Creator News

TikTok Creative Challenge: How To Earn Money Making UGC for Brands

by Kelsey McLellan · Published Jul 18, 2023

TikTok is on a roll. From the Creativity Program Beta to TikTok Series to the Effect Creator Rewards, the platform has been unleashing a steady stream of brand new monetization features designed to earn creators money directly through the app itself. The latest in TikTok’s monetization offering? The Creative Challenge.

Secretly launched earlier this year but only officially announced in June, this new UGC (user-generated content) program allows creators to turn their content creation skills into cold hard cash. Interested? Let’s dive into exactly what the TikTok Creative Challenge is, who’s eligible, and how much money creators stand to earn through the program.

@tiktoknewsroom

⭐️TikTok Creative Challenge⭐️ A new way for creators to collaborate with brands with full creative freedom! We’re excited to continue recognizing and rewarding creators for their creativity through this new in-app feature.

♬ original sound – TikTok Newsroom

What is the TikTok Creative Challenge?

The Creative Challenge is TikTok’s latest monetization program. More specifically, it’s an exclusive UGC program that pays creators to create ads for brands on the platform.

Read: What is a UGC creator?

TikTok officially announced the launch of the Creative Challenge in late June. But if you feel like you’ve been hearing about the program for a few months now, you’re definitely not mistaken. Back in April, influencer marketing expert Lia Haberman dropped the news that TikTok had been secretly running the UGC program for a few months, revealing details about the program as divulged by one of its enrollees in her newsletter ICYMI.

Very few alleged details were known back in April, but with the official launch, TikTok has shed more light on just how the Creative Challenge works. So, let’s dig in! 

How does the TikTok Creative Challenge work?

In a nutshell, the TikTok Creative Challenge is a new in-app monetization feature that lets creators submit video ads to brand challenges and receive rewards based on their video’s performance.

Here’s how it works: Creators can browse through a list of brand challenges, select a challenge and read its brief (which outlines its rules and requirements and — most importantly — display its rewards pool), and then submit their video ad to the challenge. Once they’ve submitted their ad and it’s been approved, creators can view the status of their submission, see its performance, and check their monthly earnings for the ad.

According to a press release, TikTok launched the Creative Challenge “to further recognize and rewards creators for their creativity and drive the value of their content.” And, in many ways, the TikTok Creative Challenge does give creators more creative freedom over their ads, allowing them to collaborate with brands in more authentic ways.

For example, one of the main draws of the challenge (after the money, of course) is that submitted videos aren’t displayed on the creator’s profile. Once they’ve been reviewed and submitted, the videos run as ads on TikTok’s For You Feed. This means creators get to flex their creativity and UCG skills — and earn cold hard cash — without having to bombard their following with paid content. Essentially, the Creative Challenge is a major win-win for both creators and brands.

@the.leap

This new initiative ‘Creative Challenge’ expands TikTok’s monetization options for creators and further supports their income generation on the platform. Let us know what you think in the comments! #TikTokUpdates #TikTokNews #Monetization #CreatorFund #CreatorNews #greenscreen

♬ Cruel Summer – Taylor Swift

How is the Creative Challenge different from TikTok Pulse?

So, the Creative Challenge sounds great, but how is it any different from TikTok’s other monetization features, namely TikTok Pulse

En bref, while TikTok Pulse allows creators to earn money through ads placed next to their content, the Creative Challenge allows creators to create UCG-style ads for brands.

There are a few main differences here. First, the Creative Challenge demands a lot more from creators than TikTok Pulse. (It’s called a challenge for a reason!) The Creative Challenge asks creators to flex those content creation skills by creating high-quality, original video ads for brands, whereas TikTok Pulse lets top creators hang back and watch the ad revenue roll in.

The trade-off, however, is that creators using TikTok Pulse are agreeing to have third-party ads show up next to their content, whereas Creative Challenge enrollees aren’t obligated to share their submitted videos ads on their own profile. This means the Creative Challenge gives creators the opportunity to monetize their content creation skills rather than their audience, which could be an appealing alternative to some.

Who’s eligible for the TikTok Creative Challenge?

Interested in joining the TikTok Creative Challenge? To be eligible for this new monetization feature, creators must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a U.S.-based account.
  • Have a minimum of 50,000 followers.
  • Agree to abide by TikTok’s Community Guidelines for content.

If you meet these eligibility criteria, then you can enroll in the Creative Challenge today.

