least 10,000 followers.
- To receive “tips”: a creator must be at least 18 years old and have at least 100,000 followers.
- To join TikTok’s creativity program for videos longer than one minute: a creator must have at least 10,000 followers and at least 100,000 video views in the past 30 days. Users can participate in the creativity program or the creator fund, not both.
- To join TikTok’s effect creator rewards program: augmented-reality creators need to be at least 18 years old, have at least 500,000 TikTok videos published using their effect, and be based in the US, France, the UK, Spain, Italy, and Germany.
The amount that an influencer can earn from each feature is unpredictable.
For payments from TikTok’s creator fund, the company takes into account a variety of factors, such as video views, video engagement, the location in which a video was seen, and total participants in its program.
So, what does TikTok pay for views?
Some creators who have disclosed their TikTok creator fund earnings, including Hank Green (7.6 million followers), said they were paid a few cents for every 1,000 views they generated on the app.
Read more about how much MrBeast, Hank Green, and other creators with millions of followers say their paid by TikTok’s creator fund
Early payments from TikTok’s ad-revenue sharing program, Pulse, have also been underwhelming, creators told Insider.
Eight creators who shared payment information from the first two months of Pulse earned in the $6 to $8 range for every 1,000 video views (RPM). Monetized view counts were often low for the first two pay periods of the program, resulting in payouts ranging from a few pennies to $17.
Read more about what creators are saying about TikTok’s Pulse ad payments
“When I saw such a low amount of money generated, it really made me feel less about myself,” TikTok creator Kevin Yatsushiro told Insider about the creator fund payouts. “It was a huge blow to my mental health … it made me not want to create content anymore.”
When asked about creators’ concerns around low fund payouts, a TikTok spokesperson said the company understood “how important it is that our creators are appreciated for their work and look to our creator community for valuable feedback to better serve their needs.” They pointed to other monetization features like live subscriptions that are available to users.
Read more about how much creators with more than 1,000 followers are paid from TikTok’s built-in monetization tools:
Read more about how much creators with around 1 million followers or more are paid from TikTok’s built-in monetization tools:
Making money by working with brands, marketers, and tech platforms
TikTok creators with just a few thousand followers can also make money by working directly with brands.
Jalyn Baiden, an Instagram and TikTok influencer with around 19,000 followers on TikTok, told Insider that she’s earned over $26,000 from sponsorships, commissioned content for brands, and affiliate marketing.
Read more about how TikTok creators make money from brand deals, in order of follower count:
- Water-park creator Alex Ojeda (about 8.3 million followers) shares his sponsored content rates
- TikTok family The McFarlands (about 3.8 million followers) on how much they earn from brands
- Dana Hasson (around 2 .9 million followers), a recipe and lifestyle creator, shares her earnings from sponsored content
- College football player Jon Seaton (1.8 million followers) shares his brand deal earnings over an 18-month period
- Deanna Giulietti (around 1.8 million followers) earned over $500,000 from brand deals across TikTok and Instagram in 2021
- Harry Raftus (about 1.3 million followers) shared his earnings for song promos and brand deals
- Basketball creators Brandon (about 1.1 million followers) and Jayden Beloti (1.2 million followers) share their monthly earnings from the Creator Fund and brand deals
- Fashion creator Carolina Freixa (around 764,000 followers) on how much she makes from brand campaigns
- Tejas Hullur (around 588,000 followers) said his rate for sponsored content starts at $3,000
- Software engineer and creator Matt Upham (about 521,000 followers) shares his brand deal revenue
- Naomi Melanie Leanage (about 512,000 followers) shares her sponsored content rates and earnings
- Personal finance influencer Erin Confortini (around 235,000 followers) discusses her earnings from brand deals, UGC, and affiliates
- Symphony Clarke (about 208,000 followers), who makes videos about thrift shopping, shares her earnings for sponsored content
- Comedy creator Pooja Tripathi (about 37,500 followers) shares how much she makes from sponsored posts
- Lillian Zhang (about 33,800 followers), provides her rates for sponsored content
- Jalyn Baiden (about 21,500 followers) charges around $1,000 for a sponsored post
- Salha Aziz (about 20,400 followers) charges brands around $160 for a single post
One common way for TikTok creators to make money is by promoting songs in videos. Music marketers and record labels pay TikTok creators to include tracks in posts in an effort to make a song take off on the app. Some marketers are even hiring music producers to create sped up, slowed down, or remixed versions of tracks to boost their popularity on TikTok.
Read more about how much music producers make from remixes and mashups
For TikTok creators with lower follower counts, they can still earn money by participating in sponsored challenges, an advertising strategy that’s been particularly popular among music marketers. Challenges allow record labels, artists, or brands to post contests on platforms like Pearpop, Preffy, and TikTok itself that ask users to make a video featuring a product or using a particular song. Non-music brands also regularly participate in challenges.
Preffy and Pearpop pay users on a sliding scale based on the number of views and “likes” they drive to a video featuring a song or brand, rather than offering an upfront flat fee to a single influencer. TikTok has been testing its own version of challenges that it’s dubbed “Branded Missions.” The company told Insider it’s experimenting with different payment models and that “boosted traffic” will also be considered a form of compensation.
“The initial way influencer marketing would work would be you would go and pay a few people with big followings, but it would be like throwing a few big logs onto a non-existent fire,” Pearpop’s cofounder Cole Mason told Insider. “With challenges, there’s a way to actually start the fire.”
Read more about how TikTok creators make money from song promotions: