The TikTok Creator Fund may have launched almost three years ago, but the monetization tool is still very much shrouded in mystery.
The $1 billion fund was supposed to be TikTok’s way of showing appreciation for the creators that catapulted the platform to the top of pandemic-era pop culture, and made it the most downloaded app for months on end. However, did the Creator Fund ultimately serve that purpose? Or should TikTok creators skip over it and find other ways to monetize their following?
Below, we dissect the TikTok Creator Fund, explaining how it works, how much it pays, and whether it’s worth your time.
What is the TikTok Creator Fund?
First announced in July 2020, the TikTok Creator Fund is one of TikTok’s first programs designed to reward its users for doing what they do best: creating incredible TikTok videos.
At launch, the TikTok Creator Fund was worth $200 million, which was to be distributed among some of the platform’s top creators. Later that month, TikTok announced that it would keep growing the fund, estimating that it would reach $1 billion in the U.S. alone over three years.
How does the TikTok Creator Fund work?
Here’s how the TikTok Creator Fund works: Once you’ve joined it (more on how you can apply below), you’ll get paid a monthly amount based on your total legitimate, unique views for eligible videos. That means TikTok doesn’t count views that are paid for or otherwise incentivized. Likewise, if you get your friends to artificially inflate your view count by watching all your videos, you probably won’t get paid for those views.
Although the Creator Fund launched some time ago, it hasn’t been that popular with TikTok creators. Even worse, there’s been a lot of criticism from TikTok users.
The negative reception has to do with how much the TikTok Creator Fund pays, with some complaining that the fund fails to reward creators substantially.
How much does the TikTok Creator Fund pay?
TikTok hasn’t shared data about its Creator Fund payouts publicly, so all users have to go off of are reports from individual creators and stories from various news outlets.
For example, VICE spoke with a few creators back in 2021, asking them how much they’d received from the TikTok Creator Fund. Even with a tiny sample size of three creators, VICE got a range of answers. One creator said she’d made $1,200 between the launch of the program (July 2020) and when the article was published (January 2021). Another creator made $200 from a single video, while another only made $200 in five months. Some of them said that it was more than they’d initially expected to make, but that it still wasn’t much.
Other have taken to social media to report their own income from the TikTok Creator Fund, and there’s just as much variance in their numbers.
Creator @whoachriswhoa, for instance, made $103.65 a month after joining the TikTok Creator Fund with nearly 5 million views.
Another creator @loochytv reported an income of $330.30 from a single video that got 10 million views.
Meanwhile, creator @thegamingdefinition made £40.78 (approximately $49.85) from 2 million views over a month’s time.
Without official information from TikTok, creators could really only refer to numbers like the above to estimate their potential earnings. Ultimately, what you should know is that payouts from the TikTok Creator Fund vary widely. Some creators earn hundreds of dollars a month from the fund, while others only make enough for a few Uber rides.
Whether you’re a full-time creator or you’re running your TikTok account as a side hustle, one thing’s for sure: the TikTok Creator Fund just doesn’t bring in enough money on its own.
Wondering how much you could make from the TikTok Creator Fund? Use our free TikTok Money Calculator to estimate your earnings.
Who can join the TikTok Creator Fund?
To join the Creator Fund, you must meet TikTok’s eligibility requirements, including:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Be a legal resident of the U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy, France, or Spain.
- Have at least 10,000 followers.
- Have at least 100,000 views in the past 30 days.
- Have at least one valid linked digital payment account (PayPal or Zelle).
- Be compliant with TikTok’s Terms of Service, including TikTok community guidelines.
- Can’t be an employee, officer, or director of TikTok or its affiliates.
In short, the TikTok Creator Fund isn’t open to just about any TikTok user. You’ll need to have gained some serious traction on the platform to be eligible for this program.
How to apply for the TikTok Creator Fund
If you’re eligible for joining the Creator Fund, you can apply through the app in just a few taps:
- First, go to your account settings in the TikTok app.
- Then, tap Creator tools.
- Finally, hit TikTok Creator Fund to start your application.
Is the TikTok Creator Fund worth it?
Well, that really depends. For some creators, the low payouts from the TikTok Creator Fund have had a serious impact on their mental health. This is likely because they expected to make a decent amount of money for the hard work they put into their content.
