As the creator economy on social media continues to grow (in both size and importance), almost every mainstream social platform has found itself competing in a monetization arms race of sorts. In order to retain talent and quality content on their platforms, it’s becoming absolutely essential for the networks to become more focused on creators and helping them make money.
It seems like each week there’s a new monetization feature. So, to make it easy, we figured we’d list out every way you can make money on different social media platforms—all in one blog post. Happy earning!
Stars & Fan Subscriptions
In July 2019, Facebook adopted some new monetization tactics in its effort to attract video creators. The platform rolled out an updated tipping system called Stars and a new subscription program that lets viewers pay creators for exclusive content and other rewards—all seemingly in service of getting popular YouTube creators to consider Facebook as a home for their video content.
Facebook expanded on this program in June 2021, allowing creators to earn payouts in the form of free Stars if they meet certain milestones, such as broadcasting a certain number of hours.
Community Accelerator Program
In March 2020, Facebook launched their Community Accelerator, which was a six-month program for community leaders providing training, mentorship, and funding to help them grow their communities. Up to $3M in total was awarded to up to 80 program participants.
In May 2021, the platform announced the next phase of the program, which is focused on helping leaders harness the power of their community to turn ideas into action. Through the program, each community will receive up to $50,000 to help fund work that advances the community’s goals. A subset of communities will be eligible to receive part of $1M in additional funding.
Black Creator Program
In the midst of the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight against racial injustice, Facebook announced it was committing $25 million to Black creators to better support the Black community on Facebook and Instagram.
New Sponsored Post Options for Groups
While you could already run ads in the Groups feed, Facebook added a potential advertising opportunity with group admins in August 2020. Admins could publish posts in partnership with or on behalf of advertisers by using the branded content tag tool, allowing them to meaningfully monetize their groups while also giving brands a direct line into engaged, focused audiences.
Short-Form Video Monetization
In March 2021, Facebook announced new monetization options for video creators. Some of these new tools can be applied to videos as short as one minute in length, and there’s even a test in the works for ads in Stories that look like stickers. The company also opened up its requirements for live stream monetization to include more creators.
Last month, Facebook launched its Substack newsletter competitor called Bulletin. The service allows writers to publish free and paid newsletters that can appear on the web, be sent to subscribers’ inboxes, and be shared across the Facebook platform. At launch, Facebook will not take a fee and writers will retain ownership over their work and subscriber list.
Badges in Live & IGTV Ads
In May 2020, Instagram announced new ways for creators to make money through Instagram Live and IGTV. The first was self-explanatory IGTV ads, and the second was badges, which allowed fans to stand out in the comments on a creator’s Live videos and unlock additional features when purchased.
Marketplace for Influencers’ Brand Deals
In April 2021, Instagram shared that it was creating a marketplace so brands can connect with influencers they may want to pay to promote their products. “Branded content is the economic engine behind the creator ecosystem,” Instagram head Mosseri said in the announcement. “Matchmaking is something we can add a lot of value for.”
Bonuses for Reels Creators
App researchers noticed in May of this year that Instagram looked to be creating a payment program called Bonuses that functions similarly to Snapchat’s approach to Spotlight. The program would enable users to “earn bonuses from Instagram” when they share new Reels content. They would then, seemingly, need to reach certain bonus thresholds in order to claim “earnings” from the program.
Native Affiliate Tool
Tying into its Creator Week showcase event in June, the platform launched an affiliate marketing program that makes it easier for creators to earn money from product promotions. When creators sign up, they’ll be able to choose from products in the app to add to their posts. Then, if users make a purchase through the post, the creator gets a commission.
In May 2021, Twitter sashayed into the creator economy with a feature called Tip Jar, which allows users and creators to send and receive money through various payment services or platforms. You’ll know an account has one if you see a Tip Jar icon next to the Follow button on their profile page.
Also in May, Twitter announced a ticketed version of its audio tool, Spaces. Creators will have to apply to be able to host a paid audio room, and once they are approved, they will then be able to select a ticket quantity for the Space and set a price. Creators will take home 80 percent of any earnings from ticket sales, after app store fees.
