TikTok Tries Again With New Program to Pay Creators (for Real This Time?)

Vertical video platform TikTok is launching a new Creator Rewards Program to put more focus on paying creators for original videos over 60 seconds long with high search popularity, the ByteDance-owned company announced Monday.

The new program will reward creators with an undisclosed amount based on the originality, total watch time and finish rate, viewer engagement, and "search value" of their videos. Search value is a metric determined by what TikTok users are searching for. The more searched a video's topic is, the more compensation creators could receive. The company says its Creator Search Insights tool can help influencers determine what's trending at any given time.

"The new formula rewards accounts with content that is clear and engaging, rather than favoring accounts with an excessive amount of videos," TikTok's blog post states.

Besides adding more metrics to determine payouts, one of the biggest differences between TikTok's now-defunct Creator Fund and its new Creator Rewards Program is that the new fund promises to compensate creators for their "ad value." The old fund wasn't taking ad revenue into account, while the new fund will pay creators an undisclosed amount based on "their community's ad watchtime," TikTok says.

TikTok's new program is based on its Creativity Program, which was introduced in beta back in early 2023 to pay creators for videos over 60 seconds. TikTok's push to get creators to make longer videos seems to have worked somewhat, as the company now claims that over half the time users spend on its app is consumed by watching videos that are over a minute long. It's unclear, however, whether creators posting shorter videos would be compensated under the new program.

TikTok's original $1 billion Creator Fund that shut down back in December rewarded influencers on more of a pay-per-view basis for all of their videos if they had a minimum of 10,000 followers and were at least 18 years old, to name a few of the requirements. But those payouts were historically quite small, meaning creators often only made less than $40 for a video with millions of views. TikTok has also implemented withdraw minimums, meaning creators who only earn a few dollars a month may have to wait a long time before they're actually able to cash out.

TikTok's new approach to paying its creators comes about a week after a controversial new US bill was approved by the House of Representatives that could potentially ban TikTok nationwide. While the Senate appears to be taking a slower approach, it's unclear whether TikTok might be sold to American investors or leave the country entirely if the bill is signed into law.