If receiving consistently low payouts makes you question your ability to create great content, then the TikTok Creator Fund might not be worth applying. Just remember that you are valid as a creator and your content is important — no matter how much money you’re making.
To help you make an assessment of whether the TikTok Creator Fund is worth your time, here are some pros and cons of joining the program.
Here are two reasons why it could be worth it to join the TikTok Creator Fund:
It’s an easy way to make some money on TikTok.
Sure, it’s definitely not free money, since you’re spending a ton of time creating awesome content. But beyond posting consistently, joining the TikTok Creator Fund doesn’t take much extra work. So whether you’re making $50 or $500 from the fund, it’s still an opportunity to earn money on the platform.
It might help unlock other opportunities.
TikTok’s recently announced monetization tool, the Creativity Program Beta, is supposed to be a revamped Creator Fund. And while it is currently invite-only, TikTok users who are already part of the Creator Fund have the option to switch over to the new program. Who knows? Joining the Creator Fund might give you early access to other new TikTok creator tools in the future.
Now, what about some reasons why you should think twice before joining the TikTok Creator Fund?
It’s not a reliable source of income.
With little information from TikTok on how much you can expect to get paid, it’s tough to rely on the Creator Fund as a sustainable source of income. And because payouts are tied directly to the number of views you get, a low-performing month could mean you receive little to nothing from the fund.
The analytics aren’t great.
One of the biggest complaints from content creators about the TikTok Creator Fund is that the program is too opaque. There aren’t any serious analytics available to help creators who’ve joined the fund to improve the performance of their videos and their earning potential. That can make working with this program pretty frustrating.
There are better ways to make money as a creator.
While applying to the Creator Fund doesn’t take a lot of work, the time and energy you spend checking your stats and trying to create videos that bring in money could probably go towards more reliable income streams.
So, overall, is the TikTok Creator Fund worth it? If your videos are already performing well and you can get even a bit of money from the Creator Fund, then it’ll be worth turning it on. But if you want a reliable income stream that actually pays dividends on the time you put in, you might want to look at other ways of making money on TikTok.
What are other ways to make money on TikTok?
If you’ve decided that the Creator Fund isn’t worth it for you, don’t give up hope just yet. There are a lot of other ways you can make money on TikTok — and you don’t necessarily need a huge following to start earning.
If you haven’t made any money from TikTok yet, make sure you’ve applied to Creator Next. It unlocks some of TikTok’s best monetization features, like the TikTok Creator Marketplace and TikTok LIVE gifts.
Joining TikTok’s ad revenue-sharing program is a great way to make money on TikTok if you’re creating some of the top-performing content on the app.
Have a burgeoning community and want to find ways to monetize it? Then this recently announced TikTok feature might be your best bet. With Series, you can put exclusive content behind a paywall, essentially creating memberships within the app itself.
Marketing your digital products to your TikTok audience is one of the best ways to make money on the app. Not only are digital products easier and cheaper to create than physical goods, but selling them can also give you a sustainable source of income as a creator.
Want to cash in on digital products? Our AI-powered tool helps you create and sell digital products, easily. Try The Leap for free now.
Many brands pay content creators to make authentic-feeling UGC (user-generated content) about their products or services. You don’t need a huge audience to make money from this, since the content you create will go on the brand’s own social media channels.
Want more tips for making money on TikTok?
Whether you’re already making substantial income from TikTok or you’re still growing your following, you can build a career you can be proud of — as long as you’re doing it the right way.
Want to supercharge your revenue on TikTok? Download our free guide on how to make money on TikTok.
Here are just a few things you’ll learn from the guide:
- 3 things you need to know before you can make money on TikTok.
- How to partner with brands.
- Why digital products are the best way to make passive income.
- And more!
- How To Make Money on TikTok in 2023: 7 Effective Strategies
- How To Sell Products on TikTok in 6 Simple Steps
- TikTok Creativity Program Beta: What To Know About the New Creator Fund
- TikTok Pulse: How Does the Revenue Share Program Work – And Is It Worth It?
- TikTok Creator Next: What It Is, What You Get, and How to Apply
- TikTok Money Calculator: Estimate How Much You Can Earn as a Creator