After teasing the feature in February 2021, Twitter officially launched Super Follows in June. This feature helps creators earn monthly revenue by offering paywalled content to followers who subscribe to them. Creators can customize what they offer and choose from price points of $2.99, $4.99, or $9.99 per month for the subscription.
TikTok’s LIVE Gifting feature allows viewers to show their appreciation to their favorite creators during a LIVE stream by sending them virtual gifts. The feature is a bit complicated because, instead of cash, users have to purchase in-app coins. Then, they have to exchange those coins for virtual gifts before gifting them to their favorite influencers.
TikTok’s Creator Marketplace is an official collaboration platform that makes it possible for innovative content creators to partner with brands for paid campaigns. It also allows brands to search for creators and see their profiles, follower counts, audience demographics, essential engagement metrics, etc.
In July 2020, after four months of massive growth during the pandemic, TikTok announced its Creator Fund: a pool of $200 million for users in the U.S. “to help support ambitious creators who are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content.” Just a week later, the platform provided an update, stating that it has seen an incredible response to the Creator Fund and that the Fund will grow to over $1 billion in the U.S. in the next 3 years (and more than double that globally).
TikTok’s latest Cameo-style monetization feature, Shoutouts, launched in July 2021. The feature allows users to pay creators TikTok coins for personalized video messages. Creators have three days to either accept a Shoutout or decline it, then a week to create the clip, which is sent to the user’s inbox.
TikTok had already taken steps on the e-commerce front via integrations with Shopify and Walmart—but in February 2021, the platform laid out plans for a few new e-commerce integrations. One of these integrations is a tool that lets its most popular users share links to products and automatically earn commission on any sales. They’re still in the testing phase, so more info to come soon.
In April 2021, Pinterest launched a Creator Fund to pay a small group of influencers to create content for the platform. The fund will provide $500,000 in cash and media to small groups of influencers throughout 2021, starting with eight creators who come from underrepresented backgrounds. A few months later, the platform shared results from the first Fund class and announced open applications for the next cohort.
In July 2021, Pinterest announced its first set of tools to allow content creators to earn money by promoting items from around the site. The first was support for affiliate links, letting creators get a cut of purchases they drive. The second was product tagging for its Story-esque Idea Pins to drive sales from more places. The third was a new “paid partnerships” label to support sponsorships within Idea Pins.
Paid Digital Goods
YouTube has been at the forefront of creator monetization for years, allowing its creators to make money through ads on their videos and to be part of the YouTube Partner Program. Beyond ads, though, the platform has rolled out what it calls Paid Digital Goods—essentially any product that lets fans directly pay creators—throughout the past four years. These include Super Chat, Super Stickers, Channel Memberships, and the newest one, Super Thanks.
In May 2021, YouTube announced that it plans to pay $100 million to creators who use YouTube Shorts, its TikTok competitor, throughout the next year. The move followed similar creator fund announcements from Pinterest, Snapchat, and more—with the goal to encourage creators from different platforms to post to its new service, which doesn’t otherwise give creators a built-in way to make money.
In November 2020, Snapchat announced that it would be offering $1 million per day to creators on Spotlight, its TikTok-like video feature. Anyone can submit clips to Spotlight and be eligible for the funding. Payments are distributed based on an algorithm that checks whether a post passes a “value threshold” within seven days.
Creator First Accelerator Program
In March 2021, Clubhouse announced a new accelerator program for creators called Creator First. The voice chat app will select 20 creators/aspiring hosts from open applications and provide them with resources to help monetize their Clubhouse presence.
In April 2021, the platform introduced Clubhouse Payments, its first monetization feature for creators. Creators who have the feature enabled will have a “Send Money” button on their profile, through which any user can do exactly that. 100 percent of the payment will go to the creator.
Yes, even Tumblr is getting in on the fun. In July 2021, it announced a new feature called Post+, which allows creators to charge their followers a monthly fee for access to exclusive content. Tumblr hopes the feature will attract younger Gen Z users and boost its numbers that have been shrinking for years.
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