R.I.P., the original TikTok Creator Fund. Three years after its launch, the billion-dollar fund will be discontinued on December 16, 2023.
As told to The Verge, TikTok creators in the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany will stop being able to monetize their content through the fund. In the meantime, the fund will remain accessible to users in Italy and Spain.
First announced in July 2020, the Creator Fund is one of TikTok’s first programs designed to reward users for creating incredible content. At launch, the fund was worth $200 million, and was to be distributed among some of the platform’s top creators. TikTok later announced that it would keep growing the fund, estimating that it would reach $1 billion in the U.S. alone over three years. Creators that joined the fund got paid monthly based on their total unique views.
The news of TikTok shutting down its Creator Fund might not come as a surprise. Various reports have suggested creators’ disappointment in the fund’s low payouts. Not only that, but TikTok also introduced a new, supposedly higher-paying monetization tool called the Creativity Program in early 2023, seemingly ready to phase out the original Creator Fund.
Read on as we break down what went wrong with the TikTok Creator Fund, and what you could do if you’re affected by its shutdown.
The problem with the TikTok Creator Fund
The original Creator Fund was supposed to be TikTok’s way of showing appreciation for its creators, who catapulted the platform to the top of pandemic-era pop culture, and made it the most downloaded app for months on end. However, whether the fund ultimately served that purpose is debatable.
While TikTok launched the Creator Fund with good intentions, the fund itself wasn’t that popular with creators. Even worse, there’s a lot of criticisms. Many complained that the fund failed to reward creators sufficiently despite its high eligibility requirements — you needed to have at least 10,000 followers, and a minimum of 100,000 views in the last 30 days to qualify. According to Business Insider, some creators only made $20-$30 a month even though their videos had millions of views.
Essentially, payouts from the TikTok Creator Fund were generally low. Some creators earned a few hundred dollars a month, while others barely made significant income from the fund. 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 didn’t bring in enough money on its own.
Unreliable source of income
Adding to the point above, TikTok has kept mum about how much exactly it paid creators through the Creator Fund. Without knowing that information, it’s difficult for creators to gauge how much they could make monthly from the fund, or rely on it as a sustainable source of income. And because payouts were tied directly to the number of views you got, a low-performing month could mean you received little to nothing from the fund.
Worse still, there weren’t any serious analytics available to help creators who joined the fund to improve the performance of their videos and their earning potential. That made working with this monetization program pretty frustrating.
Unavailability in many regions
While the TikTok app is available in over 150 markets around the world, the Creator Fund was only accessible to creators in six countries, namely the U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy, France, and Spain. For creators based elsewhere, no matter if they’re generating millions of TikTok views a month, it was simply not possible for them to earn that extra cash through the fund. We hear you, TikTokers in Canada. How’s that fair?
What are other ways to make money on TikTok?
Impacted by the shutdown of the TikTok Creator Fund? While your first instinct might be to pivot to similar platforms, like YouTube Shorts or Instagram Reels, you don’t have to give up on all the hard work you’ve put into TikTok just yet. Read on for a few ways that allow you to still make money on TikTok.
TikTok Creativity Program
Nicknamed the “TikTok Creator Fund 2.0,” the TikTok Creativity Program is designed to reward creators for their high-quality, original videos that are longer than one minute. A TikTok spokesperson told The Verge that creators can earn 20 times the amount they were making from the original fund.
The Creativity Program is currently open for creators in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, and Korea — here are the eligibility requirements. For those enrolled in the original Creator Fund, you’ll be able to directly upgrade to the Creativity Program.
Have a burgeoning community and want to find ways to monetize it? Then this relatively new TikTok feature might be your best bet. With TikTok Series, you can put exclusive content behind a paywall, essentially creating memberships within the app itself.
Selling digital products
Promoting 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 help you build a sustainable source of income as a creator. From templates to ebooks to mini-courses, you can create different digital products based on your niche and your audience’s pain points. Once you’ve come up with a product, you can use TikTok as a marketing channel to boost your sales.
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Creating UGC for brands
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?
The TikTok Creator Fund might be coming to an end, but don’t worry, there are still other ways you can make money on TikTok. Whether you’re joining the Creativity Program, selling digital products and using TikTok as a marketing channel, or creating UGC for brands, there are big bucks to be made on TikTok — as long as you’re doing it the right way.
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- 3 things you need to know before you can make money on TikTok.
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