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Here’s How You Actually Make Money on TikTok

Image: Canva and Alyssa Shotwell.

Just like other social media platforms, some people can use Tiktok to make side money or even develop full-time careers as influencers and marketers. For many people (I’d argue most) that already have their content monetized, this is just a few dollars a month. However, this can grow from pocket change to more. There is no clear range, but you can get a general idea by looking at the three main ways that people on the app make money. Ready to be a star? Here’s how people make money on TikTok.

TikTok live streaming

(Disney)

If you’ve ever joined a TikTok live stream that’s popping off, you’ve likely seen a bunch of animations and graphics appear on screen, with hosts thanking those who initiate these reactions. Those graphics are bought by users and then “given” to a host/creator. These are bought via coins and the coins are bought in-app with real money. Technically, only people 18 or older can purchase or receive these gifts.

To host a live stream you must have 1,000 followers. If the creator streams regularly and is gifted a lot of virtual presents, TikTok will reward the host with yellow diamonds. These diamonds are more likely to be rewarded to creators who receive a bunch of virtual gifts or if a lot of them are of higher quality (a.k.a. the viewer spent more money.) The yellow diamonds deposited into the creator’s account then can be exchanged for money. Creators can only withdraw once the diamonds convert to a worth of $100 and they can’t withdraw more than $1,000 a day.

I know this sounds vague, but that’s all I can confirm about it. While TikTok isn’t transparent about the value of the diamonds, creators say you earn one to five cents per diamond. Also, TikTok takes a 50% cut. If you want to donate to a creator on TikTok more directly, it’s probably better if you do it via a safe link in their bio. These links will send to Paypal, CashApp, Venmo, and on occasion, Patreon. By donating this way you’re sending a lot more to the creator and TikTok isn’t taking a cut.

TikTok Creator Fund

TikTok also pays out directly per a certain amount of views to creators that join the TikTok Creator Fund. When this fund was launched in 2021, they set the creator fund at $200 million. March 2021, it stated that it’s committing $284 million between 2021-2024. That fixed dollar amount is split among all the creators in the TikTok Creator Fund.

This is different from splitting a percentage of all ad revenue on a platform like YouTube. A handful of YouTube creators that are also very popular on TikTok, including author and Complexly co-founder Hank Green (now known as “the science guy” on TikTok), have expressed issues with this system.

This, plus how TikTok works in comparison to YouTube, means that creators can hit the same amount of views every month for 6 months, but get wildly different payouts from TikTok. Between reports online and a few creators who’ve come forward with transparency, the medium rate at the moment is one to four cents per 1,000 views.

If interested, you need to actually join as you’re not automatically enrolled. As of June 2022, you must be 18+, have 10K followers, earn 100K in video views in the last 30 days, and be in good standing by not violating the community guidelines. Another eligibility requirement is that the creator is based in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy, France, and Spain. Some online rumors hint at Canada and Australia creators gaining access to this feature by the end of 2022.

Sponsored Posts

nami thinking about money
(Toei Animation)

The final way people can make money on the platform is via sponsored posts. This has a plethora of problems (even though for some it might be the easiest to do and see instant results). Sponsorships are when a company pays a creator funds to use their product or service.

Sometimes shady brands like Shein (among many others) will forgo monetary compensation and just give a product. They do that more to micro-influences with fewer options. Another burgeoning type of sponsorship is from record labels and producers hoping their song goes viral on the app. An Insider article found the number varied from $20 per post to (at least) $750 per post depending on the creator’s audience. Musicians have spoken publically about their frustrations with being forced to make TikToks or else not get their album released.

Speaking of sketchy behavior, TikTok sponsorships are not well regulated and creators also abuse the system by failing to identify that the inclusion was a paid ad/feature. #Ad doesn’t just go in the comments, but also the description box and video somewhere. Come on y’all.

You can also use your TikTok to promote your own products or service like a book, song, artwork, etc.

(featured image: TikTok and Alyssa Shotwell)

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(she/her) Award-winning digital artist and blogger with an interest in art, politics, identity, and history—especially when they all come together. This Texan balances book-buying blurs with liberal Libby use.