How much does the TikTok Creative Challenge pay?

Now comes the important question: “Just how much does the TikTok Creative Challenge pay?” Of course, many of TikTok’s monetization tools (we’re looking at you, Creator Fund!) have drawn complaints from creators about their low payouts. So, how does the Creative Challenge stack up? And is it really any different?

Read: How much does TikTok pay you?

In classic TikTok fashion, the Creative Challenge’s payouts and payment structure are being kept tightly under wraps. According to the platform’s newsroom, rewards for the Creative Challenge are influenced by “many factors, including qualified video views, clicks, and conversions.”

It’s also important to note that the Creative Challenge doesn’t guarantee payment upfront, according to its advertiser terms of service, which describes payment terms as “determined according to a revenue share/earnings schedule on each creative challenge.”

While TikTok has kept mum, however, a few creators have come forward with their earnings from the program. Via TikTok’s Creative Center, creators @jasons_supra and Alle Brean have divulged that they each earn five figures per month through the challenge.

Back in April, Lia Haberman’s source revealed that creators were making up to $34,000 per month from the Creative Challenge during its beta testing period, adding that “creators are buying houses with the amount of money they’re making from UGC.”

According to Haberman and her source, payment from the program is based on the ad spend for up to six months. The program also provides creators with bonuses for reaching certain milestones in performance. According to Haberman’s source, earnings have ranged from $22,000 to $34,000 per month, with bonuses ranging from $200 to $6,000.

@the.leap

The ‘Creative Challenge’ is TikTok’s secret UGC program that’s paying creators thousands of dollars every month to create ads for brands 👀 🤑 💸 Let us know what your think of this program in the comments! #tiktokupdates #tiktokcreator #tiktokcreatorchallenge #creatornews #creatoreconomy #greenscreen

♬ Cupid – Twin Ver. (FIFTY FIFTY) – Sped Up Version – sped up 8282

What are other ways you can make money on TikTok?

Considering everything we’ve learned so far, the Creative Challenge seems like a pretty lucrative gig for TikTok creators. But the Creative Challenge is just one of many ways creators can earn money through the app. If you’re looking to max out your TikTok income, check out these other monetization methods.

TikTok Creativity Program Beta

In response to complaints about the Creator Fund’s lackluster payouts, TikTok launched the Creativity Program Beta back in February 2023. According to the platform, this monetization program is designed to reward creators for their “high-quality, original content.” In other words, it pays creators to create the engaging TikTok videos we love to watch (and watch and watch and watch).

TikTok Pulse

We mentioned this monetization feature earlier, but here’s the official lowdown: TikTok Pulse is the platform’s ad revenue-sharing program. Essentially, it pays top creators a cut of the revenue from ads played next to their videos.

TikTok Series

Launched in March 2023, TikTok Series is a fairly new feature that allows creators to monetize their audience by sharing exclusive, premium content with their followers. This feature allows creators to put longer videos of up to 20 minutes behind a paywall, allowing them to cash in on their content.

TikTok Effect Creator Rewards

Launched this year, TikTok’s Effect Creator Rewards is a program that pays creators to create innovative and engaging TikTok effects and filters on the platform’s AR tool, Effect House

Selling digital products

Got an audience on TikTok? Then you can start making money by creating and selling digital products through the app. From ebooks to templates, there’s a whole world of digital products you can make and sell, but we suggest creating products based on your niche and audience needs.

Once you’ve created your product and are ready to sell, simply use TikTok as a marketing channel to boost your sales. The best part? Digital products are a form of passive income, as you only need to make them once and can then sell them over and over. That means besides promoting them on TikTok, you can watch the dollars roll in without having to produce more units.

Want to join the TikTok Creative Challenge?

Overall, the Creative Challenge looks like it could be incredibly lucrative for TikTok creators, especially when compared to the low payouts of the Creator Fund. We suggest keeping an eye out for more information on how much the program pays creators as more of them join in.

Want to get in on the action? You can sign up for the Creative Challenge now on the TikTok app.

Looking for other ways to earn cash as a TikTok creator? Download our free guide on How To Make Money on TikTok for more ideas.

How to Make Money on TikTok

Your pocket guide to making TikTok work for you.

Follow The Leap on TikTokInstagram, and YouTube for more monetization tips for creators. We also make a newsletter.


Further reading

kelsey mclellan
About the author

Kelsey McLellan

Kelsey McLellan is a writer and editor based in Toronto.
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