Monetization programs on social media platforms enable influencers to get paid for content they create and ultimately make a living off of what they love (and we love to watch!). The thing is - social media platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, etc., are constantly updating and evolving in order to optimize the user experience and keep up with current trends. And, with it comes changes to the different monetization programs, ability to connect with target audience, and a stable, consistent income.
It’s important to point out that some of these changes are good, such as lowering requirements to join the monetization programs or the addition of new rewards. But, for content creators that aren’t keeping up with algorithm changes or monetization program adjustments, it can have a significant impact on the influencers financial compensation.
While you can’t stop social media platforms from constantly evolving the interface (and honestly, you don’t want to - gotta keep up with what the people want), you can keep your finger on the trigger and understand the current creator monetization programs available on the different social media platforms and what you can expect in the near future.
YouTube’s monetization program is called the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). Creators accepted into the YouTube Partner Program can start monetizing their content and get paid through the Google AdSense program.
Google AdSense: In simple terms, when a viewer watches, or better yet - clicks on the ad within a YouTube video, revenue is generated. That revenue is then split between the specific creator (55% of the money) and YouTube (45% of the money).
YouTube recently lowered the milestones required in order to join the YPP:
In order to start making money through Fan Funding (Super Chats, Super Thanks, channel memberships), YouTubers must reach:
Now, if you want to make money through video advertisements (Google AdSense), YouTubers must reach:
Once you’ve hit YouTube’s requirements, you can apply for the YouTube Partner Program in the YouTube Studio’s Earn page. This page shows you the number of subscribers and how much watch time you have. When you reach the minimum requirements, YouTube will give you the option to join the YPP.
Tip: If you apply and get rejected, you have 21 days to appeal the decision - use this time to look over your channel and make sure you don’t have any videos that violate YouTube’s Community Guidelines.
Aside from the YouTube Partner Program, there are a number of other ways YouTuber’s make money, such as affiliate links, brand sponsorships, and offering premium content. You can find out more about how influencers make money here.
In early 2023, YouTube decided to get rid of its YouTube Shorts fund and, instead, YouTube Shorts creators can earn money through the YouTube Partner Program - specifically, through the ads that play between the Shorts.
In order to be eligible for Shorts monetization, you need to be part of the YouTube Partner Program (same requirements apply). And, once you are accepted into the YPP, only eligible Shorts will earn advertising revenue:
There are 4 steps to the YouTube Shorts ad revenue process:
YouTube shared an example that clears up this process:
In May 2023, Meta announced that they’re “evolving [Facebooks] payout model based on the performance of creators’ public reels, not the earnings of ads on their reels.” Prior to this update, Meta’s Reels Play bonus program, which was part of the $1B creator investment, paid eligible creators up to $35,000 a month based on the views of their reels. The thing is, there were a number of variables out of the creator’s control that could influence their ad earning, like how many ads the viewer already saw and whether the ad is relevant to the viewer.
The updated monetization system is called Ads on Reels and it plans on paying creators for the number of views the Reels get. Meta explained that with a performance-based model, “creators can focus on content that’s resonating with their audiences and helping them grow; advertisers get access to more ad inventory to reach more people; and people get a more consistent viewing experience with more relevant ads.”
In simple terms, payouts will be determined by the number of plays - so the better a creator’s Reel performs, the more they can earn.
In order to start earning money with Ads on Reels, you must:
Meta plans to implement the same performance-based model on Instagram - creators will get paid according to the number of plays their Reels get (the better the Reel performs, the more they can earn).
However, until the Ads on Reels becomes available for Instagram monetization, there are a handful of ways Instagram influencers can earn money on the social platform:
In June 2023, TikTok introduced a new monetization feature - TikTok Creative Challenge. This feature allows TikTokers to submit video ads to brand challenges and receive money based on video performance. TikTok explains, “Creators can browse through the list of challenges, read the challenge’s brief which displays the reward pool and details rules and requirements, and submit their video ad. The Creative Challenge gives creators full creative freedom over their ads, unlocking more opportunities for creators to collaborate with brands in a way that’s most authentic to them.”
In order to be eligible for the new monetization feature, creators must:
Obviously TikTok isn’t revealing how much TikTok’s Creative Challenge pay outs, but they did explain that “rewards for the Creative Challenge are influenced by many factors including qualified video views, clicks, and conversions.” However, it was revealed via Lia Haberman that creators were making up to $34,000 per month during its beta testing period.
Let’s not forget that TikTok also offers a revenue sharing program - TikTok Pulse. TikTok Pulse is a revenue-sharing model that allows brands to get their content placed next to top-performing TikToks, and TikTokers get a new way to make money. The Leap explains, “On the brand side, advertisers can now put their sponsored posts among the top 4% of all TikTok videos. That means more exposure for them, and a bigger incentive for creators to make content that hits the top of the pile.
Here’s the fine print - TikTokers will get 50% of the money TikTok makes from sponsored posts that it places next to TikTok content. While this is a big, shiny number, in order to actually make money through TikTok Pulse, your videos need to reach the top 4% of all TikTok content - they need to be aggressively viral.
There are quite a few requirements creators need to hit in order to become eligible for TikTok Pulse:
In May, TikTok announced another monetization tool for creators - the Effect Creator Rewards. As a way to push TikTok’s initiative to encourage creators to develop viral-worth effects and filters, the platform launched a fund ($6M!) that will pay the creators behind the apps top-performing effects
The fund will track, using a metric called unique video publishes, how successful your effects are for the first 90 days after they were first published.
If creating content isn’t hard enough, keeping up with the constantly changing social media platforms - changes in the algorithm, new feature releases, and of course monetization changes and updates - is exhausting. Hopefully this deep dive into the most recent monetization updates will help you stay on track - and make sure to keep on eye on this page for future creator monetization updates.